Our Trains

Page content

S-446 electric rail car

At the end of the 80s and given the strong social demand for quality transport in the suburban areas of large Spanish cities, in addition to the absence of suitable rolling stock for this type of service, Renfe decided to acquire material that was specifically designed to satisfy this type of traffic. The purchase of this rolling stock comes under the actions included in the so-called "Plan Felipe" for improving access to large cities.

These new trains had to be characterised by greater specific power for faster acceleration due to the numerous stops and the short distances between stations and by an interior layout that allowed greater capacity with respect to standing passengers.

The 445.001 unit, a prototype with chopper equipment, was built according to these requirements, having been conceived for testing various innovative solutions. The prototype was developed and built by five national manufacturers (MTM, GEE, Macosa, CAF and WESA), with the financial support of the Centre for Technological and Industrial Development (CDTI). The negative results of the testing of this prototype led Renfe to abandon the vehicle. However, the reflections derived from the 445 unit allowed advances in the design of future suburban train units.

The 446 train unit constituted the first series of Renfe rolling stock specifically designed for suburban service, and it is notable for its reliability, maintainability, increased comfort and reduced energy consumption, as well as for its excellent acceleration and deceleration performance, which make it ideal for providing this type of service.

The 446 units were acquired in several lots. The first lot of 50 train units was acquired in 1987, followed by another 50 trains in 1988. These trains, delivered between July 1989 and December 1991, entered commercial service after testing of the prototype train unit in November 1989 on the suburban lines of Madrid to Parla and Fuenlabrada.

Subsequently, and in view of the excellent operating results, another 70 trains were acquired in May 1991, which were received between May 1992 and May 1993. This lot has some differences with respect to the 100 previous trains, such as electrically operated doors, improvements in the PA and ambient music systems and cushions installed in the seats.

A total of 170 trains of the 446 series was acquired, with three of the S-446 electric rail cars having been taken out of service as a consequence of the bombings on 11 March 2004. All the trains of the 446 series were built by CAF, Cenemesa, Conelec, Macosa, M.T.M. and Melco.

Each unit is composed of two identical power cars with a cab (M), between which there is an intermediate trailer car (Ri). The arrangement of the train's axles is Bo´Bo´-2´2´- Bo´Bó. Up to 3 units can travel together in multiple control.

Unlike the previous series (436, 439 and 440), the 446 has a different configuration (M-R-M), its power exceeds 2000 kW, it accelerates at more than 1 m/s2, its interior layout allows transporting 700 people between seated and standing passengers and it has greater accessibility, provided by three doors per side in each car. Plus there are new features for customers: air conditioning, passenger information systems based on microprocessors, ambient music, etc.

The 446 units use chopper technology, which was already tested on the latest units of the 440 series (501 and 502), and it uses direct-current motors. Even though the advantages of three-phase traction could already be appreciated by then, it was not possible to make the jump to this technology on the 446 train units, because there was no validated project for this type of equipment at 3000 V. This traction would be incorporated in the 447 series.

In January 2005, a process to modernise and expand the average useful life of all the equipment in the series was begun, which would take place over five years and be performed at the Central Repair Shop of Valladolid. The improvements were related to the equipment that had been subject to the greatest wear, including the mechanical, electrical, electronic and auxiliary elements, plus control and image elements. In addition to the installation of new elements and components on the primary and secondary suspension, a traction chopper, a circuit breaker box, air conditioning equipment and static converters, special attention would also be given to improving the train's interior lighting by installing new fluorescent lamps in the central light fixtures and four additional halogen lamps in the ceiling of each vestibule. Likewise, the interior panels would be treated with anti-graffiti paint, new upholstery would be installed on the seats and new flooring would be installed.



The structure of the body is self-supporting, formed by rolled profiles and arc-welded steel and copper sheets. The steel sub-assemblies that form the side walls, end-walls and roof, made of pre-stressed steel sheet to prevent irregularities, are welded to this structure. While it was initially planned to build the bodies of aluminium, it was not possible because suitable technology was not available.

