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.