Rails Projects: A Rising Need of Contracts to Stay on Tracks

Gilles Mugnier, International affairs director, SNCF, France

The rail projects appear specific however they include generally the same tasks and targets: build and/or operate a rail network with dedicated trains. A rail project involves successive steps to be detailed and coordinated through dedicated contracts between all the entities involved: the authorities, the financers, builders, operators, maintainers and indeed their respective subcontractors and consultants. Any legal advice on that matter deals with a high level of constraints. The challenge for any lawyer involved: to coordinate the bulk of contracts, in order to reflect and to ease the industrial process and indeed to take into account the needs of the clients i.e. the public authority but also the passengers. A complex task for lawyers who need to draft in contracts all industrial requirements, and the different rights and obligations of the stakeholders …. Among all the projects and tenders around the world, the rail projects appear not so numerous but quiet complex.

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France Contract Transport October 2020 Vol.13, No. 53, Autumn 2020

Gilles Mugnier


Gilles Mugnier is international affaires director at SNCF, being mainly in charge of contracts and projects coordination. He was previously Deputy General Counsel of SNCF, within the group legal department. Before joining SNCF, Gilles was legal adviser in several companies in the energy and transportation sectors, mainly in charge or international projects and contracts. Graduate of Paris Bar and of the Geneva University, he has participated in several projects and deals in France and worldwide.



SNCF is a global leader in passenger and freight transport services with revenue of €35.1 billion in 2019, of which one-third on international markets. With 260,000 employees in 120 countries, SNCF draws on its foundations in French rail and on its extensive experience as an architect of transport services. Since 2020, the group is composed of the mother company SNCF and three main subsidiaries, SNCF VOYAGEURS, FRET SNCF and SNCF RESEAU. SNCF group carries daily more than 15 million passengers and also operates through trademarks as OUIGO, KEOLIS, EUROSTAR or THALYS for passengers and GEODIS or CALBERSON for goods.

France Contract Transport October 2020 Vol.13, No. 53, Autumn 2020

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