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Budapest confirms order for 20 more Urbos trams

Budapest Urbos 2111, a 55.9m nine-section variant, on a line 1 service in 2017. A. Lugosi / CC BY 2.0

Budapest transport operator Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK) has confirmed an option for further 20 CAF Urbos trams.

To be delivered from September 2024, the additional low-floor vehicles are part of a contract agreed in 2014 for a base order of 37 trams, with options for a further 51. Announcement that BKK  would fund the latest option, at a cost of EUR40m came in late October.

However, although the per-vehicle cost remains at 2014 prices (plus inflation), economic circumstances have reportedly mitigated against exercising further options; the city has judged that the cost is anything up to 70% below today’s market price.

BKK has said it is investigating the possibility of procuring the remaining 31 trams from the original order, but this would depend on contributions from the European Union Cohesion fund.

Budapest’s Urbos stock comes in 34m (2200 series, with capacity for 200 passengers), and 55.9m (2100 series, capacity 345) variants, respectively with five and nine sections. The first of these air-conditioned, fully low-floor cars entered service from 2015, with the longer version reasserting the Hungarian capital’s position as running Europe’s longest trams.

Budapest’s fleet also includes 40 Siemens Combino Supra NF12B, which at 54m were the world’s longest trams when they entered service in 2006-07. This latest CAF order is for the 34m variant.

The nine-section Urbos trams run on line 1, which grew in 2019 to 18.2km (11.4 miles), making it the systems longest and adding a southern Danube crossing. Budapest has one of the worlds largest tramways, covering around 160km (100 miles).