RABe 522 of the Swiss Federal Railways
Stadler FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train; German: Flinker leichter innovativer Regional-Triebzug) is a diesel or electric multiple unit railcar made by Stadler Rail of Switzerland. 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 in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and, most recently (2018), Canada. As of 22 April 2015, 1,094 units have been sold.
- 1 Specifications
- 2 Operators
- 3 Accidents and incidents
- 4 Fleet details
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 Sources
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The FLIRT is a new generation of multiple units, even though it has a striking resemblance with GTW vehicles. The trains can have two to six sections and electric variants 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).
The diesel version is essentially a electric version with a diesel power module inserted, generating electricity for the electric motors. In TEXRail application, the diesel power module contains two 520 kW Deutz AG TCD 16.0 V8 that complies with US EPA Tier 4 emission standard.
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.
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.
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).
Trains are used mostly on routes with Minsk as the start or the end point (e.g. Minsk – Minsk National Airport and other sub-urban routes). Stadler trains are also used as inter-regional transport in Belarus. Currently FLIRT trains are also used on routes Minsk – Gomel and Minsk – Brest
On May 3, 2018 it was announced that the city of Ottawa would be purchasing 7 diesel-electric FLIRT trains to use on its upgraded and extended Trillium Line. The trains are expected to enter service in 2021.
The Czech private operator LEO Express ordered 5 units. Units are modified as InterCity trains. All 5 units have operated on the Prague–Ostrava line since December 2012. Since December 2013 one unit is operated on the Prague–Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště and since December 2014 next one unit is operated on the international route Prague–Košice (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).
Elron ordered 18 electric (6 four-car and 12 three-car) and 20 diesel (6 four-car, 8 three-car and 6 two-car) broad-gauged trains. By June 2014 all 38 trains were delivered. This has been the first time FLIRT DMUs were produced. 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 (truck collision). The unit was badly damaged. It will go back into service by 2015 when the two damaged carriages will be replaced with new ones. In November 2014, Elron initiated an investigation into suspected flaws in some diesel trains. Two different build flaws were found in many of the trains and faulty components were replaced under warranty.
81 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 and Kauniainen) for service on the Helsinki commuter rail network. The Sm5 units are leased by Pääkaupunkiseudun junakalusto to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council, but they are currently operated by the VR Group. The initial order in 2006 was for 32 trainsets. Nine further units were ordered in 2011 and 34 further units in 2014.
The first Sm5 unit arrived in Finland on 11 November 2008. 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. The first unit entered passenger service on 18 November 2009.
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 has operated 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.
In 2006 DB Regio, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn 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 Rostock–Stralsund–Lietzow–Sassnitz (Hanse-Express), Sassnitz–Stralsund and Binz–Lietzow.
The biggest order from Germany so far came in October 2006 from the leasing company Angel Trains Europa 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. 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.
On the InnoTrans 2008, a trade fair focused on rail transport, Vias announced their order for 12 four-section and 7 three-section units. Starting in December 2010, the trains will be put on the Frankfurt–Koblenz route.
- Hungarian State Railways 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 (in 2012 ordered 4 units, delivery until Q2 2014. First two units arrived on 6 December 2014 and started their public service on 15 December of the same year.)
- Hungarian State Railways (in 2013 ordered further 42 units, delivery until Q3 2015). The first two units arrived on 27 February 2014 and the first one presented to the public at Kápolnásnyék on 19 March. 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 2015 ordered further 21 units, delivery until Q4 2016). The first unit arrived on 11 September 2015 These four section units have the same blue and white colour scheme with yellow doors which is the same as the 2013 orders livery.
- Győr–Sopron–Ebenfurth railway in September 2016 ordered further 10 units (the first order of the new FLIRT 3 version), delivery until Q1 2019)
With the 2015 order, Hungary will have the largest 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. The units will also receive the blue and white colour scheme.
In Italy FLIRT are used by six regional railways, in total units ordered and built are so divided among the following companies:
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.
