French locomotive manufacturer Alstom and transport company Transdev have presented the first Omneo train set to run across the “Sud” region of the French national network to local politicians, before the trains complete testing in Czech Republic.

With a contract value of €250m ($273m), the Omneo trainsets are planned for delivery by Q4 2024. They will operate on the Marseille, Toulon, and Nice route.

The 16 trains are each formed of 8 Omneo double-decker cars. The cars have a maximum speed of 200km/h, and 352 seats (plus 49 folding seats), along with 12 specific bookable spaces for bicycles.

The trainsets will undergo track testing at Alstom’s Velim site before returning to the Sud region for pre-operational service testing.

The Omneo trainsets will be compatible with the new ERTMS signalling system, which will be installed on this route beginning in 2028.

Olivier Delecroix, VP of Marketing & Sales, Alstom France, emphasised how its service will add efficiency to transport across the Sud region.

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By GlobalData

Delecroix said: “We’re proud to be involved in setting up the first concession for a French regional line with Transdev. Today we have presented a proven, comfortable train, capable of running at 200 kph, to serve the mobility of all passengers.

“We will also provide maintenance support and thus contribute to the long-term operational efficiency of the trains”.

Following the contract agreement on 30 November 2021, Transdev will operate the trains across the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line, representing 10% of the region’s services.

According to Alstom, this contract is “historic” as the first regional train tender granted to a “rival of the incumbent operator” SNCF since the French rail market was opened.

The Alstom offer, which faced rival bids from SNCF and Thello, features the procurement of rolling stock from Alstom as well as the construction of a maintenance facility near Nice station.

Renaud Muselier, President of the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur Region said: “On this route, the number of trains will be doubled, which will encourage more people to shift from road to rail, in line with the objectives set out in our Climate Plan “Une COP d’Avance.”