Will hydrogen trains replace diesel trains? The SNCF wishes to order quickly a fortnight to the Alstom group. The CEO of Alstom, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, declares himself "completely ready ".
Concretely, "the first trains will be available in 2021 or 2022 ". Alstom says it is ready to provide "forty or fifty trains a year ", and "to ramp up gradually ".
The boss of Alstom explains that "the global competence center for hydrogen is in Tarbes. Even the train we provided to Germany has its propulsion designed and manufactured in Tarbes, France. As for the cars themselves, they will be manufactured in Reichshoffen (near Strasbourg, Ed), which is our center of competence for regional trains ".
SNCF wants to see all diesel trains disappear by 2035 – there are still a thousand. "It's quite realistic ", according to Henri Poupart-Lafarge.
This summer, Alstom has recorded several large orders, including twelve new TGVs for the SNCF, for more than 300 million euros. But according to the specialized letter Mobilettre, the French will lose, however, an essential market: the new trains Corail Paris-Clermont and Paris-Toulouse – a budget of 800 million euros. The production of these new trains would be attributed to Alstom's Spanish competitor, the CAF group.
"The decision is not made and we are confident ", says Henri Poupart-Lafarge, who defends the candidacy of his group: "Alstom, it's 10 000 people in France (…) I am a little shocked by the misinformation campaign in progress. We are told that the order is promised to our Spanish competitor. But by what right? "
Henri Poupart-Lafarge goes further: "Our Spanish competitor employs 100 people in France (…) No one can believe that such an order can be made in a workshop of a hundred people. It's a joke !"