CZECH REPUBLIC: National operator ČD has awarded a consortium of Siemens and Škoda Transportation a €115m contract to supply 50 Viaggio Comfort locomotive-hauled coaches.

Announcing the order on July 3, ČD Chief Executive Pavel Krtek said the order would ‘further strengthen our competitiveness in main line transport, not only within the Czech Republic, but also in Central Europe.’

Deliveries are scheduled to start within 32 months. Siemens will be responsible for engineering, production of the bodyshells, supplying the bogies, dynamic commissioning and vehicle authorisation.

Škoda will supply the auxiliary converters and control cabinets and undertake final assembly and static commissioning.

The 200 km/h coaches will be similar to vehicles Siemens has previously supplied to ČD and Austrian Federal Railways for Railjet services.

The new stock will operate in 132 m long five-car sets with semi-permanent bar couplings and pressure-tight gangway connections within the sets. The end vehicles will have a standard UIC coupling.

‘This will allow us to flexibly respond to operational needs and to connect several units to create a longer and higher capacity train, as well as connect individual passenger cars to create trains with different capacity and services’, said ČD board member Miroslav Kupec. ‘It will be possible to connect other first and second class cars, restaurant cars, bicycle cars and driving cars. This makes it possible for these non-traditional trains to operate as a common locomotive-hauled train as well as a push-pull train.’

Each five-car air-conditioned set will provide a total of 330 seats, with wi-fi, power sockets and USB points. The first vehicle in each will be a first class seating car. The second vehicle will be a multi-purpose car with second class seating, an information point, a conductor’s compartment, three spaces for wheelchairs with charging points for electric wheelchairs, an accessible toilet and an electric lift, a family area with a cinema, pushchair space and changing table, and space for eight bicycles. There will then be three second class cars.