CHINESE rolling stock manufacturers CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive (CRRC Zelc) and CRRC Shandong have signed agreements with Acemil of Hungary to cooperate in the field of rolling stock production, which will see new production facilities established in Hungary.

Acemil is owned by a private investment fund and is active in the IT, services, logistics, energy and agricultural sectors. It also has a strategic partnership with Rail Cargo Hungary to develop rail freight traffic between China and Hungary, which aims to increase the volume of raw materials moving to Hungary while cutting transit times.

Signed during the state visit of China’s president, Mr Xi Jinping, to Budapest last week, the agreement with CRRC Zelc will see a rolling stock production centre established in Hungary, as well as three other facilities for fleet maintenance, training and research and development.

The agreement with CRRC Shandong covers the common production and assembly of wagons in Hungary.

Hungary requires new rolling stock to replace its aging and shrinking passenger fleet; Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) last placed a new DMU into service in 2003, which followed the introduction of 40 Russian-built DMUs in 2002. It also leased eight second-hand Desiro DMUs for 20 years from Greece in 2009.

The last new diesel locomotives that MÁV introduced were built in 1972-1984 while the coach fleet is insufficient to meet demand, which is at an all-time high following the introduction of lower fares or even free travel for a wider range of passengers in March. Buses have replaced rail services on some secondary lines.

The Hungarian government has been trying to revive domestic rolling stock production for decades but a lack of funding and international competition has seen Ganz-Mávag more or less disappear. Both Alstom and Stadler manufacture rolling stock and major components such as bogies and bodyshells in Hungary.

Dunakeszi Jarmujavito (DJJ) was threatened with closure until Transmashholding of Russia took a 50% stake with a view to building coaches for Egyptian National Railways (ENR) at the site.

DJJ is now 100% Hungarian-owned after Magyar Vagon acquired the Transmashholding stake in 2022, and is building 646 new coaches for ENR. Magyar Vagon is part of the consortium attempting to acquire Talgo of Spain.

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