Alstom has signed two deals in Central Europe that will see the manufacturer deliver new vehicles for Zurich’s tram network and work with a Hungarian university on R&D projects in the region. 

The French company’s deal with Zurich’s public transport company VBZ covers 12 Flexity trams for the network in an expansion of optional orders stemming from a 2017 deal for 70 of the vehicles, bringing the operator’s total order to 122 trams. 

Marie Icardo, managing director of Alstom Switzerland, said: “The order shows that VBZ is very satisfied with our tram. The cooperation is excellent and the 60 Flexity trams deployed enrich the cityscape of Zurich.” 

The new vehicles have been slowly replacing the network’s older Tram 2000 models and new orders will also be used to expand services in the Swiss city and improve the public transport offering. 

Meanwhile, Alstom’s cooperation agreement in Hungary will see the company work with the University of Miskolc on R&D projects and talent management to encourage the next generation of rail supply chain workers in the region. 

Collaboration between the two companies will see students receive practical training and classes at Alstom factories in Hungary and work on research projects supporting Alstom’s operations, such as the development of technical solutions for domestic steel structure production. 

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Gáspár Balázs, managing director of Alstom in Hungary, said: “Today’s biggest challenge for production companies is to secure well-educated specialists and skilled labour in the long term. 

“This strategic cooperation agreement, which we have just concluded, is closely aligned with the educational program at Alstom’s Mátranovak factory.” 

The agreement comes soon after the company revealed plans to expand the Mátranovak factory with a $16m investment programme that aims to boost production at the site by 40%.