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Title: Desiro  
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Subject: Thessaloniki, KLIA Ekspres, Escondido, California, South West Trains, S-Bahn, Căile Ferate Române, Proastiakos, Pantograph (rail), Lymington Branch Line, Bedford railway station
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The Siemens Desiro is a family of diesel or electric multiple unit passenger trains.[1] The main variants are the Desiro Classic, Desiro ML, Desiro UK and the future Desiro City and Desiro RUS. The trains are mostly used for commuter and regional services,[1] and their rapid acceleration makes them suitable for services with short intervals between stations. The design is flexible, and has become common in many European countries.

Desiro Classic


Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) is currently using about 60 diesel-powered Desiro trains designated as ÖBB 5022. These are based on the Class 642 used by Deutsche Bahn, but have some additional safety equipment.


In 2005 and 2006, the Bulgarian State Railways began operating Desiro trains as part of a 67 million Euro deal with Siemens AG for a total of 25 Diesel multiple units.[2] As of 22 March 2006, 16 trains had been delivered, with many of them operating on the Sofia-Kyustendil-Sofia line. Another 117 million Euro deal for 25 EMUs has also been signed with Siemens AG. The EMUs were fitted out in Varna, where BDZ and Siemens AG are intending to establish a joint venture company. The EMUs are designated classes 30 and 31 and are servicing traffic in the Sofia and Plovdiv areas.

Czech Republic

Private railway company RegioJet used to temporarily operate 2 Desiro trains leased from Alpha Trains (Germany).


In Denmark DSB has rented 12 Desiro trains since 2002. The trains are primarily used between Odense and Svendborg and between Odense and Fredericia. On July 2, 2009 DSB signed a contract of eight trains from Siemens for Grenaabanen, which entered service on December 12, 2010, with an option for 92 more.[3] The trains extend to Odder from December 2012, starting the light rail network in Aarhus city.[4]

Nordjyske Jernbaner used Desiro trains since 2004 on all its operations. Today the company owns eight Desiro trains.


Germany's Deutsche Bahn introduced two-car Desiro DMUs for local services in 2000. With a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), these Class 642 units are mainly used on branch lines and regional lines. Besides the 234 units purchased by DB until 2007, various private German rail companies are also using Desiro DMUs.

The Class 642 is equipped with two MAN diesel engines with an output of 275 or 315 kW (369 or 422 hp) each and hydro-mechanical transmission with retarders. It typically contains 100 seats. When linked together with Scharfenberg couplers, up to three trainsets can be operated together. The Desiros are quite popular with most passengers, thanks to their good acceleration. Because they have often replaced push/pull trains, their shorter journey times, such as on the Müglitz Valley Railway, have encouraged greater passenger numbers.

Originally DB intended to operate together modern DMUs purchased from different manufacturers, but due to software incompatibilities this proved to be impossible. Therefore the Class 642 can only be mechanically coupled with other DMUs like the Class 643.


In Greece eight diesel DMU-2 Desiro trains (OSE class 660) were temporarily in service with the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) during 2004–2006, and again in 2007 on the AthensChalkida line and on the Athens suburban railway lines (Proastiakos). Afterwards they were returned to their owner (Hellenic Shipyards S.A.) in December 2007. In the late 2008 Hellenic Shipyards/MAN-FERROSTAAL leased the 8 units to Hungary with a contract for 20 years.[5]

OSE also operates twenty (20) electric Desiro EMU-5 (OSE class 460) equipped for the 25-kV overhead catenary system. They operate on the KiatoAthens International Airport suburban line and as a stopping service on the mainline between Thessaloniki and Larissa, which is also advertised as a suburban service.


At present 31 diesel Desiros are in service with MÁV (including the 8 units from Greece), mainly as suburban trains on the secondary line between Budapest-Esztergom and Budapest - Lajosmizse and as an InterCity between Budapest and Baja. On weekends the units also used as peak inter-city trains from Budapest to Baja and Sátoraljaújhely and as fast trains from Budapest to Tapolca. During the summer months (when fewer units are used on the Budapest suburban routes) Desiros appear on some local train diagram on the north shore of the Lake Balaton.


The 57 km (35 mi) KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit airport rail link uses the Desiro ET 425 M four-car Electric Multiple Units.[6] 12 trainsets are currently in operation.

