Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands have unveiled the first of 81 modernized double-deckers (type VIRM) ahead of going into service later this year. The trains are a fully refurbished version of the InterRegioMat EMUs that were built by Talbot / Bombardier in the 1990s. The new look train is fully equipped for the ‘modern traveller’; being more durable with improved aerodynamics, a bigger focus on passenger experience and information, improved accesibility and sustainabilty. And even some art on the walls and probably the smartest toilet trains in Europe!
Marjan Rintel, Director of Operations at NS on the unveling: "This type of train is our networks main workhorse carrying up to 1,000 passengers per time. This modernization not only gives the trains a new lease of life but with its Dutch craftsmanship looks beautiful too!"
The full modernization has been carried out by NS in their own workshop in Haarlem following an investment of approximately € 450 million.
Hans Seegers, director of the workshop which carried out the modernization: "We are extremely proud of this train, our passengers will feel like it is brand new. We have built on the experience of the 50 double-deckers (type DDZ) which we have already modernized here before and which are now in service. Now we have finished this first double-decker (type VIRM), we can start serial production. Between 2016 and 2020, approximately 20 new trains as every year will be refurbished and returned to the track. It’s a good example of sustainability as they can again last for years. By 2021 all 81 trains will have been refurbished."
A major difference for passengers stepping on-board the new trains, will be the differences between the upper and lower levels. The upper level is a more traditional set-up, with the new seats laid out in airline formation, lending itself to work or reading. Silent carriages are also now included. The ground floor has a more open design, with seats facing each other and lounge style seating.
All trains are equipped with: modern furniture; LCD screens displaying real time travel information and free Wi-Fi. For improved accessibility, wheelchair accessible toilet are available, Braille plates have been added to the handrails and there’s improved visibility and signalling on the train doors.
In line with our industry’s focus on the environment, specially selected sustainable materials have been used and the latest technology such as low energy HVAC LED lights that adapt to the amount of light outside have been fitted. All the old pieces of the trains that have been removed that can be recycled have been.
The traditional inter-city of yellow with horizontal blue stripes has been retained as has the original traction equipment and wheelsets.
The modernization of this double (type VIRM) is part of a program of € 2.5 billion for investment in new / upgraded equipment at NS. Included in this investment are 58 new Sprinters Stadler coming onto the tracks later this year. 2018 will see 118 new Sprinters CAF and in 2021 approximately 80 new Intercity trains will be delivered by Alstom.
Watch an interview with Roger van Boxtel, CEO, NS at SmartRail Europe 2016 here.
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