PLANS to order two major fleets of passenger rolling stock are being finalised by SNCF.

One order will be up to 500 multi-purpose trainsets suitable for regional and suburban services. Denis Martin, Senior Manager at SNCF’s Rolling Stock Department, said on October 9 at the launch of Bombardier's dual-mode dual-voltage AGC trainset (p693) that the trains would be to a flexible, modular design incorporating the latest technology, possibly as a regional equivalent to the wide-bodied Spacium trainsets on order to work Paris commuter services. The fleet would be ordered in close co-operation with the regions, as with the various contracts placed for AGC trainsets.

Tenders are also to be called 'very soon' for a fleet of 150 high-capacity trainsets for outer suburban services in Ile-de-France and for busy suburban routes in provincial cities. Each train will need to offer 1 200 to 1 400 seats, and a double-deck design is favoured. Among the regions likely to need these trains are Nord-Pas de Calais, Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Martin's brief includes SNCF’s maintenance activities, and forthcoming changes will see the organisation bidding for work from other operators. In a push to raise its profile, SNCF’s maintenance business plans to take a stand at InnoTrans 2008.