Two French regions secure funding for new rolling stock

Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie rolling stock

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 400 million loan agreement with the local public company SPIIT (Société Publique Interrégionale des Investissements en faveur des Transports) for the new Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie rolling stock as well as for the modernisation of the existing fleet.

SPIIT is designed to provide both regions with a technical and organisational tool to manage their rolling stock such as maintenance and acquisition for regional passenger transport services.

The estimated total cost for these investments is around EUR 1.2 billion and it will be financed by a combination of equity and senior loans from the EIB, Caisse des Dépôts and a group of commercial banks.

The investments financed by the EIB concern the acquisition of 39 trains of which 24 electric, 12 bi-mode diesel/electric and three hydrogen/electric units, and the mid-life refurbishment of 97 electric and bi-mode diesel/electric trains currently used by SNCF Voyageurs in these two regions.

These investments are financed via two 42-year concession contracts signed between the two regions and SPIIT, a wholly-owned entity that they created jointly in 2023 to manage all their rolling stock. This rolling stock will be made available to the operators selected by the two regions for their rail transport services.

The new Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie rolling stock will boost the supply and quality of rail services in both regions by reducing journey times, increasing train frequency and capacity, improving efficiency, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing passenger comfort.

It will also promote the modal shift of passengers from road to rail, thus strengthening sustainable transport in line with EU objectives. The project will have a positive impact on the environment in terms of safety, energy savings, air pollution, noise and CO2 emissions. Higher-quality, modern public transport will foster social inclusion by improving accessibility to jobs, public services and education.
The project will help meet the sustained growth in passenger numbers on these two regional networks which recorded an increase of 17% in Nouvelle Aquitaine and 30% in Occitanie between 2019 and 2022. It parallels other major public transport investments in the two regions, namely the creation of four express metropolitan networks in the region around Toulouse, Montpellier, Bordeaux and in the Basque Country.

In 2021, SNCF Voyageurs ordered from Alstom 12 dual mode electric-hydrogen for four French regions with the first electric-diesel-battery train and first battery train being successfully tested in 2023.

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