FRENCH National Railways (SNCF) has announced plans to overhaul and modernise 931 regional express (TER) trains over the next decade in cooperation with the French regions. 

The plan, called Operation Mi-Vie (Mid-Life), will be carried out between 2022 and 2031, and covers approximately 40% of the TER fleet. This includes 699 AGC multiple units and 232 TER2N NG bi-level EMUs, acquired between 2004 and 2011. All TER regions have acquired AGCs, and six regions also have fleets of TER2N Ng trains. 

SNCF says the planned mid-life refurbishments will enable the trains to operate for a further 15-20 years. 

The project will be carried out through individual contracts with each region. SNCF says discussions with regional governments have been taking place since 2019, with the first two agreements now concluded with the Grand Est and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions. 

SNCF says that the refurbishment work will focus on renewing anti-corrosion treatments on car bodies; the renewal of major components such as traction equipment, bogies, brake panels, and air-conditioning; the renewal of interior fittings such as seats, windows, toilets; and upgrades to  systems such as door controls and CCTV. 

Regions can also choose to make upgrades to improve aesthetics and comfort for passengers and improve the environmental performance of the trains. 

The refurbishment of each train will take between 10 and 20 weeks, depending on the number of options, during which time the train will be out of commercial service.  

Grand Est 

As part of the plan, SNCF announced the signing of a €583.8m contract with the government of Grand Est on March 18 to refurbish and modernise the region’s fleet of 166 TER trains. 

The agreement was signed by Mr David Valence, Grand Est’s vice-president for mobility and transport infrastructures, and Ms Stephanie Dommange, regional director for TER Grand Est, a subsidiary of SNCF, in the presence of Mr Xavier Ouin, industrial director for SNCF Voyageurs.  

The contract covers the refurbishment of approximately 70% of Grand Est’s regional fleet, including 125 AGC multiple units and 41 TER2N Ng bi-level EMUs acquired by the region between 2003 and 2010.  

Work on the fleets will be primarily carried out at the Bischheim Industrial Technicentre between 2022 and 2031, representing approximately 1.6 million hours of work for an average of 120 workers.  

The work will include: 

  • assessing the condition and proper functioning of components, and cleaning, repairing, repainting individual parts 
  • the installation of performance improving technologies, including the installation of particulate filters and devices to lower fuel consumption in stabling mode, and 
  • the installation of new interiors, including modern seating and improvements for people with poor mobility, electrical outlets and LED lighting. 

Work on the AGCs will be carried out from June 2022 to January 2031, with refurbishment of up to seven trains taking place at any one time. Work on the TER2N Ng fleet will begin in May 2023, for completion in January 2030, with work being carried out on three trains at any time.