Corus is to invest €35M at its rail production facility in Hayange, France, after securing a major contract with SNCF.

Corus will invest the money at the site in north-east France, to allow it to produce longer rails. The new manufacturing equipment will enable workers to produce 108m-long rails.

Enhancement work will begin in the New Year and up to 400 contractors are expected to work on the upgrade – from design and mechanical engineers to electricians and demolition experts.

Colin McGibbon, Hayange plant manager, said it was the largest and most significant investment at the Hayange site for more than a decade and would help secure the future of the plant – and the workforce – for several years.

The mill, which employs 440 people, supplies rails to railway operators around the world, but predominantly in Europe. The mill can currently produce rails of up to 80m in length. The investment will improve yield and quality at the plant, as well as boost production capacity from 300kt/y to 340kt/y.

The investment follows confirmation that Corus won a e350M contract to supply rails for up to six years to French railway operator SNCF for the renewal and maintenance of the RFF (Réseau Ferré de France) tracks. The contract is for four years with the option to extend it by two years.