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Alstom metro cars get green light from transport authority

Experts of Hungary’s National Public Transportation Authority (NKH) have approved the brakes on trains French engineering giant Alstom is to deliver for Budapest’s number two underground line, exempting them from Hungarian regulations, a source with knowledge of the matter told MTI late Friday.

NKH experts accepted Alstom’s technical solution for the brakes after modifications were made and the brakes were tested, clearing the way for the brakes to be issued a permit after a 4,000km test run.

NKH confirmed the report late Friday.

Alstom asked for an exemption for the brakes because some parts were not made according to technical specification in Hungarian railway regulations. It had to demonstrate the brakes could operate with the same degree of safety as standard Hungarian brakes.

Under a contract signed in May 2006, Alstom was to deliver 22 trains for the capital’s second metro line for €150m and 15+7 trains for the fourth line, under construction at present, for €114m. BKV said in October 2010 that it cancelled the contract because Alstom "failed to do all that was expected of it in the interest of fulfilling the contract".

Alstom’s application for permits for the vehicles it was to deliver was hampered because of the non-compliant brakes.

Budapest mayor István Tarlós said earlier that Hungary’s National Transportation Authority told Alstom four times in 2007 and 2008 that the brakes on the trains it was to deliver were unsuitable according to Hungarian safety rules.

The Budapest municipal council approved changes to the agreement with Alstom on the delivery of the underground trains in July and the modified contract was signed in the same month.

Tarlós said the trains could start running from the end of 2012.