Talgo wins $344.12m contract to manufacture powerheads

Spanish firm Talgo has secured a contract with a maximum value of $344.12m (€281.5m) from railway company Renfe to manufacture up to 40 new variable gauge and 330 km/h commercial speed powerheads (locomotives).

This includes a first order of $239m (€195.5m) for 26 powerheads. The project will be the concluding step for the transformation of 13 conventional trains into very-high-speed trains.

The scope of order also comprises the maintenance of the 13 trainsets with the option to increase the production to 40 powerheads.

With this contract, Renfe has rounded off the upgrade of the Series 7 overnight trains, which were ordered from Talgo in February 2018.

According to the previous contract, Talgo won a $131m (€107m) order to convert a number of Series 7 overnight trains into very-high-speed vehicles that would operate at speeds of 330km/h.

The contract also included the conversion of around 156 coaches, corresponding to 13 trains.

However, this 2018 contract did not engage the production of the powerheads required for train operations.

Each of the 13 trains that are being modernised will be offered traction through the new 26 locomotives.

Positioned at both ends of the passenger car formations, they will run in a single-pair formation.

The powerheads will feature Spain-developed technology that is already deployed onboard Talgo Avril trains.

These will allow the trains to automatically adjust to the two current track gauges in Spain.

Talgo stated that this development will allow the extension of high-speed services to the conventional, electrified railway network.

Currently in the homologation stage, Talgo Avril trains are efficient and low-consumption units.

These trains are undergoing daily dynamic tests on the Venta de Baños-Burgos section of the Madrid-Valladolid-Basque Country high-speed line.

For technical approval, the powerheads of the new Talgo Avril will shortly operate at speeds exceeding 360km/h.

In the coming years, Renfe will obtain 43 new very-high-speed trains from Talgo, of which 13 trains have already been supplied.

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