"FLEXITY Berlin - One for All."
Berlin’s New Generation of Trams
The new generation of trams, BOMBARDIER FLEXITY Berlin, which will replace the Tatra high-floor vehicles that have been in use in Berlin since 1976, was unveiled today at the BVG’s tram depot in Lichtenberg.
“The new Berlin trams will meet the highest expectations of a modern, accessible, attractive form of transport in a way which emphasises service and is geared towards the future. Modern yet timeless, a perfect balance between convention and innovation, this means of transport simply seeks to fulfil the needs of all groups of users. It fits in perfectly with the modern and efficient local transport service in our city and finds new ways of enriching it”, stated Berlin’s Mayor, Ingeborg Junge-Reyer.
Between 1994 and 1997, 452 Tatra vehicles were modernised and were intended to be used for a further 16 years. However, within the framework of this modernisation, it was not possible to make the vehicles fully accessible to disabled passengers. At the beginning of 2010, the Tatra vehicles will reach the end of their authorised operating period and their service life of up to 30 years. Without further, costly renovations, the Tatra trams would no longer be suitable for use.
The replacement of the Tatra vehicles with new low-floor vehicles will lead to lower operating costs for BVG, a much more attractive experience for passengers and, in the medium term, will make Berlin’s tram network 100% accessible.
Andreas Sturmowski, Chairman of the Management Board of the BVG, stated: “The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe is the motor that moves Berlin, and it has been doing so for almost 80 years. The Berlin trams are an integrated, essential element of the first-class local transport service in the city. The new generation of trams in Berlin superbly fulfils requirements stemming from the varying interests of passenger groups with regards to security, functionality and sustainability. The combined expertise of BVG, Bombardier Transportation and all other parties involved in the manufacturing has been extremely effective.”
Grego Peters, Bombardier Transportation’s President of Light Rail Vehicles, stated: “The FLEXITY Berlin tram is based on a very mature vehicle concept and paves the way for modern public local transport in metropolitan areas. It sets the highest standards in the areas
of comfort, security, and environmental protection. We are very proud that the BVG has now placed its trust in Bombardier’s trams as well as in our metro trains.”
New vehicle procurement process
The BVG’s supervisory board approved the tender of the new trams on 18 April 2005, which was followed by the tender proposal by the management board on 12 June 2005. A total of six firms expressed an interest in the Europe-wide call for tenders. Ultimately BVG was presented with four offers altogether, from three rail vehicle manufacturers. The commission to the bidder with the most favourable price, Bombardier Transportation, took place in September 2006. The delivery of the first trams to the BVG took place on 9 September 2008. Since then, extensive commissioning and testing activities have been carried out.
Vehicle concept and vehicle implementation concept for new vehicles
Bombardier Transportation is the global leader in trams and light rail vehicles, and has the most comprehensive range in this field in the rail industry – from 100% low-floor trams to dual-mode systems. Up to now, over 2,500 trams and light rail vehicles have been delivered to around 100 cities in over 20 countries all over the world. So, vehicles from the FLEXITY family are enriching the appearance of cities in Europe and overseas. Over 1,900 of these vehicles have thus far been ordered, and are already proving themselves in service in cities such as Brussels, Marseilles, Valencia, Geneva, Frankfurt, Dresden, Cologne, Stockholm, London and Istanbul.
The concept of the FLEXITY Berlin tram was developed by BVG together with Bombardier Transportation especially for the German capital. The result is a means of public transport in cities which is geared to the future, with flat entrances and easier accessibility for passengers with limited mobility. The interior is characterised by its generous passenger compartments, as well as multifunction compartments and air-conditioned passenger areas.
For now, the order consists of four pre-series vehicles (manufactured at the Bombardier site in Bautzen, Saxony) with the option of 206 series vehicles in total (completed at the Bombardier site in Hennigsdorf, Brandenburg). Only when it has been established that the pre-series vehicles for BVG are ready to go into production, taking into account the result of customer surveys after a period of trial use, will the order for the series vehicles be released.
The design is inspired by the Bauhaus style and gives the trains an appearance unique to Berlin, which ties in nicely with the BVG’s corporate design. The design is the result of an intensive, interdisciplinary working process between the BVG, Bombardier and the design studio, IFS, commissioned by Bombardier and based in Adlershof, Berlin. The design is fit for the purpose, functional and timelessly elegant. It also blends in well with the design characteristics of the BVG vehicle fleet. The vehicles have low electricity consumption and feed back electricity into the braking system. The noise levels are lower than that of the trams that have been used up until now.
With the introduction of the new generation of FLEXITY Berlin tram, all Tatra vehicles can gradually be replaced. Generally, two Tatra vehicles can be replaced by one new tram in one of the four different FLEXITY tram designs.
The four different designs are:
Total no. of places, seated places
40m one-way vehicle 248 84
40m bidirectional vehicle 245 72
30.8m one-way vehicle 189 60
30.8m bidirectional vehicle 184 52
On the rollout date, 19 September 2008, the 40m long one-way vehicle will be introduced by BVG. The 40m long bidirectional vehicle will be presented by Bombardier at the InnoTrans trade fair from 23-28 September, and afterwards returned to Bautzen. The delivery of the other three pre-series vehicles to the BVG will take place one by one up until mid-December 2008. Following all the commissioning activities and driver training, the first tram should be in use by passengers on the M4 line at the end of October. Lines M5, M2 and M10 will follow.
Advantages of the new trams for passengers
Guarantee of accessibility
The vehicles are accessible from the platforms and, with the help of a detrainment ramp (a new development from S&S Mühlhausen and BVG), are also accessible from tram stops on the street. When the Tatra vehicles are completely replaced, the tram system in Berlin will be 100% accessible.
Improved seating arrangements
The new vehicles are 20cm wider than the Tatra vehicles and 10cm wider than the existing low-floor vehicles. All the vehicle designs have two multifunction areas, which permit two wheelchairs, at least two pushchairs, and at least one bicycle to be transported at the same time.
Improved passenger information
The external displays (line, destination) are designed using modern LED technology. These save a considerable amount of energy and are easier to read than the previously existing displays. TFT double screens for passenger information are finding their way into new vehicle trams. These screens allow passengers to see the next station and up to five subsequent stops with connections (initially static, but set to become dynamic in the future with the introduction of digital professional mobile radio technology). A ticker line along the bottom of the screen permits the inclusion of current messages from central control.
The new vehicles have a new mobile fare collection machine, which is easier to use due to the terminal dialogue (analogue stationary machines) and now permits payment with cash cards. The range is much broader than existing machines.
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