Railenium will include a 5km loop test track, a light rail track, a fatigue simulation track, and running trial facilities. The main site of a so-called campus of excellence will be set up in Valenciennes, with a secondary site in Lille.

The objective of Railenium is to develop railway infrastructure which is sustainable, performs better, is more reliable, and which is easy to certify. Railenium will encourage innovation through various research public-private partnerships. It is being organised by a consortium of organisations led by French Rail Network (RFF), and including the French Institute of Transport Science and Technology (Ifsttar), Artois University, Alstom, Bouygues TP, Eurotunnel, Tata Steel, and local authorities.

"The Railenium project is a major asset that will help the French and European rail industry to play a leading role in terms of R&D and innovation," says Mr Hubert du Mesnil, chairman and CEO of RFF.