A JOINT agreement between the French government, Rhône-Alpes region, the département of the Rhône and the Greater Lyon authority together with SNCF and RFF paves the way for the renewal of three regional lines to the west of Lyon.

The agreement, signed at a ceremony at Lyon Saint-Paul station on October 9, will see an initial €295m invested in the TER network west of Lyon to upgrade services from the city to Sain-Bel, Lozanne and Brignais during the period 2009-12.

Central to the upgrade plan is electrification of all three routes at 15 kV DC and the replacement of the existing Class X4630 DMUs with a fleet of 24 Alstom Citadis Dualis tram-trains (RG 7.07 p420). The first cars will be introduced between Saint-Paul and Sain-Bel from 2011.

A chord is to be built at Tassin to eliminate a reversal for services on the Brignais line to the southwest of the city, with tram-train operation expected to begin on the route at the end of 2012 following electrification. Tram-train operation to Lozanne is envisaged to start 'between 2013 and 2015'.

As an interim measure, a fleet of Class X73500 railcars will replace the existing rolling stock from the end of 2009, allowing peak-hour frequencies to be increased to 15 min on the Sain-Bel line and 30 min on the other two lines.