Euroduplex inaugurates the Rhine-Rhône LGV high-speed rail line

Euroduplex inaugurates the Rhine-Rhône LGV high-speed rail line

Euroduplex – the third generation of TGV Duplex – went into service on 11 December 2011 when the SNCF inaugurated the Rhine-Rhone LGV high-speed rail line. Euroduplex is the only double-decker, interoperable high-speed train capable of running on European networks while transporting up to 1,020 passengers (multiple units) at speeds of 320 km/h in total safety.

Building on the success, quality and reliability of previous generations of Alstom’s high-speed double-decker trains (138 Duplex trainsets already sold), the new Euroduplex trainsets draw on a unique body of experience that helps reduce their cost of acquisition and operation, including maintenance costs. Since they were launched in 1996, these trains have travelled nearly 500 million kilometres without a major incident. On the strength of these results, Euroduplex offers the best operating costs per corridor and the highest return per seat.

There are a number of technical developments in this new generation that meet new needs in terms of interoperability, passenger comfort, operations and the overall cost of acquisition.

Intended for use on the French, German, Swiss and Luxembourgish rail networks, Euroduplex trains use signalling systems that is compatible with all these European networks and are equipped with traction systems compatible with the voltages used in Europe. Some of these trains can also run in Spain. The TGV Duplex trains sold in Morocco are based on the same technology platform.

When it comes to comfort, a major effort has gone into passenger information systems:

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  new external displays placed near each door make it easier to read the car number, train number and destination.
  on-board screens display in several languages the names of the stations along the route and the final destination, as well as information on the journey (time, geolocation and train speed)
  seats are equipped with digital reservation displays indicating the sections of the journey for which they are occupied.

Staff can issue announcements from control consoles to keep passengers informed during the trip. These messages are replicated on-screen for the hearing impaired.

Accessibility has been optimised for people with reduced mobility (PRM). 50 specially-outfitted areas – accounting for over 10% of the total capacity of the trains (509 seats) – are reserved for PRM. Wheelchair-user areas are larger (especially the toilets) and wide aisles make it easy to move around on board.

The ground-to-train connection systems also offer new prospects for communication by:

  disseminating information on train connections,
  updating the train’s occupancy map after departure
  alerting ground crews about a malfunction for immediate remedial work

Passenger safety on these new trains has also been enhanced;

  the trains are designed for video surveillance equipment,
  in compliance with the most stringent fire safety requirements, trains that run in Spain will have fire doors installed in gangways and cabins, and fire detection systems have been introduced in new areas such as the toilets,
  nurseries, luggage areas, electrical cabinets and machinery areas.

A total of 55 trainsets were commissioned from Alstom by the SNCF in June 2007. The first have already been delivered, and the entire fleet will be ready for delivery by 2014.

The Euroduplex is designed and assembled at Alstom sites: the passenger cars in La Rochelle, the locomotives in Belfort and the end cars in Reichshoffen. Other Alstom sites involved in the manufacture of rolling stock include Ornans for the traction systems, Le Creusot for the bogies, Tarbes for the electrical units and traction equipment, Villeurbanne for the electronic control systems, Montreal for passenger information systems, and Charleroi for auxiliary inverters. A total of 1,500 people work daily at these sites to further high-speed rail. The project’s main French suppliers are Faiveley Transport, Alstom GRID Logitrade, COMECA, CEIT, TFCM and Association Bretagne Atelier. Together with other SME manufacturers in the French rail sector, they employ some 6,000 people in France.