Colas Rail leads a consortium that also includes Colas Génie Civil and Legrand. The work involves upgrading a section of the Ligne des Horlogers line, which connects Besançon in France to La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. Colas Rail’s share of the project is €20m.

The consortium will carry out the renewal of 34km of ballast track, the upgrade of 20 level crossings, 12km of drainage works, the refurbishment of six railway structures and the modernisation of the railway signalling over a 13km stretch. In total, 70km of railway line between Besançon and the French-Swiss border will be upgraded, with three main work areas located in the cities of L’Hôpital-du-Grosbois, Valdahon and Morteau.

“The Ligne des Horlogers, whose route is located in a mountainous area, will require a specific technical organisation, logistics and renewal method,” said François Lambin, project manager for Colas Rail. “The works, carried out in complete traffic interruption, will start in March 2021, with delivery scheduled for the end of August 2021.”

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During the renewal project, 8,800 hours of work will be completed by people taking part in work placement schemes. Colas Rail said that this represents a major challenge for its recruitment teams, who will have to ensure the temporary and permanent staff complement one another.

“This approach is fully in line with our CSR commitments as well as our integration policy,” said Fabrice Tumoine, HR director for France at Colas Rail. “Integration should not be seen as a constraint but rather as an opportunity to balance social and economic performance. With this project, we will offer people who have been out of the workforce the opportunity to reintegrate the job market, while respecting the social clauses specified in our contract, which is a great source of satisfaction for us!”

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