České Dráhy (ČD) has launched two tenders covering the supply of up to 150 dual-voltage EMUs for suburban and long-distance services. Under the first tender, the operator will acquire up to 90 electric multiple units, known as “EMU 400” suburban trains, which will operate the S lines in Prague and the Central Bohemia region. Under the framework agreement, České dráhy says that the trains should be delivered from 2027. CZK 42.2 billion (EUR 1.7 billion) is the estimated value of the contract.
The operator says that the manufacturers can offer fully double-decker or combined solutions with double- and single-decker cars which will provide 380 seats, special places for two wheelchairs, 6 pushchairs and at least 30 bicycles. The supplied trains must be adapted to passengers with reduced mobility which also includes boarding doors that will be remote-controlled with blind controls and will be equipped with sound beacons. To be fully accessible for these passengers, Braille markings and signs will be also installed in the trains.
In normal operation, it will be possible to combine up to three units into a maximum 12-car train with a capacity of up to 1,140 seated passengers. It is expected that around 5% of the train capacity will be designed as 1st class coaches. The EMUs will be also fitted with audiovisual information system with LCD monitors, Wi-Fi connection and sockets for device recharging.
The interior will be air-conditioned and the seats can be classically arranged facing each other or behind each other. The new suburban trains will be designed for operation on both 3 kV DC and 25 kV 50 Hz AC systems and should be able to run at more than 160 km/h.
The new electric multiple units must be equipped with GSM-R and ETCS communication and security system or a remote fault diagnosis system, which will enable the transmission of information about faults between the train and the track and the maintenance centre, where the necessary repair will take place after the train arrives at the depot. The trains should be fitted with intelligent braking systems which will save the energy, reducing the electricity consumption.
The double-decker dual-voltage EMUs will replace the existing CityElefant commuter trains and are part of the plans to increase the suburban traffic and provide better comfort and quality.
“It is a long-term growing interest in traveling by train in the Prague agglomeration, which the current number or capacity of CityElefant units can no longer satisfy. Next is the power conversion from DC to AC system. And the third is the replacement of the CityElefant units, which will reach their planned service life in the next decade. We have to prepare for these challenges, which is why we launched a tender for the supply of new suburban trains,” Michal Krapinec, the CEO of ČD.
In January 2022, the Czech rail passenger operator ordered from Pesa Bydgoszcz 33 additional diesel multiple units exercising an option part of an agreement signed in March 2021 for the delivery of 160 two-car DMUs, which included the ordered trains as an option.
The second tender includes the purchase of up to 60 EMUs including the supply of spare parts, and provision of maintenance services. The manufacturer would deliver the first units from 2025. They should be able to run at 200 km/h.
The barrier-free electric trains will have to provide at least 300 seats designed for 1st and 2nd class, spaces for two wheelchairs, several strollers, and a large number of bicycles. The trains will be equipped with Wi-Fi connection, an infotainment system and vending machine with chilled refreshments. The units will also be equipped with seats for passengers with children, including a changing table.
“Seats in both classes will be reclining and equipped with tables, 230 V 50 Hz electrical outlets and USB connectors for powering passengers’ devices, batteries of wheelchairs and e-bikes. There will be seats facing each other and behind each other like in an airplane,” Jiří Ješeta, member of the ČD Board of Directors said.
The interior will be designed as a spacious car with spacious barrier-free boarding platforms, which is an advantage for frequent stops on express lines.
The dual-voltage EMUs will be able to operate on 3kV DC and 25kV 50Hz AC electric power systems and must be equipped with GSM-R and ETCS systems.
ČD says that the trains will bring benefits as they will be able for rapid turnarounds at the destination stations without the need for shunting activities for both coaches and locomotive. In addition, they will be designed to be coupled in two units for a certain route and after disconnecting them on other section towards another destination.
The rolling stock tenders are part of company’s 2030 strategy to renew its fleet estimated at CZK 100 billion (EUR 4.1 billion). The new trains will replace the aging express train fleet to provide passengers increased comfort and fast transport services.