The rail industry in Hauts-de-France

In Hauts-de-France, we’re at the heart of tomorrow’s transport systems. As the leader in France and a major player in Europe, our region has a robust, tightly-knit rail industry, anchored in a broad range of R&D skills. Its members include Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens and other world-class companies.

The rail industry in Hauts-de-France

In Hauts-de-France, we’re at the heart of tomorrow’s transport systems. As the leader in France and a major player in Europe, our region has a robust, tightly-knit rail industry, anchored in a broad range of R&D skills. Its members include Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens and other world-class companies.

France plays a key role in the European rail industry

Even as rolling-stock markets decline in Latin America, the Africa/Middle East region and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, their counterparts in Western Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are growing. And France is the world’s third-largest rail market, thanks to its tightly-woven rail ecosystem and major orders for regional and intercity trains.

Key figures:

  • #3 market worldwide, after China and Germany
  • €4bn in sales
  • 30,000 jobs in the French rail industry
  • 30% of all export production

Locate your business in France’s #1 rail region

The international rail market is largely concentrated around the industry’s top three full-line suppliers and manufacturers worldwide: Canada’s Bombardier Transport, Germany’s Siemens and France’s own Alstom Transport—three leading players with a presence here in Hauts-de-France.
Their success has benefited a number of international equipment manufacturers as well as a multitude of second- and third-tier subcontractors.

5 world-class manufacturers in Hauts-de-France

urban transport, metros, interconnected regional and national transport

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passenger train and freight equipment

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Fast facts on the Hauts-de-France rail industry

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Leading equipment and component manufacturers

  • Barat Sofanor: seats / interior fittings
  • Deprecq: sheet metal
  • Faiveley NSF: ventilation, heating and air conditioning
  • Forges de Fresnes Valdunes Group: triangular brake beams for freight cars
  • MA Steel: wheelsets and axles
  • Outreau Technologies: crossings
  • Railtech: welding equipment and technology
  • Stratiforme Compreforme Groupe: composite parts for locomotives and rail cars
  • Studia, Technifrance: consulting and research support

Custom solutions for your rail project

Storage and logistics solutions

  • 13 million sq m of available storage space
  • #1 region in France for logistics and distribution
  • R&D and sales offices near your customers

  • A wide selection of high-quality sites for your business available near rail industry players
  • Competitive costs and available skills
  • Getting started: Turnkey solutions

  • Plug-and-play sites at Transalley, a rail research park near leading equipment manufacturers
  • Mega-sites for massive projects

  • Greenfield mega-sites of up to 300 hectares­—not available anywhere else in Western Europe
  • Industrial facilities at competitive prices
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    Finding qualified workers

    Fast facts: Rail industry labor in Hauts-de-France

    • Total labor pool: 50,000 available workers
    • 2,000 students enrolled in mobility-oriented programs
    • 10% of French engineers are trained in Hauts-de-France

    Advanced training in sustainable transport

    Thanks to a wealth of rail training and education programs, Hauts-de-France is home to a broad pool of qualified labor.

    We’ve got every kind of educational institution—from trade schools to universities and engineering schools—right here in the region, and they offer both higher education and vocational training.

    Leading educational institutions:

    • ENSIAME, France’s national school of energy mechanics engineering in Valenciennes: 180 engineering graduates annually / specialized master’s degrees in rail and transport
    • ICAM (Catholic trades institute): 200 engineering graduates a year
    • HEI (school of advanced engineering studies): 300 engineering graduates a year
    • Opal Coast International Rail Training Center: a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eurotunnel Group and the first private training center dedicated to rail
    • SNCF Rail Driver Training Center in Lille: SNCF’s largest training center for train drivers in Europe”

    Regional partners for your rail project

    Hauts-de-France has been a rail region from the beginning, giving the local industry time to organize, become more competitive and develop synergies.

    Meet the key players who lead the industry and support rail development projects.

    ERA: European Railway Agency

    ERA is responsible for drafting the Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI), a set of key technical standards applied throughout the European Union to make the European rail network fully interoperable.

    Railway Industry Association (AIF)

    The AIF (Association des Industries Ferroviaires) is dedicated to strengthening and promoting the rail industry in Hauts-de-France.

    Railway Testing Centre (CEF)

    The CEF (Centre d’Essais Ferroviaires) is a one-of-a-kind test track for locomotives, electric rail and metros.

    CERTIFER

    CERTIFER is France’s only rail certification authority, specializing in rail and guided transport. It’s also the world leader in independent safety assessments for rail and guided transport systems.

    R&D support from leading rail innovators

    Hauts-de-France is the rail region par excellence, and many of the industry’s innovators have chosen us as the best R&D environment.

    These pacesetters bring rail companies together and support research and development projects. Key players include:

    transalley logo

    TRANSALLEY

    Tap the expertise of Transalley, a world-class industrial and scientific cluster, specializing in sustainable, innovative mobilities. It has also developed an ecosystem that sparks innovation.

    5 strategic goals:

    • Help rail and automotive companies succeed
    • Develop tomorrow’s rail infrastructures
    • Jump-start new mobility and logistics systems
    • Make testing and approval resources available to business
    • Look ahead to new forms of mobility and the business models they’ll bring with them

    I-TRANS

    Join I-Trans, a world-class cluster for sustainable transport. Its mission is to invent, design, produce and sell the transport systems of the future.

    5 focus areas:

    • Rail freight
    • Passenger mobility
    • Rail infrastructure
    • Rail rolling stock
    • Automotive equipment

    CISIT

    For questions about intermodality, ecodesign and safety in the transport industry, turn to the International Campus on Safety and Intermodality in Transportation (CISIT)—a pacesetter in the drive to build tomorrow’s vehicles and transport systems.

    4 strategic goals:

    • Optimize management of multimodal transport chains
    • Meet new challenges to design clean, safe, light vehicles
    • Promote intelligent, safe mobility
    • Develop morpho-adaptive safety technology

    RAILENIUM

    Need to test your equipment? Railenium is the institute for excellence in technology research—a European center for R&D, innovation and testing that specializes in rail infrastructure.

    3 research areas:

    • Reduce investment costs for infrastructure, maintenance and renovation
    • Cut energy consumption and shrink carbon footprints
    • Expand the capacity of existing infrastructure and reduce disruptions to operations

    4 test installations:

    • 5-km test loop with a heavy train running at 120 km/h
    • Test track for urban rail transport
    • Rail-wheel test unit
    • Fatigue test track