The Big Cemetery
This cemetary now contains 430 engines of all types. Despite politicians claiming their commitment to environmental improvements, the reality check says otherwise. The enormous lines of dead SNCF engines in Sotteville (near Rouen) and low freight traffic on the main tracks contrast with the road that sees relentless and increasing truck traffic. One responsible for this situation that sharply contrasts with the USA is the railroad itself. Through its road trucking affiliates, SNCF – the French National Railway operator – has benefited from both sides. Today, the hope for rebirth comes from the new private operators, although SNCF endeavors to limit or kill them as much it can. Some say that SNCF is stuck by its cost structure and social rules. This is only part of the reality. Private operators show that entrepreneurship, flexibility, commercial aggressiveness, lean structures, decentralized decision-making, modern corporate values and adequate organization can regain market share over the road. In particular, it is well known among a majority of SNCF railroaders that the less initiative one takes, the less trouble one gets.