Greener, more energy-efficient hybrid trains will soon be a reality, as SNCF and Alstom continue to develop these innovative vehicles and test their safety performance. In 2021 Alstom hybridized the first trainset—a Régiolis Occitanie unit that was already in service—at its Reichshoffen plant near Strasbourg. Testing of the modified train began in mid-2021 and will continue through mid-2022.
less energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
Adapting the Régiolis trainset
In 2023 the modified TER will begin commercial operation in 4 partner regions: Grand-Est, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and Centre-Val de Loire.
This next-generation train—France’s first effort to produce a hybrid self-propelled trainset—will be rolled out in other French regions starting in 2024.
How hybrid trains work
Hybrid trains draw on three different energy sources as needed:
- electricity from catenaries
- thermal power from engines
- energy stored in batteries
In our new hybrids—Régiolis trainsets that originally ran on electricity and diesel—half of the diesel engines will be replaced with high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. These will recover braking energy previously lost as heat, and use it to power the train’s traction, lighting and heating. The batteries can also boost traction when catenary tension drops below 1.5 kV.
This new storage system generates significant savings, since braking energy is equivalent to 30% of traction power on Régiolis routes.
To maximize the amount of available energy, the new batteries can also be charged by catenaries and thermal engines.
€16.6 million invested in this experiment
Cleaner than cars
Did you know? When you travel with TER, you emit 24.8 g of CO2 per km travelled. That’s only 1/8 of the emissions from the same journey by car. When you choose rail, you help to cut carbon emissions by 10 million metric tonnes a year. At SNCF Group, we plan to improve energy efficiency by 20% and our CO2e performance by 25%.