RegioPanter is a single-deck, electrical, multiple unit, manufactured by Czech rolling stock producer Škoda Transportation, a subsidiary of investment company PPF Group.
Multiple models of the RegioPanter electric unit, which is designated Škoda 7Ev, have been produced since 2011, ranging from two-car units to five-car units. The two and three-car configurations are operational in a number of regions in the Czech Republic.
Škoda Transportation will build new, significantly improved, and technologically upgraded, RegioPanter trains that are planned to be inducted into Czech railway operator České dráhy’s fleet in 2023 and 2024.
The new trains are expected to help in modernising the rolling stock of the railway network in the country in the coming years. The new fleet will be used to serve commuters mainly in the Olomouc, Moravia-Silesian, and South Bohemian regions.
Operations of RegioPanter trains
České dráhy runs the RegioPanter units as regional (Os) or regional fast (Sp) trains to connect to villages and towns.
The Os trains stop at all stations while the Sp trains only stop at more important stations. The three-carriage RegioPanter units operate on major electrified tracks in the Ústí Area, as well as the Hradec Králové, Pardubice, and Olomouc regions.
The two-carriage formations run in the Southern Moravia and Moravia-Silesia regions.
RegioPanter single-deck electric trains design and features
Equipped with comfortable luxury seats, air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi access, the RegioPanter trains are designed to operate on regional and suburban routes.
The trains feature wide entrance doors while the internal layout offers a continuous flow, without internal doors, for better movement of passengers. The design provides enough space for people with limited mobility, strollers, or bicycles.
The electrical units are fitted with ergonomic seats and 1.5m-wide double-leaf entrance doors. An automatic train control system enables the controlling of up to four coupled units.
The trains are designed as a single-system, to operate on a 3kV DC system, or a dual-system, for 3kV DC and 25kV 50Hz power supply voltage.
The vehicles can operate on a track gauge of 1,435mm and feature a driving bogie, with two asynchronous motors, and a common bogie. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 160km/h for both three and two-car train types. The length of the two-car unit is 52.9m, and 79.4m for the three-car unit. The width and height of the two-car and three-car units are 2.82m and 4.26m, respectively.
Improvements to the latest RegioPanter units
The modernisation of the RegioPanter units is intended to enhance passenger comfort. The new low-floor trains will be fitted with a more modern interior and the latest technology features, when compared to the previous RegioPanter units. New features will include a modern information system and the latest European Train Control System (ETCS), with an automatic train safety system.
The low-floor design will ensure improved boarding for persons with mobility constraints, senior citizens, and passengers with wheelchair requirements, as well as bikers, and caretakers.
Boarding on the new RegioPanters will be possible directly from most standard platforms with a height of 550mm while sliding stairs will be used for secure boarding on other platforms.
Seating capacity and other amenities onboard the RegioPanter units
Each two-car single-deck RegioPanter electric unit has 147 seats, with the capacity to accommodate 317 passengers. The three-car single-deck electric units, on the other hand, are equipped with 241 seats, with a maximum capacity of 497 passengers.
Amenities include wheelchair access and retractable footrests. The cars also have 230V electrical sockets for passengers to charge mobile phones and other gadgets.
The four-car units will have a length of 106m and a seating capacity of 343 passengers. Each car in the set will feature a conventional two-chassis configuration, and each electric unit will have a three-drive chassis.
Passengers will be able to move quickly and smoothly because of wide boarding entrances and a fully continuous, modernised cabin, without interior doors. The units will also have adequate space to transport disabled persons, prams, bicycles, skis, and snowboards.
The new units will feature comfortable seating, power outlets, air conditioning, modern LED inside lighting, and vehicle equipment, apart from a large, modernised toilet for disabled people. The units can be customised based on customer requirements and operational needs by installing vending machines, a ticket vending machine, or other interior improvements, to provide greater space for bicycles, skis, and other sports equipment.
The electric units will also have a new camera system, a modern information system with displays, and high-performance Wi-Fi.
Orders and deliveries of the RegioPanter
České dráhy placed an order for 19 two-car and three-car trains, including 15 three-car, and four two-car units, in 2011. Another contract worth CZK943m ($46,71m) was signed with Škoda Vagonka, a subsidiary of Škoda Transportation, for the delivery of seven regional transport units for operation in the South Moravian region. The first two-car unit under the contract entered service on the S2 Křenovice – Brno-Letovice line in June 2014.
In March 2018, Škoda and ŽOS Trnava received a contract worth up to €160m ($197.11m) to deliver up to 25 RegioPanter single-deck electrical units to Slovak Railways (ZSSK).
The contract includes the supply of two variants, namely an 80m-long variant, with a capacity of 247 seats, and a 106m-long, 343-seat version.
In March 2019, the consortium of Škoda Transportation and Škoda Vagonka reached a framework deal with České dráhy to provide 50 single-decker electrical multiple units.
Additionally, a purchase contract for the delivery of 31 electric units for CZK3.6bn ($157m) was signed.
Škoda signed two framework contracts with České dráhy to supply 50 two-car, and 29 three-car, RegioPanter trains.
České dráhy already operates 12 RegioPanter 440 series three-car trains and eight 640 series three-car trains, 17 650 series two-car trains, and 14 long-distance InterPanter 660 and 661 series trains.
In September 2021, Škoda signed a contract for the maintenance and renewal of electrical units for Czech Railways at its Šumperk plant. The contract is for five years and is worth approximately CZK1bn ($46.2m).
The framework contract includes the maintenance of the RegioPanter 440, 640, 650, and InterPanter 660 and 661 series electrical units. A total of 41 units will be maintained under the contract.
A consortium of Škoda Transportation and ŽOS Trnava signed a contract, worth CZK4.3bn ($201.04m), with the state-owned railway company ZSSK in the same month for the delivery of nine new RegioPanters, with an option of an additional 11 units.
The first nine four-car RegioPanters will operate in the Košice and Prešov regions. The fleet of RegioPanters in Slovakia will increase to 34, with the possibility of increasing to 45 if the option is implemented. ZSSK will have up to 45 units of the electric model with this new order.
New four-car RegioPanter units are being manufactured for Latvia, and a contract for six units has also been signed with Estonia.
A total of 250 RegioPanters are currently in operation, with the Czech Republic accounting for more than half of them. Low-floor RegioPanters are operating in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, and Ukraine.
Schaltbau RAWAG manufactured and provided 1,030 side windows for 23 RegioPanter and InterPanter single-deck electric trains. The majority of the windows were hopper windows made of extruded aluminium.
Hajdik was appointed to paint the electrical equipment compartments of the RegioPanter vehicles.