|Article by Harvey Glickenstein|
On 26 July 2018, the board of directors of Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) Mobilités approved a firm order for 100 next-generation Avelia Horizon very-high-speed trains from Alstom. SNCF, France’s state-owned railway company, believes this new generation of very-high-speed trains will make the company more profitable and competitive in the rail sector.
The acquisition cost is €25 million per train set, 20% lower than that of the previous generation of Alstom’s high-speed train sets. Avelia Horizon train sets will consist of two power cars of reduced length, combining high performance and compactness, and articulated double-deck passenger cars. Their design allows for a 20% increase in area for passengers, allowing the train to accommodate up to 740 passengers in the highest-capacity configuration chosen by SNCF.
Through the benefits of remote diagnostics for predictive maintenance, maintenance costs are anticipated to be more than 30% lower than those currently recorded by SNCF. Many of the components have an improved design to simplify and reduce maintenance requirements and permit longer intervals between maintenance work.
SNCF expects the new aerodynamic design of the train sets, combined with a more efficient traction drive, will trim energy consumption by 20% compared with the Train à Grande Vitesse trains that SCNF now operates.
“This order is the successful fruit of the collaborative work of SNCF and Alstom. Alstom’s Avelia Horizon solution meets the technological, economic, and competitiveness challenges of SNCF,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chief executive officer of Alstom.
Prior to the contract with SNCF, Amtrak chose Alstom to supply 28 Avelia Liberty train sets for the high-speed service on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor in the United States.
The existing Acela high-speed trains operating on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor are very popular with passengers. The new train sets will be able to carry up to 30% more passengers, and are expected to significantly reduce energy consumption.