FRANCE: The SNCF board has formally selected a consortium of Alstom and Bombardier Transportation for a deal to supply up to 355 custom-designed X'Trapolis Cityduplex double-deck trainsets worth €3·75bn for use on Paris RER lines D and E.

The order announced on January 11 is the largest-ever contract to be financed by Ile-de-France transport authority STIF. An initial €1·55bn firm order covers 56 trainsets 112 m long and 15 trainsets of 130 m to enter service from 2021. The cost includes €450m for design, project management and type approval works. The Alstom-Bombardier consortium's share is worth €1·155bn, with Alstom’s share worth 70%. There are options for a total of 130 EMUs for Line D and 125 for Line E.

The consortium was the sole bidder for the contract, after a lower-priced offer from CAF was rejected in late 2016 because SNCF was concerned the Spanish company might not have the required capacity.

The X'Trapolis Cityduplex has been specifically designed for use on high-density routes around Paris, with wide gangways between vehicles and large doors for rapid boarding and alighting.

The 112 m long trains will have a capacity of 1 563 passengers and the 130 m units 1 861 passengers. There will be three types of air-conditioned onboard space: high-capacity standing areas for passengers making short journeys of around 5 min; mixed-use zones on the lower decks with standing space on one side and seats on the other intended for journeys up to 20 min; and ‘regional-style’ comfort on the upper decks with seating on both sides of the aisle for trips up to 50 min.

The 25 kV 50 Hz/1·5 KV DC EMUs will have eight motor bogies per unit giving a maximum speed of 140 km/h with better acceleration and deceleration than the current fleet. LED lighting regenerative braking will contribute towards a 25% reduction in energy consumption.

‘Today we conclude the largest tender for rolling stock ever launched by SNCF’, said SNCF President Guillaume Pepy. ‘We will have a train that meets the specific needs of SNCF Transilien and the ultra-dense area of Ile-de-France’. He said 70% of SNCF’s customers are in the region, ridership was up 7% in the year to September 2016, and the new EMUs would be ‘an undeniable asset in meeting this challenge in the capital region and in improving punctuality’.

Alstom Chairman & CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said the EMUs would ‘represent a major technological leap forward that will improve the travelling experience of every passenger in the Ile-de-France region. It also offers the operator a lower cost of ownership over the long term.’

Eight Alstom sites will be responsible for supplying the trains: Valenciennes (project management, design, testing, commissioning, warranty support, driving car production and final integration); Reichshoffen (design); Ornans (traction motors); Le Creusot (bogies); Villeurbanne (on-board electronics); Tarbes (traction systems); Petit-Quevilly (transformers) and Saint Ouen (design).

Bombardier’s Crespin plant will design and manufacture the intermediate cars.