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French train companies may partner for Florida high-speed rail bid

(Bloomberg News circulated the following story by Chris Cooper on March 18, 2010.)

NEW YORK — Alstom SA, supplier of France’s TGV, may partner with Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais to bid on a railroad in Florida as U.S. President Barack Obama backs investment in high-speed trains.

The trainmaker has held discussions with SNCF and they may work together on the Tampa-Orlando project depending on the requirements of the tender, Roelof van Ark, president of Alstom Transportation Inc., said in a March 16 interview from New York. Paris-based Alstom may also bid on a Los Angeles-San Francisco link, he said.

The California and Florida lines are among 13 nationwide that have won $8 billion of federal funds. Siemens AG, Canada’s Bombardier Inc., Japan’s Central Japan Railway Co. and China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp. may also bid to become the first supplier of a very high-speed train in the U.S.

“We’re finally seeing the possibility of a very high-speed line,” said Van Ark.

Julie Vion-Broussailles, a spokeswoman for French state- owned SNCF, didn’t have an immediate comment.

Alstom, which has a train factory in Rochester, New York, partnered with Bombardier to build Amtrak’s Acela Express. That train is currently the fastest in the U.S., reaching 150 mph (241 kph) between Washington and Boston. The TGV operates as fast as 320 kph, according to Alstom’s Web site.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

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