posted on 2nd Dec 2022 12:30
On 2 December 2022, Alstom formally signed the new order with Irish Rail (IE) for 18 more five-car X’trapolis trains and an extension to the 15-year Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement under the ten-year framework agreement announced in December 2021. This further order, valued at around 160 million EUR, will see 18 battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) added to the initial firm order of 19 five-car X’trapolis trains - thirteen of which were battery-electric and six electrics - made in 2021. In total, Irish Rail has now ordered 37 five-car X’trapolis units which will deliver more capacity and decarbonisation benefits in advance of electrification of the extended DART+ network.
The ten-year framework agreement allows for up to 750 electric and battery-electric cars to be procured for the DART+ network which is planned to open in 2025. In addition to the fleet, Alstom will provide a range of services solutions, including a Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement for the first 15 years of the fleet’s operation, deploying its HealthHub and TrainScanner technologies for predictive maintenance, and providing three train simulators to support driver training. The expansion of the DART fleet as part of the DART+ Programme is funded by the National Transport Authority under the National Development Plan 2021 - 2030.
Scheduled to enter service in 2025, the 37 trains formed by 31 five-car BEMUs and 6 five-car EMUs, will be capable of journeys of more than 80 km outside the electrified DART network under pure battery power, thereby taking older diesel rolling stock off those non-electrified lines. These X’trapolis trains will comprise the first modern battery fleet in Ireland, contributing to the widening of Ireland’s carbon reduction efforts through public transport.
According to Irish Rail, today’s 18 BEMUs order will benefit Maynooth/M3 Parkway and Kildare line services, delivering more capacity for commuters in advance of electrification. Energy stored in the battery system will be replenished via fast charging stations at chosen terminus locations and by recovering braking energy while the new battery-electric trainsets are on the move. This will enable, for example, the new battery-electric fleet to deliver Dublin to Drogheda return services, with fast charging at Drogheda Station.
DART+ is the transformative programme that will ensure train travel is at the heart of Ireland’s sustainable transport network. Funded under the National Development Plan by the National Transport Authority, DART+ is an investment that will double the capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area network, facilitating sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in the capital and its surrounding counties.
Each 82-metre DART+ train will have space for 550 passengers with wide, walk-through gangways, low-level floor, and an automatic retractable step to maximise accessibility for all passengers. Other features include dedicated cycle and family areas, enhanced passenger features such as charging facilities for mobile phones, e-bikes and e-scooters; and advanced CCTV systems throughout the train, to enhance safety and security for customers and employees.