ON MARCH 6 Alstom submitted the first bid for its distributed power AGV high speed trainset to Italian private operator NTV (RG 3.07 p124). The offer covered 25 AGV sets of 11 cars, with a further 10 sets as an option. Also included was maintenance of the fleet for 30 years.

The aluminium bodyshells for Alstom's AGV demonstration trainset are meanwhile taking shape at the company's plant in La Rochelle. Known as Pégase (short for Prototype Evolutif Grande vitesse Automotrice Standard Européen), the train is due to be completed in December when all seven cars will be coupled together for the first time.The €20m trainset will undergo preliminary trials in early 2008, before it is dispatched in March to the Velim test track in the Czech Republic where it will remain until July. It is due to return to France for a series of high speed trials beginning in October.

Bogies are being manufactured at Le Creusot and other equipment is being sourced as for Alstom's double-deck TGVs, except that as there are no separate power cars the Belfort plant is not involved.

Argentine Duplex bid

Belfort would have a role, however, were Alstom to win a contract to supply Duplex trainsets to Argentina. In a bid submitted on March 27 as part of a consortium (RG 10.06 p644), Alstom quoted for eight Duplex sets to operate the first phase of the proposed high speed line between Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba. Six diesel-powered Duplex sets are envisaged for the second phase, according to Vincent Fertin, Double-Deck Platform Director at Alstom.

Meanwhile, the company is in negotiations with SNCF over a further contract for Duplex trainsets. Last year Alstom prequalified, along with rival bidder Siemens, to supply a fleet of up to 120 sets (RG 5.06 p244). Alstom is hoping for a firm order for 60 with an option for 60 more. The trains are intended for international services with an eye to the future opening of Europe's cross-border passenger market, but detailed technical requirements are still under discussion. One option would be to use POS power cars, but derivatives with up to four power supply systems and at least as many signalling and train control systems are possible.

Fertin says Alstom is also discussing the possibility of supplying Duplex trainsets to Spain, and the company was due to present its high speed portfolio to Russian Railways at a seminar in Russia at the end of April.

  • The shell of one of the driving cars has been finished at La Rochelle