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Third Škoda low-floor tram starts operation in Schöneiche-Rüdersdorf

The third Skoda low-floor tram entered operation between Schöneiche and Rüdersdorf on 25 March 2020 | © UTM

On 25 March 2020, the Schöneicher-Rüdersdorfer Straßenbahn (SRS) launched the brand new Škoda Artic-Tram on line 88 into operation. This Artic-Tram is numbered 53 and is in fact the first new-build vehicle in the SRS fleet in 90 years.

Due to the current Corona situation, the vehicle was only handed over to the passenger operation without any public event in the presence of the Mayors of Rüdersdorf, Ms Löser and the Mayor of Schöneiche, Mr. Steinbrück.

The first two Artic vehicles, numbered 51 and 52, have been in operation at SRS since 1 May 2019 and are extremely popular with passengers. We reported here:

100 % low-floor operation is now possible

With the third low-floor tram and the existing four KTNF6 trams, an almost completely barrier-free offer can be offered on line 88. The third completely barrier-free vehicle is now further stabilizing the low-floor operation on the 14.1 km meter-gauge line.

Another advantage of modern vehicles is the reduction of the maintenance effort – in times of delivery bottlenecks, this is a clear advantage.

From a visual point of view, the two pre-series vehicles do not differ from the third vehicle. The Transtech logo at the vehicle front has been replaced by the well-known Škoda logo as Transtech has since become part of Škoda Transportation. While the cars 51 and 52 have already been given a banner ad, the new wagon 53 is still without advertising. Its livery is identical with yellow-beige and green colours.

In total, SRS invested around 2.9 million euros for the new Artic vehicle, of which the administrative districts of Oder-Spree and Märkisch Oderland each funded around 40 % and an additional 156,000 Euro from the two municipalities of Schöneiche and Rüdersdorf.

First new-build tram since 90 years

With the acquisition of the third Artic-Tram, the SRS breaks with a “tradition”: it is the first new-build vehicle in over 90 years. In 1975 the so-called Reko railcar 75 was delivered brand new from the RAW railway works in Schöneweide to the SRS, but it was a reconstruction using old parts. In the past, SRS used to purchase second-hand vehicles and adapted them for its operation. This includes the first two Artic vehicles, which had previously been in use in the Finnish capital Helsinki for about 5 years. Ironically, since these are the pre-series vehicles of this type, the first two and the very last vehicle of the series are now owned by SRS. The production of the Artic-Tram at Škoda in Finland has ended after a total of 70 units produced.

The modernization of the vehicle fleet also secures the future of tram operations of line 88 beyond the current transport contract.

Anniversary has been postponed

The SRS is also celebrating the 110th anniversary of its foundation this year. This anniversary as well as the new Artic-Tram 53 should have been showcased with a day of open doors in May. Due to the current ban on events, SRS will move the celebrations to the 111th year of operation of SRS in 2021.

There are still numerous older trams in Schöneiche: the two GT6 No. 47 and 48 from Heidelberg (year of construction 1973) will be preserved as a reserve. The GT6 are the only bi-directional vehicles of the SRS and will therefore remain indispensable for disruptions such as construction works. The trams 43 (built in 1966) and 46 are also still in Schöneiche. Also the 1981-built KT4D trams 21 and 22 are parked next to the depot. However, the two vehicles have been put out of operation.

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