This is a historic first in France. This Sunday, December 11 in Strasbourg, the trains of the “European Metropolitan Express Network” (Reme) returned to action. It is the first RER outside Ile-de-France.
The RER as a response to the ZFE?
This initiative belongs to the Grand Est region and the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg. Imagined in 2018, it makes it possible to offer 800 additional trains per week, then more than 1,000 trains from the summer of 2023. This is therefore a 43% increase in the transport offer on this network which connects 95 stations, reports Capital.
It is also a response to the Low Emission Zone (ZFE) which has come into effect in the Strasbourg metropolitan area. This system will eventually prevent the most polluting vehicles from circulating in the city. In this context, this RER is a form of alternative for all the populations impacted by this measure.
Its initiators explain that with 670 stops per day, Strasbourg becomes the largest TER station in France, with a fairly wide timetable range from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., and trains that run every 15 minutes during rush hour. But out of the question to centralize everything in the city. The idea is thus to avoid the formation of a railway junction thanks to diametralization. Behind this term, it should be understood that it is possible to connect two cities of the agglomeration without having to go through the regional capital.
On the cost side, a substantial investment of 700 million euros was necessary. To situate it, for example, it is much cheaper than setting up a new metro line in certain urban areas, such as Toulouse. Then, it will take 14.5 million euros per year to operate the Reme. This sum is divided between the Eurometropolis and the Region.
If the elected officials are enthusiastic about this project, the reaction is clearly not the same on the side of the railway workers. Alexandre Welsch, Sud Rail delegate, for example deplored: “We were already unable to ensure the 2022 transport plan without the Reme, we respected it at best only 15 days a year. So 130 additional daily trains, at or near the same number of staff, we won’t be able to do it”. He would have liked to postpone the launch for 6 to 8 months in order to have the necessary equipment and manpower.
Emmanuel Macron wants to develop an RER network in France
Note that the realization of this initiative falls just a few days after the announcement of Emmanuel Macron. The President says he wishes “develop an RER network in ten French cities so that the RER is not only in Paris”. It has identified around fifteen projects under development ” everywhere in France “. Lille, Bordeaux, Lyon, or even Aix-Marseille are particularly concerned.