London Tramlink orders additional Variobahn trams from Stadler Pankow

21 August 2013  •  Source: Stadler Pankow GmbH

The UK tram operator London Tramlink has ordered four additional 5-carriage Variobahn trams, thereby exercising its option to receive further vehicles. These vehicles will come into use from 2015 in the London Borough of Croydon, and will supplement the existing Variobahn fleet. Six vehicles have been in operation in Croydon’s tram network since spring 2012.

Tram Croydon“We are happy to continue our cooperation with Stadler Pankow because this company convinced us with their delivery to the agreed timescales, the high quality product and a great deal of personal commitment of the employees on site in Croydon,” says Sharon Thompson, Director of London Tramlink. “We are continuing to expand our modern transport system with these additional vehicles.”

Michael Daum, Director of Stadler Pankow GmbH, explains: “We are delighted with the high level of satisfaction with the Variobahn. The four additional trams will be built at our factories in Berlin, before being transported to London, where they will be in use from 2015.”

Thanks to its modular construction, the Variobahn can be adapted to suit the infrastructure and individual needs of the operator. The trams are particularly flexible in terms of length, width, track gauge and contact wire voltage. In addition to this, the vehicles for Croydon also offer an additional benefit for passengers with limited mobility in particular: with low floors throughout, at a maximum level of 385 millimetres, these trams are easier to board. The bidirectional vehicles have 72 seats and standing room for 134 passengers, and can reach a maximum speed of 80 km/h. The Variobahn is 32,370 millimetres long and 2,650 millimetres wide. In addition to its modern interior design, the vehicle is equipped with facilities such as air-conditioned passenger and driver areas, and an ergonomic driver’s cab design. What is more, the tram meets the fire-safety requirements for vehicles used in tunnels in accordance with DIN 5510.

Variobahn success story: 90 million kilometres travelled worldwide in 20 years

Not only in London does the Variobahn from Stadler Pankow GmbH offer short maintenance intervals, high passenger comfort, sustainability, flexibility and reliability. The Variobahn has been travelling reliably through towns and cities both within Germany and abroad for 20 years now. Whether in Bochum, Bergen, Mannheim, Potsdam, Helsinki or Sydney – the low-floor trams have travelled some 90 million kilometres, and are considered to be one of the most state-of-the-art articulated urban vehicles with fully modular construction.

The first vehicle was put to the test in Chemnitz in 1993 – ABB Henschel, which formed part of Adtranz from 1996, was responsible for the development of the prototype. Following the acquisition of Adtranz by Bombardier, Variobahn remained at its original production location, and Stadler Pankow GmbH took over responsibility for its distribution, construction and further development. “With its high kilometric performance, the Variobahn is designed for daily and high-frequency use in cities,” says Michael Daum, Director of Stadler Pankow GmbH.

Bochum, Nuremberg and Munich were some of the first cities to order Stadler’s Variobahn in 2005. The rail vehicle manufacturer expanded the concept of the tram, adapting its fixtures and fittings to meet the needs of customers in the various towns and cities. In addition to this, the Berlin-based company developed a new design that received the iF design award from International Forum Design Hannover in 2006. While the existing modular construction was maintained, the bogies were fitted with transmission-free wheel hubs and external rotor motors, resulting in less wear and noise and improved sustainability. Passenger comfort was increased by the use of full air suspension, which also ensures a constant boarding height. “We will continue to develop the Variobahn further over the next 20 years with a view to providing environmentally friendly, low-maintenance and safe facilities for short-distance public transport for the future,” explains Michael Daum.

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