THE FLEET of 120 inter-city diesel multiple-unit vehicles ordered in January represents a new departure for Iarnród Éireann, which currently uses loco-hauled vehicles on long-distance services.

Funded by the government's National Development Plan, the €262m contract for the trains was signed with Japanese trading group Mitsui at a ceremony in Dublin on January 31, watched by Transport Minister Martin Cullen.

Rotem will carry out the design and assembly of the vehicles in South Korea. The bodies are to be made of welded stainless steel, with a streamlined cab front formed from glass-reinforced plastic.

There will be full mechanical and electrical compatibility between all the cars, which are intended to be operated in 20 three-car and 10 six-car sets. Multiple working between units will be possible up to a total of 12 vehicles, and semi-permanent couplings within the sets will allow individual units of up to nine cars to be formed.

The choice of underfloor diesel power pack is expected to be announced this month, and a service-proven unit with reliable hydraulic transmission has been specified. Each car will be powered, with one power pack driving both axles on one bogie. The bolsterless bogies will be built by Tokyu Car to a Rotem air-sprung design, with yaw and lateral dampers and lateral rubber stops. The wheel-mounted disc brakes will have wheelslip protection.

The six-car units will have a catering section in one driving vehicle, with adjacent kitchen and service areas. There will be pneumatically operated single-leaf doors, with selective opening. Wheelchair spaces and accessible toilets are to be provided, and there will be automatic announcements and information displays. The trains will have on-board CCTV, and full air-conditioning.


Manufacturing of the first two three-car sets will begin in October this year for testing during 2006. Series production will begin early next year, with the first four sets to be delivered to Ireland at the end of the year and the final vehicles in service during 2008.

CIÉ and Iarnród Éireann Chairman Dr John Lynch told guests at the contract signing that 'with these new trains, offering faster, more comfortable and more frequent services across our network, we can continue to grow dramatically our record number of customers.'

Details of Irish inter-city DMUs
Gauge mm 1 600
Max service speed km/h 160
Acceleration m/s² >1·69
Deceleration m/s² 1
Floor height above rail mm 1 165
Vehicle width mm 2 800
Coupler height mm 686
Vehicle types
A1 Driving car galley 23 200 mm long, 30 seats
A2 Driving car 23 200 mm long, 64 seats
A3 Driving car storage 22 400 mm long, 44 seats
B Intermediate car 22 400 mm long, 72 seats
Train formations
3-car A2-B-A3, 180 seats
6-car A1-B-B-B-B-A3, 362 seats