French safety authority lifts tram-train ban

France’s Public Establishment of Railway Safety (EPSF) has lifted a suspension on operating Alstom Dualis tram-trains allowing the planned opening of a new system linking Nantes and Chateaubriand to go ahead.

EPSF had withdrawn the vehicle’s license following the derailment of a similar tram-train – ordered under the same framework contract – on December 3, 2013, in West Lyonnais.

The decision will enable the planned phased reopening of the Nantes-Chateaubriand line to begin on February 28 as planned.

Work to upgrade the existing line’s infrastructure started in 2010 and has involved electrifying the route, building a new maintenance depot in Doulon and the installing of GSM-R equipment.

Bontemps Gilles, the vice president of transport for the Pays de la Loire region, welcomed the news, highlighting the work carried out by Alstom and SNCF to satisfy the concerns raised by EPSF.

SNCF placed a framework order in 2007 with Alstom worth €650 million for 200 Citadis Dualis tram-train units. At the time, the operator placed a firm order for 31 trainsets to share between the Pays de la Loire and Rhône-Alpes regions.

Since then, additional orders amounting to 23 extra tram-trains have been confirmed for the Pays de la Loire region to operate on the Nantes – Clisson and Nantes-Chateaubriand lines.