Škoda 15 T

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Škoda 15T ForCity
uni-directional, bi-directional[1]
Skoda 15T ForCity.jpg
ManufacturerŠkoda Transportation
DesignerMiloš Zelingr, Patrik Kotas
AssemblyPlzeň, Czech Republic
PredecessorŠkoda 14 T Elektra
Capacity43 (two body sections uni-directional) - 72 (five body sections bi-directional) (Seated)[1]
150 (two body sections uni-directional) - 539 (five body sections bi-directional) (Standing)[1]
Train length21.800 m (71 ft 6.3 in) (two body sections)
31.400 m (103 ft 0.2 in) (three body sections)
41.000 m (134 ft 6.2 in) (four body sections)
50.600 m (166 ft 0.1 in) (five body section)[1]
Width2,300–2,650 mm (91–104 in)[1]
Height3,600 mm (140 in)
Floor height350 mm (13.78 in)/450 mm (17.72 in)[1]
Articulated sections1 - 4[1]
Maximum speed80 km/h (50 mph)[1]
Axle load5.2 t (5.1 long tons; 5.7 short tons)
Steep gradient85 ‰ (8.5%)
Power output46.6 kW (62.5 hp)[2]
x number of driven wheels[1]
Wheels driven60% - 100%[1]
Bogiespivoting and pivoting Jacobs (25°)
Minimum turning radius18 m (59 ft)/15 m (49 ft)
Track gauge950 mm (3 ft 1 38 in) - 1,524 mm (5 ft)[1]
Škoda 15T ForCity
(Czech Republic Prague)
Palackého náměstí, Škoda 15T.jpg
ManufacturerŠkoda Transportation
AssemblyPlzeň, Czech Republic
Capacity61 (Seated)
239 (Standing)
Train length31.400 m (103 ft 0.2 in)
Width2,460 mm (97 in)
Height3,600 mm (140 in)
Floor height350 mm (13.78 in)/450 mm (17.72 in)
Articulated sections2 (3 body sections)
Maximum speedlimited to 60 km/h (37 mph)
Weight42 t (41 long tons; 46 short tons)
Steep gradient85 ‰ (8.5%)
Power output745.6 kW (999.9 hp)
(16 x 46.6 kW or 62.5 hp[2]
Wheels driven100% (16/16)
Bogies4 x pivoting and pivoting Jacobs (25°)
Minimum turning radius18 m (59 ft)/15 m (49 ft)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Škoda 15T ForCity
(Latvia Riga)
Riga, Škoda 15T.jpg
ManufacturerŠkoda Transportation
AssemblyPlzeň, Czech Republic
Capacity60 (Seated)
260 (Standing)
Train length31.600 m (103 ft 8.1 in)
41.200 m (135 ft 2.0 in)
Width2,500 mm (98 in)
Height3,600 mm (140 in)
Floor height350 mm (13.78 in)/450 mm (17.72 in)
Doors2 per body section
Articulated sections2 (3 body sections)
3 (4 body sections)
Maximum speedlimited to 70 km/h (43 mph)
Weight42 t (41 long tons; 46 short tons)
Steep gradient(?)
Power output559.2 kW (749.9 hp)
(12 × 46.6 kW or 62.5 hp[2]
Wheels driven75% (12/16)
Bogiespivoting and pivoting Jacobs (25°)
Minimum turning radius18 m (59 ft)/15 m (49 ft)
Track gauge1,524 mm (5 ft)

Škoda 15T (also known as Škoda ForCity Alfa) is a 100% low-floor multiple-unit tram developed by VUKV a.s. and built by Škoda Transportation in Pilsen for the Prague tram network. It was a successor to the Škoda 14 T, featuring articulated bogies and more power to correct for problems found during the operation of the 14 T. The 15T has articulated bogies at either end of the train, and Jacobs bogies between the segments. The tram has two double-doors in each segment (or four in bi-directional version) to allow fast boarding of passengers, and one extra side door leading to the driver's cabin.


