Škoda Artic

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Artic (tram) in Helsinki.jpg
In service2013–present
ManufacturerŠkoda Transtech Oy
Built atŠkoda Transtech Oy, Otanmäki, Kajaani
Family nameŠkoda ForCity
Entered service2013
Number built50 (June 2018)
Number in service49
Fleet numbersHKL 401–470
Capacity88 seats, 75–125 standing (low-floor)
Operator(s)Helsinki City Transport (HKL)
Line(s) servedAll HKL tram lines in the future
Car length27.6 m (90 ft 7 in)
Width2.4 m (7 ft 10 in)
Height3.83 m (12 ft 7 in) with pantograph
Floor height0.36 m (1 ft 2 in) (doorstep)
0.52 m (1 ft 8 in) (max)
Maximum speed80 km/h (50 mph)
Weight41.6 t (40.9 long tons; 45.9 short tons)
Power output8×65 kW
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)

Artic, styled as ARTIC or ForCity Smart, is an articulated low-floor tram model designed and manufactured by Škoda Transtech Oy in Finland. Trams of the design are in operation in Finland, Germany and Czechia, with further large orders in these countries. The design was subsequently rebranded under the Škoda ForCity brand.


In December 2010 the design was included in the winning tender to deliver 40 new trams to the Helsinki City Transport (HKL), the municipal tram operator of Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL), with an option for 90 units more. The winning bid was worth €113 million, which makes the unit cost of the initial agreement €2.8 million per tram.[1]

The first unit was rolled out in the summer of 2013 and taken to line operation for testing purposes in the autumn of 2013. The second unit was delivered in November 2013, and these two units will be thoroughly tested before the manufacturing of the remaining 38 units will begin in late 2015. All the units will be delivered by 2018.[2]

The technical design is based on free-turning bogies, which is rarely seen in low-floor trams until recently[when?]. The tram network in Helsinki, which has many sharp turns and switches and steep gradients, poses a challenge for many low-floor tram designs, which made the Variotram design ill-suited for the network. To remedy these problems, Helsinki City Transport itself made preliminary design for a new low-floor model, and this design work was also the foundation of the Artic tram. The design claims to move more smoothly and quietly in sharp turns and switches and wear down the tram wheels less.[3]

All the axles (eight in the first model) in Artic are powered by an independent motor of 65 kW, and the tram is tested for speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph). The tram is equipped with a regenerative braking system. In the Helsinki version the energy is used for heating, but the design is also ready to be equipped with supercapacitors.[4]

By June 2018, HKL has used all three of its options for extra units. First option was used in 2016 for 20 additional units (numbers 441–460) for the existing Helsinki network and they are to be delivered by the end of 2018. Second option was also used in 2016 for 29 additional units (numbers 601–629), but this time for the future Raide-Jokeri light rail (due to start operations in 2024) connecting the cities of Helsinki and Espoo. The Raide-Jokeri Artic XL [5] trams differ from the rest in many ways: They are 34.5 metres (113 ft) long, bi-directional, they have a capacity of 214 passengers (78+4 seated, 136 standing, 4 persons/m2), they have their own unique design and they consist of five modules instead of three in the basic model. The Artic XL trams can also be lengthened to be up to 44 metres (144 ft) long with a capacity of 287 passengers (100+8 seated, 187 standing). The first Artic XL tram will be used in the existing Helsinki network for testing and will be delivered around 2019–2020, while the production of the series will begin sometime in the early 2020s. The last option was used in June 2018 for 10 more units (numbers 461–470) of the basic Artic model for the expanding network in the coming years. These vehicles will be delivered by the end of 2019. That makes a total of 99 Artic trams ordered and/or delivered for Helsinki City Transport (HKL).


Artic X34 tram in Tampere.

