NETHERLANDS Railways (NS) has launched a European wide tender for new electric Sprinter trains by publishing a request for information.

A limited number of suppliers will then be selected to submit bids to supply the trains, with NS expecting to select the winner of the tender in early 2024.

The new fleet will have capacity to seat between 8000 and 18000 passengers, with the final number of trains to be determined during the tender process. The contract could also include options for additional orders, including for variants with authorisation to operate on the Belgium and Germany networks.

As Sprinter services stop at all stations, the fleet will require effective braking and fast acceleration, with a maximum speed of 160km/h. NS is also exploring ways to make the trains suitable for InterCity services.

The interior must be light and spacious, and will need to meet the standards for passengers with reduced mobility. The trains will feature a retractable step between train and platform, passenger information, Wi-Fi, and USB and power sockets.

NS expects to place the first new trains into service during the December 2027 timetable change.

The operator has decided to launch the tender for the new trains while it is still taking delivery of Sprinter New Generation (SNG) EMUs from CAF, as it anticipates a strong increase in passenger numbers in the long term. CAF is delivering 118 three-car and 88 four-car trains, based on its Civity platform. Stadler delivered 33 three-car and 25 four-car Flirt 3 EMUs to NS between 2016 and 2017. In addition, NS and Alstom unveiled the first of 79  Intercity Next Generation (ICNG) trains at Rotterdam station earlier this month, which will become the backbone of the operator’s long-distance fleet.

“NS is transporting about 80% of the usual passenger volume before the Corona pandemic,” says NS manager for new rolling stock and tenders, Mr Roel Ockhuijsen. “NS is still looking to the long term: we expect a strong increase in passengers towards 2030. As it takes years before a newly ordered train is taken into service, we must prepare ourselves for the future and must start the tender proceeding now.”

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