Twenty-four of the trainsets are destined for the Rhône-Alpes region and seven will be used in the Pays-de-la-Loire region. The order includes a conditional option worth €550m for 169 trainsets that would be supplied to the regions of Alsace and Ile-deFrance.
According to Alstom, this order is a world first for the Dualis model of tram-train. Designed to meet the need for greater fluidity between urban and suburban transport, Dualis operates the link between a city’s centre and its suburbs, without the need for off-loading, by reconciling the advantages of the train and the tramway.
Based on Alstom’s Citadis tramway, the Dualis version employs the fundamental elements that have contributed to that model’s success: modularity, accessibility, and reliability. Dualis, however, is capable of operating on a tramway network and regional rail network thanks to adaptations incorporated in terms of power, safety and comfort. This configuration is said to make it a highly versatile means of transport: its tram build enables it to run through the city, while its performance as a train allows it to transport passengers at over 100km/h once on the outskirts of town, without the need to change the means of transport.
The tram-train concept was initially developed in Germany, where Alstom has put into service its Regio Citadis model in Kassel. The Citadis range enables Alstom to respond to the extension of tramway networks to city suburbs with Citadis Dualis and to the penetration of regional lines into urban spaces with Regio Citadis.
Developed at Alstom’s Valenciennes site in France, the first Citadis Dualis trainsets should enter service in January 2010 on the Nantes network and, in March 2010, on the Lyons network.
To date, 930 Citadis tramsets have been ordered by 24 cities around the world and another 30 cities have a tramway project scheduled for the next three years.