SNCB Alstom M7 train

BELGIUM: National operator SNCB has ordered a further 98 double-deck M7 multi-function coaches from Alstom at a cost of €268m.

Intended to meet projected growth in ridership, the order has been placed within a framework contract signed in 2015 which provides for the supply of up to 1 362 vehicles. It brings the firm orders placed to a total of 747 cars.

Designed for inter-city operation at up to 200 km/h, formed as both push-pull trainsets and electric multiple-units, the M7 coaches are derived from SNCB’s earlier M6 double-deck design but with a revised interior configuration and enhanced passenger information systems.

More than 100 vehicles have so far been put into traffic, deployed across the country’s electrified network and also on cross-border services into the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Originally ordered from an Alstom-Bombardier Transportation joint venture, the unpowered M7 coaches are assembled at Alstom’s plants in Brugge and Valenciennes, with the bodies assembled at Crespin. The power cars are coming from Valenciennes, with traction equipment and onboard signalling systems from Charleroi. Bogies for the trailer vehicles are supplied from Siegen and those for the driving cars from Le Creusot.

‘This order underlines the high level of confidence SNCB has in our double-deck trains’, said Alstom Benelux Managing Director Bernard Belvaux when the contract was announced on December 21. ‘More than 100 passenger cars are already operating on the Belgian network with a high level of availability and recognised levels of comfort.’