New Tram-Train service in France

FRANCE: Tram-train services on a 64 km route linking Nantes and ChA?teaubriant are launched by SNCF on February 28.

Opening on 28 February a new tram-train service is now operational on the reopened regional railway between Nantes and ChA?teaubriant. The railway has been renovated totally after the closure for passenger service at 31 May 1980. Rolling stock is the Citadis Dualis, already operational at the mainline railway between Nantes and Clisson and at two regional railways in the south of France operating from Lyon St Paul station to Brignais and to San Bel. Renovation costs have been 210 million euro excluding 60 million euro for 12 tram-train vehicles. Operation costs will be 5,2 million euro annually excluding the maintenance costs of the rail infrastructure. An interesting feature is the level crossing between tram-trains of SNCF and local trams of Nantes tramway operating company TAN. This crossing is claimed to be unique in France. Daily 48 tram-trains and 220 trams will pass this crossing in both directions. Track layout, overhead configuration and signalisation have been designed and built specifically to this location. First photo displays a coupled tram-train unit ready for departure in the new built HaluchA?re-Batignolles stop

The tram-train service will use part of a former Nantes – Rennes railway route which originally opened in 1877. The Nantes – ChA?teaubriant section closed to passenger traffic in 1980 and to freight in 2008. This section has now been completely modernised in preparation for the tram-train services, with the track replaced and the 11 stations gaining new platforms, shelters, ticket machines and car parking.

Tramway signalling has been fitted, except at Nantes station, and automatic half-barriers have been installed at 30 level crossings, with 11 crossings closed.

The modernised line is designed to be suitable for use by conventional SNCF trains, including works trains, but no freight operations are planned. In contrast to the shared running on the Mulhouse tram-train service, the Nantes tram-trains will not use the city’s urban tram network, which is operated independently by Semitan.

Two dedicated platforms electrified at 25 kV AC have been built at Nantes station. After leaving the station, tram-trains will run through the suburbs on a 15 km double-track alignment with 750 V DC tramway electrification. This parallels a Semitan tram line, and shares five level crossings which follow tramway practice in having warning lights but no barriers. Near HaluchA?re-Batignolles station the Semitan line crosses the tram-train route on a flat crossing.

From BabiniA?re the line will operate as a railway, with 25 kV 50 Hz electrification and a maximum speed of 100 km/h. At the terminus a buffer stop separates tram-trains from the 62 km ChA?teaubriant – Rennes section of the former through route. This lies within Bretagne and has been unaffected by the project, with SNCF X2100 diesel multiple-units operating seven return trips a day.

Alstom has supplied 24 Citadis Dualis vehicles for the tram-train route, equipped with a toilet and more comfortable seats than conventional trams as the end-to-end journey takes 1 h 07 min. There will be seven return trips a day over the full length of the route, with higher frequencies between SucAi??-sur-Erdre and Nantes where there will be services every half hour in the peaks and hourly at other times. HaluchA?re-Batignolles will be served by 46 tram-trains a day. Ridership is predicted at 11 200 passengers/day

Project funding, ai??i??m

Pays de Loire region



Loire Atlantique department



National government



EU sources









Total cost


Combining the best of trains and tramways

The challenge

The urban fabric now extends well beyond the city centre, with regional and urban networks tending to merge. Users’ needs are changing. They want to be able to move with ease from the city centre to neighbouring towns without having to change their transportation mode.

The Alstom solution

Introduced in Germany with the Regio Citadis, the concept of the tram-train has since been enriched by the Citadis Dualis model. This mode of transportation permits seamless daily journeys between city-centres and suburban centres.

Tram-trains benefit from the latest Alstom innovations

…to ensure seamless travel without load changes between city centres and suburbs

  • Tram-trains run equally well on tramway networks and on regional rail networks (compatible power tension on wires, signalling and wheels),
  • Alstom tram-trains have a reinforced structure in the event of a crash that conforms to the latest safety standards,
  • Its collapsible coupling enables better shock absorption in stations.

Nantes Tram Map

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