The first of a total of 15 new trams reached Augsburg last night (Thursday, 3 August) on a special heavy goods vehicle. Now the individual tram parts are being assembled in the tram workshop of Stadtwerke Augsburg (swa) and equipped for operation in Augsburg, before the first test run in the tram network will take place in September. Numerous tests, training sessions and the final approval will follow until the first new tram is expected to be ready for passenger service in early 2024.
The tram, which has an unladen weight of around 52 tonnes, was dismantled for transport in the production hall of the Stadler company in Valencia and first transported by sea from the Spanish port of departure Santander to Bruges. From there, two articulated lorries continued their journey towards Augsburg. On one of the articulated lorries with a maximum load of 73 tonnes two car sections were loaded, on the other articulated lorry with a maximum load of 105 tonnes the remaining five sections.
In the coming days, the tram will be assembled by the employees of the swa tram workshop and will undergo initial tests at the swa depot. These tests will be checked by the technical supervisory authority before the tram is subjected to further tests in urban traffic, such as brake tests under different conditions and loading conditions, but also tests of the doors and safety devices. In addition, the swa driving personnel must be trained on the new vehicle. In addition, each driver must have driven the new, empty vehicle for some time before regular service with passengers can take place.
The new Stadler trams will replace older models and offer passengers plenty of comfort. Like the Combino and CityFlex, the new Stadler trams are over 40 metres long and seat a maximum of about 230 passengers. They replace the almost 30-year-old shorter GT6Ms and also the last three Düwag M8Cs (nos. 8005-8007) from the 1980s, which are still in reserve but are not usually used. The new tramways increase capacity and comfort for the passengers.
Originally, the first tram was to be delivered as early as July 2022. However, due to the Corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the deadline has been pushed back further and further. The pandemic had a considerable impact in Spain in particular and paralysed production at Stadler’s plant in Valencia. Supply chains of components or raw materials for production were also interrupted by the worldwide pandemic. This situation has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, following the production of individual electronic components for trams in Ukraine and also Belarus. Accordingly, upstream suppliers dropped out due to the sanctions or the delivery of the components was delayed.
In autumn, a second Tramlink will arrive in Augsburg. The other trams will gradually follow in the course of the coming year. Then, with Combino, Cityflex and Tramlink, only long and modern vehicles will be in service in Augsburg. Originally 11 new Tramlink were ordered, a further 4 were added later, and there is a contractual option for a further 12 units.
We reported on the order of the new vehicles here: