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A contract securing the supply of 21 new train carriages for Northern Ireland Railways has been officially signed by Translink and Spanish rail manufacturer CAF.
Announcing this contract, Chris Conway, Translink Group Chief Executive, said it was essential to provide much needed capacity to cope with increasing customer demand.
“This is great news and another very exciting step in the development of Northern Ireland’s rail network. Their introduction will also help deliver the ambitions of the draft Programme for Government to increase the use of public transport and active travel.
“Passenger numbers have grown by more than 130 per cent in the last 12 years, reaching 15 million in 2017 – the highest in Northern Ireland Railways’ 50-year history. This has followed the introduction of a new rail fleet, infrastructure investment and service and timetable enhancements alongside a continued focus on improving the overall customer experience.
“The 21 new carriages will allow us to build on this success and increase capacity, with around 1,400 additional seats, operating more six-carriage trains on busy routes at key times of the day.
“With a three-year lead time we would expect to start to take delivery of the new carriages during 2021 with the last sets planned to go into passenger service in autumn 2022, following testing and commissioning.
“We are pleased to once again work in partnership with CAF after exercising an option within the original Class 4000 train procurement contract to purchase additional intermediate carriages. They will meet the very latest standards in comfort and quality and be compatible with our current fleet.
Chris continued: “CAF has been successful in implementing rail systems all around the world, providing satisfaction for millions of customers, and we are confident this contract between Translink and CAF will once again meet the high standards expected by all our passengers, employees and stakeholders.
“As more people make the train their first choice for travelling we look forward to the introduction of this new fleet and thank the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) for their ongoing support and commitment towards public transport.
“Working together with all our stakeholders, we are helping build a more sustainable and successful future for Northern Ireland, boosting the local economy, supporting social inclusion and improving our local environment,” Chris concluded.
Katrina Godfrey, Permanent Secretary, Department for Infrastructure, said: “Reflecting the aim of improving wellbeing for all, which drives the work of all departments, DfI is committed to increasing the use of public transport and encouraging people to consider active travel options. To deliver that increase, we need to have the right infrastructure and facilities in place.
“The demand for rail services has grown in recent years with some services operating at near capacity, particularly at peak times of the day. We need to make sure we continue to invest in the network to build on this success. The Department is therefore pleased to invest £50 million in the 21 new carriages which will provide additional capacity, greatly enhance the passenger experience and encourage more commuters to make the switch to public transport.”
Josu Esnaola, CAF Group Commercial Director, said: “This contract continues our long and successful business relationship with Translink Northern Ireland Railways.
“The new carriages will be fully compatible with the existing CAF-built fleet of 20 Class 4000 trains which entered service from September 2011.
“CAF also previously supplied 23 Class 3000 trains which became operational between 2004 and 2005.
“We are very much looking forward to working with Translink again and are confident our state-of-the-art trains will help meet increasing passenger demand while ensuring exceptionally high levels of comfort, accessibility and safety.”
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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