- The double-deck M7 cars will be adapted for people with reduced mobility, ensuring a comfortable and inclusive rail transport experience
- These multifunctional vehicles will allow everyone to board easily and without assistance thanks to sliding access ramps
A consortium comprising Bombardier Transportation and Alstom has received a new order to supply 204 double-deck M7-type multifunctional coaches to the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges (SNCB). The M7 multifunctional cars will be fully accessible autonomously for people with reduced mobility, provide additional space and include an adapted toilet and an intercom system for people in wheelchairs. The contract is valued at approximately 445 million euro (approx. $546 million US). This order is part of the 2015 framework agreement to supply up to 1,362 M7 cars to SNCB.
“This order clearly reflects the strong confidence that SNCB shows in our double-deck trains and the comfort they offer,” said Sébastien Ridremont, Head of Sales, Bombardier Transportation, Benelux. “The new cars will be accessible to people with reduced mobility and passengers in wheelchairs, as well as being more easily accessible for the elderly, people with children or travellers with bicycles. SNCB wants all passengers to be able to take the train completely autonomously in a comfortable and safe manner, and this will be the case for these adapted M7 coaches thanks to their new sliding access ramps to facilitate easy boarding.”
“This order clearly reflects the strong confidence that SNCB shows in our double-deck trains and the comfort they offer. The new cars will be accessible to people with reduced mobility and passengers in wheelchairs, as well as being more easily accessible for the elderly, people with children or travellers with bicycles.”
– Sébastien Ridremont, Head of Sales, Bombardier Transportation, Benelux.
An Inclusive Transport System
When signing the contract in 2015, SNCB placed a firm order for 445 double-deck M7 coaches. The delivery of this first order is now underway. About 40 of these 445 cars will be in service by the end of this year.
Multifunctional cars for travellers with reduced mobility were also included in the contract. However, given the height difference between the boarding gate and the existing Belgian platforms, these travellers still need assistance today.
Therefore, SNCB presented in September 2020 a new accessibility policy, which specifies that all platforms must now be 76 cm high and that all new rolling stock must fit this boarding height. This will be the case for these adapted M7 coaches.
A Recognized Concept
“The M7 coach concept is based on our M6 double-deck coaches, known for their high reliability. This order confirms our leadership in engineering and design, particularly in designing and manufacturing coaches adapted to specific needs. Our mission is to support the transition towards inclusive and environmentally friendly transport systems,” added Sébastien Ridremont.
The M7 car concept is very flexible. They can be operated as M7 Electric Multiple Units(EMUs) or be pulled by locomotives in trains comprising M7 and M6 double-deck coaches. A preventive diagnostic system improves maintenance activities and is already reducing train life cycle costs.
Trains can run at speeds of up to 200 km/h on the entire Belgian network as well as on cross-border tracks in the Netherlands and Luxembourg, including some high-speed lines. The interior refitting of the first- and second-class coaches was approved by SNCB after consulting more than 200 representatives from different user groups. The new interior and the passenger information system increase the level of user comfort and the multifunctional end cars have storage space for bicycles.