CZ/SK verze

Prague Set to Welcome New Fleet of Modern Škoda ForCity Trams

Prague Set to Welcome New Fleet of Modern Škoda ForCity Trams
photo: DPP / Public domain/Škoda ForCity Plus
13 / 01 / 2024

The Transport Company of the Capital City of Prague will be able to offer a total of 50 new ForCity trams. The Prague City Council (DPP) has signed an eight-year contract with the winner of the public tender, Škoda Group, for the purchase of 40 trams with an option to deliver up to 160 more. The total value of the contract is nearly CZK 16.602 billion, making it one of the largest investments in new trams in the modern history of the DPP. The first 20 new trams are expected to arrive in Prague in December 2025, with the following 20 trams arriving by the end of December 2026.

The Škoda ForCity Plus Praha 52T is a one-way, five-link, 100% low-floor tram without a single step in the entire passenger compartment, including the space above the bogies, in a modern design created by a team of designers from the Škoda Group led by Tomáš Chludil. It is 32 meters long, equipped with full-carriage air conditioning with ecological refrigerant, an anti-collision system, automatic passenger counting, energy-saving LED interior and exterior lighting, and 70 padded seats, 44 of which are forward-facing and 26 counter-facing.

Compared to the previous 15T trams, the capacity of the new cars will increase by 33 passengers, an increase of almost 16%. Passengers will appreciate the new information system with six large, full-color aisle screens and the more intuitive operation of the door opening buttons and signaling to the driver.

DPP / Public domain

Prague, especially its historic center, is characterized by its narrow streets with sharp curves, steep gradients, significant height differences in the tram network, but also long and relatively straight lines. The development of the new tram for Prague took into account all these factors and the technical requirements of the DPP resulting from previous operating experience. The design of the new tram combines a multi-link vehicle with two freely rotatable bogies under the outermost links and two partially rotatable bogies under the inner bogies.

This combination has made it possible to create a more permeable, airy passenger salon with short, wide, and spacious joints, free of any steps or other barriers. It also ensures adaptability to any track profile and promises a smooth, comfortable, and quiet ride, as well as reduced wear and tear on wheels and tracks. This solution is expected to extend the service life of the vehicles, potentially achieving up to 50% more wheel mileage compared to the 15T trams, and ultimately lower maintenance costs for the chassis and its most expensive components.

"Although Prague and DPP have purchased new 14T and 15T trams in the past twenty years, they served to renew the fleet as replacements for unviable high-floor trams, not to increase the number of available vehicles. However, we are currently experiencing a tram boom in Prague. We are building new lines; last year, we opened three lines totaling five kilometers in length and are preparing more. This year, for instance, construction will commence on Wenceslas Square. The new lines alone, which we plan to build in the period 2024-2027, will require 45 new trams. And these will be 100% low-floor, quiet trams with an increased number of seats and an anti-collision system," says Zdeněk Hřib, 1st Deputy Mayor of the capital city of Prague and chairman of DPP's supervisory board.

Anti-Collision System: Enhancing Traffic Safety

To meet increasing safety demands, every new tram will be equipped with Škoda's anti-collision system. This system utilizes dual LiDAR and HD-camera technology, coupled with precise localization using offline-recorded HD maps and odometry, to create a virtual driving tunnel. Within this tunnel, the tram can detect obstacles with a 10 cm accuracy, provide early warnings, minimize false positive alerts, and timely activate the emergency brake. This system is designed to help avert significant accidents and reduce the risk of injuries and vehicle damage.

Sustainable Braking Technology

The Škoda ForCity Plus 52T tram for Prague features an electromechanical braking system chosen for its efficiency and sustainability. Electromechanical brakes are easy to operate and maintain, offering an oil-free design and low operating costs. They function primarily as emergency, locking, and backup brakes. The electrodynamic motor brake, part of the drive and motor, ensures a more precise and faster response, better control of deceleration smoothness, lower noise levels, and maximum recovery rate to a complete stop.

The recovered energy from regeneration is primarily used for vehicle servicing and operation or returned to the grid for use by another vehicle. This contributes to greater energy efficiency and reduced overall energy consumption. Moreover, compared to hydraulic brake systems, electromechanical brakes do not contain hydraulic fluids, making them more environmentally friendly and significantly reducing maintenance time and the vehicle's return to service time.

The vehicle integrates proven components from Škoda's successful projects. Chassis frames are borrowed from the ForCity Smart trams for Ostrava, Pilsen, and Brno, while the powerful traction motor comes from the ForCity Plus project for Frankfurt, Chotěbuz, and Brandenburg. The basic construction of the vehicle is inspired by the five-cell ForCity Plus tram for Bratislava, enhancing the mileage for a new set of wheels.

Source: DPP Press Release