French government to buy 15 high-speed trains, keep factory open

France's government, in a move to avoid the planned closure of a train factory owned by French manufacturer Alstom, said Tuesday that it would invest in 15 high-speed TGV trains.

French train operator SNCF also confirmed its order of 6 high-speed TGV trains, as well as 20 locomotives that are capable of repairing other trains on the track network.

The move was announced by state secretary for industry, Christophe Sirugue, and Alstom president Henri Poupart-Lafarge. The site of the factory, near Belfort in north-eastern France, was at risk of closure due to slow orders.

On September 7, Alstom management had announced that Belfort's production would be moved to the northern site of Reichshoffen before 2018.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls, whose Socialist government faces a fierce electoral campaign next year, tweeted after the announcement that "thanks to the mobilization of the state and everyone's contribution, Alstom's site at Belfort is saved!"

Sirugue said the 15 trains purchased by the state would be slated for the Marseille-Bordeaux route in southern France. The route currently has no high-speed tracks, but the government said its expects them to be installed along the Bordeaux-Toulouse and Montpellier-Perpignan routes.

French news agency AFP estimated the cost of the 15 trains to be 450 million euros (502 million dollars).

Alstom, for its part, said it would invest approximately 40 million euros for the diversification of production and engineering at Belfort.

Last update: Tue, 04/10/2016 - 22:18

More from Europe

Left-winger and former premier top French primary

Benoit Hamon and Manuel Valls were out in front in France's nationwide primary on Sunday to choose who will be the...

Romanian president joins thousands in anti-government rally

Thousands of Romanians were joined by President Klaus Iohannis in a street protest in Bucharest on Sunday against...

Suspected accomplice detained in Germany in foiled Vienna attack

A 21-year-old man and his wife have been arrested in their home in the western German city of Neuss on suspicion of...

May vows to press Trump on "unacceptable" remarks in Friday meeting

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday vowed to confront US President Donald Trump about any "unacceptable"...

Hungarian bus company probed for negligence after Italy crash

Criminal negligence charges are being mulled against the owners of a bus that was in a fatal accident in Italy at...