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Stadler FLIRT

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Stadler FLIRT

RABe 522 of the Swiss Federal Railways
Type and origin
Power type Electric, Diesel
Builder Stadler Rail
Build date since 2004
Total produced 910 trains ordered (8/2013)
UIC classification Bo′2′2′2′Bo′ (four-section train)
Gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
1,524 mm (5 ft)
Length 42.066–106.278 m (138 ft 0.1 in–348 ft 8.2 in)
Locomotive weight 76–206 t (75–203 long tons; 84–227 short tons)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 120–200 km/h (75–124 mph) [usually 160 km/h (99 mph)]
Power output 1,300–4,500 kW (1,700–6,000 hp)

Stadler FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) is an electric multiple unit (EMU) produced by Stadler Rail AG. The articulated trainset comes in units of two to six cars with two to six motorized axles. The maximum speed is 200 km/h (120 mph). Standard floor height is 57 cm (22.4 in), but 78 cm (30.7 in) high floors are also available for platform heights of 76 cm (29.9 in).

The FLIRT train was originally developed for the Swiss Federal Railways and was first delivered in 2004. The trains quickly became a success and were ordered by operators[1] in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Czech Republic,[2] Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. As of February 2015, 1,094 units have been sold.[3]


The FLIRT is a new generation of electric multiple units, even though it has a striking resemblance with GTW vehicles. The trains can have two to six sections and are available for all commonly used power supply systems (AC and DC) as well as standard and broad gauge. It has jacobs bogies between the individual sections, with wide walk-through gangways. The floor height at the entrances can be chosen by the operator, providing level boarding at most stations. Automatic couplers of either Schwab type (on all Swiss units) or Scharfenberg type at both ends of the train allow up to four trains to be connected.

All FLIRT variations use IGBT based traction converters from ABB, which drive the induction motors located in the two bogies at either end of the train. On the two-section trains, only one bogie is powered, while on longer versions it is possible to have a third powered bogie in the middle, found on the trains for NSB and for PKP Intercity in Poland. Each bogie usually has a continuous power rating of 1,000 kW (1,300 hp) giving a typical four-section train 2,000 kW (2,700 hp) total power output as well as maximum power output of 2,600 kW (3,500 hp) over a short time. Depending on the number of powered bogies, the length and weight, they will reach top speeds between 120 and 200 km/h (75 and 124 mph) (typically 160 km/h or 99 mph). Acceleration also varies between 0.8 and 1.2 m/s2 (2.6 and 3.9 ft/s2).



Stadler FLIRT of the Swiss Südostbahn on Seedamm

The Swiss Federal Railways were Stadler's first customer for the FLIRT when they ordered 42 units with options for 100 more in September 2002. The first vehicle was delivered in 2004 for the use on the Stadtbahn Zug.[4]

Meanwhile, the Swiss Federal Railways have ordered a total of 117 units that can be broken down into four different types that differ in their equipment for driving in neighboring countries. The base version is the RABe 523 that is used on the Stadtbahn Zug and the RER Lausanne. These 43 four-section units can only be used within Switzerland. The 30 RABe 521 and 14 RABe 522 are versions that can also be used in Germany and France respectively. They also consist of four sections and are used on the Basel S-Bahn. The last version is the Italy-capable RABe 524/ETR 150 that is used on Treni Regionali Ticino Lombardia (TILO) services in Ticino and northern Italy. The first 19 units of this type to be delivered were four-sections long, and were followed by eleven units ordered that six-sections long and are additionally equipped with the ETCS Level 2 train control system.[5]

Besides the Swiss Federal Railways two other companies in Switzerland operate FLIRT trains: The Südostbahn uses 11 trains with the designation RABe 526 and the Transports Régionaux Neuchâtelois owns three trains (RABe 527).




