ro-Softronic-Hyperion EMU-crop

Local builder Softronic demonstrated its Hyperion EMU prototype on a daily Craiova – București – Constanța service in the summer of 2014. (Photo: Mihai Tudosă).

ROMANIA: Railway reform authority Autoritatea pentru Reformă Feroviară has invited bids for the supply of 20 low-floor EMUs for use on long-distance inter-regional passenger services, together with their maintenance for an initial 15 years. The call for tenders published at the beginning of April follows a previous competition for regional EMUs which was launched last year.

With a 40% low floor to ensure accessibility for passengers with reduced mobility, the inter-regional EMUs are required to provide seats for more than 300 passengers. Delivery is expected within 31 months of contract award, with the entire duration including maintenance running for 17½ years.

The order is valued at 1·3bn lei, while contract options for an additional 20 EMUs and a doubling of the maintenance period to 30 years could take the total value of the package to 3·7bn lei. Bids are due to be submitted by June 3. According to ARF, the tenders will be assessed on two main criteria: 65% related to the life-cycle cost, and 35% to quality criteria.

The procurement is being funded from the national budget, using co-funding under the EU-backed Large Infrastructure Operational Programme 2014-20. Intended to replace existing life-expired trainsets and increase capacity, the new EMUs will be purchased by ARF and made available to the train operators through a variation on their existing public service contracts.

ARF called tenders in April 2019 for a build of 40 regional EMUs with options for a further 40. In September a joint venture of CRRC and Astra Vagoane Arad was named as preferred bidder, offering a variant of a Chinese inter-city EMU with most units to be assembled locally. This ranked ahead of Alstom offering its Coradia Stream and Siemens proposing a Desiro ML variant. While all three bids were deemed technically compliant, the authority said it had identified potential conflicts of interest which needed to be addressed before a contract could be awarded. The procurement was suspended in mid-March pending a ruling from the Court of Appeal, although AFR pointed out that the bid validity has been extended until July.