Apologies if you’re a high-speed rail fan living in the US — I assume this story is going to depress you… while also exciting you. Sweden has just ordered electrical systems for 36 “next-generation” high-speed trains from ABB*. The cost of this deal was $200 million, but SJ, Sweden’s state-owned rail operator, is actually investing $510 million into the project in total. 26 SJ2000 trains will be used. The SJ2000 trains were designed in the 1980s, but these are getting a 21st century update.
“The first retrofitted train will be delivered in 2015. After successful testing and evaluation, the remainder of the trains will be built incrementally through 2019. Disassembly and assembly will be done in Sweden together with a local partner,” ABB writes.
While it may not be a major, obvious trend in the US, train travel is growing globally. Comfortable, efficient, and fast high-speed trains are a key reason why.
”The need and demand for environmentally friendly and comfortable travel will keep increasing. Passenger train journeys went up by 59 percent from 1997 to 2010. All signs point to a further strong increase, not least in terms of business travel as companies live up to their sustainability commitments,” said Crister Fritzson, CEO of SJ. “This initiative will enable SJ to offer the most comfortable train journeys on the main inter-city lines in Sweden for a long time ahead.”
Interestingly, ABB actually has a history with these trains: “The SJ 2000 train carriages were built by one of ABB’s predecessor firms, ASEA,” ABB writes. “The train is one of the world’s best in its class in terms of comfort, space and service. It is the only train in Sweden with specially designed basket tilting that keeps passengers comfortable while traveling at high speed along many curved sections of the Swedish rail network.”
With a strong foot in the high-speed train, solar, EV, and energy efficiency markets, ABB is in a very good position to benefit from the widespread and highly needed drive for modern solutions that don’t fry our climate.
*Full disclosure: I write for ABB Conversations. That said, I wouldn’t write about a story on CleanTechnica unless I really thought it deserved coverage, and just to be clear, this article wasn’t sponsored in any way.
Image Credit: ABB