posted on 22nd Dec 2020 08:15
On 21 December 2020, a consortium comprising Bombardier Transportation and Alstom has received a new order to supply 204 Type M7 200 km/h double-deck multifunctional cars to SNCB. They will be fully accessible autonomously for people with reduced mobility, will provide additional space and include an adapted toilet and an intercom system for people in wheelchairs. The contract is worth around 445 million EUR and forms part of the 2015 framework agreement to supply up to 1,362 type M7 cars to SNCB.
When signing the contract in 2015, SNCB placed a firm order for 445 Type M7 coaches to form EMUs or locomotive hauled rakes. Their delivery is now underway: about 40 cars are scheduled to be in service by the end of this year (however, they were initially planned to be delivered between September 2018 and 2021).
Multifunctional cars for passengers with reduced mobility were also included in this contract. However, given the height difference between the entrance door edge and the Belgian platforms, these passengers still need assistance.
Therefore, SNCB presented in September 2020 a new accessibility policy, which specifies that all platforms must now be 76 cm high and that all new rolling stock must fit with this boarding height. This will be the case for these adapted M7 coaches. The interior refitting of the first- and second-class cars was approved by SNCB after consulting more than 200 representatives from different user groups.
We asked Bombardier, if these 204 additional cars will be all intermediate ones, how their production will be divided between the factories of the consortium, and when they should be delivered. Bombardier answered us as follows:
The order will be split in 130 Class BD intermediate cars accessible to disabled persons, 68 Class Bx driving trailers and 6 prototypes (4 BD, 2 Bx). Although the new Class Bx driving trailers will be not accessible to disabled persons, they will be compatible with the TSIs with respect to a 760 mm height over rail top at the entrance doors. This was not the case with the previous order. So the new 68 Class Bx vehicles will be more easily accessible than the previous ones.
The final assembly will be realised at the Bombardier Bruges works, and deliveries will start in 2023. No powered end cars are included in the new order.