Alstom, Transdev and the ‘Sud’ Region unveil the first Omneo Sud train that will enter into service on the first regional line open to competition in France, between Marseille, Toulon and Nice
Crespin, 23 November 2023 – Olivier Delecroix, Vice-President Marketing & Sales, Alstom France, and Thierry Mallet, CEO of Transdev, presented to Renaud Muselier, President of the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur Region and Deputy Chairman of ‘Régions de France’, the first Omneo train that will operate on the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line, prior to start the homologation tests. Starting at the end of November, this trainset will carry out a series of dynamic overspeed tests on the Velim test track (in the Czech Republic). After returning to Crespin to finalise the static tests and complete the interior fittings, it will then go into pre-operational service in the Sud Region.
On 30 November 2021, the Sud Region awarded Transdev the contract to operate trains on the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line from mid-2025. This route alone represents 10% of the region’s rail services. The Region’s decision is a historic one. It is the first tender for regional trains to be awarded to a competitor of the incumbent operator since passenger rail transport was opened up to competition in France.
Under the public service concession contract, Transdev is to acquire the rolling stock needed to operate the regional train service on behalf of the Region, as well as building a maintenance center near Nice station. This will enable Transdev to ensure that operations are highly safe, that maintenance is controlled and optimised, and that trains are fully available, particularly during peak times.
In this context, Transdev has chosen Alstom to supply 16 double-decker Omneo 8-car trains with high capacity, high comfort and high on-board service standards. The contract, worth around 250 million euro, also includes maintenance services for a period of 10 years. Delivery of the new rolling stock, manufactured at Alstom Crespin site (Nord), will start at the end of 2024.
The Omneo trains for the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line are designed to meet the specific needs of Transdev operations, including :
- The creation of a convivial area where passengers can enjoy a snack area;
- The interior layout offers all the services requested by the Sud Region, such as bicycle spaces (12 per train), and a harmonious interior that reflects the image of the Region;
- The introduction of new on-board services, including innovative systems for video-surveillance, seat reservation or reservation of bicycle spaces, passenger counting and on-board Wi-Fi.
These new 8-car trains, 110 metres long, will offer 352 seats plus 49 folding seats for passengers making short journeys (a total of 401 seats). This high capacity is achieved by alternating single and double-decker cars. In addition, the modular design means that two trainsets can be coupled together, depending on the number of passengers expected.
Access to the train is on the same level through wide doors and is facilitated by an automatic step that fills the space between the train and the platform (gap-filling system). The smooth flow of traffic on board is also ensured by an architecture that is conducive to movement, based on wide corridors and spacious platforms.
Particular attention has been paid to comfort for long journeys on this coastal train: wide seats, large glass windows to make the most of the natural light and the panorama on the seaside, clear passenger information with screens and displays, air conditioning regulated according to the density on board, 2 classes with low and high levels, toilets accessible to all passengers, including wheelchair users, and connectivity tools (Wi-Fi, electrical sockets and USB sockets).
These new trains will be compatible with the new ERTMS signalling system to be deployed on this line from 2028. They will also be compatible with the new infrastructure created ibn the frame of the LNPCA project (Ligne Nouvelle Provence Côte d'Azur, which involves reconfiguring the network and offering more trains in the region).
These Omneo trains are based on Alstom Omneo platform, for which 544 trains have already been ordered by 10 French regions (403 suburban and regional trains and 141 Intercity trains).
At the request of the Sud Region, Transdev will be doubling the transport offer on the line, with 15 round trips per day and a cadence of 1 train per hour over a wider range of hours. The aim is to improve the quality of service, reliability, regularity and punctuality (target of punctuality is 97.5%). This line is also resolutely committed to the ecological transition. The trains’ traction energy will be 100% green, of French origin, with the purchase of green certificates from electricity suppliers. Drivers will be trained in eco-driving techniques.
“I'm delighted to be in North of France today for the unveiling of the new Omneo SUD trainsets. These trains will go into operation in June 2025 on the Marseille Toulon Nice line, a line we have awarded to Transdev after a competitive tender. 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”. In this way, we are doing everything we can to improve the day-to-day experience of passengers on regional trains,” declared Renaud Muselier, President of the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur Region and Deputy Chairman of ‘Régions de France’.
“Our commitment to the Sud Region is the main expression of our business: we bring people and regions closer together,” commented Thierry Mallet, CEO of Transdev. “Our long-standing experience in the rail industry clearly shows the extent to which service quality is a determining factor in ensuring that more and more passengers use our trains. That’s what we’ll be doing from Nice to Marseille, with a high frequency of trains, a wide range of timetables, and staff who pay constant attention to passengers and safety.”
“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”, said Olivier Delecroix, Vice-President Marketing & Sales, Alstom France, adding: “This train has been awarded the Origine France Garantie label. This is recognition of the expertise of the employees at the Crespin site and a proof of our commitment to our customers, passengers and the entire French rail industry”.
The new Marseille-Toulon-Nice regional train will enter service on 29 June 2025.