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Suite Rapide 2024: start in Limoges

First construction site Suite Rapide 2024 in Limoges

GCF's new fast renovation site launched

Two months of work for the first Suite Rapide's construction site of the year. Epicentre Limoges, capital of the Haute Vienne sector in New Aquitaine, the birthplace of Renoir, famous since the Middle Ages for its fine porcelain. Here GCF-Transalp made its debut on Monday 29 with the railway renewal convoy.

Along the 590 000 Les Aubrais à Montauban line, the Suite Rapide will carry out the complete renewal (sleepers, rails and ballast) of 9,284 metres of line and the renewal in RB + RT mode (Ballast + Sleepers renewal, maintaining the current rails) of a further 30,229 metres of track.

The work, which will be carried out at night with simultaneous suspension of rail traffic, will affect portions of both tracks that make up the 590 000 line, specifically track 1 between the 377+501 and 399+281 progressive kilometres, and track 2 between the 363+361 and 417+747 progressive kilometres.

Consequently, there are two sections into which the construction site has been organised: a northern section between the stations of Limoges Bénédictine and La Souterraine, and a southern section between the stations of Limoges Bénédictine and Pierre Buffière. On both sections, work - adopting appropriate safety measures - will also be carried out in the 7 tunnels along the line for a total length of approximately 3,098 m (880 m the longest) and the numerous level crossings, especially in the southern area. Appropriate risk mitigation measures have been adopted - as usual - for the section that, to the north, runs for 500 metres along the boundary of the Primagaz plant, which is considered a 'Seveso site', i.e. at high risk of a major accident due to the presence of hazardous substances.

While at least 6 small railway stations along the route being worked on will provide shelter for minor machinery, the two largest storage yards have been set up in Limoges Montjovis - also used for storing new ballast - and, the largest, Limoges Puy Imbert for the maintenance of the P95 renewal trains and the C75-2C rehabilitation train, and for storing rails, old and new sleepers, and ballast.

"Many measures have been taken," explains from the Direction of GCF France Sabino Carbone, "to manage the risk of exposure to silica dust, which is present at all Suite Rapide sites, and which originates not only from the handling of ballast but also from the handling and cutting of old concrete sleepers such as bi-clocks. In the latter case, for example, operators using the cutting machines are provided with special respiratory masks equipped with filters and a fan to protect against dust”.

In relation to the handling of ballast, on the other hand, precautions range from individual measures - such as the compulsory use of FFP3 masks - to 'structural' measures concerning equipment and the processing procedures themselves. "For example," continues Sabino Carbone, "in the storage areas of the yards, special sprinklers wash the new ballast, reducing dust, and the hoppers loaded with ballast must pass under suitable 'showers' before leaving the yard. There are also special water tanks along the track, which are connected by hoses to sprayers placed on the guide chain of the ballast mixer and on the P95's concrete sleeper table”. The same EXBT and EXBR hoppers used to unload the crushed stone are designed for precision job to greatly limit the spread of dust beyond the track being worked.

Work on the Limoges site is scheduled to be completed on March 26th.

As for the Bordeaux site started in August - 75,553 metres of track renovated and 68,735 metres of track rehabilitated during the five planned phases - its completion on Monday, January 15th, three days ahead of schedule earned GCF-Transalp the comment of public satisfaction from the client: "End of rehabilitation... What a success this construction site is! - commented Vincent Floch, engineer of the SNCF management for New Aquitaine - 107% of the program was completed and well done, on schedule, with few safety incidents and minimal impact on regularity! BRAVO to each and every one of you for your daily commitment!”.

Finally, a 'special mission' for the C75 GCF-Transalp restorer which, with its maintenance crew and three support wagons, was called upon by ETF to support urgent work at the Zone Dense site in Saint Florentin. From Montluçon, the convoy left for the Saint Florentin site, near Auxerre, where it will join ETF's P95 site train until mid-March when, once the work is completed, it will be able to reach Besançon, the base of the next Hors Suite des Horlogers site.

GCF Suite Rapide Limoges