★ History of rail transport in FranceThis article is part of the History of rail transport series
History of rail transport in France dates from the first French railway in 1823, to the modern enterprises such as the AGV.
1. Beginning. (Начало)
France has been lagging in the construction of Railways, compared with the UK and Belgium, which already has proven its value in 1830. Urban land was expensive, as iron and coal. A more serious obstacle is the powerful political opposition, especially as mobilized by transport companies, which use canals, roads and rivers. They blocked the railway needed a Charter in the Parliament. Already in 1810, the French engineer Pierre Michel Moisson-Desroches proposed to build seven national Railways from Paris, in order to go "short distances within the Empire". However, nothing happened. Mining companies in 1828, opened the first railroad to transport coal from the fields around Saint-étienne 11 km from Saint-étienne to the Loire river. Most of the work has been done on horses, although steam locomotives have been used for the last segment. Opened passenger service in 1835. Small French banking system was at the limit of their capacities in financing early operations. The Pereire brothers were pioneers, but they found that costs were much higher than expected, especially maintenance costs. The government rejected all major rail projects to 1842, and France steadily lagged behind the countries that have achieved rapid consensus on railway policy. In 1842, Britain had a 1.900 miles of Railways in operation, France is only 300.
The possible relationship between the French railway system and the government formed a compromise between two alternative options:
- The government and government-controlled railway, for example, grew up in Belgium.
- Completely liberal system of the free market, which was created by Britains complex rail network.
France used a mixture of these two models to construct its railroads, but eventually turned definitively to the side of government control. The relationship between the government and private rail companies became complicated, with many conflicts and disagreements between the two groups.
2. Government intervention. (Вмешательство правительства)
In 1842 the agreement, developed by Adolphe Thiers the plan adopted in 1842 encouraged the government will allocate about USD 50.000 per mile, and a private system. Private companies spend about $40.000 for the mile for track, equipment, buildings, locomotives and wagons. The government also subsidizes companies with the Department of bridges and vehicle construction do most of the planning and engineering work for new lines. The government will assist in providing land, often by expropriation. The government also agreed to pay the costs of infrastructure, construction of bridges, tunnels and track beds. Then, private companies will provide the tracks, stations and rolling stock, and pay operating costs. This policy was confusing and contradictory, and blocked monopolies, which means the absence of regional networks form.
It is the General policy masked many exceptions and additions. The most successful companies, especially the Compagnie du Nord, often build their own lines in order to avoid complications is through the government. For example, during the economic boom of the 1850-ies, the government of the country to pay only 19 percent of the cost of construction of the railway. Other less successful lines, such as Midi, often need more help from the government to stay in operation. The same was confirmed during the recession, for example, in 1859, when the railway received a new agreement to save them from bankruptcy. In exchange for financing part of the construction of railway lines, the French government set maximum rates that companies can charge. He also insisted that all government traffic must travel at a third of standard costs.
It is expected that the government eventually nationalize the rail system formed another important element in French railway legislation. The original agreement of 1842 leased the railway lines to the companies for only 36 years. Napoleon III extended the leases to 99 years soon after he came to power. What railway company he worked only on the lease paved the way for the nationalization of the French rail lines under the socialist government of the 1930-ies.
When the Republic replaced the monarchy in 1848, 2000 miles of track was in operation, but the situation was extremely unsatisfactory. Was in operation three dozen companies, most of them with incomplete lines, which severely restricted traffic. Financially, most of them were in big trouble. Moving passengers and cargo from one aircraft to another was quite difficult, and all called for radical reforms, but has made no legislation.
3. Success with the Second Empire. (Успех Второй Империи)
When Napoleon III turned his presidency into an Imperial role, he got almost dictatorial powers and made a good end to the working system is highest priority. The first step was to unite all companies on specific routes. Consolidation in six large companies has been successful. By 1857 the Fort was completed, and the government is not running any lines. All trunk lines are interconnected. The original plan of using Paris as a centre was continued so that long-distance travel from one place to another requires a connection to another line in Paris. Paris has grown dramatically in terms of population, industry, Finance, commercial activities, tourism. Worldwide commercial crisis, 1857-58 with delayed financing and construction for a short time, but the funding for all six companies have already hardened under the state guarantees. The original vision from the 1842 national network of Grant was largely implemented. The system was almost completed by 1870, although there was constant construction made to enhance the quality of the lines, double tracks, rebuild bridges, improve alarm and large freight yards and passenger stations, to reduce slopes and drill long tunnels.
3.1. Success with the Second Empire. National policy. (Национальная политика)
The second Empire under Napoleon III, 1852-1871, emphasized the construction of infrastructure. Napoleon III pays great attention to economic growth and modernisation, with special attention to infrastructure and construction of Railways and coal and iron establishments, he also encouraged the French banking activities, the completion of the Telegraph and subsidies to shipping companies and Railways, a priority is given to more channels and local roads. The state built most of the railway system and asked the private companies to operate the lines under lease agreements up to 99 years. They were public, and private. The state guaranteed the dividends of the railway operators, and in exchange took two-thirds more profit. Funding stretch the private banking sector to its limit, and was greatly enhanced by the introduction of a 300 franc bond, which has helped a large number of middle-class French easily invest in economic growth.
