CZECH Railways (ČD) has ordered 182 Viaggio Comfort passenger coaches under a contract worth around €500m with a consortium of Siemens Mobility and Škoda Transportation.

The coaches will form 20 230km/h nine-car sets and will be used on long-distance domestic and international services. Czech Railway Administration (SŽ) will procure the remaining two coaches for track testing.

Siemens Mobility will be responsible for the development, engineering and rough construction, along with certification, while Škoda will be responsible for final assembly and static commissioning.

The coaches will be delivered between 2024 and 2026, and will initially operate on the Prague - Ústí nad Labem - Berlin - Hamburg, Prague - Brno - Budapest and Prague - Brno - Vienna - Graz - Villach routes. The coaches will have approval to operate in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

Each set will have seating for 555 passengers, including 99 seats in first class and 456 seats in second class, and will consist of a control coach equipped with ETCS and national signalling systems, as well as first class seating; a first-class coach; a restaurant car with second-class seating; a multi-purpose second class coach with facilities including a children’s cinema and wheelchair spots; four second class coaches; and a second-class end coach with facilities to carry 12 bicycles.

The first-class coach will have a 2+1 seating arrangement, with leather upholstery, while second class will have a 2+2 arrangement with textile upholstery. Seats in the airline configuration will have folding tables on the seatbacks, while seats facing each other will have a table in the middle. First class seats will have a wireless mobile phone charger, and all seats will have USB ports and power sockets to charge electronic devices.

The restaurant car will have 18 seats, and will support the provision of hot and cold meals as well as snacks. The interior of the train will be air-conditioned and will be pressure sealed to avoid shocks when travelling at high speeds or entering tunnels. The doors between the coaches will be automatic, while the exterior doors will be pushbutton operated.

The windows will use innovative technology to allow mobile phone signals to pass through to improve connections while maintaining the glass´ thermal insulation properties. Wi-Fi will also be provided, along with an onboard entertainment and information portals. Passenger information will be provided using an electronic audio-visual information system with integrated LCD monitors and an electronic reservation system.

The coaches will be barrier-free to make travelling easier for wheelchair users, and the trains will have three spaces for wheelchairs, as well as barrier-free toilets, electric lifting platforms and sockets to recharge the batteries on electric wheelchairs.

The trains will feature nappy changing table and pram storage spaces, along with bulky luggage storage space.

ČD previously ordered 50 Viaggio Comfort passenger coaches from Siemens Mobility and Škoda Transportation in 2018.

“The Czech Republic is planning to increase the speed limit on its conventional rail lines to 200km/h and build high-speed lines, enabling trains to run faster than the current limit of 160km/h,” says ČD CEO and chairman of the board of directors, Mr Ivan Bednárik. “That’s why we must continue with our planned investments in new trains that meet the standards for vehicles operating on both conventional and high-speed networks in central Europe.

“This will strengthen our long-term strategic partnerships in international transport as well as our position in long-distance transport. The units will be equipped with the most advanced features available on the current European market and will offer passengers the highest level of comfort.”

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