GERMANY: ‘This is a prime example of how tried and tested rolling stock can be upgraded and refurbished to provide passengers with a level of convenience similar to that of new trains’, said Thomas Schmidt, Managing Director of Alpha Trains Europa, when Talbot Services unveiled a modernised Alstom Coradia Continental electric multiple-unit.
The EMU has been refurbished at Talbot’s workshop in Aachen as a pilot for the modernisation of 35 units which Transdev subsidiary NordWestBahn has operated on Regio-S-Bahn Bremen/Niedersachsen services since December 2010. In 2019 Transdev was awarded the next contract to operate the services for 15 years from December 2021, requiring an updating of the fleet.
Alpha Trains said its engineering team’s long experience of fleet modernisation was a ‘key advantage’ in what will be its largest refurbishment project to date. The specifications are based on the requirements of the transport authority, and have been developed in collaboration with Talbot.
‘The overall concept is both sustainable and future-proof due to the considerable savings in terms of resources’, Schmidt explained.
The upgrade includes fitting wi-fi and provision for 5G, power sockets, a passenger information system with large screens giving real-time information on connecting trains, sockets for charging e-bikes, modern CCTV, energy-efficient LED lighting and tinted scratch-resistant foil.
The ‘contemporary’ interior design features new upholstery, armrests and tables. The toilet is fitted with disinfectant and fragrance dispensers, and there are powder coatings on the handrails. The refurbished train has been outshopped in an updated Transdev livery.
Accessibility improvements included a guidance system for blind passengers, door buttons with locator tones and improved access to the multi-purpose area designed for prams, wheelchairs and bicycles.
Modernisation of the remaining 34 units is planned to start from January 2023, with two units being refurbished at a time and the work taking six weeks per set.
‘The prototype train offers a great foretaste of what awaits our passengers’, said Ulrich Ehrhardt, Managing Director of NordWestBahn, on July 28.
‘With this state-of-the-art technology, we will hopefully be able to convince many more people of the convenience and the advantages of the Regio-S-Bahn network in particular, but also of regional rail transport in general.’