These EMUs have a maximum commercial speed of 160 km/h (99 mph).


Căile Ferate Române (CFR), Romania's national railway operator, is one of the largest users of the Siemens Desiro trainsets (as the light train variant). CFR, which is currently undergoing modernisation, has bought 120 diesel Desiro trainsets and uses them for all types of train, including its "Inter Regio", and "Regio" inter-city services, but mainly on its "Inter Regio" trains. There was some criticism of the use of Desiros for CFR's long-distance services because they were considered to be uncomfortable. CFR has recently refitted them, and is now using Desiros mainly on its medium- and short-distance routes. For example, it is planning to use them as part of a proposed commuter link in Bucharest and Ilfov county. For more information on routes, see Căile Ferate Române.


Slovenian Railways operates 30 electric Desiro units that are designated as DESIRO EMG 312 SR 31E. They are used as commuter stopping trains on electrified lines i.e. from Ljubljana to Koper, Jesenice (via Kranj), Maribor and Dobova (via Zidani Most).

United States

The Sprinter light rail system employs VT642 Desiro diesel units. It serves Northern San Diego County, California, United States between Oceanside and Escondido along a 35 km (22 mi) railway line. Twelve married pairs were delivered in August 2006 to the operator North County Transit District (NCTD). Service began on March 9, 2008, serving fifteen stations.

Mountain Rail, one of two competing coalitions bidding on a large portion of FasTracks in Denver, appear to pitching a Siemens Desiro ML derived vehicle that is FRA compliant. Both EMU and DMU units would be used for the Northwest Corridor, North Metro Corridor and Gold Line.

Desiro Mainline


In April 2010 ÖBB signed a framework agreement for up to 200 Desiro ML trains.[7]


In 2008 NMBS/SNCB ordered 95 Desiro ML trains, with options for up to 300.[8] In 2013, the order of the final 250 trains was suspended due to a number of technical problems with the trains already running. The company is seeking damages from Siemens for these problems which caused a high number of delays. Siemens previously was already fined 25 Million Euro due to late delivery of the first batch of trains.[9]


Desiro ML is used by the private rail operator trans regio for regional services between Cologne and Mainz on the left bank of the Rhine.[10] The EMUs are leased from Angel Trains and received the class number 460 by the Eisenbahnbundesamt, the federal railway authority (the unpowered middle carriages have the class number 860). The 15 kV AC overhead line EMUs have a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph); however they are limited by the EBA to 150 km/h (93 mph) on account of insufficient braking power from 160 km/h (99 mph). All cars use conventional bogies and additional middle carriages can be added later.

Desiro UK


Nine 25 kV AC Desiro UK EMUs based on the Heathrow Connect Class 360/2 are currently used for the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link which is currently in operation running express and local service between Phaya Thai Station and Suvarnabhumi Airport.[11]

United Kingdom

Siemens uses the name Desiro UK for the DMU and EMU trains operated by various United Kingdom train operators. These trains have a completely different design to the lighter Desiro Classic variant. The trainsets have modern equipment such as toilet waste retention tanks, ergonomic seats, and automated information displays and spoken announcements. All the units are owned by rolling stock operating companies (ROSCOs), apart from the 360/2s which are owned by BAA for the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services. The 350/1, 360/1, 444 and 450 electric units are owned by Angel Trains, the Class 350/2s are owned by Porterbrook and Class 380s are owned by HSBC Rail. The diesel units are owned by HSBC Rail. Angel, Porterbrook & HSBC Rail lease their units to the train operators.

Class Image Operator Introduced Number Power Carriages Door configuration Car length End gangways
Class 185 First TransPennine Express 2006 51 Diesel-Hydraulic 3 High-volume 23m No
Class 350/1 London Midland 2004 30 AC/DC electric 4 High-volume 20m Yes
Class 350/2 London Midland 2008 37 AC electric 4 High-volume 20m Yes
Class 360/1 Greater Anglia 2003 21 AC electric 4 High-volume 20m No
Class 360/2 Heathrow Connect 2005 5 AC electric 5 High-volume 20m No
Class 380/0 First ScotRail 2010 22 AC electric 3 High-volume 23m Yes
Class 380/1 First ScotRail 2010 16 AC electric 4 High-volume 23m Yes
Class 444 South West Trains 2004 45 DC electric 5 Low-volume 23m Yes
Class 450 South West Trains 2003 127 DC electric 4 High-volume 20m Yes
Class 700 100px - 2015-18 - AC/DC electric 8/12 High-volume 23m No


