SWEDEN: The MTR Nordic subsidiary of Hong Kong's MTR Corp has ordered six Stadler Flirt electric multiple-units for use on open access inter-city services which will compete with national operator SJ between Stockholm and Göteborg. Delivery is scheduled for autumn 2014, with MTR Express services to begin once commissioning is completed.

MTR plans to operate 110 services a week on the 455 km Stockholm - Göteborg route, calling at Flemingsberg, Södertälje, Hallsberg, Herrljunga and Falköping. 'Our strategy is to bring a fast, new premium-quality service to Swedish inter-city passengers', said MTR Corp CEO Jay Walder. 'We believe this will not only be attractive to existing rail passengers, but will also draw other business and leisure travellers to choose rail over other modes of transport to commute between Sweden's east and west coasts'.

The SKr700m rolling stock supply and maintenance contract announced on November 13 is Stadler Rail's first order to deliver trains to Sweden. The five-car aluminium-bodied EMUs are to be built in Switzerland. The 15 kV AC units will have a maximum speed of 200 km/h, and will be fitted with the L10 000 automatic train protection system.

According to Stadler, the EMUs will have an 'especially high-quality interior' for comfortable travel across long distances, including a buffet car. 'We will offer the most environmentally-friendly option and focus on comfort and service that will suit both those who travel for business and private travellers', said Johan Söör, Business Development Director at MTR Nordic.

The EMUs will be winterised with floor heating, heat recovery systems, double-wall interior gangways and snow scrapers between the bogies and car body, similar to trainsets Stadler has supplied to Norway and Finland.

MTR has operated the Stockholm metro since 2009, and is now expanding into the inter-city rail market. The company intends to begin recruiting around 70 staff for MTR Express in early 2014. 'We are a long-term player in the Nordic market with world-leading expertise and strong financial backing from our owner in Hong Kong', said Peter Viinapuu, CEO of MTR Nordic. 'Over time we aim to increase our presence in Sweden and the Nordic countries with further rail activities.'