Danish State Railways (DSB)

Massive investments to renew the fleet of Danish Railways

Danish Railways DSB will completely renew its passenger train fleet by 2030. The public operator is preparing to welcome a variety of rolling stock in the coming years. What will the new fleet consist of?

The renewal of the rolling stock in Denmark is a logical consequence of the continuous improvements of the infrastructure. Danish rail infrastructure manager Banedanmark is a governmental body under the Ministry of Transport and is responsible for main-line electrification and the installation of the ETCS signalling system. Also, in 2019 a new section of 250km/h high-speed line in Denmark was inaugurated between the suburbs of Copenhagen and Ringsted to the south west. The improvements of railway infrastructure therefore has an impact on the rolling stock as more electric trains are needed which will be all fitted with onboard ETCS equipments.

However, it should be noted that the reverse also exists. For example, in late 2017, Banedanmark issued revised plans delaying the implementation of the nationwide ERTMS level 2 deployment by seven years from 2023 to 2030, because there are some problems for obtaining and fitting onboard equipment on the long-distance DMU fleet (IC3 and IC4 trains).

Short career

Summarising all the withdrawals of old rolling stock, in 2030 only the 113 Bombardier-built double-deck coaches and some Class IC3 multiple units will be still in regular service. In fact, the renewal programme has already started with the phasing out of the Multiple units type MQ and the Henschel Class ME diesel-electrics locomotives, which should no longer appear on the network from 2023.

In the next few years, the troubled AnsaldoBreda-built Class MG IC4, will be scrapped by 2026 after a short and unsuccessful career of less than twenty years.

DSB-Vectron-Siemens
A DSB Vectron locomotive manufactured by Siemens

New rolling stock

DSB has already decided on the suppliers for its future rolling stock. In March 2018, DSB selected Siemens to supply its next generation electric locomotives with an initial order for 26 200km/h Vectrons designated Class EB (picture above). An option for 16 others machines was exercised in 2020. The AC variant of the Vectron locomotive received approval for operation in Denmark from the Danish safety authority on 15 September 2020.

The approval is an important milestone for the commissioning of 42 Vectron locomotives. The first three locomotives were delivered in September 2020. In 2022, all 42 Vectron Class EB will be fitted with ETCS onboard equipments, while the new Copenhagen-Ringsted line will be operational with ERTMS. The Vectron will have a push-pull service with trains consisting of Bombardier-built double-deck cars.

Talgo trains

In February 2020 DSB started a tender open to railway manufacturers from all over the world. DSB awarded to Talgo the construction of trains for the renewal of the major part of its passenger vehicle fleet. These units will operate on the domestic Intercity routes and on the international line connecting Denmark with Germany.

The first order under the framework contract, worth 500 million euros, involves the supply of 8 trains based on the Talgo 230 platform with a commercial speed of 200 kilometres per hour. The model chosen features full interoperability and compatibility with Vectron locomotives. DSB has not opted for driving trailers and the sets will operate in top-and-tail mode.

The arrival of the Talgo in Scandinavia is a real novelty and also demonstrates that the Spanish manufacturer has undeniable assets in terms of rolling stock. Deutsche Bahn has also made the same choice for its future Intercity trains.

Train of the future

Finally, the last major order concerns what DSB call Fremtidens Tog, the ‘Train of the Future’. On 12 April 2021, the state operator announced it has selected Alstom to supply 100-150 5-cars sets EMUs, based on the Coradia Stream platform, with a capacity of 300 passengers. These trainsets will replace IC3, IC4 and IR4. First eleven trainsets will be delivered in 2025.

To maintain the new electric trains, DSB will build a new maintenance workshop. The operator signed a contract with MT Højgaard Denmark for the construction of the 11,500 square meter building, as well as a railway technical facility at Godsbanegården in Copenhagen. The start of construction will take place in January 2022, and according to the plan, the workshop will be ready for use in the spring of 2024.

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Author: Frédéric de Kemmeter

Frédéric de Kemmeter is signalling technician and railway policy observer.

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