Time-phasing increases the supply level on railway services in Ile de France

For the first time in IDF, 3 main railway line
services of the SNCF network operate on
completely restructured time-tables which
are now time-phased. The time-phasing*
along with an increase of the service
supply and a higher punctuality will benefit
to 200 000 commuters every day, a major
improvement of the Ile de France railway

Switzerland and Finland have already
experienced time-phasing the planning of
services. In France it started in 2007 with
the metropolitan area of Lyon, and now
STIF in Ile de France just adopted, on 14
December 2008, the 56 m€ project.
3 main lines departing from Paris are

  • Paris Saint Lazare Mantes (north-west),
  • Paris Montparnasse–Rambouillet Dreux (South - West),
  • Paris gare de Lyon - Montargis Montereau (south–east).

Services on those lines are now organized
according to a regularly phased frequency
rate, the time-table pattern routinely
repeats itself along the day in service
hours and the stops are always identical.
Planning through time –phasing allows
increasing the number of train services
particularly off-peak hours, at night or
during the week end, and optimizes the infrastructure.
The decision of restructuring the frequency
rate in the time-tables comes as the
result of major changes in the mobility
activity in Ile de France.


Since 1999, SNCF enjoyed a 25% increase
in the number of passengers, half of
which (12.6%) occurred from 2005 to
2007. The railway network capacity is
nearly saturated particularly in those areas
close to the six main train stations in Paris.
The patterns of mobility behavior also
have changed. More passengers are riding
late in the evening, in the week-ends,
during school recess or in summer time.
Since the 80’, traditional morning and
evening peak hours tend to extend, overlapping
off-peak hours.
Finally the need for reinforcing the role of
Public Transport as a creditable alternative
to private car use triggered the decision.

Finally the time-phasing of services on the
3 main lines offers a customer oriented
triple answer to this challenge, as it

  • higher frequency notably in off-peak hours, at night, during the week-ends and in summertime, allowing to better adapt to travelers demand;
  • simple reading “clock-face” time-tables that are easy to memorize;
  • higher punctuality which simplifies the planning of train services at both peak and off-peak hours.

The measure is seen as a major step forward
in meeting the emerging mobility
needs while ensuring sustainable and less
polluting public transport services.
This major improvement is the result of
two long years of close collaboration
between STIF, SNCF Transilien (the operator)
and RFF (the infrastructure owner). At
times the collaboration extended to neighbor
regions such as Haute Normandie,
Basse Normandie, Bourgogne and Centre
who engaged themselves into the process
of time-phasing the services of regional
trains (TER) under their responsibility, thus interacting with Ile de France time-tables.
Besides, a process of local consultation
with travelers and political decision-makers
was organized at the inception of the
project in December 2007, and later on in
October 2008, with a view to circulate
information, build a consensus and monitor
progress made.

Progressively and according to an agreed
agenda, other lines will apply to time-phasing
services until the whole Ile de France
Railway network Transilien is completed.
This major improvement falls into the
ambitious programme for developing the
supply level on the Ile de France Public
Transport network adopted by STIF’s
Council since 2006. Already the combine
efforts to increase capacity of buses,
metros, trams, trains and RER (regional
express trains) decided by STIF and implemented
by the operators, amount to €500 m. It
represents a significant and visible answer
of the Transport Authority to the challenge
of sustainable mobility.

  • Updated : January 30, 2009

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