The first electric Desiro UK units were ordered by South West Trains for both short and long distance service out of Waterloo station to Alton, Basingstoke and the Hampshire/Dorset coast. They became two different classes, both of which use the 750V DC third-rail power supply. One hundred and ten Class 450 four-car units for commuter services which entered service in 2003. Forty five Class 444 five-car units for long-distance inter-city services entered service in 2004. An additional order for a further seventeen Class 450 units was placed with the trains being in service by late 2006/early 2007.

Former East Anglia train operator First Great Eastern acquired 21 Class 360 four-car units which operated from 25 kV overhead electrical supply for services from London Liverpool Street to Clacton-on-Sea/Walton-on-the-Naze, Harwich and Ipswich. The vehicles entered service in 2003.

For the stopping service between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport called Heathrow Connect five Class 360 five-car units were acquired and entered service in June 2005.

As part of the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line the former Strategic Rail Authority ordered thirty Class 350 dual voltage sets for use on stopping services. They are operated by London Midland. These units were originally ordered as Class 450 third-rail units for South West Trains, but following a review by the Strategic Rail Authority they were diverted to the West Coast main line. The dual-voltage capability has only been used in service on temporary loan to Southern on Milton Keynes Central - East Croydon services whilst covering for a shortfall of Southern class 377 Electrostar units. The units have been praised for their air conditioning, accessibility and performance, but criticised for their comfort (newer units have 3+2 seating). Thirty Class 350/1 four-car units entered service in 2005, and in 2008/9 a further thirty seven Class 350/2 four-car units entered service.

On 11 July 2008, First ScotRail ordered a number of Class 380 EMUs for delivery in 2010. The order was for 22 three-car and 16 four-car units.[12] First enter service began 8 December 2010. Inverclyde Line, Ayrshire Coast Line of the Class 318, Class 334 "Juniper" was introduced to replace the fleet, and the North Berwick line Class 322 trains have been replaced.


To fulfil their franchise commitment, First TransPennine Express ordered the first diesel variant of the Desiro UK for use on its inter-city services across the north of England and over the border in southern Scotland. 51 three-car units classed as Class 185 entered service in 2006.

Desiro City

Desiro City is a planned high-capacity commuter EMU for the UK market building on the Desiro UK and Desiro Main Line, with a reduction in weight and energy use and 'fly-by-wire' controls.[13]

A consortium led by Siemens is preferred bidder for the Thameslink rolling stock programme.[14] 1140 dual-system 750 V DC/25 kV AC Desiro City vehicles will be supplied, suitable for use with the Thameslink ETCS Level 2 signalling.[15] They will operate in either 8 or 12-car formations. The Desiro City design has also been put forward for the Crossrail rolling stock contract;[16] Siemens was placed on the tender shortlist in 2011 with five other manufacturers.[17]

Desiro RUS

Desiro RUS is 1520 mm broad gauge electric commuter and regional train developed for Russian railway RZD, which calls them Lastochka (Swallow).[18]

In January 2013 RZD began putting into service the first 18 trains from the initial order for 38. In mid-2013 a joint venture Siemens and Ural Locomotives will begin production of the second batch of 16 trains at a factory in Ekaterinburg. These trains will have up to 20 percent Russian content.

In 2011 RZD ordered 1,200 cars from Ural Locomotives. Local content is to be increased to 80 percent. Siemens also has an order for maintenance of rolling stock for a period of 40 years. The contracts with the Siemens is estimated at 2.5 billion euros.

Desiro Double Deck

Low-floor, double-deck multiple unit[1]


Swiss Federal Railways operates double-decker, or bilevel, EMUs designated as class SBB RABe 514. They are used as commuter trains in Zürich, as part of the Zürich S-Bahn, where 61 four-car sets have been in operation since 2006.


External links

  • Desiro at Siemens website
  • Interactive 360º virtual tour of a Desiro ML

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