MÁV-Start will be purchasing forty, high-capacity bi-level electric trains from Stadler Rail, and the first KISS railcars will go into commission in the spring of 2019 on the Vác and Cegléd lines, it was announced on Wednesday in Budapest at the ceremonious signing of the contract.

At the event, Minister of State for Government Communication and Ministerial Commissioner for Railway Vehicle Development Bence Tuzson highlighted that Hungarian involvement in the manufacturing of the vehicles would be over 50 percent.

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Vehicle manufacturing is one of the flagship sectors of the Hungarian economy, Hungary has a long tradition in railway vehicle production and the Government has adopted an action plan for developing the production of railways vehicles, which includes modernising trains, the suburban railway system and the vehicles of the capital’s historic Millennium Underground Railway, he said.

Hungarian railway vehicle manufacturing is looking forward to a new period of prosperity, as plans also include the reinforcement of the vehicle repair unit at Dunakeszi and MÁV’s plant in Szolnok. The Government is striving to maintain the best possible relations with Hungarian manufacturers to ensure that they create as many jobs as possible in the upcoming period and enable an improvement in public transport services, he added.

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At the event, the Ministry of National Development’s Minister of State for Transport Development Róbert Homolya spoke, amongst others, about the fact that MÁV-Start serves 140 million Hungarian passengers each year, 40 percent of whom now travel using new electric trains, and this ratio will hopefully soon increase to above 50 percent.

President and CEO of MÁV Cls. Ilona Dávid told reporters that the capital’s suburban railways system was overcrowded, and this is why the acquisition of new high-capacity vehicles is required; the putting into commission of the double decker electric trains will be a milestone in the life of the railway company. CEO of MÁV-Start András Csépke stressed that according to experience, there is a marked increase in passenger traffic on lines where the company realises improvements.

In reply to a question, Mr. Csépke said that the first ten Stadler KISS vehicles would cost 16-9 million euros per unit, with a further 30 units available at a cost of 14.95 million euros each, the difference being derived from the fact that initial costs will also include training and the purchasing of parts.

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Director of Stadler Hungary Zoltán Dunai highlighted the fact that the winning bid was submitted jointly with the Dunakeszi Vehicle Repair Co.; the railway car bodywork will be welded and the manufacturing of bogies will occur at Stadler’s plant in Szolnok, while the vehicles will be painted, assembled and put into commission in Dunakeszi.

According to a joint statement issued by Stadler and the Hungarian railway company, the framework agreement concerns the acquisition of 10 to 40, six-carriage bi-level electric trains, and MÁV-Start will be drawing down the vehicles based on individual contracts depending on its available budget.

The first such contract involves the purchase of a minimum of 10 vehicles in such a way that MÁV-Start establishes a fund for maintenance and training, and sets aside reserves to balance possible exchange rate fluctuations relating to the contract, which was concluded in euros.

The collateral for the first drawdown is being provided by a 60.55 billion forint (EUR 194M) credit line from the Integrated Transport Development Operative Programme (IKOP).

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The high-capacity, 600-seat KISS trains (Komfortabler Innovativer Spurtstarker S-Bahn-Zug - ‘Comfortable, Innovative, Rapid-Acceleration Suburban Train’) have a top speed of 160 km/h and are fitted with a modern passenger information system and a spacious, air-conditioned interior, and are fully accessible; the multifunctional spaces provide room for four wheelchairs, 12 bicycles or 5 baby carriages.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)