The supervisory board of the local transport company Kasseler Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (KVG) has signed an order for 22 new 30-metre two-way trams from the workshops of the Škoda Group with an option to purchase another 18 trams. The value of the contract (not including the option to purchase more trams) is EUR 88 million and is the largest investment in vehicles in the history of KVG. The first trams are scheduled for delivery in 2026 – from 2027, the trams will gradually start passenger service. In addition to the city network, the new trams will also serve the lines to Baunatal and into the Lossetal valley, which in part share railway infrastructure that sees only little or no use by the railway operators.
Production of the new two-way trams for Kassel is scheduled to start at the end of 2024. Just like the existing trams, the new vehicles will have a length of 30 m and an Albert coupling which allows for attachment of an additional motor car or trailer. Each of the trams will have four doors on each side for passengers to board and alight.
The trams will have Škoda Group’s new anti-collision system which creates a virtual tunnel in front of the tram in which it detects all static and dynamic obstacles and, if it detects one, alerts the driver and activates the emergency brake. The entire surrounding area is monitored by a suite of sensors which includes LiDAR, an IMU unit and a camera. The LiDAR is responsible for 3D mapping of the surrounding area within a range of 100-150 m in both horizontal and vertical fields of view. The IMU unit feeds information about the vehicle’s tilt into the system and helps the sensor output from the anti-collision system to reflect the profile of the track. The camera provides high-resolution 2D images which capture more detail.
The new vehicles replace older vehicles. The current Kassel vehicle fleet consists of:
- 3 Düwag N8C (1986)
- 25 Düwag NGT6 (1990-94), partially modernised
- 22 Bombardier Flexity Classic 8NGTW (1999-2000)
- 10 Bombardier Flexity Classic 8ZNGTW (2001-2003)
- 22 Bombardier Flexity Classic II NGT8 (2011-13)
- 13 Bombardier NB4WDE sidecars (2001-2002) ex Rostock (+ 2 more as spare parts donors)
- 28 Alstom 8NRTW-E (2004-5) dual system tram-trains of Regionalbahn Kassel GmbH