The locomotives were designed for a maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph) and were the first such train engines in France. In the late sixties, a small group of train engines was converted for 200 km/h (120 mph) operation, hauling prestige TEE trains like the Capitole - these train engines were called the BB 9200 Capitole. These types were later superseded by the CC 6500 train engines. Some of these train engines have been in service for more than 10 million kilometers (6.2 million miles) since they have been set to service.
The regular services of the remaining BB 9200 train engines are inter-regional trains between Paris Montparnasse and Le Mans, between Paris Austerlitz and Tours and between Paris Gare de Lyon, Dijon and Lyon. Some few are in service for freight trains.
Phasing out of the series of train engines was expected for 2007.
BB 9200 Capitole
The BB 9200 Capitole train was a train engine type variant of the SNCF Class BB 9200 train engine type specially constructed for high speed trains (faster than 160 km/h or 99 mph). Due to its special design they were also called the BB rouge. From 1967 to 1970 the SNCF started the high speed service with the Capitole between Paris and Toulouse. This train connection included some sections with a speed of more than 200 km/h (120 mph).
- BB 9291 et 9292 : train engine type variants constructed for 250 km/h (160 mph).
- BB 9278, 9281, 9282 et 9288 : train engine type variants that were transformations of serial machines, and limited to 200 km/h (120 mph)
The BB 9200 rouges with their "Capitole" plates were also a model in rail transport modelling, especially the Märklin and Roco (Roco 43563) models, renowned by hobbyists. (The Märklin 3059, which reproduced the BB 9291, is especially prized.)
- Vincent Cuny: Le Capitole c'est pas Japon. In: Correspondences Ferroviares, N. 34, Septembre 2007, pp. 50–59. (French)
- Thierry Porcher: Il y a 40 ans - La Révolution Rouge du CAPITOLE. IN: Objectif Rail, Mars-Avril 2007, N. 20, p. 38-45. (French)
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