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Chemnitz launches new Škoda For City Classic low-floor tram

The very first Škoda ForCity low-floor tram has been inaugurated on 25 September 2019 - the Tatar trams will now be replaced I © CVAG

It is the first new-built Škoda tram in Germany and the first Czech-built tram in Germany since the last Tatra tram deliveries in the beginning of the 1990’s: On 25 September 2019, CVAG in Chemnitz started the operation of the new Škoda Transportation For City Classic low-floor tram on tram line 5.

After the presentation of the second tram for Chemnitz in September 2018 at the InnoTrans fair in Berlin, deliveries to Chemnitz commenced at the end of 2018 and tests started in the first quarter of 2019. Škoda Transportation was the winner of an international tender which was held in 2016. Beforehand, Škoda tested a For City Alfa tram from Prague in Chemnitz in order to be better prepared for the tender process.

14 modern trams for Chemnitz

The 14 Škoda Transportation For City Classic trams currently being delivered to Chemnitz are 100 % low-floor and feature gear-less propulsion system – the motors are permanent magnet motors. Furthermore, the vehicle is 100 % motorised. All 12 wheels are motorised, offering 100 % adhesion and therefore a very high acceleration. The five-section trams are made from stainless steel are fitted with air-springs. The 31.4 m long trams have a width of 2.65 m and can transport up to 281 persons of which 64 can be seated.

Replacement of the Tatra fleet

With the arrival of the new Škoda trams, Chemnitz’ oldest trams will be put out of service. Between 1969 and 1988, the then called city “Karl-Marx-Stadt” received a total of 130 Tatra T3D trams and 62 B3D trailer cars. In the beginning of the 1990’s CVAG decided to modernise 36 Tatra tram sets in Bautzen, Germany. The trams were fully modernised with chopper electronics, slightly moderrnised front and interior design and a new livery. Currently, there are still ca. 21 T3D trams in Chemnitz which are mainly operated on weekdays as double-tractions. All of the remaining Tatra trams and trailer cars have been either scrapped or sent to Russia and Kasachtan where they are still in service. Four trams have been transformed into works cars and three T3D, two motor and one trailer car remain in Chemnitz as historic trams. However, even when all of the new Škoda trams will be in service, some Tatra trams will remain in Chemnitz as a reserve trams.

Škoda Transportation is not equal to Škoda

Many might confuse, Škoda Transportation with the automaker Škoda – both do not have anything in common (any more). Both originate from the so-called Škoda Works (Czech: Škodovy závody) which used to be one of the largest European industrial conglomerates of the 20th century. Škoda Works was founded by Czech engineer Emil Škoda in 1859 in Plzeň which was then part of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Austrian Empire. At the time Škoda’s main activity was the production of heavy arms and heavy ship components. However, Škoda also built steam locomotives, trams and trolleybuses. After the fall of the wall in 1989 things became complicated. The Škoda empire was split into subcompanies and privatised – the most known union being the procurement of Škoda cars by the Volkswagen conglomerate. After developing tram and trolleybuses in the 1990’s, the Czech government sold Škoda Transportation to private owners who started the internationalisation of the company with growing exports and developing electric locomotives and trains. The headquarters and main production facilities are still located in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Besides the tram network, Chemnitz also has an extensive tram train network which is currently being expanded. UTM reported recently about the current projects here: