VB2N Vitrains

Suburban 2-level train

Photo J. P. Demoy

Vitrains 1017, 2 × 3107, 3159 and 3160


Suburban 2-level cars (VB2N)

Car UIC number
2nd cl. / cab Bxe 50 87 22-37 237-4
2nd cl. Be 50 87 22-37 103-8
2nd cl. Be × 2 50 87 22-37 181-4
2nd cl. Be 50 87 22-37 205-1
1st / 2nd cl. ABe 50 87 32-37 014-5
1st / 2nd cl. ABe 50 87 32-37 096-2
2nd cl. / luggage BDe 50 87 82-37 051-6
Revision date 17-06-78 (1017),
12-04-79 (3107) and
7-10-78 (3159-60)
Home base: 3 Paris Saint-Lazare

Cab car: 156 g (NEM: 114 to 148 g)
Other: 152 to 155 g (NEM: 112 to 145 g)

Set of four cars bought second-hand. New, it was sold €239 at TMC. Complementary Be cars ref. 3032, 3074 and 3107, and ABe ref. 3088, were available to make a complete train set.

Two 2nd class cars were bought new in early 2015 to complete the train. Other references released at the same time have no interest, since they combined each time two cars, including one end car. Choice really hard to understand. At last, one Be and one ABe purchased end of 2018 to get a complete eight-car train.

Cars too low 1.5 mm.

Wheels ø 9.8 for 840 real, good. The current pickup is done on wheel inner shoulders very unattractive but fortunately almost invisible from the outside.

Spring buffers — useless since the contact between cars is done by the bellows!

In general, these cars run rather badly, due to the lack of clearance of the axles. In the 2015 series, these axles are a little shorter, but their tips are of poor quality: no finish, no rounding.

See the Loco-Revue Forum.


  • Assembly of detail parts (handrails, steps, cables). A driver is put into the cab.
  • Driving car: LED replacement, cabin and compartment lighting, Lenz LF101XF decoder.
  • Lighting of compartments by conductive couplings powered by the driving car. Raising bodies of 1 mm and mounting of holding bars on the platforms.
  • Cars of the 1st series: axles changed for Piko ones, with notable running improvement. Show video. The driving car was equipped with conductive bearings and adapted shafts.
  • Latest cars purchased: same as above.

The first bogie has received Piko axles, while the second still has its original ones. The initial slope is about 1 %, and there is no special effect!

Cars built in 500 units (all types) from 1975 to 1978 by CIMT-Lorraine and ANF-Industries in Marly-les-Valenciennes. They are equipped with Y30 P bogies with pneumatic secondary suspension. Maximum speed in service: 140 km/h. Tare: 48 t.

The VB2N (Voiture de Banlieue à 2 Niveaux) trainsets, equipped with a cab for reversible driving, were — and still are — used on the Est, Nord, and Ouest suburbs (St Lazare, Montparnasse). They usually consist of six, seven or eight cars (this depends on the time, on the starting station and on the type of loco for hauling).

They were hauled in the Nord region by BB 17000 in green or “concrete” livery.

The first line equipped on the Nord was Aulnay-Mitry.


  • La Vie du Rail No. 1495 of 1st June 1975 (description of rolling stock), No. 1499 of 29 June 1975 (first commercial run towards Mantes), No. 1547 of 13 June 1976 (first anniversary). In the latter, an 8-car train can be seen on the Nord, and a 7-car on St Lazare, with a BB 17000 in both cases.
  • SNCF 1972 booklet p. 58, where a true scale model of a future VB2N can be seen.
  • Loco-Revue No. 381 of March 1977, cover (photo above) and p. 168 on the occasion of the release of the Jouef model.
  • Photos on RailFanEurope.
  • Wikipedia article
  • Web des cheminots
  • trains-europe.fr website

VB2N VitrainsVB2N Vitrains

VB2N VitrainsVB2N Vitrains

Suburban 2-level train

Photo J. P. Demoy

Dimension Actual 1:87 Model
Overall length Bxe 1 24 780 284.8 285.0
Overall length autres 24 280 279.1 279.0
Body length - Bxe 24 150 277.6 276.5
Body length - others 23 980 275.6 274.0
Body width 2 856 32.8 33.0
Height 4 320 49.7 48.2 2
Pivot distance 17 800 204.6 204.5
Bogie wheelbase 2 400 27.6 27.4
Wheel diameter 840 9.7 9.8
  1. The marking is wrong on the body of the model: 24.28 m.
  2. 49.7 mm after raising the bodies.