NETHERLANDS: The first of 19 V250 trainsets being built by AnsaldoBreda for NS Hispeed and SNCB is undergoing pre-delivery trials at the Velim test track in the Czech Republic.

AnsaldoBreda V250 Albatros train

Dispatched from Pistoia on March 26, the Pininfarina-designed 250 km/h trainset is now expected to be delivered to the Netherlands by the end of this year, with the first units entering service in mid-2009 (RG 4.08 p199). However, there are suggestions that even this timescale may not be met, as the manufacturer is reported to be undertaking substantial work to complete the train in the test plant at Velim.

Ordered in 2004, the Albatros sets are destined to operate domestic high speed services on HSL-Zuid between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda, and replace the existing stock on Benelux services linking Amsterdam with Antwerpen and Brussels.

Two cars in each half-set are motored, giving a total power rating of 5 500 kW. The units are equipped to operate on 25 kV 50 Hz and 1·5 kV DC in the Netherlands, and 3 kV DC in Belgium, but will also have 15 kV 16·7 Hz capability which would allow them to run into Germany. For this reason they will be fitted with LZB as well as ETCS Level 2, ATB and TBL train protection systems.

With first class accommodation in three vehicles, the trains will have seats for 127 first class and 419 second class passengers. There are four toilets, of which one is fully-accessible.

Each eight car trainset will have two driving cars 26 950 mm long and six shorter 24 500 mm intermediate cars, giving a total length of 200 m. Total weight of an eight-car set is put at 423 tonnes.