18 October 2022 is likely to go down as a very special milestone in Škoda Transportation’s corporate history: Škoda delivered new trams to three operators in three countries on the same day, while a supply contract for 33 new trolleybuses for the Czech city of Ústí nad Labem was signed shortly before.
It should be extremely rare that a manufacturer delivers three trams almost simultaneously or presents them to the public. But that is exactly what happened on Tuesday, 18 October. While the first ForCity Smart 45T tram for Brno was presented to the public, the first ForCity Smart 36T reached the RNV depot in Ludwigshafen, while a good 2,000 km to the north, the second ForCity Smart Artic X54 for the Jokeri line in Helsinki was delivered. But let’s have a look at the different projects step by step:
On 18 October, the first new ForCity Smart 45T for the second largest Czech city in Moravia (Jihomoravský kraj) was presented to the public in front of invited guests. From mid-December, the new ForCity Smart 45T will be in service on the new tram line 8 leading to the university campus. In the coming weeks, the tram will cover the kilometres required for commissioning and approval and then go into trial operation with passengers.
The ForCity Smart 45T tram is a bi-directional, low-floor, three-car vehicle with turnable bogies. The middle car rests on two bogies, while the end cars each are mounted on one bogie each. Reliable driving characteristics even in bad weather are ensured by the vehicle’s full adhesion. The 31-metre-long tram has room for up to 233 passengers, 64 of whom are seated. The maximum speed is 70 km/h. Air conditioning and two large multifunctional spaces for wheelchairs, trolleys or bicycles are also available. The new tram also offers a modern, clear information system with screens and panels. To ensure safety, the vehicle is equipped with a camera system.
Brno Public Transport has signed a contract with the Škoda Group for the purchase of up to 40 new trams – five vehicles are currently on order. The total value of the contract is CZK 2.4 billion (approx. € 98.1 million).
The new tram has a spacious, air-conditioned interior equipped with stainless steel handrails, widescreen LCD information monitors and USB chargers. The RIS2 control and information system or EOC2 validators are also available. For the transport of several wheelchair users, the tram has a total of four tilting platforms. The tram is also equipped with an external and internal CCTV system and partially tinted side windows.
The driver’s cab has been redesigned. In addition to the clear console, which focuses on simplicity and good visibility, some of the controls are located directly on the driver’s seat. The windscreens are equipped with heating, the front windscreen with design daytime running lights. The electrical equipment enables recuperation, i.e. the feeding of electricity back into the grid during braking, which reduces the vehicle’s overall consumption and thus its operating costs.
In the early hours of 18 October, the time had finally come: the first RNT 2020 tram, the first Rhine-Neckar tram, was delivered from Pilsen in the Czech Republic to the Ludwigshafen depot of Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (rnv). In the coming days, the first tests will begin at the rnv depot before the vehicle can set off on test runs in the transport area. The vehicle will be presented to the press on Wednesday, 26 October.
“Škoda a has been working very intensively on the completion of the first vehicles over the last few days and weeks and now it actually went quite quickly,” reports Martin in der Beek, technical managing director of RNV. “We are delighted that the first tram is finally here in the region,” says in der Beek. However, it will still take quite some time before passenger service begins. “Together with Škoda, we still have a lot of work ahead of us before passengers can ride the RNT for the first time.” In the coming months, thousands of test kilometres will have to be covered, functional tests carried out, procedures tested and staff trained before the trams actually go into operation.
While the tram with the number 1401 could be seen at the international rail fair InnoTrans in Berlin in September, the first car to be delivered is the number 1402.
The order comprises a total of 80 vehicles and has a volume of over EUR 250 million, of which around EUR 95 million will be financed by a loan from KfW IPEX-Bank. The European Investment Bank EIB is also involved with a long-term loan.
They are supplied in three different length variants:
- 31 trams with 30 m length
- 37 trams with 40 m length
- 12 trams with 58 m length
The long trams are intended to avoid multiple trams at rush hour and thus accommodate more passengers in the same space. According to Škoda and RNV, the 60-metre version of the RNT would be the longest tram in the world.
Far to the north, the second of a total of 29 new ForCity Smart Artic XL for Joker Linie was delivered. The new type of tram stands out from previous 100% low-floor trams thanks to its innovative vehicle architecture: The five-section vehicles have four bogies, each housed under the first and second module.
After a 10,000 km endurance test conducted on Helsinki’s existing tram network, the first vehicle was delivered to the new Jokeri Line depot in Roihupelto on 12 July.
Since then, the first test and setting runs have been taking place on the new 25 km long tangential line. Commissioning is scheduled for 2024.
Ústí nad Labem
From tram to trolleybus: On 7 October, the Czech city of Ústí nad Labem ordered a total of 33 new Škoda 27Tr trolleybuses, with Solaris supplying the mechanical part. This order will exceed the amount of CZK 650 million (approx. 25.5 million euros) and will build on our previous cooperation.25.10.2022