Transport boosts the Topo line service with four new larger trains which will be in use by summer
Euskotren, a publicly-owned company of the Basque Government’s Ministry of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport, has already received the first two train units at its Araso shop. In 2021, it placed an order with CAF for four such units in order to increase the passenger capacity on the Topo line service and on the future Donostialdea rail loop, and to continue modernising the rolling stock with better performing units. Minister Iñaki Arriola, accompanied by the Basque Government’s Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Pedro Marco, by the Euskotren general manager, Javier Seoane, and representatives of the CAF group, visited the premises today to learn about all the details of the new rolling stock (EMU Series 940).
These four new units will come into service over the summer to provide Euskotren with greater capacity to address the growing demand both on special services for cultural and sport events or local festivities, and to deal with the extra pressure on the regular rail service with the opening of the new section on the Topo line. The infrastructure being built by Euskal Trenbide Sarea (ETS) will eliminate the current end-of-line Amara station. Three new stations in Donostia/San Sebastián will be added to offer better frequencies and more convenient routes.
The main new features of the rolling stock include four carriages – one more than the previous series, the 950 –, which means a capcity of around 400 people (120 seated). All the units will have WCs. Their purchase has involved an investment of nearly €40 million and has received financing from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan using Next GenerationEU Funds
Minister Arriola stressed that “ “the ultimate goal of our government action regarding transport is to offer a sustainable, efficient, safe and convenient rail transport system. We therefore need to act on two fronts. We have to undertake the necessary infrastructures to extend our train, tram and underground services throughout the whole territory, and increase and improve the rolling material to provide citizens with a quality service”.
Technical tests at Araso
The first two trains are in the final phase of their manufacturing process and will undergo the last technical tests during the coming weeks. Prior to coming into service, the trains undergo different static (already performed in the factory) and dynamic tests on the rails, which guarantee their safety and proper functioning. The process with the first two units is currently underway at the Araso shop and will be completed from spring onwards. The first unit is therefore expected to be in operation in early summer. The other three will then be gradually incorporated in a process which is expected to be completed during the summer of 2023.
The four new units will initially operate on the Euskotren E1 railway line, between Matiko (Bilbao) and Amara (Donostia/San Sebastián), and along the Zumaia – Amara section (Donostia/San Sebastián). Once the construction of a new section on the Topo line has been completed, the units are planned to run between Matiko (Bilbao) and Altza (Donostia/San Sebastián) and on the Zumaia – Altza section (Donostia/San Sebastián), which will extend the distance covered in each service.
Improved energy efficiency and technological advances
The manufacturing of these four trains is part of the process to modernise the rolling stock that Euskotren embarked on in 2011 with the coming into service of the EMUS 900 Series. It has been completed in recent years with the addition of the EMUS 950 Series, which offers certain improvements particularly regarding accessibility. The 940 Series, to which the trains that will come into service this summer belong, will have similar characteristics to the 950 Series. However, the technological and safety features of the units are improved, while providing a feeling of uniformity of the interior and exterior design of the whole fleet.
The rolling stock will also comply with current legislation regarding universal accessibility with the following basic characteristics: colour contrast, spaces reserved for people with functional diversity, light warning at the entrance with automatic ramp, ramps operated from the driving position, sound alarm systems, anti-slip floors…
As regards safety and maintenance, the units will use the latest technologies for the real-time monitoring of the driving parameters, and the state and condition of the critical components of the train itself, in order to predict situations and thus be more reliable and offer a better service. They also have the ERTMS system, which supervises the driving of the train and of the safety conditions when in operation, along with devices to help to manage emergency situations and for greater safety in the unit.
Advancing in energy efficiency and reducing consumption is another of the targets sought with these new trains, which come with improved management of the traction motors. The algorithm to regulate the temperature inside the train has also been improved so that it is more stable and offers greater passenger comfort when travelling on Euskotren.