Who said loco haulage was dying? (Hungarian and Czech railway companies sign contracts for up to 165 passenger locomotives)

43096

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The last week has seen two major orders for new passenger locomotives in Europe.

In Hungary, MÁV-Start has entered into a framework contract with Siemens for the delivery of up to 115 Vectrons, with an initial order for 35 locomotives.

While today in Czechia, Siemens has won an order for 50 multi-system Vectrons with 230km/h maximum speed, as per the Siemens press release (https://press.siemens.com/global/en...P4rip5KaT4g0HPGs6HEK8PP2zgaCTDpSD_hLLNAjttzR0):

Siemens Mobility receives major order for locomotives and service from Czech Railways​

  • Delivery of 50 Vectron MS including full service for fifteen years
  • First Vectron with an operating speed of 230 km/h
  • Delivery from December 2025

Czech Railways has ordered fifty Vectron MS multisystem locomotives from Siemens Mobility. The contract also includes service for fifteen years. With a maximum operating speed of 230 km/h, the locomotives are suitable for operations on conventional as well as high-speed lines in fast cross-border passenger traffic. Delivery will start from December 2025.

“We are delighted about the trust placed in us by Czech Railways and our biggest Vectron order to date from the Czech Republic. For the first time, our locomotives are also suitable for service on high-speed lines with a top speed of 230 km/h. Czech Railways will thus be ideally equipped for providing flexible, sustainable and cross-border rail transport. With the additional service contract, we will also guarantee the operational availability of the locomotives,” said Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility.

"We have very good experience with Vectron locomotives from Siemens. We currently operate 18 locomotives, and others are used by our subsidiary ČD Cargo. We believe this next generation of Vectrons with a maximum speed of 230 km/h will earn equally positive references. We will deploy them together with 20 ComfortJet non-traction trainsets and they can also run with our Czech Railjets,” said Michal Kraus, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of ČD and Deputy Director General for Maintenance.

The locomotives for Czech Railways will be manufactured at the Siemens Mobility plant in Munich-Allach. They incorporate the globally proven Siemens ETCS on board unit solution Trainguard 100/200/300 and are equipped for operation in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Czech Railways plans to operate the locomotives on the Prague – Hamburg, Prague – Vienna – Graz, and Prague – Budapest lines. Vectron locomotives are the most modern locomotives for passenger transport in Europe and ensure the greatest flexibility thanks to an extensive portfolio of country homologations.
Siemens Mobility has already sold 1,327 Vectron locomotives to 61 customers. The locomotives have covered more than 500 million kilometers to date and are currently approved for operation in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Isn't it just central Europe states replicating Austria's Railjet model, and to ensure extensive interoperability between them and places like Italy?
Also capping their domestic high-speed ambitions at 230/250km/h (ie no full high speed lines at 300km/h+)?
They have local solutions for the rolling stock involved, within the overall Railjet design.
Siemens is the obvious winner (with local manufacture in some cases).
Siemens Mobility has now sold 1 327 Vectron locomotives to 61 customers, with approval for operation in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey
.
 

Davester50

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Isn't it just central Europe states replicating Austria's Railjet model, and to ensure extensive interoperability between them and places like Italy?
I'm sure I travelled on a blue RailJet in the Czech Republic a few years ago.
Makes sense to copy something that works well
 

Fragezeichnen

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The Czech locomotives will probably run together with fixed, specialised coach sets. So it's more like a British Intercity 125 than traditional flexible formation loco hauled stock. For ordinary hauled stock 200km/h would be enough.
 

Davester50

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Thanks. I just saw it was a Railjet to Austria, and presumed a deep red coloured train would turn up.
I didn't know the Czechs had them.
 

