Bombardier’s novel wide-bodied Spacium 3.06 design has been chosen as the standard EMU for commuter services in Ile-de-France. Murray Hughes reports

WHEN the first Parisians ride the Spacium 3.06 commuter train towards the end of 2009, they will be in for a surprise.

LED illumination, 'infotainment', airconditioning and an unusually spacious interior will contrast markedly with today's suburban rolling stock. By 2015 numerous services will have been turned over to the new trains - up to 372 trainsets were ordered by SNCF under a contract with Bombardier signed in November 2006. Worth €2·7bn, the contract is funded by SNCF and STIF, the authority which organises public transport in Ile-de-France.

The deal covers a firm order for 172 trains and options for a further 200. Of the 172, 117 will be eight-car sets and 55 will be seven-car formations, giving a total of 1 321 vehicles. The options will probably be for 100 seven-car and 100 eight-car trains, but this will not be confirmed until the options are exercised. The first train is due to start testing at the end of 2008, with deliveries continuing to 2015 for the firm order and to 2020 for the options.

The Spacium 3.06 designation originates with the 3 060 mm wide car bodies, which are just 13·24 m long (Fig 1). Entrance doors opening to give a width of 1 950 mm and large vestibules are located in the centre of each car, and seating is arranged in a mix of 2+2 and 2+3; even with 2+3 the centre aisle will be 550 mm wide (Fig 2).

The Spacium 3.06 is an articulated train, the articulation being developed from that used on the AGC DMU and EMU fleets which have been well received in the French regions - no less than 679 trainsets have been ordered from Bombardier. On the seven-car trains the centre vehicle will be shorter than the rest at just under 8·3 m.

Articulation allows the use of 2 300 mm inter-car gangways which give passengers a view along the length of the train. The spacious feel is enhanced by use of seats cantilevered from the sidewalls with no floor supports and deep windows that reach to ceiling height. Underfloor heating and air-conditioning are intended to ensure that a comfortable temperature is maintained in winter and summer.

Anti-vandalism measures include antigraffiti panels, tear-resistant seats and scratch-resistant windows. Passenger information will be shown on flat screens which can be configured to show a dynamic route map and which can also receive digital terrestrial television.

Among the most striking features of the trains will be the LED lighting. According to Bombardier, this will cut energy consumption by a factor of eight compared with conventional lighting. The compact equipment will offer the possibility of changing lighting effects - starry skies, three-coloured light shafts and under-floor illumination are all envisaged to create a 'dynamic' onboard environment which Project Engineer Francis Ancelet describes as 'light, bright and cheerful'. The exterior too is intended to be 'kaleidoscopic and fun' with the front of train evoking a smiling face, according to the supplier.

Between 800 and 1 000 passengers will be accommodated in a seven or eightcar train, with more than half of them seated. The end cars will have entrances with a retractable flap to permit easy access for wheelchair passengers from 920 mm high platforms. Folding steps are provided for platforms that are only 550 mm high.

All trainsets will have dual-voltage traction equipment for operation at 1·5 kV DC and 25 kV 50 Hz. The traction equipment is based on that used on the AGC trainsets. Two pantographs are provided per train, and traction equipment is located along the train with 10 axles powered on both the eight-car and seven-car versions.

The trains will be assembled at Bombardier's factory in Crespin near Valenciennes, with some of the work contracted to Alstom.

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