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The Class 22000 Intercity Railcars



In 2003 Iarnród Éireann decided to look towards future growth and fleet replacement requirements on diesel locomotive hauled Intercity routes. With the advent of a booming economy a new breed of traveller was identified; the Intercity Commuter. These can be defined as commuters who travel relatively long distances (greater than 25km) into Dublin for work on a daily basis. As road traffic ground to a halt the Company envisaged considerable growth on the Intercity routes.

It was clear that the existing fleet of Mk III and Mk II coaching stock would be unable to provide the capacity for growth or for additional services. In any case the Mk II were life expired and in need of replacement. For some time rail operators have been migrating the diesel short haul Intercity product towards railcars to take account of the greater flexibility, reliability and performance offered. Thus it was envisaged that the Iarnród Éireann coaching stock replacement would be a Diesel Multiple Unit or a Diesel Electric Multiple Unit.

Funding was available under the transport responsibility of the National Development Plan which later became Transport 21 and the requirement was consistent with a number of strategies including the Iarnród Éireann Strategic Plan.

The original business case called for 120 vehicles to serve routes from Dublin to Limerick, Waterford, Tralee, Galway and Westport. A significant number of locomotives and carriages could be withdrawn from service and considerable savings realised from not undertaking major overhauls and refurbishments.

At the same time it was recognised that with such a new fleet that a purpose built modern maintenance facility would be required to provide all maintenance and repairs for the new fleet. This of course was eventually built as Portlaoise Traincare Depot and opened in mid 2008.


An invitation to tender was formally launched in 2004 and six companies qualified to bid for the supply of 120 Intercity Railcars. The detailed Technical Specification was created by Iarnród Éireann and called for an ultra modern, one person operated, 161 km/h Intercity Diesel Multiple Unit that provided the very highest standards for crew and passengers of safety and comfort. The design called for the trains to be reliable in performance and economical in operation. The external appearance was expected to be modern, aerodynamic and sleek.

The contract was eventually awarded in December 2004 to Mitsui & Co of Japan, a company with a long association with the supply of new rolling stock to Iarnród Éireann. Having signed a framework contract with Mitsui, it was subsequently decided to increase the order in stages as various company growth strategies developed. The current order breakdown stands at 234 Railcars as follows:

Order date




Dec 2004

10 x 6-car
  20 x 3-car



Premier class

All standard class

Dec 2005

10 x 3-car


All standard class

Mar 2007

5 x 6-car
 1 x 3-car



All standard class

All standard class

Dec 2008

17 x 3-car


All standard class





 A number of amendments were agreed to items such as the order of delivery and some specification amendments as the design evolved. Mitsui bid the contract using suppliers Hyundai Rotem of Korea and Tokyu Car of Japan with the latter supplying the bogies and running gear based somewhat on previous designs and Hyundai Rotem leading the design, assembling and constructing the vehicles in Korea.

There are four distinct variants of the Class 22000:



Unit numbers


3 x car std class

Equipped for NIR ops



3 x car std class


22007-22030, 22046-22063


6 x car premier class

Catering vehicle



6 x car std class

High Density




Hyundai Rotem employed the services of Creactive Design, a well recognised industrial designer for rail vehicle interiors and exteriors. They took responsibility to produce the final designs and the schedule of finishes.

Given the Intercity nature of the product, great emphasis was placed on passenger comfort with seat types optimised to match window bays and a maximum of “airline style” seating. Modern materials and fabrics blended with a completely revised Intercity silver and green livery to move the entire product image forward from the orange and brown of yesteryear.

The trains meet or exceed demanding standards for structural crash protection (GM/RT2100), interior passenger safety (AV/ST9001) and fire standard BS 6853 Cat1b. Using UK Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (RVAR) as a guideline, the trains were designed to provide safe and secure access for wheelchair passengers, mobility impaired and sensory impaired passengers with the required toilet facilities also. In addition to the seated passengers each 3-car train has approved spacing for two wheelchairs and also secure stowage for three bicycles and a small number of parcels.