Stadler Rail has signed a contract to supply Azerbaijan Railways with 30 gauge-changing sleeping and dining cars for use on future Baku-Tbilisi-Kars.[7]


10 units to the Belarusian Railways[8] delivered 2011. 6 more to be delivered 2013–14.[9]

Czech Republic

Stadler FLIRT of Czech private rail operator LeoExpress on the test circuit in Cerhenice, the Czech Republic

The Czech private operator LEO Express ordered 5 units.[2] Units are modified as InterCity trains. All 5 units have operated on the PragueOstrava line since December 2012. Since December 2013 one unit is operated on the PragueStaré Město u Uherského Hradiště and since December 2014 next one unit is operated on the international route PragueKošice (Slovak Republic). The maximum speed of these units is 189 km/h (117 mph), but in service it is limited to 160 km/h (99 mph).


Estonian Stadler FLIRT EMU 1401 in Keila

Elron ordered 18 electric and 20 diesel broad-gauged trains. By June 2014 all 38 trains were delivered. This has been the first time FLIRT DMUs were produced.[10] First five trains went into service on 1 July 2013 and by January 2014 all old trains were replaced by the new ones. On 16 April 2014 one of the new DMUs that had been operating for just 5 months had an accident near Raasiku. The unit was badly damaged. It will go back into service by 2015 when the two damaged carriages will be replaced with new ones.[11] Elron investigation initiated in November 2014. There were suspicions that some DMUs might have design faults. Two serious design flaws were found. [12]


Sm5 class EMU in Riihimäki

75 four-section broad-gauged FLIRT units, classified as Sm5 in the Finnish system, have been ordered by Pääkaupunkiseudun junakalusto Oy (a joint venture between the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa & Kauniainen and the VR Group) for service on the Helsinki commuter rail network. The Sm5 units will be leased by Pääkaupunkiseudun junakalusto to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council, but they will be operated by the VR Group.[13] The initial order in 2006 was for 32 trainsets. Nine further units were ordered in 2011 and 34 further units in 2014.[14]

The first Sm5 unit arrived in Finland on 11 November 2008.[15] Following preliminary testing the first unit was displayed to the public in Helsinki on 17 December 2008. During the remainder of on 2008 and for most of 2009 the Sm5 units were extensively tested in different parts of Finland.[16] The first unit entered passenger service on 18 November 2009.[17]


FLIRT of Westfalenbahn
FLIRT of DB Regio

The Cantus Verkehrsgesellschaft, a joint subsidiary of Hessische Landesbahn and Hamburger Hochbahn, became the first German FLIRT operator when they received their first train in 2006. Their fleet consists of 14 three-car and 6 four-car units.

Since December 2007 Abellio Rail NRW operates 9 three-car and 8 two-car FLIRT trains for regional routes between Essen, Hagen, Iserlohn and Siegen. This was the first time that a FLIRT with only two sections was ordered.

Also since December 2007 Westfahlenbahn GmbH uses 14 three-car and 5 five-car trains for trains services in the Teutoburg Forest region.

In 2006 DB Regio, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG ordered five five-section vehicles for regional services on the German east coast. The trains were delivered in August 2007 and are now used on the routes RostockStralsundLietzowSassnitz (Hanse-Express), SassnitzStralsund and BinzLietzow.

The biggest order from Germany so far came in October 2006 from the leasing company Angel Trains Europa GmbH when they ordered 25 four-car FLIRT trains. All 25 units have been leased to Eurobahn who uses them on the Hellweg network in North Rhine-Westphalia.[18] Only a year later, in November 2007, Angel Trains ordered 4 more four-car and 14 five-car trains that will also be used by Eurobahn.[19]

On the InnoTrans 2008, a trade fair focused on rail transport, VIAS GmbH announced their order for 12 four-section and 7 three-section units. Starting in December 2010, the trains will be put on the FrankfurtKoblenz route.[20]


