FRANCE: Alstom reports that its Régiolis multiple-unit is now expected to enter passenger service with SNCF on April 22. What the manufacturer describes as ‘an important milestone' in the Régiolis commissioning programme was reached on March 21 when safety regulator EPSF issued its approval for the new train type to enter revenue service, having considered its safety case.

A total of 182 Régiolis multiple-units have been ordered by 12 French regions under a framework contract signed by Alstom and SNCF in 2009. From an initial batch of 100, the first trains are due to enter service next month in Alsace, Aquitaine, Lorraine and Picardie.

The approvals process has involved 10 pre-series trainsets covering 350 000 km over 1 400 days of testing, involving 20 different organisations including SNCF, RFF, Eurailtest and Certifer. On a site leased from RFF for 15 years, Alstom has built a test centre at Bar-le-Duc in eastern France at a cost of €17m, equipped with a test track for dynamic trials at up to 160 km/h.