Alstom to supply Dublin with battery and electric trains

Alstom signed a ten-year framework agreement with Iarnród Éireann / Irish Rail (IE) for up to 750 new electric and battery-electric rail cars for the Dublin RER. The first order consists of 19 of the X’trapolis trainsets of five cars.

The contract is valued at €270 million, with a 15-year support period. The Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) network is a rail-based rapid transit service serving Dublin and the surrounding area. It was established in 1984 and is operated by Iarnród Éireann (IE) over 53km serving 31 stations. It is normally used by 20 million passengers annually.

The 1500V DC electrified network is operated by 60 trains of five different types, all built between 1984 and 2004. It was therefore time to renew this fleet with modern rolling stock.

The initial order is for six conventional electric trainsets (EMU) and thirteen five-car battery electric trainsets (BEMU), with a planned entry into service in 2025. This concept will enable the BEMU fleet to run more than 50 miles outside the electrified network on battery power and will be the first modern battery fleet in Ireland.

The batteries will be recharged via fast charging stations at the terminals and also via recuperation of braking energy when the train is in motion. This will provide emission-free connectivity and range beyond the electrified area of the DART+ network.

X’trapolis

Alstom’s highly successful X’trapolis modular commuter train platform, which has sold over 5,500 vehicles, will be specially adapted for the DART+ programme. Each 82 metre long train will accommodate 550 passengers with wide entrances, low floors and automatically retractable steps to maximise accessibility.

Other features include dedicated bicycle and family areas, enhanced passenger services such as mobile phone charging points, electric bikes and scooters, and video surveillance systems throughout the train to enhance the safety and security of passengers and staff.

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom’s Chairman and CEO, Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Transport, and Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authority, joined Jim Meade, Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann, at IE’s workshops in Inchicore for the official signing of the contract.

The contract provides for the replacement and development of the DART fleet as part of the DART+ programme funded by the National Transport Authority in its National Development Plan 2021-2030.

An important market

“Ireland is a very important market for us and the new battery-electric X’trapolis fleet is a major step towards more sustainable rail transport, while transforming the passenger experience in the Greater Dublin area and beyond,” said Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland.

This order reinforces Alstom’s position as a leader in the innovation and delivery of sustainable mobility technologies.” Jim Meade, Chief Executive of Iarnród Éireann, said: “This framework contract with Alstom will be at the heart of a transformation of our services and change for our customers. It will help us realise our ambition to be the backbone of a sustainable transport network in Ireland. We look forward to working with Alstom to deliver more services to Greater Dublin, modernised facilities for our customers and a cleaner environment for our country.”

Alstom will service the DART fleet for 15 years, providing technical support and spare parts, and deploying its HealthHub and TrainScanner predictive maintenance technologies.

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Author: Frédéric de Kemmeter

Frédéric de Kemmeter is signalling technician and railway policy observer.

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