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PARIS, Sept 26 France's transport ministry said on Thursday it would invest 510 million euros ($689 million) to buy new trains from power and transport engineering firm Alstom and build maintenance centres.
The board of national rail operator SNCF has the option to invest an additional 100 million euros, the ministry said in a statement, as it renovates the country's ageing intercity rail network.
A spokeswoman for Alstom declined to give more detail until the order was finalised. The ministry did not give any breakdown of the investment.
The trains are expected to come into service in 2015.
The French government had pledged in July to renovate swathes of the country's rail network after a deadly derailment south of Paris drew attention to the shabby state of France's intercity trains, in stark contrast with its prestigious high-speed TGVs. ($1 = 0.7403 euros) (Reporting by Constance de Cambiaire Writing by Natalie Huet; Editing by James Regan)