On November 24 2000 the Alsace region announced a programme to invest Fr1·3bn in modernising its TER fleet between now and 2006. By then 28 new diesel railcar sets and two-car EMUs will have replaced the current locomotive hauled push-pull trains, mostly dating from the 1960s.
The relatively recent RRR stainless steel coaches will be refurbished, and the TER200 Corail fleet, currently running at 200 km/h between Strasbourg and Mulhouse with Sybic locomotives, will be converted to push-pull operation. The programme also includes finance for 38 dual-system trams for tram-train projects in Strasbourg and Mulhouse. The average age of rolling stock in Alsace will then fall from 25 to 16 years.
In 2005 tram-trains will start to run on SNCF’s Kruth - Lutterbach line, continuing to Mulhouse station on a dedicated tram route through the town centre. For the moment, there is no indication that the operation of this service will be put out to competitive tender.
The Alsace region has spent Fr20m refurbishing the stations between Mulhouse, Dornach and Kruth, and the local authorities have invested Fr200m in modernisation of the line. Since December 4 2000, 70% of services have been operated by TER X73500 railcars. The number of trains per day has increased from 26 to 48, and between Lutterbach and Cernay infrastructure renewal has raised the maximum speed from 80 to 140 km/h.
CAPTION: The successful TER 200 regional express services between Strasbourg and Mulhouse in Alsace, equipped with refurbished Corail stock, are to be converted to push-pull operation