Well before the publication of the report of the Arafer, which found that 25 % of the TGV did not arrive on time, the management of the SNCF had put in place a crisis cell to deal with the phenomenon and look for a better regularity. Because it is a crucial problem for the national company. “The customer satisfaction follows exactly the curve of regularity”, recognizes in this sense, Rachel Picard, director of SNCF Travel, who adds: “I understand that this is intolerable for the passengers to have a train that stops in the open countryside”.
We too often forget: it is much easier to fly a plane between two points than to move a train on rails, where the slightest incident has a snow ball effect on all the trains upstream and downstream. The professionals of the sector, them, talk about the “domino effect”. An example: this was a TGV train has collided with a wild boar in Saint-Arnoult, which has led to delays on… 60 trains.
Approximately 20 % of the minutes lost are due to hardware problems
A list of priority projects has therefore been established to address these delays, departures and arrivals, following the conclusions of a study carried out on 200.000 trains. This study has confirmed the obvious but also revealed some surprises. First, approximately 20 % of the minutes lost are due to hardware problems. For this, the SNCF will be inspired by the functioning of Ouigo, and has extensively reviewed the chain of maintenance for a better prevention of failures.
“It’s more expensive than what we were doing but in fact, over time, this causes us to make savings”, according to Pierre Matuchet, who has left the marketing to focus exclusively on the problem of delays. Among the other important causes of delays, there are accidents of people who weigh almost 10 %, and the interaction of animals for 5%. If they are more difficult to treat, these two subjects are, however, subject studies, very large with the authorities and services of the SNCF Network.
The SNCF intends to place particular emphasis on ensuring that the first trains of the morning start time, regardless of their station of origin. This seems obvious, but a delay early in the morning is a delay who do not catch, worse, it will continue throughout the day. Thus, a stopwatch is very accurate and has been implemented for the journey between the departure of the TGV of the technicentre until its arrival at the dock. In fact, it is impossible to tackle the problem without apply extreme rigour to the first four departures in the morning. Because as the day progresses, other factors are also affecting the punctuality of trains. In particular, the flows into the station.
The scheduled downtime are sometimes too short for the descent and ascent of passengers
The national society must adapt to the sharp increase in attendance as well for the TER, the City that the TGV, the train having more and more success. It follows that the stopping time programmed are sometimes too short for the descent and ascent of passengers. And again, many details must be taken into account, such as the correct numbering of the cars, which must correspond to the landmarks marked on the dock. Many of the descriptive panels at the station will therefore need to be reviewed.
Review the algorithm of the booking is also essential, in order to avoid that all passengers of a same station are not placed in the same car… As for the matches, if they are well managed in case of delay from a TGV to a TER, it is however far from being the case of the TER to TGV high-speed trains. Gold on this point, the SNCF had a very large margin of progression! Finally, the increase of abandoned luggage, 8000 in 2018 against 5000 in 2016, is also the source of the delays.
The team and its canine unit that specializes in explosives detection, until then domiciled in the suburbs of paris, has installed a kennel in the gare de Lyon train station to be able to intervene more quickly. It has thus been able to control 1500 luggage last year. The SNCF has also experienced about 20 trains a protocol consisting of sending SMS to all train passengers to inform them of the oblivion of luggage. Result: a piece of luggage on two has been reunited with his owner. The SNCF is working on a multitude of axes, and all solutions that will be effective if it does not want the word “delay” him sticks to the skin.
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