FRENCH National Railways’ (SNCF) passenger business, SNCF Voyageurs, has signed a €1bn contract with Alstom for the supply of 60 additional RER New Generation (NG) EMUs under an existing framework contract to replace 40-year-old trains in use on lines RER lines D and E of the Paris commuter network.

Financed 100% by transport authority Île-de-France Mobilités, this order represents the first option under a framework contract signed in 2017 between SNCF Voyageurs and Alstom for an estimated total order of 255 trains for the two RER lines. The first part of the order was confirmed in 2018 and comprised 56 112m-long and 15 130m-long trains, giving a total of 71 trains with an estimated value of €1.55bn. This new order has brought that total up to 131 trains.

The RER NG EMUs have been designed to optimise capacity and passenger flows on services in the Île-de-France region. The longer seven-car trains have capacity for up to 1860 passengers. Features helping to ease passenger flow include open gangways and wide doors to aid accessibility.

The train interiors comprise zoned areas for passengers to stand if only travelling on short journeys, areas of mixed seating and standing areas for journeys of less than 20 minutes, and upper-deck areas with comfortable seating for longer journeys. In addition, the end cars of each train have dedicated areas and ramps for passengers in wheelchairs.

Other features include air-conditioning, LED lighting - which can be adapted to the time of day or when stabled at stations, USB charging ports and passenger information screens.

Trials of the first of the RER NG trains to be delivered are currently taking place on the Île-de-France network, enabling SNCF Voyageurs to carry out the first integration tests on RER Line E. Alstom says testing on RER Line D will start soon.

It was in November 2016 when it was announced that a consortium of Alstom and Bombardier was the only bidder in the running for a contract to supply up to 371 new trains for the Paris RER network after CAF was eliminated from the competition. The contract for the consortium to supply the RER NG fleet at that time had an estimated value of around €3.7bn.

In June 2018 Île-de-France Mobilités unveiled the design for the RER NG trains, and testing of the first set began in October 2019, with an official unveiling taking place in September 2020.

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