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The Frankfurt tram gets a new face

19.06.2018 | 21:08 Clock | Citywhispers
The Frankfurt tram gets a new face

Fresh cell cure for the Frankfurt tram: 43 cars in a new, modern design have been ordered from the French manufacturer Alstom. The new design should no longer be just about the triad "rectangular, practical, good", which has determined the vehicle design in public transport, not only in Frankfurt. With the vehicles now on order, VGF is switching to a design that is intended to express the modernity of the tram system as well as the internationality of the city of Frankfurt.

Frankfurt's head of transport Klaus Oesterling, who is also chairman of the VGF supervisory board, was enthusiastic at the presentation about the design that Alstom had developed especially for Frankfurt: "I am sure that the new appearance of the Frankfurt tramway will become a trademark of the city of Frankfurt and will also express the future viability of the tramway system. We would like to thank Alstom for the successful design."

The contract won by Alstom stems from a 2017 tender by VGF for the procurement of an original 38 low-floor trams, which also included an option to procure a further 15 vehicles. Due to the increase in passenger numbers and the population figures, which are also continuing to rise, the VGF supervisory board has decided to procure five more vehicles from this option already, bringing the total number of vehicles ordered today to 43. This additional order is still subject to the approval of the shareholders' meeting of Stadtwerke Holding.

"With the procurement now undertaken and the option agreed, we are in a position not only to replace the older ‚R' type cars from the 1990s, but we will be able to meet the additional demand arising from the rising population well into the next decade," said Oesterling. "If there is a need, we will be able to reorder at any time." In this context, the head of transport said that VGF is currently also preparing the unscheduled procurement of additional subway cars. With this - and the new trams - VGF as a whole will be equipped for the challenges of the future, he added.

The new vehicles will not only have a modernized appearance. There are also some other important innovations. While full air-conditioning has been standard for years, the new vehicles will be one hundred percent low-floor inside, making them barrier-free both in boarding and inside. Large panorama windows not only offer passengers a good view, but also provide pleasant lighting conditions together with LED lighting inside the vehicle. Generous multi-purpose areas offer sufficient space for wheelchair users, prams and bicycles. A fourth door on each side would help to speed up passenger changes. And, "With a passenger information system that is new for trams, based on screen displays, and a driver assistance system that helps the driver to better detect obstacles, the new tram offers innovations that serve both passengers and our driving staff," said VGF Managing Director Michael Rüffer.

The vehicles continue to offer a range of options as standard: They are both prepared for the installation of W-LAN and can be retrofitted for battery-electric operation, should the further expansion of Frankfurt's tram network also require the use of catenary-free sections. Rüffer considers the possibility of retrofitting the vehicles with an additional middle section to be particularly important: "This will give us a cost-effective way of increasing our capacities. However, some adjustments will have to be made to the route network before then."

The first vehicles are expected to be delivered at the end of 2020. The first new vehicles will replace the non-accessible "Pt" type vehicles, which will be reactivated on a transitional basis from the winter timetable due to strong demand. The total order volume for the 43 vehicles is 113.5 million euros

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