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The CityElefant Family Celebrates Its Latest Additions

The story of the CityElefants entered its finale at the beginning of April, at least with respect to their production and putting them into operation. ČD received the last two units from the manufacturer…

Rodina CityElefantů oslavuje poslední přírůstkyThere are now 12 class 471 units operating in northern Moravia and Silesia; the remaining 71 are used by passengers in Prague, Central Bohemia, and in part also in the Ústí and Pardubice regions. The European Union contributed to the purchase of the last eight CityElefants.

The arrival of the last two CityElefants was accompanied by freezing temperatures and snow. The festive handover took place on Friday, 5 April, at Ostrava-Svinov Station, where passengers will come into contact with the new units to a significant extent. There are now 12 CityElefants operating in the Ostrava region, and the last four were supplied as part of a project in which the EU participated financially through the Regional Operational Programme Moravia-Silesia.

Shortened travel times

“I would like to wish that this train may always reach its destination on time and exactly according to the timetable, exactly as we wish our own human timetable to reach its destination. This train is thus a bit of a depiction of human life.” With these words, Moravia-Silesia Bishop Mons. F. V. Lobkowicz consecrated the last electric unit on a platform at Ostrava-Svinov Station.

After their festive journey to Bohumín and return, the trains departed to collect regular passengers on suburban line S2 from Studénka via Ostrava-Svinov to Bohumín and Mosty u Jablunkova. “We particularly appreciate CityElefants because of the significantly shortened travel times for regional trains, for example ten to fifteen minutes in the Ostrava-Svinov – Opava segment,” adds Miroslav Klich, director of ČD’s Regional Centre for Passenger Transport (KCOD) in Ostrava.

The development of the CityElefant units began at the Moravskoslezská Vagónka wagon works in Studénka already in 1992. The first two prototypes, 471.001 and 471.002, left the production plant in 1997 and 1998, respectively, and were handed over to ČD in December 2000. In the following year, production was relocated to Vítkovice. The CityElefants gradually underwent technical improvements, and their exterior colour scheme was changed several times as well.

Bulwark of regional transport

For 83 CityElefant units, ČD paid approximately CZK 17 billion. 12 units are maintained by the depot in Bohumín, and the remaining 71 are serviced by the Rail Vehicle Depot in Prague (DKV Praha). Class 471 units travel over 33,000 km each day on average throughout the Czech Republic. In addition to Prague, Central Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia, they also travel on the corridor line as far as Ústí nad Labem, and serve several lines in the Pardubice region. While CityElefants are primarily intended for regional connections, ČD also uses them for long-distance transport at weekends, when there is less need for these units. You can find them operating as fast trains on the Prague – Děčín route and once per week on the Prague – Třinec route, and return.

Regarding the operation of CityElefant trains in the Ostrava region, there are more positives than negatives. Bohumín Operational Unit head Jan Podstawka comments as follows: “Our employees have had relatively good experience operating CityElefants, but we have been disappointed by the reliability of certain components as well as by the approach of some of the service employees. But we are continuously addressing these issues in cooperation with employees of the manufacturer, the company Škoda Vagonka.” Even so, the family of CityElefants has radically improved the quality of transport in the Czech Republic and rightfully ranks among ČD’s “golden fund”.



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