CZECH REPUBLIC: National passenger operator České Dráhy has awarded its DPOV subsidiary a contract to refurbish the seven seven-car Class 680 Pendolino trainsets used on its flagship inter-city routes from Praha to Ostrava, Cheb, Františkovy Lázně and Košice. The work is scheduled to start this summer and take around a year.

ČD consulted with rail vehicle designers Jiří Španihel and Patrik Kotas before deciding to undertake a comprehensive interior modernisation of the trainsets, which entered service in 2004.

‘The interiors, toilets and bistro are showing signs of ageing’, said board member for Engineering, Service & Property, Miroslav Kupec on April 4. ‘For example, there is no visual information system for passengers, which is standard in today’s trains. That is why it will be added to the Pendolinos, as will a children’s cinema. There will be new seats, wall coverings, floors, luggage racks and toilets. Lighting and electrical outlets will be updated as well.’

‘The Pendolinos are our flagship, and a radical intervention is required in order to maintain their uniqueness’, said board member for Passenger Transport, Michal Štěpán. ‘Moreover, updates to selected elements will yield significant savings. The units will consume less electricity, which will save us as much as KC12m annually. And thanks to their reduced weight, we will also pay a lower fee for the use of railway infrastructure and thus gain savings of the order of hundreds of thousands of koruna per year’.