The Škoda 15T ForCity was developed as highly modular; it is offered with up to five car body sections and 50.6 meters (166 ft 0 in) in length. It may be used on gauges from 950 mm (3 ft 1 38 in) up to 1,524 mm (5 ft) and the body may be 2,300–2,650 mm (90.6–104.3 in) wide. The tram can be uni-directional or bi-directional. It can have from 60% of wheels driven up to all of the wheels driven for networks in hilly cities. As the bogies are under articulations and don't interfere with the inner space of the body sections, there is unlimited choice of interior lay-out and location of doors.[1]

The basic vehicle length can be modified. It is also possible to couple two or more vehicles. The tram's appearance and front design are user-defined.[1]


The fixed bogies which are used by most 100% low floor trams[3] increase track wear and decrease the speed at which a tram can drive through a curve (usually 4–15 km/h (2.5–9.3 mph) in 20 m (65.62 ft) radius curve).[4] The 15T is designed to cope with these issues through Jacobs bogies under the articulations and pivoting bogies at the tram's ends. For a time[when?] it was said to be the only true 100% low floor tram with full-pivoting bogies in production[citation needed]. However, the Alstom Citadis X04, an experimental 100% low floor tram currently[when?] being developed with pivoting bogies (but with sections of high floor seating over the bogies), has made an initial production appearance as a modified Citadis 301 (with a fixed centre bogie) in Istanbul, and for Helsinki, a tram with similar interior solution and all pivoting bogies is undergoing trials as of 2015.[5] With the same length of tramcar, the Škoda 15T has also four bogies compared to the predecessor Škoda 14 T's three (same on most other 100% low floor trams) (fixed) bogies, which decreases the load each wheel puts on the track. The most of the tram floor is at height of 350 mm (13.78 in) above rail; the height over the bogies is 450 mm (17.72 in) above rail; the transition is inclined, without interior steps. The corridor above the central bogies is 700 mm (27.56 in) wide.[6] The bogies may be all driven, or some of them may be idle ones, depending on the customer's preferences. The bogies have two axles and two-level springing. The mounted wheels are made of rubber-sprung wheels with integrated brake-discs and axle bearing. On the axle bearings there is a combined, dynamically resistant, primary rubber-bonded-metal-sprung bogie framework. This bogie framework supports four traction motors and one (in outer bogies) or two (in inner bogies) sprung swing bolsters. The secondary springing of the swing bolsters is secured by steel coil springs with parallel hydraulic rotating dampers. On the swing bolsters there are pivot bearings, which facilitate full rotation of the bogie below the body without any limitations.[1]

Detail of pivoting bogie
Detail of pivoting bogie

Wheels and motors[edit]

All bogies are equipped with identical wheels, which have tyres damping rubber pads to minimize noise. Selected bogies could be equipped with a sanding system.[1]

The vehicle is driven by traction units. Each unit consists of traction container on the vehicle roof and of four traction motors, which drive wheels of one driving bogie. Individual wheel drive on respective bogies secures perfect use of adhesive conditions and ideal ride both in bends and on straight lines. There are three-phase synchronous motors with permanent magnet excitation on rotor. They are fixed to the bogie framework from the wheels outside. The traction motors don't use a gear box - they drive tram wheels directly through a mechanically disconnectable jaw clutch.[1]

While the drive is controlled by two control units connected together by fast serial communication, the safety circuits and functions are hardware-resolved.[1]


Braking is mainly done by electrodynamic brake enabling recuperation of the braking energy back to the electrical grid. If there is no need of it, the braking energy is being used primarily for feeding the vehicle's auxiliary equipment with the rest depleted in the brake resistors. The electrodynamic brake is able to automatically run even during grid's voltage failure. In case of failure, braking is automatically done by the system of friction disc brake, which will work until the vehicle comes to a complete halt. The friction disc brake is hydraulically controlled with an electric compression unit. Each bogies is also equipped with a pair of electromagnetic rail brakes with voltage of 24 V DC. The friction disc brake also ensures the parking brake function.[1]


