SNCF Class BB 26000

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SNCF BB 26000
BB 26002 "Souffelweyersheim" at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges trainyard (2006)
Type and origin
Power type Electric
Builder GEC Alsthom / MTE[1]
Build date 1988-1998[1]
Total produced 234[1]
 • UIC B'B'
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Wheel diameter new 1,256 mm (49.45 in), worn 1,180 mm (46.46 in)[2]
Minimum curve
Wheelbase bogie pivot distance 9.684 m (31 ft 9 14 in)[2]
axle distance 2.797 m (9 ft 2 18 in)[2]
Length 17.71 m (58 ft 1 14 in)[1]
Width 3.026 m (9 ft 11 18 in)[2] (or 2.93 m (9 ft 7 38 in)[3][clarification needed]
Height 4.270 m (14 ft 18 in)[2]
Loco weight 88.825 tonnes (87.422 long tons; 97.913 short tons)[2]
Electric system(s) Catenary
25 kV AC or 1500 V DC[1]
Current source Pantograph
Loco brake Electro-dynamic Rheostatic, Mechanical disc brakes, and parking brake[2]
Performance figures
Maximum speed 200 km/h (120 mph)[1]
Power output 5.6 MW (7,500 hp)[1]
Tractive effort starting 320 kN (72,000 lbf)[2]
80 km/h (50 mph)
220 kN (49,000 lbf)[2]
200 km/h (120 mph)
100 kN (22,000 lbf)[2]
Numbers 26001-26234[1]

The SNCF BB 26000 locomotives are a class of dual voltage, four axle B'B' electric locomotives capable of a top speed of 200 km/h built by GEC Alsthom between 1988 and 1998 for SNCF. The locomotives are also commonly known as the Sybics.[note 1]

Design and development[edit]

The class were built to fulfil both freight and passenger roles; the specifications included the ability to haul 16 Corail coaches at 200 km/h (120 mph) on a 0.25% gradient, and to haul a 2,050 t (2,020 long tons; 2,260 short tons) freight train at 80 km/h (50 mph) on a 0.88% gradient.[4]

The locomotives are a two cabin design with the body built out of steel, two pantographs are fitted; one for 1500 V operation, the other for 25 kV operation.[2] A 25 kV AC supply is stepped down and rectified to 1500 V, a 1500 V supply feeds the power electronics directly. Each of the three elements of the thyristor bridge based[note 2] three phase inverter circuits are connected in parallel, with the two three phase supplies per motor being series connected. For speeds below 15 km/h (9.3 mph) one supply voltage reducing chopper circuit (French:hacheur) per motor bogie is used to assist control. The power electronics of the two motor bogies are connected in parallel,[4][5] and are evaporatively cooled by boiling Freon 113.[6]

The bogies are a monomoteur design,[note 3] with helical spring primarily suspension.[2]

The traction motors are three phase synchronous type (as used in the contemporary TGV Atlantique) but with two three phase stator windings offset by 30 degrees.[5][note 4] Drive from the traction motors to wheel is via a floating ring vibration isolation element (French:anneau dansant) and hollow shaft drive.[2]

Mono-motor bogies were chosen based on the good performance in the SNCF BB 22200, SNCF BB 15000 and SNCF BB 7200 classes. A synchronous motor was chosen over a commutated motor or an asynchronous motor due to the reduced mass, simplicity of equipment, and price.[6]

Two locomotives SNCF BB 20011 and 20012 were used to develop and test the dual voltage traction system, microprocessor control systems and auxiliary motors, BB 20012 was used to develop and test the pneumatic and electrical braking system.[6]

The Paris-based industrial design group MBD Design contributed to the design of the locomotive.[7]

History and operations[edit]

264 of the class were ordered by SNCF, only 234 were built, the last 30 of the order were instead built as a new triple voltage design capable of also operating on 3kV DC;[8] these used asynchronous electric motors and became the SNCF Class BB 36000 (Asytrit).[9]

The class have been used in most regions of France.[3]

In June 2000 26084 was involved in an accident caused by sabotage near Chasse-sur-Rhône, and is no longer in service.[3] As of 2009 the remaining 233 machines are still in operation in France.[3]


The locomotives were originally delivered in an orange and grey livery.[10] Other liveries carried include the Fret SNCF green livery, the red and grey multiservice and TER Alsace liveries and the purple and silver En voyage livery.[11]

Standard Sybic Livery 
A Fret liveried Sybic. 
En voyage livery 
Corail+ livery 

Miniature models[edit]

The locomotives have been reproduced as models in HO scale by Marklin, Jouef and Trix,[12] and by PIKO in HO and N scales.[13]


  1. ^ From Synchronous Bicurrent, referring to synchronous motor drive, and dual voltage operation (French: Synchrone Bicourant)
  2. ^ The back EMF (ie electrical generator effect) of the synchronous motor provides a reversed electric potential forcing the commutation of the thyristor. A separate circuit commutates the thyristor at low speeds.
  3. ^ Monomoteur (English: mono-motor or single motor) - a single (2.8MW) electric motor is mounted in the bogie and drives both axles
  4. ^ A "double star" (French: double étoile) type with 12 pole elements was used for the BB 26000 locomotives, whereas the single three phase motors used in the TGV Atlantique had only 6 stator poles set 60 degrees apart


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "The French connection - modularity from Belfort". Prima predecessors. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "LAS - SYBIC TECHNIQUES". (in French). Fiche Technique de la Sybic. 
  3. ^ a b c d Gwenaël Boëffard. "BB 26000". (in French). 
  4. ^ a b Victor Sabaté (1999). "5. Moteur synchrone autopiloté". Traction électrique ferroviaire (in French). Ed. Techniques Ingénieur. Section 5.4.2 "Locomotive BB 26000", and Fig.23. 
  5. ^ a b Andreas Steimel (2007). "5. Synchronous motors and their control". Electric Traction - Motion Power and Energy Supply: Basics and Practical Experience. Oldenbourg Industrieverlag. pp. 72, 130. 
  6. ^ a b c "Traction ferroviaire 1ére partie : Evolution des choix technologiques de ces 30 dernières années Influence des composants de l’électronique de puissance sur les choix technologiques" [Railway Traction (1st part) : Evolution of technological choices over 30 years, influence of components on power electronics technology decisions] (PDF). (in French). 
  7. ^ "BB26000". 
  8. ^ "The Railway magazine". 142. IPC Business Press. 1996: 70. 
  9. ^ Ken Harris; Tony Pattison (1998). Jane's World Railways 1998-99. Janes Information Group. p. 125. 
  10. ^ See source fr:BB 26000 (Livrées)
  11. ^ "LAS - SYBIC TECHNIQUES". (in French). Les Livrees de la Sybic. 
  12. ^ "Le coin du collectionneur : les SYBIC de la SNCF". (in French). 
  13. ^ "PIKO Suche : BB 26000". 

External links[edit]

Fleet list