Our Trains

Page content

S-253 electric rail car

On 7 November 2006, while implementing the objectives of the 2005-2009 Strategic Plan of Renfe Mercancías y Logística, the Management Committee awarded the purchase of 100 electric rail cars from Bombardier. For the first time, Renfe acquired this type of motor rolling stock designed exclusively for freight traffic.

With this purchase, Renfe renewed its fleet of Freight and Logistics rail cars, thereby considering the necessary effectiveness and profitability of this area in a business sector open to competition. The new rail cars increase reliability, availability and load and traction capacity, and they also provide greater cost and energy efficiency; in brief, they increase production efficiency.

These rail cars, which constitute the 3rd generation of Traxx machines from Bombardier so that 95% of the components are common to the Traxx family, are prepared to travel at a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour, with nearly a 67% increase in power. This means that, under the same conditions of track slope and speed, they can pull 30% more cargo. They also increase availability by 15%, thus reaching 95% availability, and they reduce maintenance costs by 50%.

With this purchase, there will be a 20% increase in the fleet of electric freight rail cars by 2011, although thanks to the increased cargo capacity and greater availability of the 253s, production capacity for freight transport will increase.

Regarding their availability and maintenance, it is predicted that the 253 rail cars will have one incident every 250,000 km, versus the current rate of one incident every 33,000 km, with availability of 95% versus the current availability of 25%.

Given these characteristics, it will be possible to increase heavy freight and heavy tonnage traffic, even through areas with steep track slopes. Another advantage of the 253 due to these characteristics is the lower environmental impact.

Another novelty regarding this acquisition is that these rail cars are being manufactured and maintained jointly between Bombardier and Renfe, which forms a part of the strategy to guarantee that 20% of the manufacturing and 50% of the maintenance of the rolling stock take place at Integria shops.

55 rail cars are assembled almost entirely at the Bombardier factory in Vado Ligure (Italy), and they are subsequently sent to Integria's shops for completion, for attaching the body to the bogie and for testing. Regarding the remainder, Vado Ligure handles the first assembly phase, and Integria performs the rest of the assembly jobs, attaches the body to the bogies and conducts the operational testing.

On the other hand, the electrical cabinets of 11 rail cars are manufactured at the Bombardier factory in Kassel (Germany), and the remaining 89 are produced at Renfe's shops.

The shops of the Maintenance and Manufacturing Area that participate in the manufacturing and assembly jobs of this rail car are the Villaverde and Vicalvaro shops in Madrid and the Can Tunis shop in Barcelona.

This series of rail cars is single voltage for travelling under 3-kV catenaries at direct current. It offers a power output of 5400 kW, with IGBT converters, Mitrac IGBT traction controls and a transmission module, for reaching a maximum speed of 140 km/h. The rail cars are set up for the Iberian gauge track, although it is possible to install bogies for UIC gauge.


This series of rail cars will be exclusively designed for freight traffic. The power output is 5400 kW, for reaching a maximum speed of 140 km/h. The traction system is controlled using IGBT microprocessor technology, and the rail cars are powered exclusively at single voltage of 3 kV, travelling on Iberian gauge track.


The body has a modular structure, with a length of 18,900 mm between buffers and a maximum width of 2977 mm. The rail car has two cabs with ample dimensions at each end, which can be accessed from either side (total of four doors), and it is equipped with an ergonomically designed driver's desk that allows the driver to reach all controls and systems from the seated position. The machine room occupies the entire space between the two cabs, which are pressurised and ergonomically designed. The cabs are built using penetration-resistant steel, and they include an impact absorption zone with buffers and replaceable elements and anti-overriding devices.

The climate control system of the cabs includes air conditioning, heating and ventilation units. The air conditioning is formed by two modules, a central one and an additional one located on the roof of the cab, which assures comfort in Spain's high temperatures.