The vehicle has two double doors on each body unit (or four of them on bi-directional version), or alternatively there can be one door each side on each body unit located in place of any of the side panels. The driver has a separate door leading to the driver's cabin. The doors slide outwards. Each door is equipped with an individual control unit, which operates it and communicates with the vehicle central control unit. In selected double-doors area there could be either ramp or lift enabling easy entry for passengers with restricted mobility. There could be also a room for bicycles and prams.[1]



Škoda ForCity won the bidding process of the Prague transport company for 250 new trams in 2005. The order is worth 17 billion CZK (about 68 million CZK per unit (2,3 million per unit - 1 2005=29,6CZK)).

The trials of the first prototype started in 2009, the first rides with passengers started in October 2010 and the last tramcar will be delivered in 2017. The prototype had 3 types of seats - wooden, plastic and with fabric upholstery. Passengers have decided in an internet poll that the wooden seats will be used in the delivered version.

During the delivery of the first batch in 2011, the Prague transport company started negotiations with Škoda regarding the installation of air conditioning in the passenger compartment. It also raised the concern that a 1,000-horsepower streetcar may be unnecessarily powerful and proposed a solution used in the Riga version, which has only three out of four bogies driven. In the view of the transport company the price of additional air conditioning should be covered by eliminating the first bogie's motors. As of May, 2011, it was not yet decided whether this solution will be applied. Firstly there is issue that participants in the original tender may contest the change and require a new competition; secondly it has to be tested whether the 15T without full adhesion would be able to drive on Prague's hilly network.[7]

In May 2014, due to financial problems for the City of Prague, the Prague transport company and Škoda Transportation renegotiated the contract to provide for four extra years for delivery of the order and for fitting of full air-conditioning and WiFi in the last 125 trams of the order. By June, 2014, the first 100 trams of the order had been delivered and the first of the modified trams (from the second half of the order) will be delivered in 2015.[8]


The version for Riga has white-blue livery and a different front face

In May 2008 Škoda made a contract with the Riga transport company (Latvia) for delivery of 20 trams (with option for another 32) worth 1,3 billion CZK (about 65 million CZK per unit (2,6 million per unit - 1 2008 = 25CZK)). The bidding process started in 2007 and altogether 9 companies took part in it. The Riga variant is three-segmented, like the Prague version, with air-conditioning for whole tram (Prague only for driver's cabin) and it is in white-blue livery. Unlike Prague's version, which has all bogies driven due to difficult adhesive conditions (Prague has hilly terrain), the Riga tram has 3 bogies driven (the 1st bogie doesn't have motors). The tram has upholstered seats similar to those in Škoda trolleybuses used in Riga.

The first tram was delivered to Riga in March, 2010, the second in August 2010 and the other 18 were delivered before the end of 2011. The first rides with passengers were in June, 2010 after preceding test-drives.

There are also 6 four-segmented tramcars (41 m long) made for Riga, Latvia, as the town decided to apply a part of the pre-agreed option of 32 (which was part of the previous order for 20).[9] These were delivered between June and October 2012.

In April 2016 Riga Transport (RS) awarded Škoda Transportation a €62.6m contract to supply 20 more, 15T ForCity low-floor trams. The order comprises 15 three-section vehicles and five four-section LRVs. All 20 vehicles are due to be delivered next year. The 1,524 mm (60.0 in)-gauge 600V dc vehicles will be used on Line 4, which links Riga Central Market with Imanta.[10]

Other tenders[edit]

Several unsuccessful tenders have been made by Škoda for the ForCity tram in other cities.

