China sends first two of 18 trains ordered by Porto metro
Loading underway at Tianjin port. Photo: Screenshot of website of the General Administration of Customs

China sends first two of 18 trains ordered by Porto metro

Delivery dates hugely compromised by “adverse impact” of pandemic

The first two of 18 trains ordered by Porto Metro in 2020 from Chinese State-owned manufacturer China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) Tangshan have finally started their journey by sea to this country

The trains were put on a boat that left the port of Tianjin, in northern China, earlier this week, according to a statement by the General Administration of Chinese Customs.

These are the first Chinese carriages exported to the European Union, said the statement.

The delivery dates have been hugely compromised by the consequences of the pandemic.

Zhou Junnian, president of CRRC Tangshan, is quoted as saying that due to the “adverse impact brought about by Covid-19”, production of the first train did not start “until November 2021”, being completed “after more than eight months of hard work”.

When the €49.57 million deal was signed in January 2020, an official source for Porto Metro told Lusa they believed CRRC Tangshan could deliver at least “one or two trains” by the end of 2021, with the remaining trains delivered by 2023, at a rate of one per month.

In other words, the schedule looks like being delayed by roughly a year.

According to the Chinese manufacturer, each of the trains will have a maximum capacity of 346 passengers and a maximum speed of 80 kms/ hour.

The trains will serve the new Rosa line in Porto, between São Bento and Casa da Música, and the extension of the Yellow line, between Santo Ovídio and Vila d’Este, in Vila Nova de Gaia – both of which are already under construction.

Says Lusa, these new lines will add six kms and seven stations to the network, representing a global investment of around €300 million.

The agency refers to CRRC Tangshan as a Chinese company “with a long tradition in the production of trains, high speed trains and metro vehicles. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of railway rolling stock, headquartered in Beijing and employing more than 180,000 workers.

“The Chinese company is currently in the running for the tender to purchase 117 railcars for the regional and suburban services of CP – Comboios de Portugal (the country’s rail operator), for a base price of €819 million, with the material to be delivered by 2029.

“The award is expected to take place in February 2023 and not this year, as originally planned, infrastructure and housing minister Pedro Nuno Santos said on September 22.

“CRRC Tangshan was also, in partnership with France’s Thales, one of the losing bidders in the contract to acquire 42 carriages and a new rail signalling system for the Lisbon Metro, awarded in 2020”.

Source: LUSA