INTRO: For the first time in Europe LRVs are being built to withstand an end loading of 800 kN. Harry Hondius reports

ROTTERDAM operator RET has ordered 21 articulated LRVs from Bombardier Transportation for the RandstadRail project (RG 4.05 p209), with an option for a further 27 cars.

Destined to work between Slinge (Rotterdam Zuid), Rotterdam Centraal, Blijdorp, Melachtonweg and Den Haag Centraal, they will be delivered between January and December 2008.

The cars will be assembled at Bautzen, with electrical equipment from Mannheim, traction motors from VEM in Dresden and bogies from Siegen. Pairs of cars will run in multiple at peak times. They will also be able to be coupled mechanically but not electrically with RET’s existing fleet.

The new cars are derived from 63 two-section Type MG2/1 metro vehicles and 18 similar Type SG2/1 sneltram cars supplied by Bombardier and Alstom-Traxis between 1999 and 2002. These single-cab vehicles run back-to-back in pairs to form a 60m trainset. The RandstandRail cars will be 42m long with three articulated sections; construction methods and the bogies will be identical to the earlier vehicles, although the cab has been redesigned.

As with RET’s other sneltram cars the new units will operate through the metro tunnels using a 750V DC third rail power supply, switching to 750V DC catenary when they reach the surface and join the former Hofpleinlijn.

Between Laan van NOI and Den Haag Centraal RandstadRail will run parallel to the ProRail main line, although it is fully segregated. Thus, for the first time in Europe the LRVs are being designed to withstand an end loading of 800 kN as required by Euronorm EN12663 PIII; until now 600 kN has sufficed.

Together with full air-conditioning, this is one factor influencing the weight of the cars. Whereas the SG2/1 cars averaged 530 kg/m2, the RandstadRail cars will average 574·5 kg/m2, an increase of 8·4%. With eight 130 kW motors driving all axles, the power to weight ratio is 16·1 kW/tonne.

The contract is valued at €83m, which is €3·95m per car or €35242/m2. Seven years ago, the price for the 18 SG2/1 vehicles was just 25890/m2.

TABLE: RandstadRail LRVs in detail

Car length mm 42010

Overall width mm 2664

Width at entrances mm 2650

Doorway opening mm 7 x 1300

Bogie wheelbase mm 2050

Distance between bogie centres 11250

Wheel diameter mm 780/700

Buffing load kN 800

Empty weight tonnes 64·3

Maximum speed km/h 100

Continuous rating kW 8 x 130

Seats 104

Standees 166

CAPTION: RET has chosen Enthoven Associates of Antwerpen to style the 42 m vehicles, which will have plastic shell seats Images: Enthoven