Saint-Pierre-des-Corps railway station and technicentre

Published on 13 April 2017 - Updated 16 November 2018

Rolling-stock maintenance: behind the scenes

Saint-Pierre-des-Corps station is a thriving rail hub, with some 10,000 passengers a day taking one or another of the 160 trains that stop there daily: TER, TGV and intercity services alike.
But the station also accommodates the SNCF technicentre.
Arnaud Roy, Communication Manager.
“Here, you’re in an establishment set up in 1910 on the initiative of the Paris/Orleans Railway Company, which wanted to set up train repair workshops in the Centre Region, especially in Saint Pierre in Indre-et-Loire.”
Saint-Pierre-des-Corps’ location was ideal for the purpose.
“Due to the city of Tours’ centrality, between Paris, Orleans and Bordeaux.”
What exactly goes on at the technicentre?
“The technicentre has two main responsibilities. The first is to see to day-to-day maintenance of the Centre Region’s TER trains. It’s a bit like the garage you take your car to, to top up the oil and water; here you also top up on sand to make sure your wheels don’t skid on the rails in winter – general minor maintenance work, in other words. Its second responsibility is renovation of the RER’s C and D lines. A clinic for trains, you might say. Railcar trains arrive in a something of a sorry state after 10 or 15 years of service and spend 35 to 50 days here undergoing top-to-toe renovation: paintwork, electricity, interior fittings, brakes, on-board passenger information systems, protection videos, and so on. Everything from A to Z, in fact.
There’s no standardisation in trains as there is with cars, and these are all highly specialised tasks. We’ve got a whole host of different professions represented here, including fitters, welders, boilermakers, painters and electricians. We’ve been renovating trains here for over 100 years now, so the SNCF has more than enough knowhow to go round.”
And you’ll understand just how important the technicentre is when you know that buying a new train is 10 times as expensive as renovating one.