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MF2000 to start trials this year

01 Feb 2004

The first of 805 steel-wheeled cars for the Paris metro is nearing completion at Alstom's factory in Valenciennes, and operator RATP expects to take delivery of a pre-production MF2000 trainset at the end of this year

Philippe Miniou
Project Director, MF2000 Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens

WHEN TENDERS for the MF2000 rolling stock were called in February 1998, RATP broke with its traditional procurement strategy. We felt at that time that there was not enough competition in the rolling stock market, and only a handful of companies were able to offer the full range of skills that we required. In an attempt to stimulate competition, we used a negotiated bidding procedure and divided the contract into lots by technical function to allow specialist suppliers to bid in the fields where they performed best. We presented the bidders with a functional specification, with no reference to any particular technology.

The order for 161 trains was signed with four suppliers in July 2001, at an estimated total cost of €695m. We required a complete package including maintenance, staff training and support, as well as agreements covering energy consumption, running and maintenance costs. The price of each production trainset will be €3·5m excluding options, support and spares, or €4m including design and development.

A pre-production train is now nearing completion, and this should be delivered to Paris for initial tests at the end of this year. A programme of intensive trials will then take place, with the train running on Line 2 of the metro before acceptance. Commercial service with the pre-production unit will start in the first half of 2005. Driver training for the main fleet will commence in late 2005, and deliveries of the first production trainsets are scheduled for mid-2006.

The negotiations for the MF2000 fleet demonstrated that the industry has become much more competitive. After taking into account improvements in stock utilisation that mean there is no need to replace nine MF67 trains, we calculate that the MF2000 cars will cost 30% less than the rubber-tyred MP89 trains delivered in the mid-1990s.

Splitting the contract was a compromise between encouraging specialised suppliers who lead their fields, and limiting the number of parties to avoid complex project management. We identified more than 1000 elementary functions on the train, which we grouped into six lots:

  • Project management, including supply of control and command equipment and power distribution;
  • Bogies and running gear;
  • Bodyshell and interior;
  • Traction and braking;
  • Assembly;
  • Automatic train control.

This approach was validated when 34 firms responded to our invitation to tender, significantly more than for previous contracts. In February 1999 a bidding package was sent to the selected candidates, who were encouraged to suggest variations to improve performance and reduce costs.

The negotiations were held in two stages. In the first stage technical and financial negotiations determined the best bid for each lot and allowed us to nominate the provisional winners. These then attended a second stage of group negotiations to detail the interfaces between the bids and finalise the contracts. The majority of the technical suggestions were approved, but the winding tunnels and narrow profile of the Paris metro would not permit the modular trains now being offered by some manufacturers.

Finally, tenders were invited for the more flexible options for cooling and heating systems and car design; 17 bids were received.

Although the winning companies rank among the world leaders in their fields, the commercial and financial stakes were so high that we addressed all risks thoroughly. Wherever possible, the MF2000 uses tried and tested technology, and in addition to RATP's usual requirements, we have retained the right to carry out additional quality controls throughout the manufacturing process, adopting specifications based on those in the aerospace and defence industries.

Division into lots gives the winner of lot 1 a particularly important role in steering and managing the contract. All six suppliers signed a mutual agreement defining the organisational structure and their joint and several liability, ensuring that the risks inherent to division of the work were controlled.

Regenerative braking

The acceleration, speed and braking performance were specified as at least equivalent to the MF67 stock. The top speed was fixed at 70 km/h rather than the 100 km/h for MF77 stock, as there are only two stretches of Line 9 where 60 km/h is possible. This reduces the cost considerably without affecting performance.

Regenerative braking will cut the noise and dust produced by mechanical braking, and the energy consumption per car-km should be 30% less than for the MF67 trains. Mechanical braking is a combination of shoes on the powered wheels and traditional brake blocks; traction and braking equipment will be cooled by forced ventilation. The articulated-frame bogies have monobloc wheels.

Trainsets will have three motor cars flanked by a driving trailer at each end. They will be driven manually, but provision is made for driverless operation in the future. Adjustment of the third rail current collectors permits the trains to run without passengers on lines intended for rubber-tyred trains.

Digital data recorders will store more information than magnetic tape devices, and automatically advise maintenance staff of any faults before trains return to the depot. Passenger load measurements will allow RATP to monitor how many people use each station, so helping with timetable planning.

Sustainability was an important element in the design, with environmental factors considered from the initial design phase right through to future dismantling.

Interiors with wider seats

We sought specialist advice from Lyon-based design agency Avant-Première on interior surfaces, seating, colours and lighting, which have been chosen to provide a bright yet soft atmosphere.

Simulations using a typical 1·8m tall passenger showed that the forecast increase in size of passengers during the working life of the train means the seat width needed to be 490mm, 40mm larger than in stock dating from the 1960s.

