FIRST LOOK: Prague reveals design of its first new tram in 18 years

This marks the second-largest tram contract in the Czech Republic this millennium, following the purchase of 15T ForCity trams for Prague, also from Škoda.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 10.01.2024 14:41:00 (updated on 10.01.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

Prague's transport company (DPP) has placed an order for new trams, marking the first purchase in over 18 years, according to Zdopravy.cz. Škoda Group emerged as the winner of the tender, securing the contract for up to 200 low-floor one-way trams named Škoda ForCity Plus 52T. The initial payment for the first 40 units amounts to CZK 3.32 billion.

The framework agreement between DPP and Škoda was ceremoniously signed on Wednesday. DPP is set to acquire the first 40 trams, already financed by the municipality, with additional funds drawn from the National Recovery Plan.

Simultaneously, both companies unveiled the final design of the new trams. Previously, only unofficial preliminary sketches had circulated among transport enthusiasts, likely based on the initial tender phase.

"We successfully concluded the tram tender within a year, fortunately without any issues from ÚOHS," praised DPP CEO Petr Witovski after the signing. "In contrast, when Prague last procured 15T trams, it took three years from the tender's end to the design presentation; now, it's only three weeks," said Witovski.

The first tram, still awaiting a name, is scheduled to be welded in the first half of this year. Homologation drives are expected to commence in Prague streets by the end of the year as part of a trial run.

Witovski emphasized the significance of the option, anticipating the continuation of the tram boom. He also highlighted the commitment to low-floor trams, allowing for the replacement of approximately 300 high-floor trams. If the option is exercised, the last tram is expected to be delivered in 2032.

How will the new trams be better for passengers?

  • Thirty-two-meter-long trams will accommodate 243 passengers (70 seated and 173 standing)
  • Significantly better driving qualities and lower noise
  • Ergonomically designed passenger lounge
  • All-wheel green air conditioning for passengers and drivers
  • Seats for prams and wheelchairs and a tilting platform at the first door
  • New large-area vehicle information system (wide-angle screens across the entire width of the aisle)
  • More intuitive control of the buttons to open the door and signal the driver

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This marks the second-largest tram contract in the Czech Republic this millennium, following the purchase of 15T ForCity trams for Prague, also from Škoda in Pilsen.

Prague is scheduled to receive the initial 20 trams between Jan. 1 and Dec. 2, 2025, with the subsequent 20 trams gradually arriving throughout 2026. The framework contract covers deliveries until the end of 2035.

The new 32-meter-long trams will accommodate 243 passengers, including 70 seated and 173 standing. Notably, 62 percent of the seats will face the direction of travel, per tender conditions.

The estimated total value of the order was CZK 15 billion for all 200 vehicles. However, the winning bid from Škoda totals 16.602 billion, resulting in a unit price of CZK 82.5 million crowns per tram.

In the final phase of the billion-dollar competition, only Škoda and Swiss Stadler Rail submitted offers. Initially, Polish PESA Bydgoszcz expressed interest but later withdrew. Notably absent were major European manufacturers Alstom and Siemens, despite their initial interest and qualification.

Evaluation criteria included the total bid price, spare parts cost, vehicle weight, capacity, low-floor area extent, wheel diameter, and electromechanical brake equipment. Axle usage, air conditioning coolant, and warranty period were also factored into the assessment.

The procurement plans not only aim to renew existing vehicles but also contribute to the gradual expansion of tram lines. Recent completions include new lines from Modřany to Libuš, from Divoká Šárka to Dědina, and the extension of the section to Slivenec.

The new trams will be housed in the recently completed Hloubětín depot hall and are expected to debut on line 8 and other connections via Palmovka.

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