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.

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 (stock)
built by GEC Alsthom
  TGV Duplex (collection)
built by Alstom
TGV POS train   TGV 2N2 Euroduplex train   TGV TSMT / Eurostar e300 train
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 (stock)
built by Siemens

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
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

 Z24500, Z26500
built by Bombardier Transportation

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

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

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

Classes: Z23500

ATER train        
ATER (stock)
built by Alstom

Classes: X73500, X73900


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.