posted on 9th May 2020 09:50
At the Stadler Siedlce works there are many FLIRT EMUs destined for Norway. However they are assembled at the Stadler Minsk plant (starting with 75-72) and following static commissioning are sent, by road, to Siedlce for test runs on the 1,435 mm track gauge. When ready for delivery to Norway, each train is moved by rail from Siedlce to Rostock, then by train ferry to Trelleborg, and finally by rail to Drammen in Norway (initially the route via Świnoujście and Ystad was used).
On 2 September 2008 the Norwegian state operator (NSB at that time) ordered 50 FLIRT EMUs, worth 640 million CHF, from Stadler. The framework contract involved an option for up to 100 more trains. Although four versions were envisaged, the first batch of 50 trains consisted of just two types: Class 74 „Short Regional Trains“ (SRT) and Class 75 „Long Local Trains“ (LLT). The „short“ and „long“ terms have nothing to do with the lengths of the trains, but refers to the length of journey time.
24 Class 74 EMUs of the first batch were numbered 74-01 to 74-24. They originally had 44 „Comfort“ seats in 2 + 2 configuration and 267 second class seats in 2 + 3 configuration, but in 2014, following complaints from passengers that the second class seating was too cramped, NSB decided to reconfigure it to 2 + 2, thus reducing second class seating capacity from 267 to 240.
The 26 Class 75 FLIRTs of the first batch were numbered 75-01 to 75-26. These trains have 295 second class seats, in 2 + 3 configuration. Otherwise, both types of five-car EMUs are very similar, all being 105.5 m long, 3.2 m wide and 4.38 m high above rail top, with the threshold height at the entrance doors being 800 mm above rail top. Both types have a top speed of 200 km/h, are designed for operation off 15 kV 16.7 Hz, and have a continuous power rating of 3,000 kW and a maximum rating of 4,500 kW. Axle arrangement is Bo’2’2’Bo’ + 2’2’Bo’.
The one visible difference between the two versions lies in the end cars: the Class 74s have one end car with just one pair of entrance doors, while the other end car has two pairs, whereas the Class 75s have two pairs of entrance doors in both end cars. In the interior the main difference is that the Class 75s have 2 + 3 seating while the Class 74s have 2 + 2 seating. Moreover, compared to Class 75 the Class 74 EMUs have in a BMb car the „Comfort“ area and in a BMa car the „Stille“ (Silent) area. Furthermore, in Class 74 EMUs is in a BPb car an additional standart toilet.
The first FLIRT was put into service in early 2012. Of the first batch only 49 FLIRTs exist today, since on 15 February 2012 EMU 74-05 derailed on a test run near Nykirke, south of Oslo, when entering a curve with a 70 km/h speed limit while travelling at 135 km/h. Thanks to the robust construction of the train, the five people on board escaped with only slight injuries, but the train was badly damaged and was declared a constructive total loss. Instead of 74-05, which has not been handed over to the NSB, the operator ordered one additional Class 75 EMU the result being that the first batch comprised 23 Class 74 units and 27 Class 75 unit. FLIRT 75-26 was handed over in January 2014, the last train, 75-27 (replacing 74-05), was handed over in March 2014.
On 16 November 2012 NSB took up the first option, worth 210 million CHF, for 20 more trains - four Class 74s (numbered 74-25 to 74-28) and 16 Class 75s (numbered 75-28 to 75-43).
Then on 26 February 2013 a second option was taken up, this worth 180 million CHF, for 11 trains - nine Class 74s (numbered 74-29 to 74-37) and two Class 75s (numbered 75-44 to 75-45). Deliveries of these two batches started in spring 2014, the last train of the third batch, 75-45, being handed over in the third quarter of 2016.
The fourth batch, a third option, of 26 Class 75s fitted out for local services (75-46 to 75-71), worth 180 million CHF, was ordered in June 2015, bringing the total number of NSB FLIRTs ordered to 107. Unlike the earlier batches, which were built in Switzerland, at Bussnang works, this fourth batch was assembled at Siedlce. Deliveries from here began in March 2017, starting with 75-46. On 24 August 2018 Norske tog announced it took over its 100th FLIRT. All deliveries of the third option were completed by January 2019.
