In 2012, Dutch train operator, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), appointed Ricardo to provide technical support for the procurement of a new fleet to replace the SGM EMUs that had served regional/suburban routes since the early 1980s.
Our team began by working with NS to develop a complete set of Functional Technical Specifications (FTS) and, following consultation with potential suppliers, assisted the production of the final Request for Proposal (RfP).
Once the offers had been submitted by suppliers, our experts assessed them against the requirements stated in the FTS and undertook thorough appraisals of all subsequent submissions during each round through to the Best And Final Offer (BAFO) phase.
In 2014, the Spanish manufacturer, CAF, was awarded a contract to provide 118 Civity train sets, which would be referred to as the Sprinter New Generation (SNG).
As per the specifications set with NS, the new vehicle was required to comply with TSI-PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility), including the fitment of accessible toilets, level boarding and intelligent lighting that adjusted to ambient light levels.
Following consultations with passengers and staff, it was also requested there be no interior doors separating the carriages - to create more space and light - and the passenger areas would be equipped with Wi-Fi, power sockets and USB ports.
Over 1,000 requirements verified and 40 track tests performed
After the contracts had been issued, we helped to ensure productive lines of communication between NS and CAF. For example, joint workshops were organised where participants shared lessons and best practice from previous projects.
In close collaboration with other project stakeholders, we then managed the content of the Conceptual, Preliminary and Final Design Reviews, using the Polarion requirement management tool to monitor compliance with the original FTS at every stage.
During the course of our assessments we verified more than 1,000 requirements and witnessed 45 'origin' type tests, 41 type tests and, alongside the national infrastructure operator, ProRail, attended 40 track tests to assess the vehicle's behaviour in the operating environment.
Ongoing modifications perational support
In December 2018, after the first SNGs had entered into passenger service, our teams set up the process for tracking all modifications.
We helped conduct Root Cause Analysis of emerging issues - including the vehicle interaction with the catenary (such as frost on the wire apparatus), occasional internal door malfunctions and excessive noise during certain manoeuvres - and compiled a final report for the manufacturer to review and address as required.
Today, the Sprinter New Generation is a mainstay of the Dutch fleet, with vehicles deployed on commuter routes around Amsterdam and The Hague and on regional routes in the Friesland and Groningen regions.
An additional order of 88 extra trainsets followed at the end of 2018, meaning deliveries of new vehicles will continue through to 2023.