The EMUs will be built at a plant near Yekaterinburg where the Ural Locomotives joint venture of Siemens and Sinara has been producing electric freight locomotives since 2010.
Siemens also signed a €500m contract to maintain the 54 Desiro RUS trainsets ordered by RZD in 2009-10. RZD will make staff and depots near Sochi and Moscow available for use by Siemens, which will be responsible for maintenance management, logistics and spares for 40 years from 2013.
The contracts were signed by Siemens CEO Peter Löscher, RZD President Vladimir Yakunin and Sinara Group President Dmitriy Pumpyanski. 'We shall be investing more than €200m in the Desiro production set-up, in modern buildings, machine tools and personnel training', said Löscher. 'Siemens is the most successful non-Russian supplier of railway technology in that country. By localising production activities, we are strengthening this market position and securing our close ties with the Russian railway industry.'
Desiro RUS, branded Lastochka ('Little Swallow') by RZD, is a development of the Desiro ML family. Modifications for Russian conditions included bodies widened to 3 500 mm, 1,520 mm gauge bogies and winterisation for temperatures of -40°C. Siemens says the 160 km/h units will offer passengers and staff greater comfort than existing Russian stock, and consume 30% less energy. The first units are due to enter service in Kazan and Sochi in late 2011.
An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages. Most EMUs are used for passenger trains, but some have been built or converted for specialised non-passenger roles, such as carrying mail or luggage, or in departmental use, for example as de-icing trains. An EMU is usually formed of two or more semi-permanently coupled carriages, but electrically-powered single-unit railcars are also generally classed as EMUs.
EMUs are popular on commuter and suburban rail networks around the world due to their fast acceleration and pollution-free operation. Being quieter than locomotive-drawn trains, EMUs can operate later at night and more frequently without disturbing residents living near the railway lines. In addition, tunnel design for EMU trains is simpler as provisions do not need to be made for diesel exhaust fumes.