The unveiling was attended by officials including Ms Valérie Pécresse, president of Ile-de-France Mobility, Mr Jean-Pierre Farandou, president and CEO of SNCF, Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom, Mr Laurent Bouyer, chairman of Bombardier Transport France and Mr Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France regional government.

The trains, dubbed RER Next Generation (NG), are planned to begin operation on RER lines D (190km) and E (52.3km) from the end of 2021. Operation on Line E will be extended to Nanterre-la-Folie from the end of 2022, and to Mantes-la-Jolie in 2024, following the completion of the East-West Express Link (EOLE) extension.

The order comprises 56 112m-long and 15 130m-long trains, with the longer version planned to have a capacity for 1860 passengers, and will serve around 1.23 million passengers per day following full deployment. The trains are also expected to alleviate pressure on the core sections of the RER network’s lines A, B and D by around 10-15%.

The trains have single-deck end coaches with two-plus-two seating to provide space for standing passengers, and double-deck middle coaches where the upper decks offer three-plus-two seating and large windows to maximise natural light.

The trains also feature open gangways between coaches, along with 2m-wide exterior doors and large vestibules to increase the efficiency of boarding and alighting. There is also air-conditioning, dedicated wheelchair spaces and bicycle storage space.

It is hoped that the trains will provide substantial increases in efficiency and comfort for travellers. Alstom says that the trains have been specifically designed to cope with the dense population of urban areas served by the RER network.

The trains are from a framework order worth €3.75bn agreed in January 2017 awarded by SNCF on behalf of transport authority Ile-de-France Mobility to an Alstom-led consortium which also includes Bombardier.

Alstom signed a sale and purchase agreement to acquire Bombardier on September 16, following approval from the European Commission (EC) on July 31. Alstom says it expects the acquisition to be completed in the first half of 2021.

The upper deck of the train features three-plus-two seating.