15.04.2014 – Altenrhein, Switzerland. The first of 25 double-decker multiple-unit trains for Russian rail operator Aeroexpress are at the final assembly stage at Swiss rail vehicle manufacturer Stadler. Aeroexpress and Stadler celebrated the official start of assembly today by presenting four ready carbodies to guests from politics, business partners of the companies, representatives of the Russian and Swiss mass media. During the tour on the Stadler plant guests visited production capacities and were shown all manufacturing stages.
As of the middle of 2015, the trains will operate on the commuter railway lines between the centre of Moscow and the three international airports of Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo. The first three trains will be fully assembled in Switzerland. As of the fourth train, carriage body production and final assembly will take place at the new Stadler factory in Minsk. In February 2013, Aeroexpress ordered 16 four-carriage and 9 six-carriage double-decker multiple-unit trains from Stadler, which are to be delivered by the end of 2016. Peter Spuhler, owner and CEO of Stadler Rail Group, underlines the importance of the order: “This second order from Russia represents an important milestone in the history of the company. Our trains already have a very good reputation in many countries in Europe. The new trains will allow passengers arriving by plane to avoid sitting in the infamous Moscow traffic and head straight to the city centre on our trains. This is something we are very proud of”.
The Stadler Rail Group has become a strategic partner for Aeroexpress after participating and winning an international tender in Moscow in 2013. The parties signed the contract in May last year. The contract includes the supply of 25 double deck KISS type trains, out of which 16 units will be four-car and 9 will be six-car vehicles. The contract is worth in total EUR 685 million (including VAT), by the frames of which altogether 118 railcars will be produced by Stadler. The new double-deck fleet will allow a 30-40% increase in the transport capacity of Aeroexpress trains.
“We hope for successful passing the certification in Russia by this rolling stock and its fastest start of commercial operation. Aeroexpress is one of the few private Russian railway carriers, buying a new rolling stock at own expense. We took an active part while designing and engineering and continue to interact with the Stadler at all production stages, —Alexey Sorokin, the chief operating officer of Aeroexpress, announced at a press conference in Altenrhein. — This outstanding project is entirely for the sake of passengers convenience, as our research revealed that in 2015 we couldn't provide our passengers with high level of comfort with the existing annual increase in a passenger traffic and remained schedule. Introducing new double-deck trains is a logical solution, allowing us to not only significantly enlarge our trains’ seating capacity, but also provide our passengers with even greater comfort during their journey”.
The new trains are based on the established Stadler KISS. However, the sheer size of the Russian models makes them different from the KISS vehicles produced to date. The track gauge is 1,520 millimetres (compared to 1,435 millimetres in Western Europe). While the trains in Western Europe are normally 2,800 millimetres wide, the new double-deckers are 3,400 millimetres wide. With a height of 5,240 millimetres (compared to 4,500 millimetres in the West), the vehicles are considerably larger all round.
The trains are designed to cope with the specific Russian climate, which can range from –50 degrees Celsius to +40 degrees Celsius and in this respect are based on the FLIRT vehicles delivered to Finland, Norway, Estonia and Belarus. The trains will have a speed of 160 km/h and have comfortable, bright interiors in two classes (business and economy). The carriages are made from lightweight aluminium, which makes the vehicles much lighter than the traditional steel carriages. The reduced weight means that the train operator can make significant energy savings on everyday services.