Sweden: SJ has awarded VR Fleet Care a €35m contract to refurbish its fleet of 27 three-car double-deck X40 EMUs. Work at VR’s Oulu and Pieksämäki sites in Finland will include modifying the interior layout, replacing seats and lighting, and upgrading the passenger information system, with the programme due for completion in 2027. According to VR Fleet Care CEO, Mr Otso Ikonen, the contract is “a great opening for us in the Swedish fleet maintenance market.”

Croatia: Rolling stock manufacturer Končar has awarded Leclanché a contract to supply 14 INT-53 Energy lithium-ion battery packs and control systems for a battery-powered train ordered by Croatian Railways (HŽPP), and 12 battery packs for a hybrid battery EMU for HŽPP. “The eight-year lifecycle of the INT-53 packs and their compliance with the strictest European railway standards are essential qualities for us,” says Končar CEO, Mr Gordan Kolak.

Korea: Knorr-Bremse is to supply complete electropneumatic braking systems for a further 208 commuter and regional EMU cars that Dawonsys is building for Korail, and which are due to start entering service at the end of the first quarter of 2024. Dawonsys has exercised an option in a contract it awarded in 2020 to supply braking systems for 150 EMU cars, Knorr-Bremse’s first order in the Korean regional and commuter train market.

Britain: GB Railfreight (GBRf) has signed a contract with Stadler to provide full maintenance services for the fleet of up to 30 class 99 Eurodual bi-mode Co-Co locomotives that it is supplying under a contract awarded by leasing company Beacon Rail and GBRf in 2022. The maintenance contract will start in 2025, once the first locomotive has been delivered, and has a term of up to 16 years. The class 99 fleet will be based at a new depot in Leicester where Stadler will undertake repairs and manage overhauls. The supplier is also responsible for spare parts, mobile service support and maintenance software.

Europe: Siemens has announced that its Vectron electric locomotive design has been approved to operate throughout the Scandinavian Corridor running from Norway to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria. The Vectron is the first locomotive equipped with ETCS enabling it to operate on the Öresund link between Sweden and Denmark. Swedish passenger operator Snälltåget has leased three Vectrons from European Locomotive Leasing (ELL) to haul cross-border services in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria.

Belgium: Belgian National Railway (SNCB) has awarded Alstom a contract to supply ETCS Level 2 onboard equipment for 37 class 77 diesel-hydraulic locomotives built by Siemens-Vossloh, which will feature a Specific Transmission Module (STM) for the national TBL 1+train protection system. Installation will take place during a fleet overhaul programme scheduled for 2023-2025 and the contract includes maintenance over 10 years. The Alstom signalling plant at Charleroi will execute the contract and is now looking to recruit 80 new engineers.

Britain: Great Western Railway (GWR) has extended its contract with Hitachi Rail to maintain its fleet of 36 class 802 bi-mode trains for a further five years until 2028. The extension will see Hitachi increasing its presence at Laira depot in Plymouth and undertaking the majority of class 802 maintenance at this location, which is closer to major destinations on the GWR network in Devon and Cornwall. Hitachi says that its maintenance contract supports 500 depot jobs and an annual supply chain spend of £70m.

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