  • At the end of September, 2010, Škoda entered into a bidding process by the city of Rostock in Germany for new trams for the local network. Škoda did not win this tender, which was instead awarded to Vossloh.[11]
  • The 15T was also submitted in a proposal for the Helsinki tram network serving Helsinki, Finland,[citation needed] but lost the tender to the Artic tram produced by Transtech Oy (Škoda purchased Transtech in 2015 and the product has since been rebranded as ForCity Smart).
  • Škoda also entered a tender for the tram network in Zürich, Switzerland, but later withdrew their bid.[12]
  • In April, 2011, Škoda announced it would start a lawsuit against the transport authority of Essen in Germany, which announced a selection procedure for delivery of new trams for its urban network. Škoda believed the procedure's technical requirements to be so specific that they effectively reduced competition (contrary to European law), leaving Škoda not able to offer its bid, which was ultimately won by Bombardier.[13]

A Škoda 15T from Prague underwent testing and certification on the tram network in the German city of Chemnitz in 2012. Subsequently, an order was placed for ForCity Classic trams in 2016.[14]


27Ts in Qingdao

In 2013 Škoda has signed an agreement with Chinese CSR Sifang to produce Škoda 15Ts for the Chinese market under licence. The 10-year agreement could cover up to 400 trams.[15] The first unidirectional prototype was produced in 2014.[16]

In 2015 CSR Sifang unveiled new bi-directional tram based on 15T designated as 27T. This vehicle is 2,650 mm (104 in) wide and is bidirectional. Apart from the traditional overhead line vehicle can be powered by battery, Supercapacitor or hydrogen-fuelled.[17][18][19]

In March 2016 first line of Qingdao Tram was inaugurated, served by fleet of seven CSR Sifang produced 27T trams. The trams are 32.5 m (107 ft) long and using hydrogen fuel cells to allow service at the parts of the route without overhead electrification.[20]


15T in Prague
15T in Riga
Interior (Prague)
The corridor within the articulation. The wooden seats were chosen by passengers in an internet poll
The front end of the tram, note the separate door leading to the driver’s cabin
Open Doors Day in Střešovice tram depot and transport museum


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t (in Czech) (in English) "100% low-floor tramcars - product catalogue" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-18.
  2. ^ a b c "PMSM Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor - Technical parameters" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  3. ^ "Zelingr, Heptner" (PDF) (in Czech). Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  4. ^ "ČVUT.cz - Čapek, Kolář" (PDF) (in Czech). Retrieved 2010-05-12.
  5. ^ "Helsinki Transtech tram at the Finnish tramway society" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2015-11-06.
  6. ^ "Nízkopodlažní tramvaj. ŠKODA 15T ForCity" (PDF). Škoda (in Czech). 15 May 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  7. ^ JiříK. (10 May 2011). "Tramvaje 15T ForCity pro Prahu možná dostanou klimatizaci" (in Czech). Zelpage.cz. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  8. ^ "m. Prahy se Škodou Transportation dnes podepsal dodatky ke smlouvě o nákupu tramvají ForCity" (in Czech).
  9. ^ (in Czech) Economical daily E15.cz, Škoda Transportation dodá do Rigy další tramvaje
  10. ^ "Riga chooses Škoda for tram order". railjournal.com. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Innotrans ukázal: konkurence roste..." (PDF) (in Czech). Škodovák 9/2010. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  12. ^ "Alstom, Skoda and Vossloh-Kiepe interested in supplying Zürich trams". Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  13. ^ Junek, Adam (April 11, 2011). "Škoda Transportation rozjede v Německu soudní spor". euro.cz. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  14. ^ "Neue Straßenbahn in Chemnitz" (in German). Sachsen Fernsehen. February 2, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  15. ^ Railway Gazette: CSR Qingdao Sifang to build Škoda trams for the Chinese market
  16. ^ Railway Gazette: Škoda and CSR Sifang unveil ForCity tram
  17. ^ Railway Gazette: CSR Sifang unveils hydrogen fuel cell tram
  18. ^ Škoda Transportation: Nejmodernější čínská tramvaj vychází z českého know-how
  19. ^ 新华网: 世界首列氢能源有轨电车在南车四方下线
  20. ^ "Qingdao opens fuel cell tram route". Railway Gazette. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.

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