Today’s Solutions: July 22, 2024

After 40 years of neglect, hundreds of abandoned trains in France are getting a new lease of life. That’s thanks to an initiative from railway company SNCF, which aims to recycle and reuse old trains to manufacture new ones.

The company has already kicked off the project in Rouen, in northern France, where 400 carriages covered in rust stretch over 10 km — a train graveyard that has been sitting there for more than four decades.

“For a long time, it was a site for long-term storage of locomotives,” the director of the center, Jérémie Pigeaud, tells euronews. “And so it could cause heartache for the railway workers to see these locomotives parked for a long time. But for the past four years, we’ve set up this whole dismantling process.”

The trains are getting repaired and recycled at a plant in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. After removing hazardous materials such as asbestos, almost 90 percent of the train is recycled. The company then sends the recovered components — which include metal, wood, and glass pieces — to be reused in the construction of other trains.

The site in Rouen is just one out of 10 other train graveyards across the country, where SNCF has stored around 5,000 unused rail cars. The company has now ended that practice and is planning to find a new purpose for all of those trains by 2028.

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