On June 2, 2022, the first example of the new generation Astra Imperio Metropolitan trams was presented in Bucharest. STB (Societatea de Transport Bucaresti) has commissioned 100 vehicles. Vehicle deliveries, 4 per month, will start from August 2022 and be completed by 2024.
The presentation event was attended by the Mayor of Bucharest, the Director of STB and the Management of Astra Vagoane Calatori, manufacturers of the vehicle.
Bucharest’s tram network is one of the most extensive in the world, boasting as many as 27 lines that cover the urban area extensively and carry 112,000,000 passengers annually.
STB now has 506 vehicles, of which 352 are of the V3A type-more than 350 units Tatra T4, 131 units, Bucur V2A-15 units. The rolling stock was built between the early 1970s and the 1990s, with some modifications and revamping for some of them made in the early 2000s, with the addition of the third low-floor box. Definitely good material, but obsolete today, both in terms of comfort and maintenance.
New trams for STB Bucharest
STB, in line with its rolling stock renewal program, has therefore ordered in 2021 100 new-generation streetcars of the Astra Imperio Metropolitan type from Astra, at a cost of about €200 mln.
Over a hundred years old, Astra, a company founded in 1891, now employs 260 technicians and workers spread over two plants in Arad, a city of 179,000 inhabitants located in western Romania, not far from the Hungarian border. The company is a manufacturer of both railway rolling stock and trolleybuses.
The tramway is a modular type, with a choice of two to six elements and all-motor bogies or the solution with a load-bearing bogie and the other motors.
Astra Imperio Metropolitan for Bucharest
The version chosen by STB is four-element, 36-meter long, is designed and built by Astra in cooperation with Siemens and local ICPE SAERP.
Imperio Metropolitan’s design is based on the platform of the Avenio model, whose electrical and electronic equipment and mechanical layout are used. As with Avenio, in fact, the bogies are located toward the center of each till, with the advantage of less clutter in the passenger environment.
Each streetcar has four trolleys, the extreme motor trolleys and the two intermediate carrier trolleys ( Bo – 2-2- Bo). Each motor bogie has two traction motors, which each develop a power of 100 kW and can pushes the vehicle up to the speed of 70 km/h. The track gauge is 1,435 mm.
The design of the vehicle is interesting, featuring a white and green livery. Definitely competitive are the technical features. The floor is fully lowered, space is available for both impaired persons and children’s baby carriages; there are 5 doors, 2 of which are in the first element on the driver’s cabin side and 1 for the other boxes, in sufficient number, however, to ensure a fast flow of boarding and alighting. A not insignificant detail, the doors are equipped with an anti-fall system for passengers.
A look inside Bucharest’s new trams
The passenger environment is air-conditioned, elegant and at the same time sober, certainly very bright, thanks to the large windows and the central ceiling-mounted interior lighting. The interior and exterior lighting is energy-efficient LED. Some windows can still be opened in case of emergency. The space and seating available are excellent. The Astra Imperio’s carrying capacity is an impressive 322 passengers, 56 of whom are seated. The limited footprint of the bogies and on-board equipment allowed space for a large number of passengers. The elevated cockpit provides excellent visibility and is isolated from the passenger environment. The maneuvering desk is of a standardized, wrap-around type.
The internal communication system is very well taken care of, with acoustic and luminous warnings of the next stop and a communications public address system ; the streetcar also has free WI.FI for travelers, internal and external video surveillance, and a POS system for ticket purchase directly on board. Comfortable seats, provided with light green and black patterned padding, of different sizes and arranged both longitudinally and transversely. The appearance is certainly pleasing.
Modern and reliable vehicle, it is already in operation in Cluj – Napoca, Galati, Oradea and Arad.
By Stefano Alfano