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The Communauté d’agglomération de Rouen Elbeuf Austreberthe (CREA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have announced the signature of a finance contract for the purchase of 27 new high-capacity metro trains and for adapting and improving the network’s infrastructure.

The EUR 60 million finance contract was signed today by European Investment Bank Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive and CREA Chairman Laurent Fabius. The signing ceremony took place at the Rouen transport authority’s Saint-Julien depot in Petit-Quevilly, where the new trains are currently undergoing trials prior to being brought into service this coming summer.

The 27 new metro trains are more spacious, attractive and and comfortable and will enable 40 000 additional passengers to be transported every day. They will provide the highest possible standard of comfort, with air conditioning, audiovisual information systems and an integral floor at platform level for perfect ease of access. They are environmentally friendly as they are 98% recyclable  and consume 10% less energy owing to the use of composite materials.

This financing operation is intended to provide a top-quality, high-capacity public transport system in the CREA area, while significantly improving the attractiveness of the overall network. CREA’s budget for purchasing the trains and carrying out the necessary work for bringing them into service is EUR 125 million. In addition to the cost of the trains, the budget provides for upgrading of the network’s busiest station, Saint-Sever, which will be extended, with new street furniture being installed in order to improve passenger access, comfort and safety. The Boulingrin terminus and Technopôle station will also be extended and refurbished to enable passengers to move around more easily and the Jeanne d’Arc bridge will also be strengthened. All this work will be completed so that the trains can be brought into service this summer.

“I am delighted with this excellent partnership with CREA on a project that comes under sustainable development policy. Sustainable urban transport is a European priority and a vital part of regional economic development and social cohesion, contributing directly to improving the quality of people’s daily lives”, commented EIB Vice-President Philippe de FONTAINE VIVE at the signing ceremony.

“This is the second time, since TEOR’s guided bus line project, that CREA has entered into a partnership with the EIB on a major project to improve our public transport system. This partnership will enable us to continue our major capital expenditure programme, while keeping a watchful eye on the financing aspect”, said CREA Chairman Laurent FABIUS.

This loan reflects the EIB’s concrete action in favour of public transport and urban development in France, the aim of which is to improve the energy balance and the quality of urban life. As the leading investor in France in sustainable public transport, the Bank makes its extensive know-how and technical and financial expertise, combined with attractive lending terms, available to local authorities so that they can develop public means of transport that offer an alternative to private cars. In 2011 alone, just over EUR 1 billion was earmarked for pubic transport and urban development in France. This brought the number of tramways financed throughout France to 27. The EIB provided French local authorities with EUR 1.7 billion in 2011 for investment in key sectors such as transport, urban development and energy efficiency, which accounted for 35% of EIB activity in France.