Marking the largest tender in Swiss rail history, the order will see up to 510 single-decker FLIRT multiple units. An initial call-off order will see Stadler supply 286 vehicles and will represent an order volume of approximately 2 billion Swiss francs.
In October 2021 Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Thurbo and RegionAlps gave Stadler the framework agreement for the production and delivery of up to 510 single-decker FLIRT multiple units and the Swiss Federal Administrative Court has now rejected an objection of an unsuccessful bidder from last year.
Following on from this, Stadler has now won the biggest tender in Swiss rail history as the contract has now been signed which means that they can commence the manufacture of the 286 FLIRTs from the initial order.
The new trains are set to slowly take the place of old rolling stock. Stadler will also be making 155 four-car FLIRT trains for SBB, 24 four-car FLIRT trains for RegionAlps and 19 four-car and 88 three-car FLIRT trains for Thurbo with the first expected to be in operation in December 2025. The last vehicles to be delivered of the initial call-off order is set to be delivered during 2034. The framework agreement features an option for up to 224 extra FLIRT vehicles.
At 57.8 metres long, the three-car FLIRT vehicles have a capacity for 256 passengers with seating for 134. The four-car train measures in at 73.5 metres and has room for around 370 passengers with seating for 146. The vehicles provide step-free boarding and step-free accessibility right through from the front to the rear door.
The more recent FLIRT trains offer many benefits for passengers when compared to current vehicles such as more storage space for bikes, pushchairs and large items of luggage. The new trains also feature room for winter sports equipment such as skis in the multifunctional zones alongside good mobile phone and data reception whilst on the move and power outlets in every compartment. The vehicles also support passengers with reduced mobility with two places per train for wheelchair users and a wheelchair accessible toilet. First class also features wheelchair spaces. Passengers will also enjoy the contribution the new trains will make to improving punctuality due to increased motorisation.
Peter Spuhler, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Group CEO ad interim of Stadler said:
“We are incredibly proud to be able to build these new trains to help expand Swiss regional transport. In 2002, SBB was the first rail operator to order the FLIRT model shortly after its development. It is a great honour for us that after a 20-year success story, the 2,500th FLIRT train sold will now also run on Swiss rails. We would like to thank SBB, Thurbo and RegionAlps for the trust they have placed in us and look forward to deepening our long-term cooperation even further,”
Stadlers popular FLIRT model is a single-decker multiple unit which is suitable for both local and long-distance services. With SBB’s framework agreement considered, Stadler has sold its top selling vehicle more than 2,500 times in 21 countries from the Arctic Circle to Africa.
FLIRT trains bring intelligent and innovative design alongside tried and tested technology and are incredibly versatile due to Stadler’s proven module concept. The trains drive system, acceleration and modular arrangement also make for a cost effective approach to urbanisation and the increasing demand for the transport sector. A major positive of this concept is that each train can be altered for the requirements of regional and intercity transport. Stadler also now manufactures FLIRT vehicles with alternative drives such as battery or hydrogen alongside the purely electric, diesel or mixed drive models.
Stadler is supplying 55 battery-powered FLIRT trains to Nahverkehrsverbund Schleswig-Holstein and 58 battery-powered FLIRT trains to DB Regio in Germany, alongside the development of the first hydrogen-powered FLIRT train for the American San Bernardino County Transportation Authority. Stadlers battery-powered FLIRT means that they hold the world record for the longest journey in a battery-powered train using battery-only mode.