In the presence of the Prime Minister of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, and the Head of the Urban Transport Division at Bombardier Germany, Dirk Wunderlich, the board members of Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe AG (DVB), Andreas Hemmersbach and Lars Seiffert, on 9 December took delivery of the body shell of the first new light rail vehicle for Dresden. In August of this year, Bombardier Transportation had started building the first vehicle at the Görlitz plant.
“The colleagues from Bombardier are doing an excellent job, I was able to see this for myself today,” says a pleased DVB board member Andreas Hemmersbach. His colleague Lars Seiffert adds to the praise: “Despite all the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the project of the new light rail vehicles, which is very important for us, is making good progress. Also thanks to the great personal commitment of the rail vehicle specialists from Bombardier and DVB.” Together with the project managers, they have tested and accepted the quality of the first carriage body modules. Bombardier Transportation is manufacturing a total of 30 new tram vehicles for Dresden. The body shells are initially being built on the Neisse. The interior work will take place at the Bautzen plant from February 2021.
“The car bodies for Dresden Public Transport are one of the first tram projects to be built on the newly installed production line in Görlitz. I am very pleased that we have reached this important milestone on schedule and that we will soon be able to start the interior construction of the new FLEXITY tram. More than 20 Saxon companies are supplying the majority of the materials required – from Saxony for Saxony,” says Dirk Wunderlich, responsible for the mass transit business in Germany at Bombardier Transportation.
The new light rail vehicle bears the type designation NGT DX DD. NGT stands for low-floor articulated railcar, DX for bogie vehicle with ten axles and DD for Dresden. The vehicle consists of five car body modules that are movably connected to each other with joints. The body shell of a module consists of the underframe, the side walls and the roof. The end modules are still completed with the head sections. These main assemblies are put together and welded at the Bombardier factory in Görlitz. First, the heads and side walls are placed on the underframe, followed by the roof. When everything fits correctly, the parts are welded together and straightened by heat. In addition, the welders attach brackets that will later be used to attach cables, lines, support rods, seats, etc. In order to ensure that all dimensions comply with the specifications and that the weld seams are of the required quality, the car bodies are carefully inspected and measured. The fitters check the weld seams in particular meticulously. Some are even examined with an X-ray machine and assessed by experts.
The underframe is made of rust-resistant, so-called weatherproof steel. The roof and side walls are made of stainless steel. While the head and its individual parts are cut, edged, deburred and welded together in the Görlitz factory, the roof parts and side walls are made in Bautzen and delivered from there to Görlitz.
Delivery planned for August 2021
The first new light rail vehicle is scheduled to arrive in Dresden in August 2021. After commissioning and various test runs on the network, trial operation with passengers is expected to start in December 2021. From 2022, a new light rail vehicle is to be delivered to Dresden every three weeks and, after a short commissioning phase, will enter regular service. All new light rail vehicles are to be delivered to DVB by autumn 2023.
The first twelve new light rail vehicles will be used on line 2 between Kleinzschachwitz and Gorbitz. As soon as Großenhainer Straße has been upgraded, the following eleven vehicles can then run on line 3 between Wilder Mann and Coschütz. Both lines are among the busiest in the DVB network. In the medium term, there is another option for the use of the new cars with the deployment on Line 1.
The NGT DX DD is more than 43 metres long and 2.65 metres wide. This makes it 35 centimetres wider than the previous Dresden vehicles. The new light rail vehicle can accommodate up to 290 passengers. That is 30 more than in our longest vehicle, the NGT D12 DD. The car body unloads above the platform edge so that no station has to be rebuilt. On the other hand, the new vehicles need more space between the tracks to pass each other without touching. Almost 80 percent of DVB’s track network is already prepared for the wider trains. DVB still have to wait for the Königsbrücker Straße and parts of Kesselsdorfer Straße and Königsbrücker Landstraße to be upgraded before they can operate on line 7. The “7” is Dresden’s most-used tram line.
Citizens’ wishes incorporated
In January 2020, around 16,000 visitors came to the Transport Museum to see the 1:1 model of the new tram. DVB’s market research recorded around 2,000 opinions from the public. Almost all of them liked the new tram. Some frequently expressed requests for changes led to adjustments in the interior design, for example in the choice of seats.
Picture gallery (please click to open):
In August 2019, DVB commissioned the rail vehicle manufacturer Bombardier Transportation to build the new light rail vehicles. The costs per vehicle amount to approximately €4.2 million. The total investment volume including manufacturing, service and long-term maintenance is around €197 million. For the purchase of the light rail vehicles, the Free State of Saxony is handing over €102.8 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to DVB.
We already reported about the project here:11.12.2020