IRISH Rail (IÉ) has agreed a 10-year framework agreement with Alstom for up to 750 new electric (EMU) and battery-electric (BEMU) X’trapolis cars, with 325 destined for the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (Dart) network.

An initial €270m order for six-five-car EMUs and 13 five-car BEMUs has been placed, which also includes a 15-year support services contract. The new trains will be built in Katowice, Poland, and will begin operating in 2025.

The contract was signed at IÉ’s Inchicore Works, Dublin, on December 13, by Alstom chairman and CEO, Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Irish minister for transport, Mr Eamon Ryan, National Transport Authority (NTA) CEO, Ms Anne Graham, and IÉ chief executive, Mr Jim Meade. Commissioning of the trains will be carried out at Inchicore with support from British engineering teams based in Derby.

The fleet order is one of five separate but complementary projects in the Dart+ Programme, which is funded by NTA under the National Development Plan 2021-2030. The preliminary business case for the Dart+ Programme received approval from the Irish government on December 7. This project will double hourly passenger capacity to 52,000 and treble the length of the Dart network to 150km.

The new 1600mm-gauge 1.5kv dc trains will be 82m-long with capacity for 550 passengers. Walk through gangways, low level flooring and automatic retractable steps will be fitted to provide accessibility for all passengers. The new fleet will be fitted with dedicated cycle and family areas, charging points for mobile phones, e-bikes and e-scooters, and advanced CCTV throughout the train. Alstom will supply its HealthHub and TrainScanner technologies to enable predictive maintenance on the new trains.

The BEMUs will have an 80km battery range. Energy will be replenished via fast charging stations at selected terminus locations and via regenerative braking. This will allow for emissions to be reduced ahead of the planned electrification of the full Dart+ network.

“The new electric and battery-electric X’trapolis fleet is a big step for making rail even more sustainable,” says Mr Nick Crossfield, Alstom managing director for UK & Ireland. “This order reinforces Alstom’s position as the world’s leading innovator and supplier of green mobility technologies.”

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