The end-walls are made of high-strength polyester, fastened to the structure using tubular rivets, glue and sealant, designed to absorb energy in the event of a head-on impact. A large, reinforced and impact-resistant windscreen provides the driver with visibility and protection.

The sides of the train, which are slightly inclined from vertical, have fixed, reflecting glass windows arranged in a continuous strip. Each window has a second pane in the interior, and they are all reinforced. The train also has longitudinal fibre glass skirting that conceals the equipment underneath. There are mobile running boards underneath the doors, which slide out whenever the doors are opened. All the cars are interconnected by manually operated doors and rubber gangway bellows. The interior layout of the cars is the same, except for the space used for the driver's cab in each power car.

For passenger access, each car has three vestibules (with two double-leaf doors that are sliding and recessing and provide 1300 mm of clearance space), thereby leading to four passenger compartments with fixed and pull-down seats and a central aisle. The height of the floor is relatively low (1150 mm) and is uniform throughout the train.

The undercarriage of the power cars house, among other things, the chopper case, the reactors, the static converter and the inverter box; while the trailer car contains the circuit breakers, the disconnectors, the compressor, the dryer, pneumatic panels and a climate control condenser unit. The brake resistors are located on the roof of each car, and the two pantographs and the lightning rod are on the trailer car.


There are two bogies per car, including two axles each, solid wheels that are surface-tempered, journal boxes with bearings and elastic guide rods. The primary suspension is by coil springs, and the secondary suspension is pneumatic. Both have vertical dampers, in addition to horizontal dampers on the secondary suspension.

The bogie frame is welded steel. The body is supported on the bogie frame, without a bolster beam, wherefore the horizontal forces are transmitted by the pivot and drive rods. The motor bogie has two suspended traction motors, which drive the axles through an elastic coupling and a reducer gear.

The brake of the motor bogie is by disks on the wheel and blocks (they were eliminated in the 3rd series), and the brake on the trailer bogie is by disk only. The cylinders incorporate an accumulator spring for the parking brake.

All axles have tachometers. The end axles have flange lubrication and a rail guard/snow plough.

Electric power and control equipment

The power and control equipment is formed by two traction circuits and an electric brake, which are identical but functionally independent. They are installed on each power car, except for the common parts, which are located on the trailer car.

The current collection equipment, which is common for the two power units, is formed by the following:

  • Two pantographs located on the intermediate car, which collect the electric power supply from the catenary at 3000 kVDC.
  • A main circuit breaker and two electric brake breakers.
  • Two lightning rods.
  • Two sets of disconnectors.

The traction equipment, located on each of the two power cars, is equipped with chopper technology. Each power and control unit of each power car basically consists of the following:

  • A main chopper, formed in turn by 2, two-phase choppers, AVG type (continuous field shunting), with interlinked operation and a 180º phase shift. The two-phase chopper works at frequencies of 300 Hz, which at start-up are 75, 150 and 300 Hz.
  • A rheostatic electric brake chopper (600 Hz) that works when the catenary line does not admit energy recovery.
  • Four direct-current traction motors with a rated power of 300 kW. These motors are each connected to the axles of the power car by an elastic, WN type, dual-gear coupling. The unit has a total of 8 traction motors.
  • Four mechanical transmission units formed in turn by a reducer gear and an elastic coupling.

It is possible for these units to be driven by pre-set speed.

Brake systems

The train unit has the following brake systems:

  • Electric recovery and/or rheostatic brake, blended type, with preference of the former over the latter.
  • Parking brake by accumulator spring.

The service brake is combined, electric and/or pneumatic, and it recovers energy to the extent that the catenary admits it.

Auxiliary and pneumatic equipment.

The auxiliary electric equipment for supplying power to lighting, traction control, climate control and the battery has two, 3000-VDC, 85-kVA converters with output to 380 VAC and 72 VDC. In the event that one converter fails, the other automatically feeds the unit with 50 percent of climate control and lighting.

The air conditioning provides 34,500 kcal/h in each car (22 kW) for cooling and 34.5 kW per car for heating. Air is produced by a main compressor driven by a 12-kW motor, with the capacity of 1400 litres/min. at 10 bar. Air is stored in 200-l tanks, and it is used for the pneumatic service brake, for the emergency brake, for the deadman, for the pneumatic suspension, for opening the doors and for auxiliary services. It also has a 1-kW auxiliary compressor for raising the pantograph and operating the main circuit breaker.

