SNCF Voyageurs, the public limited company that handles France’s passenger rail transport, has placed an order with Alstom for the country’s first dual mode electric-hydrogen trains.

The Régiolis regional trains are destined for the four administrative regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est and Occitanie

The contract is worth a total of almost 190 million euros

The initiative supports the French Government’s Hydrogen plan launched in June 2018 which underpins a national ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. It is also consistent with SNCF Voyageurs’ regional mobility programme to introduce more regional express trains (TERs), while reducing the environmental impact of services. Other French regions have already expressed an interest in participating in a second phase of the project.

This official French order for hydrogen-powered trains is the result of two years of joint efforts by the project’s various stakeholders. The dual mode electric-hydrogen trains are designed for France’s diverse rail network in that they will be able to travel “autonomously” for distances up to 600 km on non-electrified track. The four-car, 72m-long trains have a capacity of 218 seats and are built upon Alstom’s Coradia platform. They offer the equivalent dynamic performance and level of comfort as the dual mode electric-diesel version.

In announcing the order, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate for Transport, French Ministry of the Ecological Transition said, “France has everything it needs to become a hydrogen champion: the French government is fully committed to turning this ambition into reality. We will be covering 47 million euros of development costs for France’s first regional hydrogen-powered train. I am delighted that this support has enabled the four partner regions to confirm their order for the first 14 trains.”