The first Škoda 39T tram for Ostrava, Czech Republic, was officially unveiled in October 2021. Credit: ŠKODA TRANSPORTATION a.s.
The low-floor trams can accommodate 60 seated and 140 standing passengers. Credit: ŠKODA TRANSPORTATION a.s.
The interiors of the new trams are designed with ergonomic features. Credit: ŠKODA TRANSPORTATION a.s.

ForCity Smart is a low-floor tram manufactured by Škoda Transportation, a Czech manufacturer of vehicles for railways and public transport.

The ForCity Smart trams are operational in Helsinki and Tampere in Finland, and were also ordered for operation in the cities of Ostrava and Pilsen in the Czech Republic and Bonn in Germany.

Škoda’s ForCity 39T is the designated ForCity Smart tram for public transportation in Ostrava, making it the first city in the Czech Republic and Central Europe to deploy the ForCity Smart trams.

The ForCity Smart Artic Helsinki tram is claimed to be the world’s first mass-produced narrow-gauge, low-floor tram with a fully pivoting bogie.

Design and features

The ForCity Smart vehicle has a spacious, barrier-free design and has a maximum height of 4m, weighing more than 36t when empty and 56t when completely occupied.

The tram comes in uni-directional and bi-directional models. The front end of the new trams operating in Ostrava resembles a mine tower and is dynamically shaped, providing comfort and convenience for the driver. It also enhances passive pedestrian safety.

The rounded elements of the front end prevent obstacles from being pulled under the vehicle. The design enables the distribution of weight across the bogies, thereby reducing the axle load and thus the maintenance costs of railway infrastructure. The completely swivel chassis further minimises wear and tear of track components.

The air-conditioned tram has a 100% low-floor configuration. It is equipped with USB ports for charging mobile devices, CCTV systems, Wi-Fi, anti-vandal foils, and a camera system to enhance traffic safety.

The tram is designed to meet the latest European standards, including the criteria for the non-flammable materials used in the construction of the vehicle, vehicle body strength, and impact resistance.

The vehicle is built with fewer bellows to improve its acoustic and thermal insulation.

The ForCity Smart vehicle has a maximum operating speed of 80km/h.

ForCity Smart trams interiors

The ForCity Smart tram can accommodate 200 passengers including 60 seated. It has an ergonomic layout of 16 extra elevated seats.

The two-section Škoda 39T tram features five double-leaf doors, which enable passengers to board and deboard easily and quickly.

The vehicle has multi-functional areas to accommodate prams, bicycles and wheelchairs. It is also equipped with a passenger information system with screens and panels.

Orders and deliveries

Finnish company Škoda Transtech, a subsidiary of Škoda Transportation Group, was awarded a contract to deliver 40 new low-floor trams to Helsinki City Transport (HKL). The contract includes options to order additional trams. The first two ForCity Smart Artic trams were delivered in 2013.

HKL signed an agreement for the supply of 29 trams for the “Raide-Jokeri” line connecting the Finish cities of Helsinki and Espoo in 2016. The company placed orders worth more than €300m ($352.92m) for a total of 99 trams by June 2018, of which 48 trams were delivered by the end of 2018.

Tampere, Finland’s third largest city, ordered 19 trams for its newly built tram track in October 2017. The contract worth €104m ($123m) includes an option for up to 46 additional trams. The first vehicle was delivered to Tampere in May 2020.

Škoda Transportation was awarded a contract worth more than €250m ($290m) for the delivery of 80 trams for German transport company Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr (rnv) in June 2018. The trams will run in the network covering Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg, and the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Hessen. The contract also includes an option for further 34 vehicles. The first trams will become operational in 2022.

Czech Republic’s Plzeňské městské dopravní podniky (PMDP) ordered 22 ForCity Smart trams along with training, technical documentation, and maintenance in October 2018.

An order for 26 ForCity Smart trams for operation in the German city of Bonn was placed in December 2019. The contract worth CZK4bn ($175m) covers the exclusive supply of spare parts for 25 years and includes an option of purchasing up to 12 additional trams. The first trams will arrive in 2022.

Dopravní podnik Ostrava (DPO), a Czech transportation company, ordered 35 new for about CZK1.7bn ($77.53m) with an option for another five units. The first tram was unveiled in October 2021, while the trial operations began in November 2021.

Contractors involved

Voith was contracted to provide the electrical drive systems for the Helsinki tram fleet. The drive system components include two double traction inverters, high-voltage equipment, and eight complete drive units including motor-gear units and wheelsets.