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ZSSK's Fleet Of Panter EMUs Complete


posted on 24th Oct 2021 11:43


On 22 October 2021, ZSSK took over the last of a batch of 25 Panter (i. e. Panther) EMUs produced by a Škoda Transportation - ŽOS Trnava consortium. Specifically, it was a four-car unit 660.012. In addition to 12 Class 660 four-car Panters (length 106 m, capacity 343 seats), the batch also includes 13 Class 661 three-car units (80 m, 247 seats). 

All of them are operated in the Žilina, Trenčín and Prešov regions, especially on the Žilina - Púchov - Trenčín, Púchov - Horní Lideč, Žilina - Čadca - Skalité - Zwardoń and Žilina - Liptovský Mikuláš lines. ZSSK states that the average availability of this fleet is 93.5 %.

The first Panters, as ZSSK's official marketing name is, started regular service on 1 December 2020 after the Slovak transport office Dopravný úrad issued approval for both classes on 28 October 2020. The half of deliveries came in March 2021, when 661.013 was handed over to the operator. At that time, it was announced that the last Panter would be delivered in October 2021, which is exactly what was finally achieved. It also means an acceleration of the contract by eight (!) months.

Let us recall that the contract was signed on 5 March 2018 and its worth is 159,999,500 EUR, making it the largest one in the history of ZSSK since the operator was founded in 2005. The majority of this amount, namely 134,598,779 EUR, is covered by the EU Cohesion Fund, another 23,752,726 EUR is covered by the Slovak state budget and the remaining 1,647,995 EUR is paid by ZSSK from its own resources; these amounts are exclusive of VAT. 

More Panters Ordered

This order is now followed by a new contract for nine 160 km/h four-car Panters for use in the Košice and Prešov regions, which was signed with a Škoda Transportation - ŽOS Trnava consortium on 9 September 2021. These EMUs are to be delivered by November 2023 and are intended for operation on the Košice - Lipany - Plaveč, Košice - Michaľany - Čierna nad Tisou and Košice - Michaľany - Trebišov lines (on the latter after electrification of the line they will be used to Humenné). The contract also includes an option for up to 11 more four-car Panters. The worth of the entire contract including the option is almost 170 million EUR.

Last but not least, all 25 + 9 Panters have to be retrofitted with the on-board ETCS, as this is dealt with as a separate contract.

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