škoda 2024

Qbuzz orders Civity regional EMUs

posted on 16th Mar 2024 12:01

On 15 March 2024, CAF and the Dutch regional public transport operator and railway undertaking Qbuzz have signed a contract for the delivery of 10 new regional EMUs for the MerwedeLingelijn, the mainly single track railway between Dordrecht, Gorinchem and Geldermalsen. 

The new trains  to be delivered in 2028 will be three-car EMUs based on CAF’s Civity platform. They will have a maximum speed of 160 km/h and will be equipped with on-board ETCS. The capacity of the 60 m long units is about 350 passengers seated. Furthermore, there will be two spaces for bikes (12 in total) and for wheelchairs. There will be two pairs of doors of each side of every car for quick access and reducing dwelling times. On board there will be one toilet, accessible for wheelchairs.

While the contract is between Qbuzz and CAF, the Provincie Zuid-Holland contributes financially to the new trains: 13.8 million EUR has been budgeted for the period until December 2033, of which maximally 10 million EUR for covering extra costs by increase of interest rate. The remaining 3.8 million EUR is for keeping the timetable level of train services, avoiding cuts in operations. The Provincie Zuid- Holland has placed a financial guarantee to CAF for the trains order. Furthermore, the Province is spending 12 million EUR on antedated depreciation of the current rolling stock (i. e. Stadler-built Type GTW 2/6 and GTW 2/8 EMUs).

The order has been made due to a mixture of circumstances. In 2022 it has become clear that the QBuzz-fleet of GTW EMUs, operating the regional services on the MerwedeLinelijn, would need to be retrofitted with ETCS OBUs due to the installation of ETCS at the Dordrecht station, to become effective from 2027. The costs for retrofitting would be about 48 million EUR, while on that moment the expected remaining ‘lifetime’ of the GTWs would be only 10 years.

Based on considerations together with organisations in the ETCS project involved, the Provincie Zuid-Holland decided that an ETCS investment for the current rolling stock was uneconomical and to write off the GTW fleet earlier than expected. This would offer an occasion to erase shortcomings on the current rolling stock situation: the GTWs are lacking toilets, do not have enough entrance doors to keep the dwelling time at stations short, while the new trains will offer more facilities to passengers with reduced mobility.

The train operations on the Merwerdelingelijn, named after two rivers (Merwede and Linge) in the area, are part of the regional concession Drechtsteden-Molenlanden-Gorinchem (DMG concession), granted by the regional public transport authority Provincie Zuid-Holland to Qbuzz, a subsidiary of Italian state railways Trenitalia. The concession was set to expire in December 2026, however, it has been extended until December 2033. The seven extra years extension was decided upon in a deal about replacing the current trains by new ones and introducing emission free, silent busses. Both train and bus services are part of the R-net network.

The order by Qbuzz is another success for CAF in a long list of orders in the Netherlands in the past time. In the recent years CAF has delivered 118 three-car and 88 four-car Sprinter Nieuwe Generatie EMUs (based on Civity platform) to NS, received an order from NS for 60 new High Capacity (partial double deck) EMUs, and  orders for metros and trams for Amsterdam.

Quintus Vosman

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