A delegation from French strategic rail industry body Fer de France visited us at RSSB to find out about the British approach to cross-industry collaboration.
14 senior directors from major French rail companies and their supply chain came to RSSB as part of their week-long study tour of how Britain’s railways work together.
Their organisation, Fer de France, aims to increase cooperation between all the relevant players in the French rail industry, with a particular focus on standards and research. Having a similar remit at RSSB, we were able to share knowledge about how the GB rail industry works together to address challenges in the world of standards, safety, knowledge and innovation. Participants from Fer de France included SNCF, RATP and Alstom as well as the French ministry of transport and the trade union UTP.
The visit gave us the opportunity to promote SPARK, our knowledge-sharing website which contains a library of over 20,000 reports, papers and data sources. Created and managed by RSSB, SPARK is developed in partnership with UIC and the International Rail Research Board (IRRB), part of the Railway-Research.org portal targeted at all parties involved in rail research and innovation.
The railways of France and the UK have enjoyed a long history of working together and learning from each other. This has ranged from mutual promotion of services and tourism, to overcoming shared technical challenges. French engineer Marc Seguin advised Robert Stephenson on the design of early steam locomotive The Rocket in 1829, and after the Second World War, SNCF engineer Louis Armand was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his advice to British Railways on mainline electrification.
We hope Fer de France’s meeting with us marks another step in our ongoing cooperation.