More than 300 retired railcars will be processed at a facility equipped to handle asbestos and recover recyclable materials.
The public transport authority of Paris, RATP, has chosen Veolia, headquartered in Paris, to dismantle and recycle 317 passenger cars used by the city’s Réseau Express Régional (RER) express commuter rail service for its A-line route.
According to Veolia, dismantling the railcars will enable 97 percent of the materials in the passenger cars, each measuring 25 meters long and weighing more than 30 metric tons, to be recycled and recovered. It is also said to be the first such project of this size undertaken in France, according to Veolia.
The company says it has implemented expertise allowing for the transfer of the railcars, removal of asbestos and deconstruction of the railcars, as well as recovery of the cars’ component materials and processing of nonrecoverable components.
In all, the company says that 97 percent of the materials will be used to produce other materials, of which 85 percent is steel, 10 percent other metals (copper, stainless steel and aluminum) and 2 percent other materials, such as glass.
To recover the materials, Veolia says it has built a negative-pressure clean room that will be used to treat polluting materials such as asbestos in complete confinement and with the highest safety standards, to avoid the dispersal of particles. This facility, based in Torvilliers, has been judged a “benchmark installation” by the French government’s authorities responsible for its inspection, Veolia says.
According to Veolia, the facility will process nine sets a month for the coming four years. After arriving at the site, each set is cleared of all its furniture and then processed in the clean room where qualified personnel remove the asbestos. Once the operation has been completed, the cars are cleaned with high-pressure water, which is then filtered and treated in a special unit ready for reuse making this operation a closed-loop, Veolia says. Finally, each set’s carcass and its component materials (metals and glass) are processed, sorted and recovered in the appropriate system.
“This contract is a first in France,” says Pascal Tissot, CEO of Bartin Recycling Group, the Veolia subsidiary responsible for processing the railcars. “It is a perfect illustration of the complexity of the dismantling business, which requires high-level technical expertise and safety rules together with complete traceability throughout all stages of the deconstruction and material recycling operations, while at the same time ensuring the safety of employees and the environment.”
Bartin Recycling Group, based in Paris, is involved in end-of-life dismantling of transportation vehicles. The group also specializes in asbestos removal, the deconstruction of industrial sites and in ferrous and nonferrous metal recovery.