THE Bourgogne-Franche Comté region has signed a contract with Alstom, through operator French National Railways (SNCF), for the supply of three Coradia Polyvalent electro-hydrogen dual-mode multiple units.

The trains will be able to operate in electric mode under 1500V dc and 25kV ac, as well as with hydrogen power where there is no catenary. The four-car units will be able to operate at 160km/h and carry up to 220 passengers, with a range of 400-600 km in hydrogen mode.

The units will start test running in 2024 on the 19km non-electrified Auxerre - Laroche - Migennes line. The units will be part of a collective order for 14 similar trains from four regions: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Grand-Est and Occitanie. The contract is worth €190m.

The agreement was signed on March 5 by Ms Marie-Guite Dufay, president of the Region and Mr Jean-Pierre Farandou, chairman and CEO of SNCF, in the presence of French transport minister, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom, and Mr Jean-Bernard Lévy, chairman and CEO of EDF.

The trains will be built at Alstom’s Reichshoffen plant in north-east France, which the manufacturer is selling, with discussions with Škoda Transportation underway. Alstom says it will produce the hydrogen traction equipment at its Tarbes site and cooperate with the buyer of Reichshoffen on future hydrogen train projects based on the Coradia Polyvalent platform.

The French government reaffirmed its commitment to developing hydrogen infrastructure for rail by confirming a €47m grant on January 28.

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