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PESA trams enter service in Craiova, Romania

One of the new PESA Twist trams in Craiova. (A. Mitkov

One of the new PESA Twist trams in Craiova. (A. Mitkov

As an industrial town with a population of 269 500, Craiova is a large city in Southern Romania. A relative latecomer to the needs of public transport, a system was not implemented until 1948, and then relied on two second-hand buses sourced from Bucuresti.

In September 1987, in an effort to reduce energy consumption, cut costs and improve passenger transit, an 18.4km tramline was built using Romanian built Timis trams. These were then later replaced by second-hand Austrian and German cars from Vienna.

In 2020, faced with an aging fleet, tramway operator, RAT, put out a tender for 17 brand-new low-floor trams in order to modernise the service. Initially, the tender was determined in favour of the Ukranian builder Tatra-Jug. However, objections against this were raised by Turkish builder Durmazlar and the Polish company PESA. As a result, an appeal was launched and the determination was overruled. The full contract was awarded to PESA and the agreement to supply the 17 trams signed in 2021. The agreement was that the trams should be delivered within 22 months of the signing date. This RON 156.4 million (EUR 31.85 million) project is funded by the Romanian Development Ministry and aims to support those projects which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Delivery of the 17 27m PESA Twist trams began in November 2022 and, by mid-March 2023, 10 have been delivered in total. The trams, known for having swivelling bogies, 58 seats and being fully air-conditioned, first entered passenger service on 16 March. The new fleet offer USB charging ports and WiFi – something which has never been provided previously upon the city’s public transport network. All 17 trams are expected to have been delivered by the end of May 2023.

PESA have been successful in other European tenders with its trams being delivered to Cluj-Napoca and was the sole-bidder for the Iasi tramway tender.