Green Track Contest

Imagine innovative and eco-friendly solutions to control vegetation on railway lines

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Imagine solutions for weed control on railway lines

Students from all backgrounds – SNCF needs you!

With the aim of ensuring the rail network remains as safe as possible, as well as keeping its staff and its millions of passengers safe, SNCF wants to find innovative solutions for weed control on railway lines by promoting solutions with a low environmental impact wherever possible. Contribute to this SNCF initiative for a chance to win over €12,000 in prizes!

For essential railway safety reasons, controlling vegetation on railway lines and the surrounding areas is a top priority. SNCF currently uses pesticides to ensure that the network is weed-free. 

Through its network maintenance, SNCF has a robust policy in place to maintain its safety and reliability while seeking ways to limit the environmental impact of its work. It's over to you to come up with innovative ideas to control weeds while keeping to this aim! 

Imagine solutions:


Don't be afraid to head off the beaten track and propose original, innovative and even unique solutions!


Remember that the aim of the challenge is to implement your project – so it's important that it can actually be put into practice. 


Don't lose sight of the topic – your solution needs to be in keeping with the problem. How can SNCF control weeds on railway lines in an effective and eco-friendly way? 

Carefully planned

The quality of your presentation is an important aspect. Make sure you pay close attention to both the style and content of your presentation.

Your mission: weed and protect

A lack of vegetation in the ballast and cess area ensures proper water run-off (resulting in good track stability), allows maintenance and emergency personnel to access the track in complete safety and reduces the risk of fire – so weed control on railway lines is truly essential.

Currently, weed control is primarily carried out using weedkillers, although new solutions are being tested. With a probable ban on the use of such products on the horizon (they are already banned in certain areas), SNCF is looking for innovative solutions to control weeds on the railways.

In teams of 2 to 5 students, submit your innovative ideas for effective weed control on the railways while ensuring that the environmental impact is minimal.

A range of prizes up for grabs

  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • 4th
  • 5th


Each team member in the first-place team will win a trip to the capital city of their choice (worth €2,000) or the equivalent in gift certificates.



Each team member will win an iPad Pro (worth €900) or the equivalent in gift certificates.



Each team member will win a Parrot BEBOP 2 FPV drone (worth €700) or the equivalent in gift certificates.



Each team member will win a weekend in a European capital (worth €500) or the equivalent in gift certificates.



Each team member will win a one-year Deezer subscription (worth €120) or the equivalent in gift certificates.


Lines of approach

SNCF is currently testing several alternatives to chemical weedkillers and is seeking your help to put forward innovative ideas for weed control on railway lines while ensuring absolute safety for passengers and SNCF staff.

It's up to you to blow us away with your original solutions to achieve this goal. Any and all realistic solutions are welcome!

Your solution needs to be designed in keeping with a few limitations that are inherent to SNCF's business, and must:

  • Ensure the safety of passengers and the safety of staff working near railway lines
  • Ensure the integrity of infrastructure isn't compromised (damage to cables, to safety features, etc.)
  • Take turbulence caused by passing trains into account (avoid using very light robots at the side of the tracks, for example)
  • Be able to treat 60,000 km of lines per year

Timeline du Challenge




Grand Final

The finalists' pitches and the awards ceremony will take place at the Innovation Marathon Post Glyphosate organised by SNCF Réseau