Britain: The first of Avanti West Coast’s new fleet of class 805 bi-mode Hitachi trains made its first test run on the West Coast Main Line on February 10.

The train undertook the 900km inaugural round trip from Alstom’s Oxley depot in Wolverhampton, where the new fleet will be maintained after it enters service, to Glasgow Central.

The trial follows two months of successful dynamic testing at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC) at Melton Mowbray. This involved checking the basic performance of onboard systems and equipment, including the pantographs, Wi-Fi, CCTV, coupling capability when running in multiple and emergency lighting.

Two trains will now be tested over the coming months at up to 201km/h. In addition, several new features will be assessed including improved passenger information, the seat reservation system, operation in multiple and selective door opening, which allows the class 805 train to call at stations where the platforms are shorter than the overall train length.

The new 23-strong fleet will replace diesel-only Voyager trains later this year on routes from London to the West Midlands, Chester, North Wales and northwest England, reducing CO2 emissions by 61%.

Slovakia: First Slovak Railway (PSŽ) has signed a purchase agreement with CZ Loko for two EffiShunter 1000 locomotives. The agreement was signed in Jihlava, in the Czech Republic, where the locomotives will be manufactured. They are due to be delivered at the start of 2025.

“The shortage of diesel locomotives and the increased volume of traffic in Romania and Hungary, especially on non-electrified lines, accelerated our decision to buy two EffiShunters,” says PSŽ general manager, Mr Ladislav Szutányi. “The decisive criterion, besides quality, was to extend the interoperability of this type of locomotive to Romania.”

PSŽ also operates in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and the locomotives are certified to operate in all four countries.

Czech Republic: Czech Railways (ČD) plans to introduce 80 new trains in 2023. The South Moravian, Olomouc and Vysočina regions will benefit most, but ČD says new trains will be introduced in half of the country’s regions.

“The renewal of ČD’s fleet will enter another stage this year,” says ČD CEO and chairman, Mr Michal Krapinec. “In the case of the RegioPanter units, more than half of all the ordered trains will be delivered and operation of new class 847 units from Pesa will begin. In the first half of the year, new RegioPanter units will replace old trains on electrified lines in Vysočina and in the second half of the year, replacement of older trains will begin in the Olomouc Region. Other new RegioPanter units will head to the Moravian-Silesian Region.

“This year, we will also take over 31 new four-car Moravia units from the South Moravian Region, which we will operate at least until the end of 2024.”

Poland: Łódź voivodeship has awarded Pesa a contract to supply four three-car Regio160 EMUs to enable local operator Łódź Agglomeration Railway to increase capacity. The contract includes options for a further 20 EMUs. Each of the 3kV dc EMUs will have 160 seats and capacity for 350 passengers, with Wi-Fi, air-conditioning and a family area.

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