Public Transport : A spotter's guide to French trains

If you're into your trains and you're wondering what's what, then here's a guide to some of the most common types of passenger trains and freight locomotives found on the French railways.

We've not included everything, as we've focused on what you're likely to encounter, whether travelling by train or just out and about photographing.

There are number of branch lines that use unique stock, but these are in such small numbers that we've opted ot to include these. They tend to be used on the small number of "metre gauge" and mountain lines.

Classes
All SNCF stock is allocated to a class, similar to trains in the United Kingdom. Similar trains may be allocated to different classes, even if they look the same - this will be due to things like fuel or power soutce, or interior configuration.

We've listed the classes with each type of train - the prefix letter(s) denote the type of train:
BB - locomotive; B - "bi-mode" (dual fuel); X - "thermal" (diesel); U - tram -train; Z - electric.

 High speed trains
         
TGV Atlantique train   TGV Réseau train   TGV Duplex train
TGV Atlantique
built by GEC Alsthom
 
  TGV Réseau
built by GEC Alsthom
  TGV Duplex
built by Alstom
 
         
TGV POS train   TGV 2N2 Euroduplex train   TGV TSMT / Eurostar e300 train
TGV POS
built by Alstom
  
   TGV 2N2 Euroduplex
built by Alstom
   TGV TSMT / Eurostar e300
built by Alstom & Brugeoise et Nivelles
         
Siemens Volaro / Eurostar e320 train        
 Volaro / Eurostar e320
built by Siemens
       

 Locomotives
         
Nez Cassé train   BB 26000 "Sybic" train   Prima train
Nez Cassé
built by GEC Alsthom & MTE

Classes: BB7200, BB15000, BB22000
  BB 26000 "Sybic"
built by GEC Alsthom & MTE

Classes: BB26000
  Prima
built by GEC Alsthom & MTE

Classes: BB27000, BB27300, BB37000, BB37500, BB75000, BB75100, BB75400
         
BB 67400 train        
BB 67400
built by Brissonneau et Lotz & MTE

Classes: BB67400
       

 Multiple units
         
Autorail à Grande Capacité train   Coradia Duplex train   Francilian train
Autorail à Grande Capacité (AGC)
built by Bombardier Transportation

Classes: Z27500, X76500, B81500, B82500
  Coradia Duplex (TER 2N NG)
built by Alstom

Classes:
 Z24500, Z26500
  Francilian
built by Bombardier Transportation

Classes: Z50000
         
Alstom Régiolis train   Bombardier Régio 2N train   VB 2N mark 1 train
Régiolis
built by Alstom

Classes: Z31500, Z51500, Z54500, Z54900, B83500, B84500, B85000, B85900
  Régio 2N
built by Bombardier Transportation

Classes: Z55500, Z56300, Z56500, Z56600, Z56700, Z57000
  VB 2N mark I
built by ANF, CIMT, TCF & TCO

Classes: Z5600, X8800
         
VB 2N mark 2 train   ZTER train   Z2 series train
VB 2N mark II
built by GEC Alsthom, Bombardier & CIMT

Classes: Z20500, Z20900
  ZTER
built by Alstom & Bombardier

Classes: Z21500, Z21700
  Z2 series
built by Francorail & ANF

Classes:
 Z7300, Z9500, Z9600, Z11500
         
Z23500 train        
Z23500
built by GEC Alsthom & ANF

Classes: Z23500
 
       

 Railcars
         
ATER train        
ATER
built by Alstom

Classes: X73500, X73900
       

 

 Tram-trains
         
Siemens S70 Avanto tram train   Alstom Citadis Dualis tram train    
S70 Avanto
built by Siemens

Classes: U25500
  Citadis Dualis
built by Alstom

Classes: U52500, U52600, U53500,
U53600, U53700, U53800
   

 

Photo of TGV TSMT by Andrew Abbott, photo of Avanto by Marianna,all other photos (except VB 2N mk II)  by Cramos; photos are used under a Creative Commons 4.0 licence, cropped from the originals.