Hungarian State Railways FLIRT
  • Hungarian State Railways[21] operates 60 units (deliveries between 2007–10). Technical details: single voltage 25 kV, maximum speed 160 km/h, four section trains with 200+11 (folding) seats, up to 3 trains can be connected together. Red-black-white livery.
  • Győr–Sopron–Ebenfurth railway[22] (in 2012 ordered 4 units, delivery until Q2 2014. First two units arrived in 6 December 2014 and started their public service on 15 December of the same year.[23])
  • Hungarian State Railways (in 2013 ordered further 42 units, delivery until Q3 2015). The first two units arrived on 27 February 2014[24] and the first one presented to the public at Kápolnásnyék on 19 March.[25] New units have arrived in new livery of blue and white colour scheme with yellow doors instead of the previous red and white one.
  • Győr–Sopron–Ebenfurth railway (in 2013 ordered further 6 units, delivery until Q3 2015)
  • Hungarian State Railways (in July of 2015 ordered further 21 units, delivery until Q4 2016). The first unit arrived on 11 September 2015[26] These four section units have the same blue and white colour scheme with yellow doors which is the same as the 2013 orders livery.
  • With the 2015 order, Hungary will have the biggest fleet of Stadler Flirt EMU trains. MAV will operate 123 units (2016), while GYSEV operate 10 units from this series.
  • It's planned that the first 60 units will be equipped with ETCS L2 signaling, control and train protection system, while all newer units are already equipped with ETCS L2.


ETR 340 unit in Italy.

In Italy FLIRT are used by six regional railways, in total units ordered and built are so divided among the following companies:

Ferrovie del Gargano: name ETR 330, single voltage to 3 kV DC, maximum speed 160 km/h. Fleet: three units.[27]

Ferrotramviaria: name ETR 340, single voltage to 3 kV DC, maximum speed 160 km/h. Fleet: four units.[28]

SAD used on Val Pusteria Railway name ETR 155 and ETR 170. C.a dual voltage 15 kV / 3 kV cc. Fleet: four units (ETR 155) and four units (ETR 170), In July 2011 have been ordered eight new units for routes within the jurisdiction of SAD.[29]

Sistemi Territoriali: name ETR 340, single voltage to 3 kV DC, maximum speed 160 km/h [10]. Fleet: two units from 2008,[30] four and sixteen FLIRT ordered in 2009. The FLIRT ordered in 2009 will be built in conjunction with the AnsaldoBreda: the Stadler Rail will carry vehicles head of convoys, systems of traction and onboard auxiliary, the bogies and bearing while AnsaldoBreda realize intermediate cars, the staging and the final composition of the train and the delivery to the operators at the plant in Pistoia.[31]

Tilo (Switzerland / Italy):[32] RABe 524/ETR 150 C.a dual voltage 15 kV / 3 kV cc. Maximum speed 160 km/h. The first 19 units of this type to be delivered were four-sections long, and were followed by eleven units ordered that six-sections long and are additionally equipped with the ETCS Level 2 train control system.[5]

Ferrovie Emilia Romagna: twelve units, in conjunction with the construction AnsaldoBreda: the Stadler Rail will carry out the head of the convoys of vehicles, systems, traction and onboard auxiliary, engines and carriages bearing while AnsaldoBreda carry out intermediate cars, the staging and the final composition of the train and the delivery to the operators at the plant in Pistoia.[31][33]


On 1 July 2014 Latvian rail operator Pasažieru vilciens announced that it will purchase Stadler trains.[34]


On 23 April 2015 the Netherland's railway operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen announced that it was ordering 58 Stadler FLIRT EMUs, comprising 25 four-car units and 33 three-car units, to be delivered by the end of 2016.[35][36] The very short delivery deadline (20 months), to meet capacity needs, allowed NS to invoke 'urgency mode' provisions in EU procurement rules and place the order without tendering. The 58 FLIRT EMUs for NS will be produced at Stadler's plant in Siedlce, Poland, 92 km east of Warsaw, following the order which that plant is completing for PKP Intercity in Poland.[37]


The Stadler Flirt for NSB Railways at Innotrans 2010

50 Flirt units were ordered by the Norwegian State Railways (NSB), with a further 100 on option. Twenty-six units will be used on the Oslo Commuter Rail and the remaining 24 units will be used on regional and express routes.[38] During spring and summer 2012 all Flirt trains used by NSB are to be fitted with free wireless Internet access for the passengers. In the NSB system, the FLIRT trains are classified as "class 74" for regional trainsets and "class 75" for local trainsets.

