SNCF is to work alongside France’s national space agency, CNES, to develop innovative digital systems for the railway.
The partnership will focus on four key areas: control systems, very high-speed onboard broadband, optical imaging and the use of radar to carry out trackside surveillance.
SNCF and CNES said trials were already being carried out in a number of areas.
SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said: “Today, SNCF is stepping up the pace of technological change in the railway, focusing on the group’s top priorities of safety, capacity, and competitiveness.
“Our aim is to further improve service quality for our customers. We need to expand our ecosystem; signing this framework agreement will open up new collaboration between SNCF and CNES in the priority areas we have already identified.
“I believe that space technology has real potential for the rail industry.
“It will require adaptation, and the costs need to be significantly optimised – as with the industrial-scale roll-out of any technology – but our teams will work towards this goal together.”