We have abandoned 2+2 seating, and half of the pre-production trainset will have 2+1 seating (Fig 1). The other half will be laid out with two sets of transverse seats opposite bays of five longitudinal seats. Passengers will be canvassed for their opinion to determine the final design.

Standing passengers will enjoy improved handholds with triple vertical bars and overhead straps, and wide inter-car gangways will allow people to move easily along the train.

Each car has three twin-leaf automatic plug doors controlled by fixed trackside equipment. Announcements giving the name of the next station will be automated, and illuminated maps will show the remaining calling points. Audible and visual warnings will advise passengers that the doors are about to close. Voice communications will be provided between the saloon and the driver, and a new train radio will replace the existing THF system used by drivers to communicate with the control room.

RATP worked with the Colitrah disabled passengers' group to ensure that the trains are accessible, resulting in the floor being 1015mm above rail level, 30mm lower than on current stock. Tracks and parts of some platforms will be rebuilt, and when MF2000 enters service the maximum height difference will be 55mm. Two doors per train will be accessible to wheelchair users.

Noise and vibratory limits are based on the MF77 stock, our quietest trains. The specified maximum interior noise of 67 to 68dB(A) in the open air at 70 km/h is 2dB(A) lower than the MF77 stock, and comparable with the 65dB(A) of Stockholm's modern regional trains.

Improvements in ventilation have made a big difference to passenger comfort. We will equip the pre-production train with cooling and heating based on maximum air replacement, where movement of cooled air creates a sensation of freshness. This has limited cooling power, but offers compact equipment and low energy consumption. A constant temperature will be maintained, with heating and cooling systems provided for trains that are stabled in the open air.

Drivers' focus groups requested a choice of standing and sitting driving positions, an adjustable footrest, right and left-handed controls, and windscreen wipers and washers, even on lines that are entirely underground.

Refurbishment programme

In the 1990s RATP adopted a policy of either replacing intensively-used trains after a nominal 35-year life, or mid-life overhaul of stock in good condition to extend its life to 45 years. This spreads the investment burden, but it is only justified if the cost of a mid-life overhaul is less than 25% of the price of a new train.

The MF2000 fleet is primarily destined to replace from 2005 the MF67 stock built in 1974-78 for Lines 2 and 5. The MF67 stock on Lines 10 and 12 was lightly overhauled in the last two years to enable it to remain in service until 2010. The MF67D cars dating from 1969-76 on Line 9 were overhauled in 1996, and these will move to Lines 10 and 12 by 2010 and then be replaced in 2017-20. The 258 MF67 cars on Lines 3 and 3bis date from 1967-76 and were overhauled between 1997 and 2003, and so will only need replacing by 2017.

Better diagramming and improved availability will mean that only 161 MF2000 trainsets will be needed to replace 170 sets on Lines 2, 5 and 9.

The introduction of new rolling stock requires investment in fixed equipment too. Some specialised items are being bought directly from the suppliers, including tools, test benches and radios. Power supplies must be changed to suit the characteristics of the new stock, and a driving simulator is needed before the trains can be commissioned. Train-to-ground data transmission, storage and processing requires installation of dedicated technology.

The operating life-cycle cost takes into account the initial logistics, energy, maintenance, infrastructure and spare parts costs but the initial purchase cost was calculated separately. In order to avoid it being a mere declaration of intent, the contracts include a cost undertaking calculated over 15 years and extrapolated to 160 trains over 40 years.


  • CAPTION: Components for the MF2000 pre-production train are being assembled at Valenciennes. Hübner is supplying gangways, Alstom the traction and braking package and Clerprem the seats
  • CAPTION: Fig 1: The pre-production set will test two different seating layouts
  • CAPTION: Bodyshells are being supplied by Bombardier to Alstom for fitting out and static converters are coming from Sepsa
  • CAPTION: Interior design for the MF2000 was developed by Avant Première

Contract winners

Project management Technicatome.

Running gear ANF (now Bombardier)

Car bodies Alstom

Traction and braking Alstom

Assembly Alstom

Automatic train control CSEE

MF2000 in Brief

Cars per train 5

Length m 75·6

Weight (empty) tonnes 127·5

Power supply 750V DC third rail

Gauge mm 1435

Maximum speed km/h 70

Traction motors 4 x 103 kW asynchronous

Comparison of seating capacity for MF67 and MF2000

Off peak Peak

Train type Layout Fixed Folding Total Seated Standing Total seats seats seated at 4/m2

MF67 2+2 120 146 266 120 455 575

MF2000 2+1 92 66 158 92 491 583

MF2000 2+5* 122 46 168 122 461 583

* longitudinal seating

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