Azerbaijan Railways has placed an order with the Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler for the construction of 30 sleeper and dining car vehicles, at a cost of CHF 120 million (around TRY 280 million).
The carriages will be built at the Stadler works at Altenrhein, Switzerland, and delivered from mid-2016 to mid-2017. They are designed to be used on through services from Baku to Istanbul via the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars line, which is scheduled to open during 2015. For this reason they will be fitted with RAFIL/DBAG type V gauge-changing wheelsets. The change of gauge from 1520 mm to 1435 mm will take place at the Georgian town of Akhalkalaki near the Turkish border.
Five different types of carriage are included in the order:
3 first-class carriages (16 beds, each compartment having en-suite wet room with toilet and shower)
18 second-class carriages (34 beds, one toilet, one shower)
3 composite first-/second-class carriages (20 beds, with en-suite wet rooms in first-class compartments and family compartments)
3 special mobility carriages (with a more spacious compartment for those with restricted mobility) and four second-class compartments with 16 beds and a compartment for the train manager).
3 dining cars, with 28 seats each.
The 30 carriages will be formed into three sets of 10 vehicles, so each 10-car train would include 1 x first class, 1 x composite, 6 x second class, 1 x special mobility, and 1 x dining car, giving a total of 257 beds per train. All vehicles are fully air-conditioned, and a backup generator supply is provided.
The contract has an option for a further 70 vehicles, and includes the provision of spare parts, and training of on-train and maintenance personnel.
So far there has been no indication from TCDD as to what passenger service – if any – will be provided on the new Kars – Akhalkalaki line when it opens in 2015, prior to the delivery of this new rolling stock to Azerbaijan Railways. Extension of the Dogu Express for the short distance over the border would be an obvious solution, but this train is already heavily loaded, particularly in the summer tourist season.
Cover Photo: Stadler ©