Talgo Wins High-Speed Tender in Europe with its new Avril, High-Speed Train

Nov. 30, 2016
Spanish railways operator Renfe has awarded Talgo a contract for the supply of 15 very high-speed trains with a maximum commercial speed of 330 km/h and to maintain this fleet for 30 years after the biggest open, competitive tendering in Europe.

Spanish railways operator Renfe has awarded Talgo a contract for the supply of 15 very high-speed trains with a maximum commercial speed of 330 km/h and to maintain this fleet for 30 years after the biggest open, competitive tendering in Europe. The awarded train Avril is Talgo’s most advanced product and the only train in the market which can offer both the maximum capacity in a single deck, and passenger comfort.

Total contract value reaches €787m and includes both the manufacturing of an initial block of 15 trains and their maintenance for 30 years. The contract includes an option to buy a second block of 15 additional units and to extend the maintenance period 10 additional years. Talgo shall deliver the first block in 36 months.

By using a highly competitive process the Spanish railway operator has ensured the best purchasing price and the most reliable train, and thus the maximum return for passengers and taxpayers. Under the specifications, bids received a maximum of 35 points for the technical offer and a maximum of 65 for the economic offer. As a result, Talgo has emerged as the winner of both categories with 29,616 technical points, a total of 8 points ahead of the next bidder, and 65 economic points, a total of 4.5 points ahead of the next bidder.

Having won the open competitive tender process in Europe, Talgo’s President Carlos Palacio said: “By choosing Avril, Spain and Talgo will reinforce their position worldwide as reference of quality in the very high-speed market,” said Talgo’s President Carlos Palacio.

Talgo will provide Renfe with a technologically sound product, guaranteeing 99.09% availability during the whole contract period, the highest possible number of seats for a single-deck train and the most energy-efficient rail vehicle available in the very high-speed market, ensuring shortened dwelling times thanks to its enhanced accessibility and multiplying line capacity by means of its high power-to-weight ratio.

Each of the Avril trains will have a maximum commercial speed of 330 km/h and a total passenger capacity of 521 seats. Thus by using multiple-unit train control and two units coupled, Renfe could transport up to 600 passengers in a single service, with total comfort.

By choosing the most advanced train on the market Renfe will establish a fleet ready to improve its offering along the Mediterranean coast and to cross the Pyrenees to serve destinations in France. To this end, Avril units manufactured by Talgo will have three different electrification systems (1.5kV and 3 kV DC, plus 25 kV 50 Hz AC) and several signaling systems (ERTMS and ASFA for the use in Spain and TVM and KVB to be used in France).

Talgo at the forefront of the global market

Having been awarded its first Avril contract, Talgo reinforces its strategy of developing its own technology and consolidates its position as an international reference in the global high-speed market. The company has already exported its Talgo 350 high-speed train to Saudi Arabia and with Avril now aims for new contracts in the international market, specifically in those countries who seek to maximize existing lines capacity.

In the words of Talgo’s President, Carlos Palacio: “With the liberalization of the European market, rail operators will be forced to reduce their operating costs and the ratio of investment cost per passenger. It is due to this, that we wanted to anticipate the future of the rail industry by making AVRIL available throughout our country: a faster, lighter, more efficient and sustainable train that not only saves energy and maintenance costs for operators, but also further preserves the ecological spirit that governs our time and that of our future generations.”

Advanced, sustainable and adaptable train

Avril is the result of 8 full years of engineering and a total investment of over €50 million. Its commercial name is also the acronym in Spanish of some of its main features: High-Speed, Independent Wheels and Lightweight. The first prototype started its tests in the spring of 2014 and was homologated last May.

Thanks to their higher capacity and their lower total weight, the Avril units will minimize energy consumption and improve its efficiency. This will allow for a further reduction of the greenhouse gases emitted and will improve rail record as the most sustainable transport mode. “Nowadays, technological development must go hand in hand with environmental care to create both economically and energetically sustainable products,” said Carlos Palacio.

Avril has maximum accessibility thanks to its single, continuous low-floor deck which is at the station platform level and which provides enhanced autonomy for people with reduced mobility. Its coaches being wider than those of its competitors’, Avril also allocates more space to passengers.

The decision of the national train operator will also make easier to extend high-speed rail services to the whole Spanish network in the near future, as Avril will be equipped with Talgo’s unique automatic variable-gauge system. Thus Avril could serve routes both along high-speed and conventional lines, and thus cut travel times between northern Spain (Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country) and the rest of Spain.

Talgo has an extensive experience in variable-gauge systems, which are mounted in up to 800 rail vehicles currently in revenue service around the world and which are activated more than 1,000 times per day in Spain alone.

Profitable diversification

Talgo will continue to pursue its diversification strategy by developing new transport solutions for new market segments. Last summer Talgo made a technological demonstration in India, setting a new speed record in the country and validating the ability of the conventional coaches of Talgo to cut by a c.25% travel times between Delhi and Mumbai with no need of costly investments to renew the infrastructure.

Talgo was awarded an ambitious contract to refurbish and overhaul a significant proportion of the rail vehicles currently in revenue service on the Los Angeles Metro (USA), and it is expected to finish the developing phase of its first train designed for regional and suburban rail services in 2017. Talgo is also the option of choice of train operators who want to maximize the availability, reliability and safety of its rolling stock fleet.