SPAIN’s national operator, Renfe, has awarded a €281.5m framework contract to Talgo to manufacture up to 40 variable-gauge 330km/h power cars, with a firm order for 26 power cars worth €195.5m.

The power cars will be based on Talgo’s Avril design and will be able to switch between 1435mm and 1668mm gauge tracks and 25kV ac and 3kV dc electrification enabling them to operate on both the high-speed and conventional networks.

The contract is the final part of a project to convert 13 rakes of 200km/h Talgo passenger coaches into 330km/h trains by adding a power car at each end.

The initial €107m contract was awarded in February 2018 and involved conversion of 156 Talgo series 7 Trenhotel overnight coaches into 13 rakes of day coaches suitable for high-speed operation. The order included an option worth €44m to upgrade another batch of 72 coaches to form six rakes.

The new order includes the maintenance of the 13 trains, which could be increased if the option in the framework contract to increase the number of power cars on order to 40 units is exercised.

Talgo’s Avril train, 30 of which have been ordered by Renfe, is currently being certified for operation. Daily dynamic tests are underway on the 89km Venta de Baños - Burgos high-speed line which has not yet opened for commercial operation. As part of the tests, the new Talgo Avril power cars will soon run at more than 360km/h, paving the way for the commissioning of the 13 refurbished conventional trains.

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