The first light rail vehicle (LRV) made for Tel Aviv, the second most populous city in Israel, rolled off the production line in northeastern China's Changchun Province on Tuesday. The new metro car developed by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles marks the first time that a low-floor LRV made completely by China enters a developed country's market.
Senior mangers of CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles and Tel Aviv Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA) unveil the LRV. / CGTN Photo
After taking a test ride on the train, Efi Kalifa, NTA's VP of Systems and Technologies who's in charge of the LRV project, told CGTN that he had pride and confidence in its quality as well as the professional team to fulfill all the targets by the commencement of operations in 2021.
"According to the very good experience that we had till now, I really expect CRC team and management will participate in our next future lines," he added.
The LRV is said to have the highest level of safety protection among its equivalents and multiple designs specially tailored for the Israeli metropolis.
LRV model /CGTN Photo
Its integrated explosion-proof designs include the curvy train roof, non-ferromagnetic bottom, and blast-resistant windows to cope with possible rocks, petrol bombs, magnetic bombs to meet the security needs of the Middle East country.
The white train body is designed to match the cultural heritage of White City, the world's largest collection of Bauhaus style buildings in Tel Aviv. And the special traction control system, as well as the air-conditioning system, will enable smooth and pleasant trips in the hot and humid Mediterranean weather.
Besides, cutting-edge technologies like automatic train operation and composite material make the vehicle lighter and more eco-friendly.
LRV interior shows auxiliary facilities that make travel more convenient for children, the elderly, and disabled. / CRRC Photo
Manufacturers believe the vehicle is driving towards Israel, and a broader overseas market.
Yu Qingsong, deputy chief engineer of CRC, calls the train a typical example of how Chinese manufacturing meets with Israeli customization and European railway standards. Liu Gang, deputy general manager of CRC's Global Business department, believes the breakthrough in Israel paves the way for the company to further explore the railway market in Europe which has long been a base camp of a number of industry leaders.
"At the beginning, we faced some doubts on our design and production capabilities. With full preparation and rich experience accumulated in other high-end foreign markets like Australia, Brazil, and the U.S., we prove that we are qualified to meet the international standard," said Liu.
Photo via Changchun Daily
CRRC Changchun was selected in 2015 as the preferred bidder to supply 90 light metro cars, with an option for 30 more, to operate on the 23-kilometer Tel Aviv Red Line. A 16-year maintenance agreement had also been signed to provide not just product but also long-term service and solutions.
The people of Tel Aviv have seen many incarnations of plans for subways, tramlines and other urban transportation systems. And with all preparations in place, they are expected to see the first line of the light rail system.
The Red Line will run through five cities, along one of the most crowded routes in the metropolitan area. Experts believe it will increase the use of mass transit system and cut commuting time.