Stadler Rail, the Swiss manufacturer of railway rolling stock, with an emphasis on regional train multiple units and trams, has seen several important developments this year such as the completion of a change in corporate format of the main Hungarian subsidiary, selling its 2,500th FLIRT trains, its Szolnok factory producing the 5,000th car body or the announcement of capacity increase at this Szolnok plant.
As of July 1, this year, the Budapest subsidiary operating as the main representative body of Stadler in Hungary changed its corporate format into a private company limited by shares. Stadler Trains Magyarország Zrt. is managed by a three-person board of directors in accordance with the owner's decision.
Dr. Róbert Homolya, who joined Stadler's domestic team in October of last year, holds the position of chairman of the company and is responsible for planning and implementing the company's domestic strategy. The operative work in the capacity of CEO is managed by Csaba Kiss, who has held various functions at the company group in the past 15 years, while the owner’s interests are represented by Peter Spuhler, the President of the Stadler Group. This completes the transformation program launched and announced in September 2022.
The Budapest center will continue to be responsible for the company's sales and communication activities, and in the future, it will also take on a significantly larger role in overseeing the implementation of projects in Hungary. In addition to the core activities, the strategic tasks of the new management will also include identifying and developing strategic partnership opportunities with domestic partners in order to strengthen the local added value in railway vehicle production.
Increasing manufacturing capacity
Stadler’s manufacturing facility in the eastern Hungarian town of Szolnok celebrated a major milestone this September as it produced the 5,000th car body. This gave a special occasion to the announcement to further expand the Szolnok factory’s rail car body manufacturing capacity. Due to the development, to be also supported by state subsidies, Stadler will increase its manufacturing capacity by almost 20% and will also become capable of producing double-deck car bodies.
As Dr. Róbert Homolya highlights to Diplomacy&Trade, the Szolnok factory has been responsible for the welding, painting and pre-assembly of aluminum car bodies for electric, diesel and hybrid single deck trains, but thanks to the current investment, the location will also be able to produce complete double-deck car bodies too for KISS type trains, which are very well known and liked in Hungary too.
The annual manufacturing capacity will increase with around a hundred car bodies to a total of 750 bodyshells per year, while the employment will grow with 150 people to 750 employees. With this, the total workforce in Hungary, including other locations, is expected to reach 900. The Hungarian state – through the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency (HIPA) – is providing state subsidy for the development. The capacity increase reinforces Stadler’s leading position in the field of production capabilities of rolling stock manufacturers in Hungary, the Chairman adds.
Importance of the Szolnok facility
The factory in Szolnok has been operating since 2009 and the extension of the facility was opened ten years ago. Over the years, it has grown to be the largest production site of
car bodies within the Stadler group, and one of the most state-of-the art factories in the CEE region. It is since the start of the operation that Stadler Szolnok has produced a total of 5,000 aluminum car bodies. As Dr. Homolya explains, from this many components, it would be possible to compose 1,250 four-car FLIRT trains, which is an extraordinary figure. The trains with car bodies from Szolnok are operating in 14 different countries, including the USA, Great Britain, Italy, Germany or the Netherlands. This achievement demonstrates strongly the weight and importance of the Hungarian factory in the performance of the group.
2,500 FLIRTs completed
Therefore, the Szolnok facility also played an important role in another major achievement by Stadler this year: the contract for four FLIRT electric multiple units for the Italian region of Valle d’Aosta this summer marked the sale of the 2,500th multiple unit from the successful FLIRT family. FLIRT (the German acronym stands in English for “fast, light, innovative intercity and regional train”) has become one of the most popular and successful platforms for modern rail vehicles. Dr. Homolya proudly points out that Stadler's plant in Szolnok was involved in the production of more than 900 of these 2,500 vehicles. Today, the FLIRT is in service in 21 countries – from the Arctic Circle through Hungary to North Africa. The model has become an international bestseller, thanks to its innovative design, performance and quality. FLIRTs have been in operation in Hungary since 2007, with a total of 143 motorized trains carrying passengers in several regions of the country.
Stadler in Hungary
Stadler is present in Hungary not only as an employer but also with its state-of-the art vehicles. MÁV Hungarian State Railways and the regional service provider GYSEV operate altogether 143 FLIRT trains, 40 KISS units and 12 Citylink tram-trains in the country. It is the FLIRT trains that give about the quarter of MÁV's total mileage, with an exceptionally high availability of 94% on average. The group’s international development is unbroken, according to the recently published half year results, order intake reached CHF 4.7 billion in the first half of 2023 on account of the persistent, extremely dynamic demand, while the order backlog rose even further to a record high of CHF 25.4 billion.
A provider of mobility solutions
Stadler has been building trains for over 80 years. The provider of mobility solutions in rail vehicle construction, service and signaling technology has its headquarters in Bussnang, eastern Switzerland. It has a workforce of around 13,500 based in various production and engineering locations as well as more than 70 service locations. The company is conscious of its social responsibility for sustainable mobility and therefore stands for innovative, sustainable and durable quality products. The product range in the field of mainline railways and city transport includes high-speed trains, intercity trains, regional and suburban trains,
metros, tramways and trams. Stadler also manufactures main-line locomotives, shunting locomotives and passenger carriages. It is the world’s leading manufacturer in the rack-and-pinion rail vehicle industry.
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