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In the early nineties, the delivery of 264 synchrone two-system BB 26000 "Sybic" series by GEC Alsthom to the French railways (SNCF) is ongoing. To improve international traffic between France and Belgium in the North and Italy in the South, a tri-system version (including 3 kV DC capabilites) is foreseen for the last thirty locomotives of the Sybic batch.
At that moment, GEC Alsthom is also trying to develop a new locomotive platform with a new asynchrone propulsion system, since the Sybic has no success at export. An agreement is reached with SNCF; the original Sybic contract is amended. The last batch of thirty locos will be delivered as tri-system asynchrone locomotives, which resulted in the first batch of the new serie BB 36000. This type was initially nicknamed “Asytric” or “Asytrit”, but finally the name “Astride” became most widespread. It stands for “Asynchrone Tri-system Drive Engine".
The Astride-concept was also sold to Belgium and Luxembourg. Together they ordered 80 units in 1997. Sixty machines were delivered as HLE 13 to the Belgium railways (SNCB/NMBS) and twenty (well 19 in the end) to Luxembourg as 3000 series.