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Texelis begins development of running gear for the SNCF innovative light-rail project

26 April 2023
Reading time ~ 2 min
A rendering of the Leger train concept
A rendering of the Leger train concept. Source: SNCF
Ivolgina Anna, Editorial Contributor to International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 2 min
Krechetov Dmitry, Editorial Contributor
Stolchnev Alexey, Russian Projects Editor, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

France: The running gear is being developed for a prototype of the Leger low-floor two-car train with battery traction, the concept of which the French national operator SNCF unveiled in April last year.

The Leger, along with two other proposed light-rail vehicles, Draisy and Flexy, should help to revive the operation of low-density lines and improve its cost-efficiency against TER regional rail services. All three prototypes are expected to be put into operation in 2029. The largest model, the 25-30m Leger two-car model, is considered as a replacement for the X73500 diesel railcars (produced by Alstom and LHB between 1999 and 2004).

A consortium of 10 companies, including Alstom, CAF and Wabtec, which is supervised by SNCF, is building the new rolling stock. The total cost of the project is €88.9 mln, with Texelis’ share of €10 mln. The running gear for Draisy and Flexy is being developed in partnership with Michelin, while it is Texelis in case with Leger.

As company president Charles-Antoine de Barbuat explains, the aim is to switch from traditional ‘wheel-rail’ technology to a new system. In Texelis’ vision, the Leger train will be supported by three wheel sets, with each wheel suspended independently, having its own drive and pivoting axle. This design is expected to reduce the weight of the wheel set to 2-3 tonnes (compared to the 6 tonnes of a conventional bogie), as well as simplify maintenance and lower the impact on the track.

One of Texelis' Leger low-floor train running gear concepts One of Texelis’ Leger low-floor train running gear concepts. Source: Corinne Merigaud/Aqui

Laurent Garnier, Managing Director for Transportation at Texelis, says that the company is currently working on four prototypes of the running gear, one of which will be selected for the construction of a life-size sample at the end of the year. The company still has four years to put it into production and test it in partnership with Ferrocampus. Garnier expects demand for the Leger to be 300-400 units in the first phase.

According to him, the Leger light-rail train project with battery traction and planned operational range of up to 300 km has already attracted interest in Belgium and the UK.