FRENCH transport minister, Mr Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, signed an accord with the southeastern Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region on February 22 to secure the future of five minor lines covering 435km.  

Under the agreement, €580m will be invested over 10 years to refurbish the lines, including repairing damage to the Cuneo - Ventimiglia and Nice - Breil-sur-Roya lines caused by severe flooding on October 2 2020. 

The lines are: 

  • the French section of the Cuneo, Italy - Ventimiglia, Italy, line, which runs via Breil-sur-Roya 
  • Nice - Breil-sur-Roya 
  • Marseille - Miramas 
  • Briançon - Veynes-Beaurières (- Valence), and 
  • Aix-en-Provence - Veynes - Lus-la-Croix-Haute (- Grenoble). 

The French government has allocated €6.5bn in grants, to be spent over 10 years, to safeguard around 9000km of minor lines across the country which are currently in a poor state and are threatened with closure. The lines comprise about a third of the French rail network. 

In some cases, responsibility for certain lines is being transferred to regional councils, with two agreements already signed with the Grand Est and Centre-Val-de-Loire regions.