THE Pays de la Loire region of France will invest €500m in new trains as it works to increase the frequency of the TER services that it funds and specifies by 67% over the period to 2032.

This is to meet rising demand as TER traffic in Pays de la Loire grew by 39% in 2023, when compared with passenger numbers in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. A further 12% rise was recorded in the first three months of 2024.

Pays de la Loire will buy 40 new trains and build new rolling stock maintenance depots in Nantes and Le Mans, due for completion in 2027 and 2031 respectively.

The line from Cholet to Les Herbiers will be reopened, with the aim of serving the Puy du Fou leisure park. RER-style Regional Metropolitan Express Service (Serm) networks will be created in Le Mans, Angers and between Nantes and Saint-Nazaire.

Infrastructure work costing €133m to increase capacity in the Nantes area will include remodelling and resignalling with ETCS. A new station will be built to serve the city’s airport.

Pays de la Loire is also planning to build new high-speed lines to cut journey times from Nantes to Rennes and Quimper. The region is now developing its own multimodal ticketing system, which will be launched in 2026.

TER traffic boom

TER traffic in 2023 was up on 2019 levels in 10 of the 13 French regions. Growth figures were as follows:

  • Brittany: 46%
  • Occitanie: 44%
  • Pays de la Loire: 39%
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine: 26%
  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: 20%
  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur: 20%
  • Grand Est: 16%.
  • Bourgogne-Franche Comté: 9%
  • Centre-Val-de-Loire: 3%, and
  • Normandy: 1%.

It should be noted that some of the higher increases can be attributed to marketing initiatives that include a flat fare of €1 at weekends in Occitanie. TER traffic in the Hauts-de-France region in 2023 was actually 1% down on 2019 levels.

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