FRENCH National Railways’ (SNCF) passenger business, SNCF Voyageurs, has exercised an option for Alstom to supply 15 four-voltage Avelia Horizon high-speed trains, worth €590m.

SNCF awarded Alstom a €2.7bn contract to supply 100 dual-voltage Avelia Horizon trains in July 2018, with construction of the next-generation TGV expected to create 4000 jobs across the French rail industry over 10 years.

Production of bodyshells began in 2020 at Alstom’s La Rochelle plant in western France. Power cars are being manufactured at Belfort.

To be known as TGV M by SNCF, the Avelia Horizon has a maximum speed of 350km/h and has two compact power cars able to take traction current at all four standard European voltages.

In the highest-capacity configuration, the double-deck articulated passenger cars can accommodate up to 740 passengers, which represents a 20% increase on the most recent builds of TGV, according to Alstom.

Maintenance costs will be 30% lower than those currently achieved by SNCF Voyageurs, with ease of maintenance considered from the design phase and a remote diagnostic system installed to allow predictive maintenance.

Alstom says that many components of the Avelia Horizon have been designed to reduce and simplify train maintenance, and allow longer intervals between maintenance examinations.

Due to its aerodynamic design and more efficient traction system, SNCF’s new generation of high-speed trains will consume 20% less energy than the existing fleet, with a total acquisition cost 20% lower than the previous generation of TGVs.

“This solution meets the technological, economic and competitive challenges of SNCF, in an environment of strong passenger demand for low-carbon mobility solutions,” says Mr Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, president of Alstom France.

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