Other equipment

Among other pieces of equipment, this unit has a Scharfenberg coupler for mechanical, pneumatic and electrical coupling, which is automatic on the free end-walls and semi-permanent on the coupled end-walls.

It is also equipped with an analogue train-ground communications system and a radio-telephony connection with the Traffic Control Station and with the Suburban Train Control Station, using GSM technology.

Driving assistance is equipped with a self-diagnostics system and computer equipment for detecting failures and assistance with resolving them through a display in the cab, in addition to ASFA equipment, a train-ground radio link system, a double effect deadman and flange lubricators.

Finally, 74 units that operate on line C5 in Madrid have been equipped with the automatic driving system (LZB).

Technical Specifications

  • Composición : M-R-M.
  • Ancho de vía : 1.668 mm.
  • Tensión de alimentación : 3.000 Vcc.
  • Composición múltiple : Hasta 3 unidades de tren.
  • Potencia en régimen continuo : 2.400 Kw.
  • Motores : 8 de cc. de 320 kW, distribuidos en 4 por cada coche motor.
  • Tipo de motor : Corriente continua 1.500 V.
  • Esfuerzo tractor máximo en llantas : 190 kN.
  • Esfuerzo tractor máximo en el arranque : 225 kN.
  • Esfuerzo tractor a la velocidad máxima : 60 kN.
  • Velocidad máxima : 100 km/h.
  • Aceleración en arranque : 1 m/s2.
  • Aceleración entre 0 y 60 Km/h : 0,75 m/s2.
  • Aceleración entre 0 y 100 Km/h : 0,55 m/s2.
  • Deceleración normal (freno eléctrico y neumático) : 1.0 m/s2.
  • Deceleración con sólo freno eléctrico : 0,7 m/s2.
  • Deceleración máxima de urgencia : 1.2 m/s2.
  • Arranque en rampa : 35 mm/m.
  • Alimentación de auxiliares : 2 convertidores estáticos.
  • Entrada energía al convertidor : 3.000 V cc.
  • Salida energía a auxiliares : 380 V ca y 72 V cc.
  • Pantógrafos por tren : 2 en coche remolque intermedio.
  • Freno dinámico : Regenerativo y Reostático.
  • Freno neumático continuo : Aire comprimido.
  • Control de freno neumático : Eléctrico + neumático.
  • Freno de estacionamiento : Manual de husilllo.
  • Aparato de enganche : Schafenberg.
  • Puertas de viajero con costado : 3 x 3.
  • Conducción con velocidad prefijada / Mando múltiple : Sí.
  • Cabinas de conducción : 2.
  • Señalización en cabina : Asfa.
  • Calefacción : Eléctrica.
  • Iluminación interior : Fluorescente y halógena.
  • Megafonía / Indicadores luminosos de información / Aire acondicionado : Sí.
  • Plazas sentadas coche M/R : 66/72.
  • Plazas sentadas UT sin/con estrapontines : 202/204.
  • Plazas totales coche M/R (sentadas+de pie) : 237/250.
  • Plazas totales UT (sentadas+de pie) : 759.
  • Unidades construidas : 170.
  • Año de recepción : 1989-1993.

Weights and Dimensions

Dimensions (in mm).

Dimensions (in mm).
Power car Trailer car Unit
Length between couplings 25,479 25,035 75,993
Exterior width 2940 2940 -
Maximum height above the rail 4185 4185 -
Distance between bogies 17,400 17,775 -
Bogie wheelbase 2500 2500 -
New wheel diameter 890 890 -
Height of the floor above the rail 1150 1150 -

Weight (t).

Weight (t).
Power car Trailer car Unit
Bodies 35.6 30.3 101.5
Bogies 25.6 13.9 65.1
Tare 61.2 44.2 166.6
Maximum load 17.3 18.4 53.0
Maximum weight 78.5 62.6 219.6

More information

© Renfe. All rights reserved.
Legal information | Web accessibility