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First refurbished ICM returns to service

02 Jun 2007

This summer Netherlands Railways begins returning to service 87 inter-city EMUs following modernisation by NedTrain, reports Hans Scherpenhuizen

PASSENGERS in the Netherlands will soon be able to ride in the first of 87 ICM1 and ICM2 electric multiple-units which are being refurbished at NedTrain's Haarlem workshops under a €190m contract awarded by Netherlands Railways on May 18 2005.

The three-car 1·5 kV DC 'Koploper' EMUs date from 1984-86, and were in need of a makeover to bring them up to modern standards. The Haarlem workshops recently completed refurbishment of 315 loco-hauled inter-city coaches, gaining experience which has proved useful for this latest contract. NS also operates 49 four-car units built from 1990 to the same design, but these are not yet scheduled for major refurbishment.

One of the aims of the modernisation programme is to provide more seats without compromising the existing seating pitch. A total of 25 extra seats has been provided in each three-car set, with the 2+2 facing layout in second class mostly replaced by a 2+2 airline format. Space has been created through the removal of redundant catering facilities, along with one of the toilets, leaving a single but now wheelchair-accessible toilet per three-car set. The guard's compartment has been retained.

The original 2+1 seating has been retained in first class, though one compartment has been removed to form part of an open saloon. French firm Compin is supplying 18 700 new seats, designed around a cast aluminium pedestal which the manufacturer says cuts the assembly time by half. Reclining red leather upholstered seats were selected for first class, with fixed-back seats covered with blue fabric in standard. Floors remain uncarpeted.

The overhead luggage racks have been replaced with new racks which include integrated reading lights. Each coach is being fitted with four Passenger Information & Entertainment System (Piaes) LCD screens, which will show a mixture of travel information, news alerts and entertainment, funded through advertising revenue. Internet access for laptop computers will be provided in every car, but 220 V power sockets will only be available in first class.

Auxiliaries updated

The original traction equipment is being retained, and there are no changes to the bogies or wheelsets which remain subject to the normal maintenance patterns. Since 2005 routine maintenance has included replacing the original compressors with two new Atlas Copco rotary screw-driven compressors with air dryers and oil/water separators, and this programme will be completed across the fleet during the current overhaul.

The trains' auxiliary systems receive a 380 V three-phase supply from two static converters for redundancy. In normal use one converter is used for the high-voltage equipment and compressors, while the other powers the the air-conditioning which has replaced the previous heating and ventilation.

Programme schedule

Work on unit 4011 was undertaken as a trial run for the refurbishment programme, with 4012 then completed as a pre-production exercise. At the end of 2006, set 4011 went to Wien for testing at extreme temperatures in the Rail Tec climate chamber (RG 1.07 p10). Some minor adjustments were made on the unit's return to the Netherlands, before series refurbishment of the fleet began on February 5 2007 with the start of work on unit 4013. NedTrain is due to deliver a completed trainset every 18 days, with the final refurbished unit scheduled to return to service in December 2010.

The official handover of completed unit 4011 took place on April 12 2007, before it re-entered normal passenger service on April 16.

  • CAPTIONS: To reduce maintenance costs the distinctive end gangways are being plated over as part of the refurbishment, having been unused since October 31 2005 in an effort to speed up the splitting and joining of train portions at intermediate stations
  • The first completed unit was officially handed back to NS Reizigers Director Jacques Huberts (right) by NedTrain Haarlem Director Alex Reinier on April 12
  • The interior refurbishment includes the provision of 25 additional seats