Bi-directional Artic trams are also to be delivered for the city of Tampere in Finland for the Tampere light rail system due to open in 2021. A total of 19 units (with an option for an additional 46 units for future expansions) are to be delivered during 2020 and 2021 for the city-owned company Tampere Tramway Ltd (Tampereen Raitiotie Oy), which will own, maintain and develop the network and rolling stock. The Tampere light rail has a standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) and the trams will be 2.65 metres (8.7 ft) wide. The vehicles will be 37 metres (121 ft) long and can be lengthened to be up to 47 metres (154 ft). The Artic light rail vehicles for Tampere will have a capacity of 264 passengers (64+40 seated, 200 standing, 4 persons/m2).[6]

Heidelberg, Mannheim/Ludwigshafen[edit]

In June 2018 Škoda won a tender for Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH and will deliver 80 bi-directional Artic trams for use in the large metre-gauge network covering Mannheim/Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg. The contract includes an option for 34 additional vehicles. The contract consists of 31 30 metres (98 ft) trams (three modules), thirty-seven 40-metre (130 ft) trams (four modules) and twelve 60-metre (200 ft) trams (six modules), the longest trams in the world As of 2018.[7][8]


In September 2018 Škoda Transportation signed a contract with the city transport company of Ostrava for 40 two-section Škoda 39 T (also known as Škoda ForCity Smart Ostrava) trams.[9] The vehicles will be 26.5 metres (87 ft) long with a capacity of 200 passengers. The first tram was to be delivered in the third quarter of 2020, but due to COVID-19 pandemic, delivery will be postponed.


Škoda 40 T tram in Pilsen

In October 2018 city transport company of Pilsen ordered 2 three-section bi-directional Škoda 40 T (also known as Škoda ForCity Smart Pilsen) trams with an option for 20 additional vehicles.[10] The total capacity of 29 metres (95 ft) long tram will be 185 passengers. The trams will be 100% low-floor and fully air-conditioned. The first tram was to be delivered in October 2020, but due to COVID-19 pandemic, delivery will be postponed.


In October 2018 Škoda Transtech sold the two Artic pre-series trams to the Schöneiche bei Berlin tramway (Tram 88). Further order of one brand new Škoda Artic tram had been placed in April 2019. Both the first built and last built Helsinki-style Artic trams operate in Germany on the Schöneiche/Rüdersdorf route.[11]


  1. ^ Helsinki City Transport (3 December 2010). "Helsinki's new trams to be supplied by Transtech". Archived from the original on 14 February 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  2. ^ Helsinki City Transport (13 June 2013). "Inauguration of the new tram for Helsinki". Archived from the original on 12 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  3. ^ Transtech Oy. "Suitable for demanding conditions". Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  4. ^ Transtech Oy. "Cost efficiency". Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  5. ^ http://www.metro-report.com/news/single-view/view/helsinki-artic-xl-tram-design-unveiled.html
  6. ^ http://www.transtech.fi/index.php?id=407&archive=&cat_ids=&news_id=53
  7. ^ "ŠKODA TRANSPORTATION DODÁ 80 TRAMVAJÍ DO NĚMECKA". www.skoda.cz (in Czech). Škoda Transportation a.s. 2018-06-20. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  8. ^ "Škoda to deliver 80 trams to Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr". Railway Technology. 2018-06-22. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  9. ^ "Ostrava orders 40 trams from Škoda". September 7, 2018.
  10. ^ www.benes-michl.cz, Beneš & Michl. "PLZEŇ ZÍSKÁ NEJNOVĚJŠÍ TRAMVAJE ZE ŠKODY TRANSPORTATION | Škoda Transportation a.s." www.skoda.cz.
  11. ^ "Third Škoda low-floor tram starts operation in Schöneiche-Rüdersdorf". Urban Transport. 2020-04-17. Retrieved 2020-06-08. SRS invested around 2.9 million euros for the new Artic vehicle, of which the administrative districts of Oder-Spree and Märkisch Oderland each funded around 40% and an additional 156,000 Euro from the two municipalities of Schöneiche and Rüdersdorf. … first two and the very last vehicle of the series are now owned by SRS. The production of the Artic-Tram at Škoda in Finland has ended after a total of 70 units produced.

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