Photo credit (banner): Alstom

Rail is already the greenest form of transport—but we’re going even greener. With partners in industry and French regional authorities, SNCF is trialling new propulsion methods to cut our direct carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Learn more.

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50 %

reduction in CO₂ emissions per passenger carried since 1990

More TERs, less CO₂

Rail is already eco-friendly, accounting for only 0.4% of the transport industry’s greenhouse gas emissions. When you choose rail, you’re opting for one of the most sustainable mobility solutions around—and soon our TER regional express trains will be even greener. 

In partnership with the French regional governments that manage TER service, our Tech4Rail3 and PlaneTER programmes are developing sustainable diesel alternatives tailored to the needs of each community. 

Fossil fuels still account for 61% of CO2 emissions from TER trains.4 By 2035, we want to eliminate these fuels completely.

Learn more about PlaneTER

At SNCF Group, the energy transition and zero direct carbon emissions are imperatives that shape every part of our business. But they’re also an opportunity to serve passengers and shippers by expanding market share for rail and other sustainable mobilities.

Jean-Pierre Farandou, SNCF Group Chairman and CEO and Chairman of SNCF’s Energy-Carbon Strategic Committee

Biofuel-powered TERs

Between April and June 2021, we trialled 15 plant-powered Régiolis trainsets in commercial operation on Normandy’s Paris-Granville line. Running on 100% French B100 biofuel made from surplus rapeseed, a TER train emits 60% less greenhouse gases than its diesel counterpart. And this innovative solution requires only minor changes to the power system in our diesel fleet—a major advantage.

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60 %

less greenhouse gas emissions than diesel

Hybrid TERs

Testing of our first hybrid TERs began in 2022, in the Centre-Val-de-Loire, Occitanie, Grand Est and Nouvelle-Aquitaine regions. Thanks to onboard batteries and a braking energy recovery system to charge them, these modified Régiolis trains are expected to use 20% less energy than their predecessors. Look for the new hybrid TERs in stations starting in 2023.

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20 %

energy savings thanks to recovery of braking energy

Battery TER

In 2023, we’ll begin testing battery TERs—designed to run on partially electrified lines—in 5 French regions: Hauts-de-France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Sud.

Bombardier Transport will convert 5 high-capacity, dual-mode multiple units (built to run on electricity and diesel fuel) into fully electric dual-mode trainsets (BEMUs) that can run on catenaries and batteries. Because the upgraded trains can run on battery power alone for up to 80 km, they can be deployed on partially electrified lines, cutting both greenhouse gas emissions and infrastructure costs.

Learn more

38 M

euros invested in battery-powered TERs by French regions, SNCF and Bombardier Transport

Hydrogen TERs

It’s official. Alstom has received its first order to manufacture 12 hydrogen-powered Régiolis H2 trainsets. SNCF, Alstom and 4 pioneering French regions—Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Grand-Est, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and Occitanie—invested €231 million to develop this innovative technology. 

In hydrogen trains, conventional diesel engines are replaced with fuel cells, batteries and hydrogen tanks—a traction system that emits zero greenhouse gases. In the fuel cell on the train’s roof, hydrogen from storage tanks combines with oxygen in the air to produce electricity, which is then stored in the batteries and used to power the train. And there’s only one waste product: water.

The new hydrogen-powered TERs are slated to begin commercial operation in 2025.

Learn more

0

greenhouse gases from operation of hydrogen trains

TGV M

The TGV M—a new, 97% recyclable high-speed train—has improved aerodynamics and can tailor onboard power use to its passenger count. Compared to today’s models, the TGV M should consume 20% less energy and reduce carbon footprint by 37%. 

Fully modular and 100% connected, this 4th-generation TGV is packed with ground-breaking innovations. Designed by top experts at SNCF and Alstom, the eco-friendly TGV M is set for rollout in 2024.

Learn more

  • 740

    passengers at maximum capacity, up from 600 today

  • 97 %

    of the TGV M’s materials are recyclable

  • 20 %

    less energy consumption, thanks to improved aerodynamics and a new power system

  • 100 %

    French design

1 Calculation based on CO2e emissions for a shared car (average occupancy 2.2 passengers) per Ademe’s Base Carbone database, or 88 g of CO2e/km/passenger. This figure was divided by average CO2e emissions from high-speed trains (TGV, Lyria and OUIGO) using 2019 energy consumption data, or 1.73 g of CO2e/km/passenger. Source: 2019 data from French power grid operator Réseau de Transport d’Électricité and 2019 ridership data.

2 Calculation based on CO2e emissions for a plane (passenger plane with 101-220 seats, journeys of < 500 km, 500-1000 km, and short-haul flights without vapour trail) per Ademe’s Base Carbone database, or 141 g of CO2e/km/passenger. This figure was divided by average CO2e emissions from high-speed trains (TGV, Lyria and OUIGO) using 2019 energy consumption data, or 1.73 g of CO2e/km/passenger. Source: French power grid operator Réseau de Transport d’Électricité and 2019 ridership data.

3 The Tech4Rail programme is SNCF Group’s rail innovation accelerator.

4 The other 39% of emissions comes from a wide variety of other sources, including the train manufacturing process, business travel and buildings.