Irish Rail orders 18 additional battery-electric trains
Irish Rail has now ordered 37 five-car X’trapolis trains which will deliver more capacity and decarbonisation benefits in advance of electrification of the extended DART+ network.
Irish Rail/Iarnród Éireann has signed an order with Alstom for 18 more five-car X’trapolis trains and an extension to the 15-year Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement under the 10-year framework agreement announced in December 2021.
This further order, valued at €162 million, will see 18 battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) totalling 90 carriages added to the initial firm order of 19 five-car X’trapolis trains – 13 of which were battery-electric and six electric – made in 2021. This means, in total, Irish Rail has now ordered 37 five-car X’trapolis trains which are said to help deliver extra capacity and decarbonisation benefits in advance of the planned electrification of the extended DART+ network.
Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director Nick Crossfield and Alstom Ireland Managing Director Piers Wood joined Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, Anne Graham and Irish Rail’s Chief Executive, Jim Meade at the operator’s Connolly Station headquarters on 2 December 2022 to formally sign the new order.
The X’trapolis trains will comprise the first modern battery fleet in Ireland, contributing to the widening of Ireland’s carbon reduction efforts through public transport.
Jim Meade said: “As this welcome acceleration of funding for our DART+ Fleet is confirmed, the benefits of the framework agreement with Alstom become ever more apparent. We can respond swiftly, with this further major order of units under the agreement, to deliver transformative change for our services and for our customers. These further 90 BEMU carriages, coupled with last year’s order of 95 units, will help us in Irish Rail to achieve our ambition of being the backbone of Ireland’s sustainable transport network. We’re excited to continue to work with Alstom to deliver expanded services in the Greater Dublin Area, enhanced facilities for our customers, and a cleaner environment for our country.”
Nick Crossfield said: “As the world’s leading innovator and supplier of green mobility solutions, Alstom is here for the long-term to support Ireland in delivering transformative change to its citizens through sustainable rail travel. This further order of X’trapolis trains signals Irish Rail’s intent to move quickly in greening the Greater Dublin commuter network, Ireland’s most populated commuter belt as a first step in that national transformation.”
Improving Ireland’s carbon reduction efforts through public transport.
The 10-year framework agreement allows for up to 750 electric and battery-electric rail cars to be procured for the DART+ network which is planned to open in 2025. In addition to the fleet, Alstom will provide a range of services solutions, including a Technical Support and Spares Supply agreement for the first 15 years of the fleet’s operation, deploying its HealthHub and TrainScanner technologies for predictive maintenance, and providing three train simulators to support driver training. The expansion of the DART fleet as part of the DART+ Programme is funded by the National Transport Authority under the National Development Plan 2021-2030.
Due to enter service in 2025, the 37 trains with 31 five-car battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) and six five-car electric multiple units (EMUs) now ordered will be capable of journeys of more than 80km outside the electrified DART network under pure battery power, thereby taking older diesel rolling stock off those non-electrified lines. The X’trapolis trains will comprise the first modern battery fleet in Ireland, contributing to the widening of Ireland’s carbon reduction efforts through public transport.
According to Irish Rail, the 18 BEMUs order will benefit Maynooth/M3 Parkway and Kildare line services, delivering more capacity for commuters in advance of electrification.
Energy stored in the battery system will be replenished via fast charging stations at chosen terminus locations and by recovering braking energy while the new battery-electric trainsets are on the move. This will enable, for example, the new battery-electric fleet to deliver Dublin to Drogheda return services, with fast charging at Drogheda Station.
The DART+ programme
DART+ is the transformative programme that will ensure train travel is at the heart of Ireland’s sustainable transport network. Funded under the National Development Plan by the National Transport Authority, DART+ is an investment that will double the capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area network, facilitating sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in the capital and its surrounding counties.
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