NIR Class 4000
|Northern Ireland Railways
Class 4000 "C4K"
Class 4000 train at Belfast Central.
|Number under construction||20 sets (60 cars, option for 20 more cars)|
|Formation||3-car sets, (option for 4th car)|
|Operator||Northern Ireland Railways|
|Maximum speed||90 mph (145 km/h)|
|Engine(s)||One MTU 6H1800R83 diesel of 530 hp (395.2 kW) per car|
|Transmission||ZF Ecomat-Rail 6 speed
ZF Reversing final drive
|Safety system(s)||AWS, TPWS|
|Track gauge||1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Irish gauge|
The fleet covers 20 DMUs which were procured by Translink. None of the Northern Irish rail network is electrified, and diesel multiple units have been used since nationalisation in the 1950s.
Prior to 2000, the rolling stock used by NIR consisted of a mixture of diesel multiple unit types that had entered service between 15 and 25 years previously. The main type was the Class 80, based on the Mark 2b bodyshell. These were a fleet of 3-car and 4-car units built in two batches between 1973 and 1978, with a total of 22 sets eventually constructed. Additional capacity on the network was provided with the entry into service of the Class 450, which consisted of nine 3-car units that entered service in 1985 and were based on the Mark 3 bodyshell. However, chronic underinvestment in the railway meant that by the millennium these were still the newest domestic trains in service. Indeed, by 2000 it was estimated that the network as a whole required investment totalling £183 million simply to bring it up to basic safety standards.
Recognising that the railways serve an important role in the growth of the local economy, the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly granted funding for improvements in December 2000 following the report of the Railways Task Force. Included in this total funding package was £80 million for the procurement of brand new rolling stock, the largest order for new trains in the history of NIR. The result was the Class 3000, a type of DMU purchased from CAF in Spain. This numbered a total of 23 three-car units intended for use throughout the network, and was designed to replace the increasingly outdated Class 80. The new trains entered service between 2004 and 2005. However, this was a like for like replacement meaning there remained a need for older rolling stock to be retained. As a consequence, NIR was incapable of introducing the service enhancements it desired, due to a continuing lack of trains.
"New Trains Two"
The expanding local economy of Northern Ireland led to increasing pressure to improve the rail network, with recommendations made in a debate in the Northern Ireland Assembly in May 2007. Among these was the purchase of rolling stock that would, at the very least, replace the remaining Class 80 and Class 450 trains. Translink instituted the "New Trains 2010" (later renamed "New Trains Two") proposal to bring about the purchase of new trains, but decided that it needed to improve its service frequency to go with the associated infrastructure improvements, which would mean expanding the fleet. The consequence of this was to expand the New Trains Two proposal so that up to 20 new trains would be purchased, which would replace the remaining Class 450 and 80 units and expand NIR's fleet by as many as seven extra trains. The go-ahead for this was given on the publication of the draft budget of the Department for Regional Development, which allocated £137 million over three years to Translink, included in which was the money for 20 new trains.
Translink issued the invitation to tender (ITT) for the new units in June 2008. Three firm offers were received; Bombardier Transportation offered the Class 172 Turbostar currently being built for operation on the British network; Hyundai Rotem offered a variant of the 22000 Class ICR purchased by Iarnród Éireann (although this was ruled out because of NIR's desire to have units with ⅓ and ⅔ spaced doors); and CAF offered a variant of the existing C3K units. The similarity with the existing sets led to CAF winning the bid chosen in March 2009. The first of the new trains were delivered in March 2011 and after testing the first unit entered service in September 2011.
- June 2008 - Invitation to Tender
- 25 March 2009 - Contracts signed
- June 2010 - Construction of first unit begins
- 14 March 2011 - Delivery of first Class 4000
- 29th Sept 2011 - First Class 4000 enters passenger service
- 3 July 2012 - Final unit of the Class 4000 fleet arrives in Belfast
- 19th Sept 2012 - Final train entered service
Although the C4K trains are externally similar to the C3K fleet, internally they have significant differences. Each three car train has a seating capacity of 212, with fewer table bays and extra standing room. They have 1 toilet compared to the C3K's two. The units also have a new traction system, with an MTU 390kW engine providing power to both the traction motors and auxiliary generators. This, combined with the fact that a three car C4K train is four tonnes lighter than a C3K unit, gives a resultant increase in fuel economy.
The C4K units have replaced the total of thirteen remaining trains of the older Class 80 and Class 450 rolling stock. The capacity increases provided by the introduction of the C4K fleet has allowed NIR to operate longer trains. Of the seven extra sets, NIR has earmarked five for running in six-car formations, with the other two planned to improve service frequency on the Derry~Londonderry Line once renovation work has been completed, and a new passing loop laid. The contract between Translink and CAF also allows for the purchase of an additional 20 vehicles, allowing the trains to be extended to 4-car units.
|Unit number||Date delivered||Date in service|
|4001||14 Mar 2011||17 Oct 2011|
|4002||18 Apr 2011||29 Sep 2011|
|4003||24 May 2011||03 Oct 2011|
|4004||15 Aug 2011||03 Jan 2012|
|4005||18 Oct 2011||13 Jan 2012|
|4006||22 Aug 2011||07 Dec 2011|
|4007||20 Feb 2012||05 Apr 2012|
|4008||14 Nov 2011||22 Jan 2012|
|4009||21 Dec 2011||14 Feb 2012|
|4010||23 Jan 2012||06 Mar 2012|
|4011||20 Jan 2012||20 Mar 2012|
|4012||06 Feb 2012||30 Mar 2012|
|4013||07 Mar 2012||19 Apr 2012|
|4014||19 Mar 2012||30 Apr 2012|
|4015||02 Apr 2012||01 Aug 2012|
|4016||24 Apr 2012||30 Jul 2012|
|4017||08 May 2012||28 Aug 2012|
|4018||29 May 2012||18 Sep 2012|
|4019||05 Jun 2012||19 Sep 2012|
|4020||03 July 2012||03 Sep 2012|
It has been reported on several websites that at least one member of the Class 4000 has been taken out of service on several occasions with major engine failure, and has already been re-engined.
|Class||Operator||No. to be Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||In service||Notes|
|Class 4000||NI Railways||20||2010–2012||3||4001–4020||20||Option to extend units to four cars|
- Ulster's rusting trains trundle ever more slowly on weed-choked tracks - "The Independent", 06/08/00
- Northern Ireland Railways: Funding for New Trains - Lords Hansard, 10/12/02
- "Northern Ireland Assembly: Development of the Rail Network". Theyworkforyou.com. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- Core Programme: Better Rail Services[dead link]
- "Regional Development Minister welcomes draft Budget allocations". Northernireland.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- Flanagan, Colm (2010). "Optimism in Northern Ireland". Modern Railways 67 (737): 60–64.
- Northern Ireland Railways orders CAF DMUs Railway Gazette International 26 March 2009
- "First CAF Class 4000 DMU arrives in Belfast". Railway Gazette International. 14 March 2011.
- Translink’s Invitation to tender for new train order[dead link]
- "NIR News 167". Irrs.ie. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- Translink Press Release: Production of new Translink trains 'underway'>
- "Tender Details for NIR Class 4000". Ted.europa.eu. Retrieved 13 September 2010.