Archive for June 2nd, 2011

PKP IC orders Pendolino

Thursday, 2 June 2011

but tilting trains won’t tilt!

Latest generation tilting train, the New Pendolino ETR 600. From a photo by Mathew Black in Wikimedia Commons.

(Click on image for details of licensing.)

PKP Intercity, has awarded Alstom a contract to supply 20 New Pendolino trains, their full maintenance up to 17 years and the construction of a new maintenance depot. The first trains are scheduled for delivery in 2014. The 7-car train sets will cost €20 million each. Alstom will also supply full maintenance of the trains up to 17 years in a new depot of 12.000 m² which will be built in Warsaw. The maintenance package will bring the total cost of the contract to €665 million.

PKP SA, the holding company responsible for all the PKP daughter companies, originally hoped to attract an EU grant for the purchase of the high speed trains. Indeed the feasibility study for the EU finance assisted Warsaw – Gdansk track upgrading specifically required that the upgrading be compatible with the introduction of tilting train technology. However, the German railway industry lobbied hard against PKP acquiring the Pendalinos and receiving any EU assistance. In the end Alstom has agreed to give PKP IC another three months to complete its funding package.

PKP IC will operate the trains on existing routes in Poland: Warsaw – Gdansk – Gdynia; Warsaw – Krakow; Warsaw – Katowice. The train sets will be able to carry up to 402 passengers and have a maximum speed of 250 km/h. In practice, given the state of Poland’s railway infrastructure, it is unlikely that the trains will operate anywhere above 200 km/h (125 mph) and they will only operate at 200km on a short section of the 1970s built CMK between Warsaw and Krakow. For the rest the trains will be throttled down to 160 km/h (100 mph) or less.

Pendolino’s tilting train technology would have been ideal on the sharply curved section of the Warsaw – Gdynia line on the section Dzialdowo – Ilawa – Malbork. There just one problem – PKP IC has chosen to buy the Pendalino trains without the tilting mechanism!