Family of light rail vehicles and Urbos trams

Urbos is designed and developed by the Spanish company CAF. Credit: AleWi/Wikimedia Commons.

The modular low-floor tram offers high standards of passenger comfort. Credit: Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles, SA

The maximum number of passengers an Urbos tram can carry is 397. Credit: Construcciones Y Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles, SA

Urbos is a family of trams and light rail vehicles (LRV) developed by Spanish railway and equipment manufacturer Constructions and Auxiliaries of Railroads (CIF).

The Urbos family includes a range of trams, VLRs and tram-trains designed to meet the high demands of operators.

Design and features of Urbos

Urbos has a 100% low-floor design, which allows passengers to easily enter and exit the tram. The height of the floor, however, varies in some versions.

The modern and futuristic interior and exterior design of the platform offers a unique travel experience.

Its modular design can be adapted to meet the specific needs of each city and operator. Customers can choose between different ends and body colors.

The tram comes in different configurations ranging from three to nine cars. Urbos also offers the customer the flexibility to select the number of doors and their precise location on the side of each car.

The versatile modules of Urbos can be used either as a lounge area, space to accommodate pushchairs, prams and bicycles, space for people with reduced mobility, or as a luggage storage module. The module can also be fitted with folding seats.

The vehicle was built with an emphasis on passenger comfort and safety. The passenger seats are modular, light, interchangeable and anti-vandalism. On-board heating and air conditioning systems ensure a comfortable journey.

Passenger information systems are installed to keep passengers informed of the route, next stops and arrival times.

Urbos Platform Specifications

Urbos trams are designed for one-way and two-way operations. They use a 750 V DC power supply from an overhead catenary. The bogies are adapted to operate on gauges of 1000 mm and 1435 mm. The length of the tramway varies between 18 m and 43 m while the width varies from 2.3 m to 2.65 m.

Variants

The Urbos platform has different variants including Urbos 100, Urbos 70, Urbos AXL, Urbos TT and Urbos LRV.

The Urbos 100 variant is a low-floor tram, with easy access for all types of passengers. It is available in three-car, five-car, seven-car and nine-car versions.

The 2.65m wide Urbos 100 has a carrying capacity of between 129 and 397 passengers, depending on the configuration.

The Urbos 70 variant can have a minimum of three cars on three bogies. Larger versions are also offered with five and seven cars. The three-car version can carry up to 162 passengers while the five-car and seven-car versions can carry up to 251 and 339 passengers, respectively.

Urbos AXL, which is a 70-100% low-floor tram, is designed to carry more passengers. It is fitted with rail axles on the bogies, allowing the tram to easily negotiate bends. The three-car and four-car versions can carry up to 187 and 256 passengers respectively.

The Urbos TT variant is designed to optimize connections between cities and suburban areas. The tram-train is used for tram operations in the city. It also provides commuter services to nearby towns and villages.

The LRV Urbos comprises two articulated cars supported by three bogies for city operation. It provides efficient, comfortable and environmentally friendly operation.

Orders and deliveries

CAF received an order worth more than €200 million ($209.8 million) from Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, a French metropolitan area, in June 2022 for the supply of 60 trams, with an option for 17 trams additional in the future. The company will supply its seven-car Urbos trams.

Israel’s state-owned NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA) placed an order with CAF in January 2022. CAF agreed to design and supply 98 new low-floor trams, comprising five modules each, with an option for an additional 32 units in the future. The scope also includes the supply of signaling, energy and communication systems.

The order is part of a contract worth more than 1.01 billion euros ($1.13 billion), awarded to a consortium of CAF and construction company Shapir for the construction of the Tel Aviv LRV purple line and the supply of rolling stock and associated equipment, as well as maintenance of the line for 25 years.

Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris), a public transport company based in Lisbon, Portugal, has selected CAF to supply 15 Urbos trams under a contract worth over 43 million euros ( $51.79 million) in April 2021. The contract scope includes the supply of five-car one-way units, as well as maintenance of the trams for five years.

De Lijn, a Belgian public transport company, placed an order to supply 146 Urbos trams in 2017. The company ordered 18 trams in June 2021, in the fifth batch of trams under the 2017 contract. The trams will be bi-directional , unlike those ordered in the previous four batches which are unidirectional.

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has also placed an order to supply four five-car Urbos 100 LRV units for the Inner West Light Rail line in Sydney in June 2021. Deliveries are expected to be completed in early 2023.

CAF has been contracted by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to supply 21 catenary-free trams in Birmingham, UK in October 2019. The contract includes an option for an additional 29 trams. The first third-generation Urbos tram was delivered in May 2021.

The trams have an on-board energy storage solution for catenary-free operation. CAF supplied a fleet of 21 Urbos trams for Birmingham in 2012. The fleet has been retrofitted with on-board energy storage technology.

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Jose P. Rogers