FRANCE: On February 10 SNCF announced that it had awarded Siemens France a €186m contract to supply NExTEO communications-based train control for the central section of RER Line E in Paris. According to SNCF, this is the first major contract to be placed under the €3⋅7bn project to extend Line E westwards to Mantes-la-Jolie, requiring a new 8 km tunnel between Haussmann-Saint-Lazare and Nanterre-La Folie.

To be deployed on the central section of Line E between Rosa Parks and Nanterre-La Folie, NExTEO would enable the peak service frequency to be increased from 16 to 22 trains/h, cutting headways from 180 to 108 sec and enabling trains to operate at up to 120 km/h. When the extension programme is fully completed in 2022, Line E will have a peak frequency of 28 trains/h, carrying 620 000 pass/h compared to 370 000 at present.

As well as enabling automatic operation on the central core, NExTEO will provide assistance for traffic regulation and the management of disruption. Given its experience with CBTC on the Paris metro network, RATP will be providing technical assistance to SNCF in the management of the project, with a view to installing NExTEO on other RER lines.

According to SNCF, this ‘pioneering’ NExTEO installation will enable ‘hundreds of thousands of passengers’ to benefit from ‘a more reliable, more robust, and more comfortable network’. Siemens AG President Joe Kaeser said that the contract award provided further recognition for the automatic operation technology developed by the supplier’s worldwide centre of competence in Châtillon, ‘at the heart of Grand Paris’.