All trains have five cars. However, in contrast to previous five-car FLIRTs they will have a third powered bogie giving them a maximum power output of 4,500 kW (6,000 hp) and a top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph).[39] Trial runs started on the Bergen Line in 2009, using a SBB-CFF-FFS unit. The first units were scheduled to enter passenger service on 29 February 2012. The FLIRT's introduction was delayed after a unit derailed during tests by NSB on 15 February 2012, injuring five people. The train had much too high speed and there was no safety systems along the railway that could catch the driver's error.[40][41]

The first train entered into regular service on 2 May 2012 on the line from Skien to Lillehammer.[42] The last of the 50 trains was delivered on 24 January 2014.[43] NSB has ordered a further 20 trains.

Local class 75 trains are configured with five seats (2+3) abreast. The class 74 regional trains were also delivered with 2+3 seating on regional trains except in the premium "Komfort" section that had 2+2 seating. Significant passengers complaints over cramped seating led NSB to reconfigure the regional trains into 2+2 seating during 2014.[44]

These fleets have 800 mm floor without steps. Since many Norwegian platforms are too low to access to these fleets, they will have to be raised to 550 mm platform height[45] to be accessible. These fleets cannot operate for low platform lines (e.g. Bergen Line, Sørlandet Line west of Kongsberg, Dovre Line north of Lillehammer). Raised platforms will be matched with conventional train steps, hence vertical gaps between this fleet and platforms will remain.


Koleje Mazowieckie in 2008 bought 10 four-car 3 kV DC units for services in the Warsaw region. Koleje Śląskie (KŚ) bought 4 four-car 3 kV DC units for service in Silesia. Łódzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna[46] (ŁKA) in 2012 ordered 20 two-car units for service in the region around Łódź, for delivery by February 2015.[47] PKP Intercity in August 2013 ordered 20 eight-car 3 kV DC units with interiors for long distance travel and top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), for service on four long distance routes in Poland, from a consortium of Stadler Polska and Newag for delivery by October 2015.[48]


FLIRT3 Class 413 of Serbian Railways at Belgrade main railway station

Serbian Railways have ordered 21 FLIRT3 EMUs for regional traffic. The vehicles are expected to be delivered between 2014 and 2015.[49] Trains are numbered ŽS 413/417.[50]


Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya has ordered two broad-gauged FLIRT DMUs for the Lleida–La Pobla de Segur Line.[51]


The Hong Kong-based operator MTR has started a Swedish subsidiary (MTR Express) and ordered 6 Flirt EMU for inter-city operation between Stockholm and Gothenburg. They are very similar to the Norwegian units, maximum 200 km/h, but have more comfortable seats aimed for longer distances, and a small café area. The first unit was delivered November 2014. They started customer operation in March 2015.[52]

Transitio has in 2014 signed an agreement with Stadler, CAF and Bombardier, that these three companies will get orders for regional and local trains during 2015–21. Transitio is a train purchasing company owned by the regional transport authorities in Sweden.

United States

On June 9, 2015, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The "T") signed a contract for the supply of eight 4-car articulated FLIRT3 diesel multiple units for the Tex Rail commuter line, which is which is scheduled to open in 2018. The contract was signed at a ceremony held at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC). The contract was signed by the Chairman of the T (Mr Scott Mahaffey), the CEO of the T (Mr Paul Ballard) and the CEO of Stadler Rail (Mr Peter Spuhler). The contract is valued at $US 106.7M, and includes the supply of components for 10 years. The contract also includes an option for an additional 24 DMUs. One element of the contract is that the final assembly of the trains will take place in the US, and a site in Lewisville is being considered as a possible location for the facility.[53][54][55]

Accidents and incidents

  • A unit, used for tests and driver education, without passengers, derailed near Holmestrand in Norway on 15 February 2012, injuring five people. The train had been entering a bend at 135 km/h (84 mph) instead of the allowed maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph).[40] The train driver was convicted of negligence but given a conditional discharge by the court who also faulted the lack of safety systems that could catch the driver's error.[41]
  • On 16 May 2015, a FLIRT operated by Westfalenbahn was involved in a collision on a level crossing at Ibbenbüren, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Two people were killed and twenty were injured.[56] The train was scrapped.


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