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Thanks. I just saw it was a Railjet to Austria, and presumed a deep red coloured train would turn up.
I didn't know the Czechs had them.
Their build has local manufacture, so they are not exactly the same, but they fit the same overall design.
It does say goodbye to the Škoda equivalent loco though (class 380), which was intended for cross-border use but never achieved it, so ČD bought a raft of Vectrons instead.
The Railjet-like ČD coach sets will be called Comfortjet.
As part of its ongoing fleet modernisation programme, ČD has ordered 20 nine-car push-pull trainsets suitable for 230 km/h operation.
Deliveries are scheduled between 2024 and 2026. The total value of the contract announced on April 12 is estimated at KC12·5bn.

The 180 Viaggio Comfort vehicles for ČD will be similar to the 50 cars supplied by the same manufacturers in 2018 under a contract valued at €115m; the first of these began test running in mid-2020.
They are similar to ÖBB’s fleet of Railjet trainsets used in neighbouring Austria.
 

Austriantrain

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Thanks. I just saw it was a Railjet to Austria, and presumed a deep red coloured train would turn up.
I didn't know the Czechs had them.

They were actually procured by ÖBB but then ČD bought them from ÖBB for the joint operation of the Prague - Vienna - Graz two-hourly service.

Since then, however, ČD has ordered various Railjet derivates, none yet delivered. The Vectrons will most probably be for these, but could also take over from the 1216 of course.

The ÖBB and now ČD/MAV model of buying LHCS sets differs from the mainstream, but seems - considering none of these countries have lines with more than 230 km/h max speed [*] nor do neighbouring countries have these in the immediate vicinity - to be cost-effective (what a very heavy loco does to the track at 230 km/h is, however, quite a heated debate).

When the Czechs have built their planned Praha - Brno HSL, all this will probably change, but usage for all these railjets and derivatives will surely be found on other lines.

[*] Czechs and Hungarians are very far from 230, but since north to Germany and west/south to Austria, this speed is required and the Siemens products are available for it anyway, it makes sense to order for that max speed.
 
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43096

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[*] Czechs and Hungarians are very far from 230, but since north to Germany and west/south to Austria, this speed is required and the Siemens products are available for it anyway, it makes sense to order for that max speed.
I think it’s the running into Germany that has driven the 230km/h requirement as upgrades are planned for bits of Dresden-Berlin-Hamburg. ČD were looking at buying more secondhand ES64U4s for this to take their fleet to over 20; presumably the 230km/h Vectron order indicates that no one is prepared to sell.
 

Austriantrain

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I think it’s the running into Germany that has driven the 230km/h requirement as upgrades are planned for bits of Dresden-Berlin-Hamburg. ČD were looking at buying more secondhand ES64U4s for this to take their fleet to over 20; presumably the 230km/h Vectron order indicates that no one is prepared to sell.

230 will also be necessary to run towards the south of Vienna when the Semmering tunnel and Koralm line open. Of course, their existing sets can do it, but flexibility is welcome in any case.
 

43096

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230 will also be necessary to run towards the south of Vienna when the Semmering tunnel and Koralm line open. Of course, their existing sets can do it, but flexibility is welcome in any case.
Looking at the press release quotes there’s a hint that the 1216s leased from ÖBB may go back. The numbers stack up quite well: 30 locos for the 20 new ComfortJet sets and 7 existing RailJets and 20 locos to allow them to bin the Skoda 380s.
 

Austriantrain

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Looking at the press release quotes there’s a hint that the 1216s leased from ÖBB may go back. The numbers stack up quite well: 30 locos for the 20 new ComfortJet sets and 7 existing RailJets and 20 locos to allow them to bin the Skoda 380s.

Makes sense. I am sure that ÖBB could use the locos for RJ traffic to Italy.

In addition to the 20 sets, ČD in 2018 ordered another 50 Viaggio coaches in (IIRC) doubles and triplets (no full sets with DT).
 

43096

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In addition to the 20 sets, ČD in 2018 ordered another 50 Viaggio coaches in (IIRC) doubles and triplets (no full sets with DT).
I think they’re in fixed 5-car sets and are currently being delivered. There’s no driving vehicles on those sets.
 

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