National Corridors Initiative

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SNCF orders 500-units of Bombardier’s
“Autorail Grande Capacité” commuter crains

All Images: Bombardier

“Autorails Grande Capacité” (AGC) as seen at a station

FRANCE --- The French rail system SNCF has ordered 500 additional “Autorails Grande Capacité” (AGC) for its growing suburban, regional and interregional services.

“The AGC is the new generation of regional trains for both the French and the European market,” stated Bombardier in making the announcement.

While the United States makes do with 40-year-old equipment in some of the nation’s most congested regions, if it offers any rail at all, the French (and other European countries) are rapidly modernizing their ground transportation system to offer a comfortable, and by current American standards, luxurious, alternative to automobile commuting.

AGC traveling the countryside.

Importantly, the AGC is available in either diesel of electric versions AND a dual mode version, which will enable French commuters to get to work in a single-seat ride in regions where the more lightly travelled suburban lines, which are not always electrified, connect to the electrified urban intercity rail network. Transportation consultants have long known that requiring passengers to change trains to complete a trip cuts usage by 30-50%; a single seat ride is a feature that might make these dual-mode trains particularly attractive to eventual U.S. use, along the many unelectrified as well as electrified and combined commuter rail lines serving the cities of the Northeast (Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark, New York, Stamford, New Haven, New London, Providence, Boston) all of which are connected via the fully electrified (since 1999, when thanks to the work of the National Corridors Initiative the New Haven-Boston segment opened to electric use) Northeast Corridor.

  Click the image for a video presentation by Bombardier. (Windows Media WMV)

“These Bombardier AGC trains are a significant development for the future,” stated NCI President Jim RePass. “While only available at present in Europe, perhaps regional rail systems across America can look at this kind of modern technology as a potential solution over time, as the regions’ rail systems are modernized as they must be if America is going to compete with the rest of the world for business and tourism.”

For the French regional rail system, Bombardier states: “The complete AGC portfolio is based on a fully modular concept offering an adapted solution for the various operational requirements of each Region. The AGC configuration can be varied along three dimensions: number of cars, type of interior arrangement, and propulsion mode.”

“For suburban services, a four-car configuration with two doors per intermediate car allows for a maximum passenger capacity and passenger flow. For regional services, a two-, three- or four car configuration makes it possible to adapt the offered capacity to the various transportation requirements. In that case, the intermediate cars are equipped with one door only. Finally, for interregional services it is also possible to omit the door on the intermediate car. The product family AGC offers numerous trainset configurations from two to four cars, a seating capacity from 120 seats up to 240 and a maximum speed from140 to 160 km/h,” Bombardier said.

The electric trainsets are also available as multi-voltage vehicles, allowing service into the neighboring countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany,

Switzerland and Italy.

Industry sources say that one American system, NJ Transit, is likely to be the leader in ordering this type of dual-mode modern trainset.

Partial specifications, diesel:

  • 2-car; 3-car; or 4-car
  • Minimum curve radius 80 m (all)
  • Length over couplers 42 m; 57.4 m; 72.8 m
  • Width 2.95 m (all)
  • Height 4.02 m (all)
  • Motor power 1 x 622 kW; 2 x 622 kW; 2 x 622 kW
  • Maximum speed 140 km/h; 160 km/h; 140 km/h
  • Total number of seats (“grand confort” version) 120; 160; 220
    - 2nd class 108; 138; 198
    – including tip-up seats 16; 22; 28
    - 1st class 12; 22; 22
  • Maximum number of seats 144; 208; 272
  • Standing passengers (4p/m2) 130; 200; 251
  • Toilets (“grand confort” version) 1 2 2
  • Weight (normal load) 92.6 t 130.6 t 158.5 t

Electric/Dual Mode:

Available as triple voltage version 15 kV 16 Hz 2/3 or 3 kV; also available as bi-mode diesel version 25 kV, Electric 25 kV and 1.5 kV Bi-mode Diesel 1.5 kV

For additional specifications and technical layout click here for the AGC PDF brochure.

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