When Railways were started in France has already operated well-established governmental structures and procedures that could easily expand to encompass the Charter of the railway transport as well. Engineering bureaucracy was world class. The Agency that handled the channels expanded to include Railways. In Ponts transport construction, were very close control over the construction of roads, bridges, and canals in France, so it was inevitable that the new Railways would also fall under the scrutiny of the government. Other reasons also led the French government to closely monitor your railroad. Unlike the UK or US, France in continental European powers pressing for military needs from its Railways, needs which a private sector could not provide. The French government constructed long strategic Railways in Eastern France along the German border that served strategically important ends, but lacked economic viability. "Clean" private economic interests would not have constructed these routes on their own, so France used government rewards and pressure to encourage the rail companies to build the necessary lines., There are East, West-West, PLM, Orleans and the South MIDI. The government gave a 99-year lease, and given the continuing subsidies, and get back to hard free or subsidized government movements. Six were needed to build feeder networks at the local level.
3.2. Success with the Second Empire. Railways in operation. (Железные дороги в эксплуатацию)
The first completed lines radiated from Paris linking Frances major cities to the capital. These lines still form the basis of the French railway system. In the 1860-ies, the workers had completed the basic structure of the network, but they continued to build many small lines at the end of the 19th century, to fill in the gaps.
By 1855 many original small firms are divided into six large companies, each of which has a regional monopoly in one area of France. The Northern, Eastern, northwestern, Paris-Orleans, Paris-Lyon-Montpellier-Mediterranee PLM, and the MIDI lines divided the nation into strict corridors of control. Difficulties arose in that the six large monopolies, with the exception of the MIDI company, all connected to Paris, but do not link together in some other place in the country. French train map consists of unrelated industries to run from Paris. This meant that the trains also served in Paris, in other parts of the country not served. For example, one branch of the Paris-orléans line ended in Clermont-Ferrand, Lyon stood on the PLM line. Thus any goods or passengers requiring transport from Lyon to Clermont-Ferrand in 1860 needed to take a circuitous route via Paris of over seven hundred kilometers, although only a hundred and fifty miles separated the two cities.
It is centered in Paris led to the ineffectiveness in the Franco-Prussian war 1870 - 1871. In the Prusso-German railway lines that are interconnected in a grid-like fashion, proved far more effective in the movement of troops and supplies to the front than the French. The location of the lines also hurt the economy Francis. Shipping costs between regional centres have become highly inflated. Thus, in many cities, specializing in the supply of its products in Paris as a transit second city double the price. France lagged behind Germanys building after the unification of Germany in 1871. France ended this scheme for a number of reasons. Paris was created by French capital and was seen by many as the capital of Europe. The French rail Agency, it seemed only natural that all the lines should attract metropolis. On the contrary, Germany will end up with a much better system, because there was little unity, and many centers vying for supremacy. Thus there were many railway centres. Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Hamburg, the Rhine and all were related to each other. By 1900, the German superiority was evident and taken into account in the growing hostility toward Germany in France.
By 1914 the French railway system became one of the most solid and most developed in the world, and reached its maximum extent of around 60.000 km 37.000 Mi. About one third of this mileage was narrow gauge.
After 1918, France received significant additions to locomotives and rolling stock, as part of the reparations required from Germany by the Versailles Treaty. In addition, the network of the Imperial Railways in Alsace-Lorraine was seized by France when Alsace-Lorraine which was under German control after the Franco-Prussian war, was returned to France.
3.3. Success with the Second Empire. The rate cuts and the increase in tonnage. (Снижение ставок и увеличение тоннажа)
Railway freight rates fell from 14.5 (centimes per ton-kilometer 0 and 1841-44, 28.7 and 1855-64, then slowly 25.4 in 1905-1913. Meanwhile, tariffs of cargo transportation on the roads is kept at about 25. The rapid pace of industrialization in the development of national markets has dramatically increased the volume of transported cargo. In 1845, the Railways transported 102 million ton-kilometers, by 1850, was four times to 423 million. By 1855 he had reached 1.530 million In 1860, 3.140 million.
4. Nationalization. (Национализация)
In 1930-e years, competition from vehicles affected rail transport and the rail network needed pruning. Narrow gauge is most strongly affected by competition from the side of the road, many thousands of miles of narrow gauge closed in the 1930-ies. In the 1950s, years after extensive narrow gauge system is almost extinct. Many small standard gauge or closed. Today, the French railway system has about 40.000 km 25.000 miles of road.
Many private railway operators have started to face financial difficulties. In 1938 the socialist government fully nationalisim railway system and formed the société Nationale de roads de fer Francais SNCF. The regional authorities have started to specify a schedule since the mid 1970-ies with the General agreements between the regions and the SNCF since the mid 1980-ies.
Since 1981, the newly built complex of high-speed TGV trains à Grande Vitesse lines are connected most Francis settlements with the capital, starting with Paris-Lyon. In 1994, the opening of the tunnel under the English channel connecting France and Britain by rail under the English channel.
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