Archive for the ‘Alstom’ Category

Nice train… pity about the seats

Friday, 21 June 2013

pkp-pendolino

PKP’s Pendolino train in Savigliano. Photo Alstom.

The Polish Government has been cuddling up to Alstom, the builders of PKP’s special fleet of non-tilting Pendolinos. Today, 21 June 2013, Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk,, accompanied by the Minister of Regional Development, Mrs Elzbieta Bienkowska, visited Alstom’s turbine factory in Elbląg, Poland. On 17 June, the Undersecretary of State responsible for Poland’s railways, Andrzej Massel met his Italian counterpart Rocco Girlanda on Alstom’s site in Savigliano, Italy. The event was part of the official presentation to the board of PKP and PKP Intercity of the first Pendolino train for Poland.

The event is seen as a significant milestone in the €665m contract signed between Alstom and PKP IC in May 2011 for the delivery of 20 Pendolinos. The contract also covers the construction of the train depot in Grochow district of Warsaw and the maintenance of the trains for 17 years. The 250 km/h (156 mph) Pendolinos are scheduled to go into service from December 2014 and will connect northern and southern Poland, linking the Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Tricity, Warsaw, Cracow, and Katowice.

Rather like the wicked fairy in the tale of Sleeping Beauty, Dyspozytor, was not invited to the champagne-popping and feasting. So instead, he got out his wand and…  a puff of smoke and lots of red stars appear and there’s Andrzej Massel sitting inside the Pendolino, but something is not right, Andrzej Massel is too big, or the seat’s too small, or… .

The smoke settles and all is clear, the Pendolino bodies are tapered to stay within the loading gauge when they tilt. The Polish Pendolinos have the same narrow bodies. The 4-in-a-row narrow seats are designed around the Mediterranean-diet derrière, but the average Polish backside is a much more substantial affair. Oh dear!

More:

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!