The Rhine-Rhone high-speed line will be France’s main civil engineering project for the next three years. It involves building 140 km of new line with more than 150 bridges and two new stations.
Fostering economic growth
More than 2.3 billion euros are being injected into the French economy through the construction of the Rhine-Rhone high-speed line (eastern branch). French industry is capitalising on the economic spin-offs of the project and the local economy is booming (shops, restaurants, hotels). A number of business parks are also scheduled for development in the vicinity of the two new stations (Besançon Franche-Comté TGV and Belfort-Montbéliard TGV).
> 6,000 jobs, 2,000 indirectly created by the presence of the site.
> 700 people working on the erection of the railway equipment for the new high-speed line, including some 300 at the Villersexel works base.
> 90 % of the companies employed on the site are French. Once the line has been commissioned, new longer term jobs will become available: maintenance operatives, infrastructure operators, line equipment personnel, etc.
Preparing for the future
The new line will serve one of France's major industrial regions. More than 1.1 million passengers per new station are expected to use the line each year. The regions crossed should also enjoy further benefits, for example the faster connections afforded by the construction of the line.
Furthering social inclusion
For all its works contracts, RFF now includes a special clause designed to give priority to the unemployed. The clause has been drawn up in close cooperation with the national employment agencies and has to date proved even more successful than expected. 12% of all jobs have been awarded to younger jobseekers, the chronic unemployed and minimum wage-earners as against the requisite 7% for civil engineering firms and 5% for railway equipment companies. More than 700 people have already been able to take advantage of this contractual requirement.
Organising professional training schemes
Training schemes have been organised for tasks connected with civil engineering and railway equipment to enable people without qualifications or with qualifications in unrelated fields to be employed and, in addition, obtain recognition for their newly acquired skills.
Enhancing health and safety conditions on site
A charter setting out rules to be universally applied has been signed by all the companies working on the project. In particular, the charter stipulates a series of health and safety conditions, use of the latest technologies (rear-view reversing cameras, for example), methods for preventing 'black' labour (mandatory identification badges, etc.), separate site access for different types of vehicles, etc. These measures have ensured that, in the 11 million hours worked since the start of site operations, not one single serious accident has occurred!