Stadler FLIRT is an electric multiple unit (EMU) manufactured by Stadler Rail, a Switzerland-based rail manufacturer. FLIRT stands for Fast Light Innovative Regional Train. These trains are manufactured for operations on suburban and regional railway lines.

The FLIRT trains were originally developed in 2004 for use under Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). After the instant success of these trains, many countries, including Germany, Italy, Poland, Finland and Algeria, placed orders for FLIRT rail cars. The train was adopted in different variants depending on the specifications of operations in a specific country.

Stadler’s FLIRT rail cars can travel with a maximum speed of 200kmph. They are suitable for operations on both standard and broad gauge.

A new variation of the vehicle, called FLIRT 3, is being introduced in Germany. This is expected to be operational from December 2013. The maximum speed of FLIRT 3 is fixed at 160kmph.

Design of the electric multiple unit

"The FLIRT trains were originally developed in 2004 for use under Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)."

The Stadler FLIRT adopts a roomy design to enhance the comfort levels of passengers. The running gear and drive systems of the vehicle have been designed to ensure low noise levels while providing exceptional comfort to passengers.

The standard floor height of the vehicle is fixed at 57cm but for stations with higher floors the floor height varies between 76cm and 78cm. The floor height can also be chosen by the operator.

The train consists of articulated train sets, which contains light rail cars attached semi-permanently sharing a common bogie. The trains are available in two to six car combinations with two to six motorised axles. The automatic couplers, installed at both the ends of the trains, permit connection and disconnection of up to four train cars easily and quickly.

Stadler FLIRT user-friendly interiors

The FLIRT rail cars feature bright and user-friendly interiors. The low floor section of the vehicle is greater than 90%. The front section of the vehicle is reinforced with glass fibre. There are three to four doors on each side of the rail cars. The doors feature a double leaf swin-plug design, which enhances passenger comfort while boarding.

The cars are fully air-conditioned in both passenger and driver compartments. The extendable platforms of the rail cars enable free movement of disabled people, parents handling a stroller and passengers carrying luggage.

The trains feature closed vacuum built toilet systems with access for disabled people. The driver’s cab is ergonomically designed.

Propulsion and power systems of the Swiss trains

The trains are adoptable to both AC and DC power systems. The train sections can be combined into a single cabin using Jacobs bogies. Each bogie is designed to be air-suspended and can produce a continuous power of 1,000kW. It provides a four section car with 2,000kW to 2,600kW of power.

Depending on the number of rail cars and power bogies the train can travel with speeds between 120kmph and 200kmph. The acceleration of the train varies. All the variants of FLIRT are equipped with redundant traction chain drive induction motors.

Orders and deliveries of Stadler Rail’s EMUs

FLIRT vehicles have been ordered by various railway agencies, including the SBB, the Hungarian National Railway and Ferrotramviaria, between 2006 and 2008.

"After the instant success of these trains, many countries, including Germany, Italy, Poland, Finland and Algeria, placed orders."

In August 2008, Norwegian National Railways awarded a contract for 50 FLIRT vehicles with an option for 100 more vehicles. The value of the total contract is $703.53m. Stadler will deliver 24 five car vehicles by 2013.

In March 2011, Stadler Pankow placed a $271.48m order for the supply of 35 FLIRT vehicles, of which seven are three car trains and 28 are six car trains. These trains are expected to be operational by December 2013. In May 2011, the SBB ordered 13 FLIRT EMUs as part of a contract worth $140.81m. Deliveries are expected to take place in 2012-13.

Südtiroler Transportstrukturen placed a $101.68m order in November 2011 for eight six car FLIRTs and eight intermediate cars.

In December 2011, four three car FLIRT vehicles were acquired by Hessische Landesbahn. During the same month, Junakalusto Oy in Finland added nine FLIRT vehicles to their order of 32 vehicles placed in 2006. The total order value is $73.21m and the vehicle construction is scheduled to be completed by 2014. These vehicles will be used on a new circular line that connects to the airport.

In February 2012, the first FLIRT (Leo Express Train) of five vehicles ordered by Czech Republic was delivered.

In April 2012, Győr-Sopron-Ebenfurti Vasút Zrt. awarded a contract worth $27.12m to Stadler for the supply of four FLIRT vehicles. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2014. In July 2012, a third order following orders in 2007 and 2009 was placed by Italy’s Ferrovie del Gargano for three additional FLIRTs, which are scheduled to be delivered in 2014.

The first FLIRT designed and manufactured by joint venture of Stadler Rail and AnsaldoBreda was rolled out in January 2013. The vehicle is a part of an order for 32 electric and two diesel multiple units, placed by Emilia Romagna Railways (FER) and Sistemi Territoriali.

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