Finland VR’s new steering cars to be tested

VR’s new steering cars will start tests at the end of April. The cars will start services next summer. The purpose of purchasing new rolling stock is to improve the travel comfort of passengers.

– The new cars allow VR to better serve its customers. With the steering cars we can improve efficiency at busy rail yards and improve the punctuality of rail services, says Antti Tiitola, Senior Vice President, Passenger Services.

VR orders additional steering and restaurant cars

VR ordered 12 steering cars and 15 double-deck restaurant cars from Transtech Oy in spring 2011. The order is worth over 90 million euros. Furthermore, the deal includes an option for 13 steering cars and 11 restaurant cars which VR has now decided to purchase. The additional order is worth over 55 million euros.

The first restaurant cars will start services at the beginning of 2014 and all the new restaurant cars will be in operation by autumn 2014. It is estimated that the additional steering cars and restaurant cars will be completed by autumn 2015.

Around 80% of parts of the steering cars and restaurant cars are made in Finland. The rolling stock orders placed in 2011 and now are estimated to offer employment equivalent to around 1630 person work-years.

The steering cars combine a locomotive and a passenger car

The double-deck steering car is a totally new rail car type in Finland. The car joins the features of a locomotive and a passenger car: one end has a driver’s cabin and the passenger compartment has around 100 seats. The car livery is in line with VR’s green look.

The steering car together with double-deck IC2 cars forms a train offering a wide range of services. The train has two classes, Eco and Extra, a MiniBistro sales trolley, services for the disabled and services for families and those travelling with pets.

IC2 trains equipped with a steering car have working compartments renovated on the basis of customer feedback and separate hypoallergenic compartments. The service range of IC2 trains also includes luggage transport and storage. The new steering car has e.g. two additional bicycle spaces which means that the IC2 trains will have space for five bikes. The steering cars have a new type of led lighting and air conditioning system.

Steering cars improve punctuality and speed up train travel

With steering cars trains can be steered from both ends without changing locomotives which makes rail operations easier at in particular the congested Helsinki and Tampere rail yards. Introduction of the steering cars improves the punctuality of rail services in all parts of Finland.

The steering cars will at first be used in current IC2 trains operating mainly from Helsinki to Turku, Tampere and Kouvola and to Pori, Jyväskylä, Seinäjoki and Vaasa.

Later on it is possible to introduce the steering cars to other routes and cut travel times on some routes such as Helsinki–Kuopio.

The cars will operate on a number of lines during the tests that start in April. The tests will focus on e.g. the car’s running characteristics, safety and travel comfort.

Steering cars have been used in Central Europe for decades. In Finland the acquisition of a new type of car has been a product development process involving both customers and VR staff. VR has required rail car manufacturers to possess experience in making rolling stock to be used in Finland.

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Source : VR Group

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