Powerplant and drive train was chosen from MTU of Germany, a subsidiary of Mercedes Benz. MTU is a very well regarded rail engine supplier. The engine fully meets the demanding EU emissions directive Class 3a and is the most advanced currently available in terms of emissions. The MTU under-floor “raft” combines the engine (rated at 360kW), Voith hydrodynamic transmission, 3-phase auxiliary power generation, cooling systems, fire protection, hydraulic systems and exhaust silencer all located in a suspended ”H” frame which allows for easy removal. An identical raft is fitted under every vehicle and operates independently. There is a certain amount of power sharing between vehicles in degraded operation and it is an area being looked at currently for further improvement.

Each raft drives a pair of adjacent wheelsets on each vehicle thus every vehicle is mechanically identical in terms of drive train with 1 x raft, 1 x powered bogie and 1 x trailer bogie. The raft also features a dynamic retarder brake through the Voith gearbox which is very efficient and reduces brake wear considerably.

The vehicles are constructed from high quality stainless steel which was a preferred choice for Iarnród Éireann. Certain structural elements of the bolster are made from corrosion resistant carbon steel. Building in stainless steel is familiar to vehicle builders in the far-east and is the norm for car building.

Air-conditioning for saloons and cabs is provided by roof mounted self contained units made by Toshiba in Japan. The previous Iarnród Éireann experience with Toshiba confirms that this supplier is one of the few in the industry to supply reliable air-conditioning for rail vehicles. The performance of such systems within the industry in general is a source of frequent problem and passenger complaint. After some initial teething problems with the system overcooling saloons, it was apparent that the air-conditioning units were overcooling in the mid-range temperatures in Ireland so control software parameter changes have been made which rectified this issue.

Although the vehicles are assembled and built in the Hyundai Rotem plant at Changwon, South Korea, much of the production of a modern train is actually a component assembly exercise. Many of the on-board systems are actually EU sourced and fitted at build. The exception being the air-conditioning modules and bogies which are built in Japan.



Manufacturer & Type

Source country

External doors

Faiveley – Electric

France & Spain

Air conditioning




Tokyu Car



MTU 1800 360Kw






Voith T312R


Final drives



Brake system

Knorr Bremse



Knorr Bremse


Air compressor

Knorr Bremse





Fire system

Kidde Graviner





Passenger Info sys

SA Viewcom


Seat reservation sys

SA Viewcom





Couplers & hatch







A dedicated production line was established in the state of the art factory in Korea and an Iarnród Éireann presence has been maintained throughout the build which will continue until late 2011. From the beginning it was apparent that the trains were built to a very high quality standard, in particular the electrics are of very high standard and final build finish was very good indeed. The IÉ team in Korea were responsible for quality control and monitoring of production and witnessing of routine tests. A robust system was developed under the control of the Iarnród Éireann CME Project Team with the focus very much on delivery at a maintained quality level.

Staff on the ground in Korea are rotated on a 6-8 week placement and most if not all the expats have enjoyed their time on site with at least one confirmed marriage to a local girl!


The contract stipulated delivery to Ireland for the first trains in March 2007 and this schedule was achieved. Subsequent deliveries were either to schedule or late by typically up to 8 weeks as Hyundai Rotem suffered problems with certain supplier deliveries. Shipment is made from the Hyundai port facility near the factory directly onto ships booked by Mitsui. The trip to Ireland takes 6-8 weeks, weather or other stops permitting. As the ship nears Ireland the team can expect daily emails from the vessels master updating the eta into port with the bay of Biscay weather intervening regularly to delay final arrival by one or two days.

Originally all the shipments came into Dublin and were unloaded onto the railhead in Alexandra Road in a highly complicated operation involving multiple crane lifts for each vehicle from ship to low loaders and then onto the railhead in the middle of a busy road.

The Dublin Port Authority was always very supportive of the traffic although it did bring significant disruption to other port traffic and an alternative unloading facility was set up in Waterford at the deep water port. All unloading since early 2008 has taken place in Waterford and it is the preferred location as the operation does not get in anybody’s way.

Once unloaded the vehicles are formed into trains and moved at low speed by locomotive haulage to Limerick works where the commissioning and testing of all trains takes place. Hyundai Rotem and Iarnród Éireann have dedicated teams in place for the commissioning and testing of each train which now takes approximately 12 weeks from arrival in the port to entering passenger service.


The original trains were required to undertake specific type approval tests on areas that could not be tested in the factory such as dynamic brake testing and noise testing. Once these various tests were completed a suite of routine tests were undertaken on every train to verify it achieved the required performance standard. A rigorous commissioning process exists for each train.

