[NL] CAF ‘Sprinter’ trains arrive in the Netherlands – testing commences [updated]

This month, the first ‘Sprinter Nieuwe Generatie’ EMUs have arrived in the Netherlands. Unit no. 2701 and 2703 (both 4-car) and 2301 (3-car) were transported from the VUZ Velim test center in the Czech Republic to the Netherlands. Time to have a closer look at these new CAF trains for the Dutch railways (NS).

During the next years, NS will receive 118 SNG units from CAF. The first ones will be commissioned in 2018. It is the third new generation of ‘Sprinter’ trains that will enter service. Siemens/Bombardier delivered the SLT series during the past decade to replace the ‘Mat ’64’ EMUs. Stadler Rail was asked to come with a quick intermediate solution for the shortage of rolling stock NS is currently facing, resulting in a short-term delivery of 58 FLIRT trains. The new CAF trains are the result of a tender issued in 2013. These trains will replace ageing original ‘Sprinter’ trains from the 70’s (series 2100/2900, type name SGM) and make sure the NS fleet has sufficient rolling stock for short distance services for the near future.

The new generation Sprinter trains of the Dutch railways:

  • series 2201-2233 – Stadler Rail FLIRT 3-car EMU – Delivered 2016-2017
  • series 2301-2368 – CAF SNG 3-car EMU – 68 on order
  • series 2401-2469 – Siemens/Bombardier 4-car EMU – Delivered 2007-2012
  • series 2501-2525 – Stadler Rail FLIRT 4-car EMU – Delivered 2016-2017
  • series 2601-2662 – Siemens/Bombardier 6-car EMU – Delivered 2007-2012
  • series 2701-2750 – CAF SNG 4-car EMU – 50 on order

CAF was awarded the order for ‘around 120 units’ in 2015, beating Alstom as final opponent. In March 2017, the first CAF train was released from the CAF factory in Besoin in Spain. EMUs were taken to Vienna for climatic tests and to the VUZ Velim test center in the Czech Republic.

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VUZ Velim test center. The future NS 2701 makes its rounds on 23.08.2017 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink
VUZ Velim test center. The future NS 2701 makes its rounds on 23.08.2017 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

Arrival in the Netherlands: 2301, 2701, 2703
On 14.09.2017 unit no. 2703 was the first of its type to arrive in the Netherlands. It was transported by RailAdventure and came into the country via Bad Bentheim border station. From there it was taken to Amsterdam-Zaanstraat depot/workshops.
On 23.09.2017, another two units arrived in the Netherlands; a combination of a 3-car and a 4-car unit. Both were again taken to Amsterdam. These trains have the Sprinter livery that was introduced in the 00s by the Dutch railways. It is predominantly white and blue with yellow doors. The CAF trains have more blue than the other Sprinter type. As a result the NS logos have are small and got slightly crammed. The EMUs are based on CAF’s proven Civity train design for regional services, however the Dutch trains feature a different front design.

2701 and 2301 on transport in the Netherlands – Photo: Henk Zwoferink
2701 and 2301 on transport in the Netherlands, coupled in between RailAdventure cars and behind Railexperts locomotive 9901 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

In 2015 we were already able to take a look inside a future SNG train, as CAF then presented a mock-up of the train to selected people to validate its design. Its interior is designed to be bright and inviting. It is as open as possible, only the toilet cubicle will block the sight throughout the whole train. Like all NS trains these day, the second class seatings are blue, the first class (always with 36 places) features red coloured seats. The interior features purple and blue ‘stained glass’ graphics, applied on glass panels and on/inside the toilet cubicle.

Technical parameters
The topspeed of the SNGs is set on 160 km/h. It will be 59,5 / 75,7 meter long (3-car / 4-car) and weigh 110 / 138 tonnes. With the new trains around 20.000 seats will be added to the fleet (or old ones being replaced). A 3-car / 4-car has around 150 / 200 seats. They will have the ERTMS and ATBvv signalling systems.

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The nose sections of the 2701 and 2301 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

In Leidschendam, a dedicated maintenance facility is being erected, as much of the technical equipment on the CAF is roof-mounted. This will be ready in 2018. Most important now is the start of test runs in the Netherlands. Currently, CAF has built six units that serve as prototype. Three are now in the Netherlands, three more will come from Germany/Czech Republic. It is not known to us how the other sets will come from Spain to the Netherlands. Let’s await and see!

Towards a bright future? NS 2701 at VUZ Velim testtracks on 23.08.2017 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink

Update 04.10.2017 x2: At this moment four units have arrived in the Netherlands, 2701, 2702, 2703 and the 3-car 2301. And things are going fast! On the evening of 03.10.2017, NS no. 2701 was the first EMu of its type to move on the Dutch rail network under its own power. Testing has started! 

NS 2701 at Amsterdam Centraal station on 03.10.2017 – Photo: Henk Zwoferink