Sistemi Territoriali: name ETR 340, single voltage to 3 kV DC, maximum speed 160 km/h . Fleet: two units from 2008, 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.
Tilo (Switzerland / Italy): 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.
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.
On 1 July 2014 Latvian rail operator Pasažieru vilciens announced that it would acquire FLIRT trains as part of a hire/purchase contract, however Pv owner Latvian Railways ultimately withdrew the contract and no procurement went ahead.
On 23 April 2015 the Netherlands' 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. 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. Meanwhile, Arriva Nederland also ordered two- and three-car units for operation in the province of Limburg.
FLIRT 2, 3 and 4 EMUS are now in service in The Netherlands with the following operators
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. 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). 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.
The first train entered into regular service on 2 May 2012 on the line from Skien to Lillehammer. The last of the 50 trains was delivered on 24 January 2014. NSB has ordered a further 57 trains, for a total of 107, as of October 2015. In 2017 an order for additional 18 was placed, current total is 125, with 40 short regional trains, and the rest as the local commuter train. In July 2018, a total of 100 trains have been delivered, 36 short regional and 64 local commuter 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.
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 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 (ŁKA) in 2012 ordered 20 two-car units for service in the region around Łódź, for delivery by February 2015. 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.
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.
Transitio AB has in 2014 signed an agreement with Stadler, CAF and Bombardier, that these three companies are chosen to get orders for regional and local trains during 2015–21. Transitio is a train purchasing company owned by the regional transport authorities in Sweden.
In August 2016 Abellio Greater Anglia selected Stadler FLIRT electric and bi-mode units for the East Anglia franchise, to replace its Class 90, Mark 3 carriages, Driving Van Trailer, Class 153, Class 156, Class 170 diesel multiple units and Class 379 electric multiple units currently used. This will comprise 14 3-car and 24 4-car Bi-Mode Multiple Unit (Class 755) and 20 12-car Electric multiple units (Class 745) (of which 10 will be used for Stansted Express and 10 for Intercity services).
On June 9, 2015, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority signed a contract for the supply of eight 4-car articulated FLIRT3 diesel-electric multiple units for the TEX Rail commuter line, 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 is valued at $107 million, and includes the supply of components for 10 years. The contract also includes an option for an additional 24 DMUs. This is Stadler's first order for its FLIRT family in the US (previous orders have been for the GTW), and the first to include federal funding and thus be subject to the Buy America Act. As such, one element of the contract is that the final assembly of the trains will take place in the US, and several assembly sites such as in Lewisville were considered for the facility. Stadler eventually leased space from the Utah Transit Authority in their former Union Pacific shops in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Additionally, Omnitrans will acquire three FLIRT sets for Arrow service in Redlands, California, set to begin operations in 2021. The $31.4 million contract includes the vehicles themselves, spare parts, and training for servicing and operation.
Public unveiling events for the completed American built FLIRT units occurred in both Atlanta, Georgia on October 9, 2017; and Salt Lake City on the Salt Lake, Garfield and Western Railway on October 13, 2017 as Stadler broke ground for their permanent Salt Lake facility.  
Accidents and incidents
- On 15 February 2012, a FLIRT unit used for tests and driver education, without passengers, derailed near Holmestrand in Norway, 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). 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.
- 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. The train was scrapped.
- On 9 February 2016, two FLIRTs operated by the Bayerische Oberlandbahn were involved in a head-on collision near Bad Aibling, Germany. 11 people were killed, 80 were injured.
- On 12 July 2016, a FLIRT was involved in a head-on collision at Andria, Apulia, Italy that killed 23 people.
- On 5 June 2017, a FLIRT operated by Leo Express ignored a stop signal and crashed into a buffer stop at Přerov, Czech republic. 18 people were injured including staff.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.||Notes|
|745/0||Greater Anglia||10||(2018)||12||IC services|
|745/1||Greater Anglia||10||(2018)||12||Stansted Express services|
Interior of a WestfalenBahn FLIRT (Germany)
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