October 04, 2016

Alstom Belfort plant rescued with TGV order

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Alstom Belfort plant rescued with TGV order David Gubler

FRANCE’s industry minister Mr Christophe Sirugue told a meeting of union representatives and elected officials in Belfort on October 4 that the French government will fund an order for 15 TGV Euroduplex trains and 20 locomotives to save Alstom’s plant in the town from closure.

Sirugue also confirmed that French National Railways (SNCF) will also order a batch of six TGVs for Paris - Lyon - Turin services. Power cars for all 21 trains will be built at Belfort, securing the medium-term future of the plant, which employs 480 staff.

The TGV orders are options from a framework contract previously awarded by SNCF and have an estimated total value of around €650m. The value of the locomotive contract has not been disclosed.

In return for the orders, Alstom has agreed to invest €40m in the Belfort plant in three stages by 2020. This includes €30m for the development of a new diesel/hybrid locomoitve by 2018, €5m for the development of the site's mainteance business, and €5m to help the site diversifty production into other locomotive types or electric buses. From 2021, Belfort could play a role in the production of the next-generation TGV

Alstom announced on September 7 that production would cease at Belfort in 2018 due to a lack of orders. However, the closure was put on hold following the intervention of president Mr François Hollande, who is facing a presidential election in April.

The batch of 15 Euroduplex sets will be deployed on the Bordeaux - Toulouse - Marseille - Nice and Montpelier - Perpignan routes, taking advantage of the expansion of the high-speed network. The Nîmes – Montpellier bypass is due to open in December 2017, while the Sud Europ Atlantique high-speed line is due to be extended from Bordeaux to Toulouse by 2024 as part of the €8.3bn Grand Southwestern Railway Project (GPSO). A 150km high-speed line linking Montpellier with the Perpignan - Figueres - Barcelona high-speed line is expected to open around 2030.


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