The European Investment Bank (EIB) is evaluating a EUR 600 million loan to Belgian National Railways (SNCB) for the acquisition of M7 double-deck passenger vehicles.
In December 2015, SNCB placed a firm order with Bombardier Transportation – Alstom consortium for the design and manufacturing of 445 cars. The valued of the project is estimated at approximately EUR 1.3 billion. Deliveries for this first order will take place between September 2018 and 2021. The frame contract includes options for up to 917 additional cars.
Bombardier’s site in Bruges (Belgium), will provide 65 multifunctional steering cars and 290 trailer cars. Alstom will design and build 90 motorized cab cars in its Valenciennes site (France) with the support of its electrical and signalling centre of excellence based in Charleroi (Belgium). Alstom will also develop and produce the ETCS level 2 system to equip the total fleet.
The new trains will increase the overall capacity on SNCB-NMBS’ network by adding an additional 145,000 seats. The trains will be able to run at speeds of up to 200km/h and will operate on all Belgian mainlines, cross border with the Netherlands and Luxembourg, including on some high speed lines. The M7 concept is based on the very successful and highly reliable M6 double deck cars, of which 492 were delivered by the same Bombardier – Alstom consortium. The completely redesigned interior of both first and second class cars was validated by the customer after consulting over 200 representatives from different user groups. The new interior and an improved passenger information system will provide travellers with enhanced passenger comfort while the multifunctional steering cars will feature wheelchair access and space for bicycles.
The M7 cars are fully flexible. They can be operated either as M7 EMU’s or as loco-hauled trains composed of both M7 and existing M6 double deck cars. A predictive train diagnostic system will improve preventive maintenance activities and reduce the life cycle costs. These extra features turn this new generation double deck trains into one of the most cost-effective solutions for our customer.