On November 30, 2021, Région Sud awarded Transdev the contract to regional operate trains on the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line from summer 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.
Under the public service concession contract, Transdev will acquire the rolling stock needed to operate the inter-metropolis services on behalf of the Region, as well as building a maintenance center close to the Nice station. This will enable Transdev to ensure a high level of operational safety, controlled and optimized maintenance and, consequently, total availability of trains, particularly during peak times.
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In this context, Transdev has chosen Alstom to supply 16 double-decker Omneo 8-car trains, offering high standards of comfort and on-board service. The contract, worth around 250 million euros, also includes maintenance support for a 10-year period. Delivery of the new equipment, manufactured at Alstom’s Crespin (Nord) site, will start at the end of 2024.
The Omneo trainsets on the Marseille-Toulon-Nice line are designed to meet the specific challenges of Transdev’s operations, including :
- The creation of a convivial area where passengers can enjoy a snack area.
- The interior layout offers all the services requested by Régions Sud, such as bicycle storage spaces (12 per train), and an interior harmony in keeping with the Region’s image.
- The implementation of new on-board services, including innovative systems for video-surveillance, seat reservation, bicycle reservation, passenger counting and on-board Wi-Fi.
The new 8-car, 110-meter-long trains will offer 352 seats, plus 49 folding seats for short-haul passengers (a total of 401 seats). This high capacity is achieved by alternating single- and double-decker cars. Added to this is the modularity that allows one or two trainsets to be coupled together, depending on expected rid-ership.
Access to the train is on the same level through wide doors and is facilitated by an automatic roll-out sys-tem that fills the gap between the train and the platform (gap-filling system). The fluidity of on-board circu-lation is also ensured by an architecture conducive to movement, based on wide corridors and spacious platforms.
Comfort has been specially designed for long journeys on this coastal train: wide seats, large glass walls to take advantage of natural light and the seaside panorama, clear passenger information with screens and displays, regulated air conditioning according to on-board density, 2 classes with upper and lower travel rooms, toilets accessible to all, including wheelchair users, and connectivity tools (Wi-Fi, electrical and USB sockets).
These new trainsets will be compatible with the new ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) signaling system to be deployed on this route from 2028. They will also be compatible with the new infra-structure created by the LNPCA project (Ligne Nouvelle Provence Côte d’Azur, which involves reconfiguring the network and offering more trains to the region) in its various phases.
These Omneo trains are based on Alstom’s Omneo platform, for which 544 trainsets have already been ordered by 10 French regions (403 suburban and regional trainsets and 141 Intercity trainsets).
At the request of Région Sud, Transdev is doubling the transport offer, with 15 round-trip connections per day and hourly intervals over a wider range of hours. The aim is to provide better quality of service, reliabil-ity, regularity, and punctuality (97.5% of trains on time). This line is also resolutely committed to the ecolog-ical transition, with traction energy for the trains to be 100% green of French origin, with the purchase of green certificates from the chosen electricity supplier. Additionally, train drivers will be trained in rail eco-driving.
I'm delighted to be in Northern France today for the unveiling of the new Omneo SUD train sets. 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 the greatest possible number of 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're doing everything we can to improve the day-to-day experience of passengers on regional trains.
Renaud MUSELIER, President of Région Sud, and President Delegate of Régions de France.
Our commitment to Région Sud is the primary expression of our business: we bring people and territories closer together. Our long-standing experience in the rail industry clearly shows how important service quality is 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.
Thierry Mallet, Chairman and CEO of Transdev.
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 km/h, serving the mobility of all passengers. We will also provide maintenance support, thus contributing to the long-term operational efficiency of the trains. This train has been awarded the ‘Origine France Garantie’ label. This comes as a recognition of the expertise of the employees at the Crespin site, and a pledge of our commitment to our customers, passengers and the entire French rail industry.
Olivier Delecroix, Vice-President Marketing & Sales Alstom France.
The new Marseille-Toulon-Nice inter-metropolitan link will enter service on June 29, 2025.