In January, Romanian rolling stock manufacturer, Astra Vagoane Calatori, launched the “Transcarpatic” train, the newest and most modern product of the Arad-based company. The train is operated by the company itself through its Astra Trans Carpatic operator, based in Bucharest. Thus, Astra Vagoane Calatori has entered the Romanian passenger operation market with a train of own production.
Currently, “Transcarpatic” train operates on Arad-Bucharest route and back. Two locomotives with 12 cars form two units, so one train has six cars: two sleeping cars with showers in compartments and at both ends of the train, three couchettes with four beds per compartment and a restaurant car. The coaches are authorized to operate on the International Competition Network.
Intercity transport in Romania is not attractive enough
The operator in Arad has expressed its intention of expanding the services offer on several lines, including outside Romania.
“We want to open at least three lines. One of these lines is Timișoara – Oradea – Baia Mare, followed by Timișoara – Vienna. As for the third line, we are still reviewing the possibilities to see what train paths are busy”, explained Astra Group President, Valer Blidar.
In order to improve the offer of rail passenger transport services, Astra Trans Carpatic has decided to expand its rolling stock fleet with new multiple-units. To provide passengers with reliable trains and increased comfort on intercity routes, Astra Trans Carpatic has purchased 15 multiple-units from Danish Railways, DSB. Three vehicles are already in Romania and will soon enter tests. All 15 multiple-units will be operated on the Romanian rail transport network.
Astra Trans Carpatic operator will thus vary its offer to support proper competition with the other operators in the Romanian rail network. Apart from sustaining proper competition, Astra Trans Carpatic plans to support and consolidate the Romanian intercity transport market.
A fast, comfortable and modern regional transport with wi-fi services, electronic passenger information systems or facilities for disabled people will always attract more passengers.
Over the past years, the European intercity transport segment has known a significant increase, and is already gaining ground against road transport. Romania should also hope to increase this passenger market share.
In western countries such as Austria, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium, Italy, but also in East-European countries close to Romania (more developed in terms of passenger transport), such as Poland, the Czech Republic or even Hungary, with upgraded rail infrastructure, intercity transport is a successful competitor of road transport.
The IC2 multiple-units are supplied by two groups of diesel engines with low carbon-dioxide emissions. Each train is made of two articulated coaches with a total length of 48 m and is capable to carry up to 113 passengers.