France orders $3 billion in new high speed trains from Alstom

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An artist's rendering of the TGV of the future to be built by Alstom for the French National Railways.
PARIS — French national rail operator, SNCF, has placed an order, worth up to $3 billion for 100 new bi-level high speed trains or TGVs with French rail engineering firm Alstom.

Billed as the "TGV of the future" by SNCF, or Avelia Horizon by their builder, the new trains will replace older single-deck TGV trains on all routes in France. Certain trainsets have been in use since 1981 when SNCF first introduced high speed rail service. The new trains use power cars at each end that are similar to the Avelia Liberty trains that Alstom is set to build for Amtrak service on the Northeast Corridor.

The first of the new French trains will enter service in 2023 and deliveries will run for the next ten years. SNCF says the $29 million price tag for each 600-seat train represents a 20-percent saving compared to the latest TGV trains it has bought, also from Alstom. Some of the trains will be delivered in a higher density configuration able to accommodate up to 740 passengers.

Reduced operating and energy costs are built into the new trains design with more aerodynamic design compared to earlier TGVs and electrical regenerative braking that puts braking energy back into the overhead catenary so the trainsets consume 30-percent less energy than the trains they will replace.
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