Traction systems

The 253 has 4, three-phase asynchronous motors that are suspended at the nose, which provide 5400 kW of power, representing 7337 HP. The rated power is 5200 kW under normal voltage conditions of between 3060 and 3600 W. This power provides a maximum starting tractive force of 300 kilonewtons.

The traction equipment and auxiliary equipment are both managed by the Mitrac system, which includes the following subsystems:

  • Water-cooled IGBT traction converters for transforming the catenary voltage and feeding the motors.
  • Auxiliary converters to supply energy to the auxiliary systems, which include lighting and air conditioning, among others.
  • The electronic subsystems for managing train communications and controlling the propulsion system.

Bogies and brakes

Each rail car has 2 Flexifloat bogies for Iberian gauge track, with the Bo'Bo' configuration and a mass of 16 tonnes together with the motors. The forces between the bogies and the body are transmitted by means of two traction gears.

The 253 rail car has various types of brakes, which are manufactured by Knorr according to UIC standards. The electrodynamic brake is the regenerative and rheostatic type, and it has a braking force limited to 200 kilonewtons, with maximum braking power of 2600 kW. Given that the brake is regenerative, the energy produced during braking is reused, thereby allowing a 10% savings in energy consumption, in addition to demanding less traction force at start-up.

The rail car also has two types of pneumatic disk brakes that are electrically controlled, one indirectly by auto-actuator and the other not by auto-actuator. The parking brake is a 46-tonne, spring accumulator type.

Control and auxiliary systems

These rail cars have an ASFA Digital safety system, except for the first 5, which have a conventional ASFA system, so their driver's desks will have a different configuration. All rail cars have pre-installation for ERTMS. The driving options include automatic speed control by pre-set speed (TFA), which the original Traxx rail cars did not have.

The processes of the 253 machine are represented on the driver's desk of the cabs, on both the diagnostic screen and on the ASFA and ERTMS screen. The purpose of the diagnostic screen, which is a touch screen, is to provide the driver or maintenance personnel with information about the operational state of the rail car itself or of rail cars forming a part of a double traction arrangement. It also shows equipment failures and the diagnostics of the maintenance shop. The Teloc system for registering and recording operational data of the rail car is integrated on this screen (speed, signals, traction/braking force and alarm button, among others).

Various devices for activating the stop sequence of the rail car or of the train are distributed in the cabs. In addition, the cabs do not have rear-view mirrors, given that they have innovative rear-view vision digital cameras that offer images on the diagnostic screen.

The buffers of the 253 have collision shock absorbers that absorb a large part of the energy in the event of a head-on collision.

This rail car has two auxiliary service converters with 180 kW of power each, which achieve a power supply of 3 X 460 watts at 60 hertz, and it has 110-W batteries at direct current.

Technical Specifications

  • Number of units: 100.
  • Track gauge: 1668 mm.
  • Power supply voltage: 3000 VDC.
  • Driver's cabs: 2.
  • Number of motors: 4, three-phase asynchronous motors.
  • Total power: 5400 kW/7337 HP.
  • Starting tractive force: 300 kN.
  • Main compressor: 2400 l/m with an oil piston.
  • Auxiliary unit: 2 converters.
  • Mass: 87 t.
  • Mass per axle: 21.8 t.
  • Maximum speed: 140 km/h.
  • Bogie wheel arrangement: Bo’Bo’.
  • Bogie mass: 16 t with motors.
  • Wheel dimensions: 1250/1170 mm.
  • Pneumatic brake: Disk.
  • Electric brake: Regenerative and rheostatic.
  • Parking brake: Accumulator spring.
  • Multiple control: YES.
  • Pantograph: Stemmann Technik.
  • Signalling in the cab: ASFA Digital and ERTMS.
  • Builder: Bombardier.
  • Services: Freight.

Weights and dimensions

  • Weight: 87 t.
  • Length between buffers: 18.900 m.
  • Width of the body: 2.997 m.
  • Maximum height: 4270 m.
  • Bogie wheelbase: 2600.
  • Wheelbase: 10,390 m.

More information

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