[EU / Expert] News in Brief: Passenger trains

Last June we started publishing “News in Brief: Passenger trains”, our short news update service on multiple units, loco-hauled stock, and high-speed trains. This is our October edition.

If you want to share news facts with us for the next update, you can contact us via the website.

Egypt

France

  • France’s first cooperative collective interest company Railcoop, couldn’t get satisfying train paths for their twice-daily services between Bordeaux and Lyon from SNCF Reseau, the French infrastructure manager. Therefore, Railcoop has decided to postpone the introduction of its services, which should have started in the second half of 2022. The plan is now to start six months later. Railcoop wants to start passenger trains on eight routes in France.
  • On 25 September 2021, Lineas transported twelve former DB Type RIC 200 coaches from Germany to the Arlington Fleet Group in Somain, France. The coaches will be overhauled there.

Italy

  • To speed up connections between mainland Italy and the island of Sicily, The Italian Ministry of Sustainability, Infrastructure, and Mobility is considering the introduction of ‘mini’ Frecciarossa high-speed trains. The necessary investments are already planned for the next two years. Twelve 300 km/h EMUs would be purchased by Trenitalia. These  4-car units (!!) allow boarding the Sicily-bound ferries without splitting the multiple units. To (dis)embark the ferries without the help of shunters, the trains will be equipped with batteries.
  • On 29.09.2021, Italian infrastructure manager RFI presented its new diagnostic high-speed train Diamante 2.0 at Milan Rho Fiera station.

Germany

  • DB Regio is the winner of the “Express­verkehr Nordost­bayern” train operation contract, tendered by Bayerische Eisenbahn­ge­sell­schaft (BEG). Starting in 2023, DB Regio will increase its transport performance by a good eight percent. It concerns diesel-powered express services in Upper Franconia and neighboring regions in Middle Franconia and the Upper Palatinate. The contract runs to December 2030, with options to extent it by another two years. The existing timetable concept is essentially retained, and the current fleet of class 612 diesel trains will be modernised and continue to operate. New rolling stock will be ordered after 2030, when these trains are around 25-30 years old.
  • DB Fernverkehr baptised KISS EMU no. 4111 and gave it the name “Gäu”. This is an ex-Westbahn KISS. The name refers to the region that is home to the Gäubahn which is in the new regularly as the planned IC2 trains just won’t work on this line, connected Stuttgart with Zurich (CH). DB Fernverkehr plants to introduce the Stadler-built trains in December 2022, instead of the new ones made by Alstom (ex Bombardier).
  • Baden-Württemberg: The state cabinet has approved a rescue plan by Transport Minister Winfried Hermann for train operations and the employees of insolvent Abellio Rail Baden-Württemberg GmbH (ABRB). The state-owned Südwestdeutsche Landesverkehrs-GmbH (SWEG) is to step in for the next two years. This offers the best prospects for the employees and the safeguarding of train operations. SWEG has submitted a purchase offer for ABRB including the workshop. Abellio trains will continue to run on the affected routes with the current workforce, but under the umbrella of SWEG as a shareholder of Abellio Rail Baden-Württemberg (ABRB). ABRB is to receive a temporary new transport contract for two years as part of an emergency measure under European procurement law. This should guarantee full cost coverage for the train operation. Within the next two years, the transport services will be re-awarded via a tender.

Netherlands

  • On 15.10.2021, Greencitytrip started its first night train services, connecting the Netherlands and Prague. Other destinations are Vienna, Milan and Venice. Dutch operator TCS is tractionnaire in the Netherlands, initially with lease locomotive MRCE ES64F4-105, which was soon replaced by ES64F4-115.

Norway

  • The new Norwegian government, led by the Norwegian Labour Party, announced it intend to stop tendering rail services, although it is unclear how future services will be operated. Tendering in  Norway was launched in 2015. Since then three contracts been awarded by Go-Ahead Nordic, SJ Nord, and Vy Tog (former Norwegian State Railways NSB). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the remaining two packages were postponed in 2020/2021.

Portugal

  • The Portuguese Barraqueiro group, specialized in passenger transport, acquired 10 Talgo broad gauge high-speed trains from the Spanish national rail operator Renfe, for approximately 300 million euros. Under the name B-rail, Barraqueiro intends to run on the route Braga-Oporto-Aveiro-Coimbra-Lisbon-Faro. Operations aren’t expected before 2025.

Spain

  • Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC), the Catalan government train operator, is taking over the Lleida commuter services from national operator Renfe from 2024. The existing line from L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona) to Lleida will be made into two lines to double services from 6 to 12 runs/day.  Four new EMUs will replace the old Renfe units.

United Kingdom

  • On the morning of 12.10.2021, a London Overground train ran through the buffer stop at Enfield Town railway station. The 8-car train, comprised two Bombardier Aventra EMUs (710 124 plus a sister EMU). The front of the first carriage ended on top of the buffer stop just short of the platform. Fifty people were evacuated from the train, one passenger and the train driver were treated for minor injuries by ambulance crews.
  • Vivarail will be running a daily service out of Glasgow for delegates and VIPS at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland (31 October – 12 November 2021 ). It will equip its next-generation battery technology to its class 230 prototype, to show the UK’s technological innovation and ability to decarbonize.
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