As part of the deal, Corus will invest €35 million in new technology at its rail production facility in Hayange, in the Lorraine region of France, to allow it to produce longer rails. The investment in a range of new manufacturing equipment will improve the plant’s efficiency and enable workers to produce 108-metre long rails.
Gérard Glas, Director General of Corus Rail (France), said: “Being able to produce 108m long rails opens up new opportunities for us and puts us in a better position to supply the growing demand for high-speed rail lines. By 2011 we will be among just a handful of producers with this world-class capability.
“This significant contract with SNCF gives us the confidence to invest in our Hayange plant. The investment will make us more competitive and help secure the future of the plant – and the workforce – for years to come.”
Engineering studies have already been completed at the Hayange plant which will enable the €35m enhancement work to begin in the New Year. At the peak of the enhancement work, up to 400 contractors are expected to be working on the upgrade – from design and mechanical engineers to electricians and demolition experts.
The Hayange mill, which employs 440 people, currently supplies rails of varying lengths to railway operators around the world, but predominantly in Europe. The mill can currently produce rails of up to 80-metres long. The investment will improve yield and quality at the plant, as well as boosting production capacity from 300,000 to 340,000 tonnes per year.