SWEDEN: National passenger operator SJ is to call tenders for the supply of 30 high speed trains suitable for 250 km/h operation. The procurement has been under discussion for some time, and a final go-ahead for the project was given at the company’s board meeting on September 21.

According to SJ, a market testing exercise conducted over the past year has found considerable interest from potential suppliers. Tenders will be invited from both inside and outside Europe. The Snabbtåg trainsets are expected to be delivered from 2021 at a cost of between SKr5bn and SKr6bn, representing the company’s largest investment in new rolling stock for more than 30 years.

According to SJ, the trains must be based on proven technology, albeit adapted for Nordic conditions, including winterisation for the severe climate and tolerance of collisions with wildlife. Each train will be expected to provide at least 350 seats. There will also be a focus on making the units more intelligent ‘in everything from maintenance and technical equipment to passenger information systems’.

The Snabbtåg units are to be deployed on routes where demand is increasing, operating alongside the existing X2000 tilting trainsets which are currently being refurbished and the newer SJ3000 EMUs. The first sets are expected to enter service on the Stockholm – Malmö corridor, even though the 250 km/h Ostlänken section of the planned high speed line is not now expected to open before 2030. The units will be equipped to operate on cross-border services to both Norway and Denmark.

‘This procurement decision is a milestone in our investment strategy’, said CEO Crister Fritzson. ‘By acquiring new modern trains, we will be able to meet increasing demand for rail travel in the future, while providing our customers with a better travel experience. The new trains will provide better comfort, and shorter travel times, as well as increased punctuality and reliability.’