The process upon arrival involves the manufacturer updating the train with new software or other changes since leaving the factory. The powerpacks are all dry for shipment so each has to be fully commissioned by the manufacturer MTU and their Irish agent – South Coast Diesels of Naas. Once handed over to Iarnród Éireann a suite of static tests are followed by dynamic on track tests operating out of the Limerick base using dedicated drivers. Then the units enter shakedown running with up to 8,000km accumulated on each train to highlight any problems before the trains move to Inchicore for final acceptance. This is all controlled within the Project and the resources deployed at Inchicore for the final acceptance of each train include Hyundai Rotem staff, Project staff, Contract staff and local Iarnród Éireann staff as appropriate. This is the last opportunity to correct small snags or perform updates of hardware or software before service. Certain modifications are undertaken at this stage to allow for the improvement of catering facilities and bicycle stowage. The final steps involve a deep cleaning of the interior and then the train moves to Portlaoise Depot to enter service. Currently there are 29 x 3-car units in service, 10 x 6-car units with Premier class and 4 x 6-car high density units. The final high density 6-car unit has recently arrived in Ireland and will enter service later this year. The final 17 x 3-car units begin construction early in 2010 and will arrive in Ireland during 2011.

10 & 11

3-car sets 22010 and 22011 arrived in the summer of 2007. Upon entering commissioning it was evident that there was something wrong as the units had heavy electrolyte type corrosion on copper pipes and electrical connections and printed circuit boards.

A detailed investigation ensued and from analysis it was determined that the vehicles had been exposed to high levels of a phosphorous type gas during transit in the ships hold possibly as a result of fertiliser or similar in an adjacent hold becoming wet. The vehicles are wrapped in plastic sheeting so gas could be trapped and reach strong concentrations. The units were never accepted by Iarnród Éireann and an insurance claim was made by Mitsui. This resulted in the units being returned to Korea in 2008 and currently it is believed that they are uneconomic to repair as every item of electrical and electronic equipment required replacement or re-qualification at large cost. Two new replacement units will be provided on the back of the next build in 2011 at no further cost to Iarnród Eireann.


The units are fully compliant to BS6853 Category1b which is an extremely high performance standard in that the materials used have fire, smoke and toxicity performance to a standard that would be required for considerable underground running. It was a company policy to demand a very high fire classification performance and considerably higher than the minimum required.


Noise intrusion particularly into the saloon area is a major concern with DMU vehicles and obviously with a large engine under the floor it is an area that can be difficult to achieve performance in. This is very important for Intercity journeys where passengers are onboard often for hours at a time. The Technical Specification set demanding targets to be met for internal and external noise levels and a new EU directive on train noise came into force during the build which also contained demanding standards. The ICR comfortably met and surpassed all the levels set in the requirements and is an extremely quiet train for a DMU. Much of this goes to Hyundai Rotems floor construction and also the smooth MTU engine and associated silencers.


During the commissioning process it became apparent that a greater level of information would be required to submit a European style safety case which came into being with the creation of the Railway Safety Commission which was set up following the Railway Safety Act 2005. By the end of the summer in 2007 the RSC and Iarnród Éireann were agreed on the format and content of the safety case and this took considerable time to get in place. The process is well understood now but looking back both parties were on a steep learning curve. In the event any delay to service introduction from the development of our approvals was quite small as trains were made ready for service. Passenger service began in Dec 2007, initially on the Sligo line


Units are running approximately 200,000km each per annum and the fleet has performed extremely well since introduction and has surpassed early expectations and targets. Availability and reliability levels are impressive and compared directly with our nearest neighbour the UK the reliability is several times that achieved by the best performing DMU in the UK. The main reasons for this are a combination of good build quality and the use of quality components many of which were well proven in the rail industry. The challenge will be to build on this and improve further now that the fleet is already approaching first overhaul for the powerpacks.

The interest in the trains from overseas has been considerable with a number of European rail operators and transport agencies coming to Ireland to see how trains built in the “far east” look and perform. Each visitor without exception has been impressed by the design, build, look and feel of the ICR product.

The remainder of this article appears in IRRS Journal number 170, published October 2009.

Copyright © 2009 by Irish Railway Record Society Limited
Revised: October 30, 2009

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