The fourth option was ordered in August 2017 and included 18 FLIRTs: four Class 74s (numbered 74-38 to 74-41), 14 Class 75s (numbered 75-72 to 75-85). The last two Class 75 EMUs were changed to the new Class 76 EDMUs (76-01 and 76-02), using an additional Power-Pack module with two diesel gensets manufactured at Bussnang. All these 18 FLIRTs are being built at Minsk works, between August 2018 and December 2020.
On 12 December 2018 Norwegian state-owned rolling stock lessor Norske Tog (formerly part of NSB) took up the final, fifth option in the 2008 framework contract for FLIRT EMUs and ordered 25 five-car trains: 13 Class 74 EMUs (numbered 74-42 to 74-54) and 12 Class 75 EMUs (75-86 to 75-97). The latter will also be modified by incorporation of the PowerPack modules to the Class 76 EDMUs (76-03 to 76-14). This batch is again being built at Minsk, using power modules to be produced at the Bussnang works. The trains will be commissioned in Siedlce and are scheduled for delivery by November 2022, by which time there will be no fewer than 150 FLIRTs in service in Norway (however 151 FLIRTs were built in total, including the withdrawn 74-05).
The cars of NSB’s FLIRT EMUs, of both classes, are designated and numbered according to the following format: BMa 75.1xx - BPa 75.2xx - BCMU 75.3xx - BPb 75.4xx - BMb 75.5xx. Thus, for example, the number 75546 on the end car indicates that it is the second end car of 75-46.
Stadler’s Norwegian FLIRT Service Contract
On 27 May 2019 Vy (formerly NSB) awarded Stadler a contract to maintain over 100 Norwegian FLIRT EMUs. This is Stadler’s largest maintenance contract for a single fleet of trains, covering those FLIRTs based in the central-southeastern area around Oslo, and starting with those first ordered by NSB in 2008. Stadler is to take up the maintenance contract in the first quarter of 2020. Full preventive and corrective maintenance is to be provided though excluding bogie overhauls. The contract worth close on 100 million CHF, is to run, together with options, until the end of 2024.
Stadler will hire space at existing depots to undertake the work. In February 2020 the fleet subjected to maintenance under the contract consisted of 97 Class 74 and 75 EMUs. But once deliveries of the latest trains have been completed in 2022, Stadler will be dealing with a fleet of 116 FLIRTs.
As regards the maintenance of the remaining 34 FLIRTs (150 minus 116), the ten EMUs to be used on the Gjøvikbanen between Oslo and Gjøvik are part of another maintenance contract. The ten EMUs to be used on local services between Voss, Arna and Bergen come under the third operating tender invited by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The remaining 14 FLIRT EDMUs will be dealt with under the second operating tender.
Vy Group Is Born
On 24 April 2019 the Vy Group became the titular successor to the NSB Group, which operates rail and bus services in Norway and Sweden. It also owns Norway’s largest bus company, which was previously known as Nettbuss. To integrate rail and bus services a new, shared identity was necessary, since „Norske Statsbaner“ does not express properly the current activities of the operator.
NSB is no longer the Norwegian state railway company, and is just one of several train operators who are competing to provide rail services in Norway. NSB does not own the track, signals, stations or even the trains themselves, but is still responsible for providing quality services for its passengers. It was resolved that a new name and rebranding would strengthen the competitiveness of both its rail and bus services. Railfreight operator CargoNet, also part of the NSB Group, will keep its existing brand name.
The new brand name gives the Vy Group’s train and bus services a shared identity. „Vy“ translates as „outlook“, „overview“, „prospect“ or „vista“, and metaphorically, it can also mean „ambition“ or „vision“. The Group’s motto is „Den beste reisen“ („The best journey“), and it has started a rebranding campaign. Trains are now being reliveried in dark green, with large VY logos.
FLIRT EMU 75-39 was reliveried as first, in readiness for the debut of the operator’s new image on 12 March 2019. Further reliverying is to take place subsequently. However, the Norwegian FLIRTs are still leaving the Stadler factories in their initial (NSB) livery, and if required they will be covered with green (or other) vinyls by their respective operators. Beginning with train 75-84 (76-01), all trains leave the factory in the new Norske togs design standard.
On 4 February 2020 Norske tog announced a tender for delivery of up to 200 new EMUs for local services. They will replace the current Class 69 EMUs on line L2 Stabekk - Oslo - Ski. The main delivery will be for 30 trains with options for purchasing of additional 170 units.