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Zwickau, Görlitz and Leipzig jointly order new tram fleet from Heiterblick/ Kiepe

The tram operators Leipzig, Görlitz and Zwickau are procuring trams together for the first time. Now the Heiterblick/ Kiepe consortium has been chosen I © Leipziger Gruppe

New Saxon future project: The transport companies from Zwickau, Görlitz and Leipzig are jointly procuring new and modern trams. After the necessary Europe-wide tendering process was successfully completed, LEIWAG (a consortium of HeiterBlick GmbH with Kiepe Electric GmbH) prevailed as the tram supplier for this major joint project. A supply contract between the parties was officially signed on 15 December. 

“As part of the Mobility Strategy 2030, we are gradually shaping the transport turnaround in Leipzig for the citizens. This also includes modern, attractive trams. I am all the more pleased that a Leipzig company was able to prevail after an open, Europe-wide procedure,” says Mayor Burkhard Jung.

In summer 2019, the project was launched together with the transport companies from Görlitz and Zwickau under the official project name “Saxon Platform – Tram of the Future” to jointly shape the challenges of the transport turnaround in the municipalities and exploit cost synergies. With a view to future technological developments, the tenders also include solutions and concepts for driver assistance systems and alternative drives such as hydrogen.  The work on the tender documents was completed on schedule at the beginning of 2020, so that the tendering phase started with a preliminary competition. The first indicative offers were received by the transport companies in October 2020.

Happy about the new tram fleet: Ulf Middelberg – Spokesman of the Management Board of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH, Uwe Rößler – Managing Director Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Zwickau GmbH, Sven Sellig – Managing Director Görlitzer Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH, Samuel Kermelk – Managing Director HeiterBlick GmbH, Alexander Ketterl – Managing Director Kiepe Electric GmbH I © Leipziger Group

“The fact that we have succeeded in bringing about this important project together with our partners in Leipzig and Zwickau is a great supra-regional success and a good example of successful inter-municipal cooperation. With this, we are laying the foundation for a future project with model character in Saxony,” says the Mayor of Görlitz, Octavian Ursu.

While Görlizt will get eight new tramways, Zwickau will receive six. Alle are 30 meter long. “The trams have been moving the people of Zwickau for over 125 years. We want to keep it that way in the future – on the way to a modern, efficient and effective public transport system for the citizens. The new trams form an indispensable basis for this,” emphasises Zwickau’s mayor Constance Arndt.

For Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe, this is the largest tram project in LVB’s history. With the award of the contract, it has reached another milestone. The contract now concluded provides for the delivery of 25 45-metre vehicles as well as further options with up to 130 vehicles. With the trams of the new vehicle generation, LVB is adapting its capacities to the growing population as well as the increased demands of its customers. The new and 2.40-metre-wide trams are to be on the road for the people of Leipzig from 2024 and will gradually replace the NGT8 vehicles, which are at the end of their life cycle. We reported on the tender here:

“For our customers, we want to further increase the attractiveness of our services with the wider vehicles and innovative technical solutions. After the competitive process, which even eliminated bidders described as fair, we are now pleased to jointly order new vehicles,” says Ulf Middelberg, spokesman for the management of Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe.

The development and procurement of the new trams is based on a concept/strategy for the development of the tram fleet until 2030, which ensures the expansion of the LVB vehicle fleet in line with demand and contributes to meeting the energy and climate targets of the city of Leipzig.

“As a Saxon tram manufacturer with production sites in Leipzig and Grimma, the order for the delivery of the Saxon platform vehicles is a great honour. The challenge in the project lies in the high level of innovation as well as in the implementation of environmentally friendly drive technologies, with which we also underline the importance of Saxony as a hydrogen location. Particularly in the difficult conditions for operations and employees caused by the pandemic, this contract award is tantamount to a nice Christmas present for me and all employees – it secures and creates prospects for the long term – throughout Saxony,” says Samuel Kermelk, Managing Director of HeiterBlick GmbH.

Close cooperation with the transport companies from Zwickau and Görlitz means that the “tram of the future” will not only be present in Leipzig, but also in large parts of Saxony. The joint award also leads to technical and economic synergies, e.g. in the process of vehicle approval and in the operation of the vehicles (maintenance, servicing, spare parts stocking). With a regional added value of almost 40 percent in Saxony and two thirds in Central Germany, this will also strengthen Saxony as an industrial location and secure jobs in Saxony.

“With the new innovative trams, we are achieving our goal of deploying a low-floor vehicle fleet in Zwickau. The new low-floor trams fully replace the current Tatra high-floor trams and, together with the modernised existing vehicles, enable passengers with restricted mobility to use public transport without restrictions. In this way, we offer all our passengers the highest level of comfort and safety, in order to focus even more on public transport in Zwickau in the coming years and thus increase passenger numbers in the long term. The partnership and overall awarding of contracts with Leipzig and Görlitz is an important point in order to further advance public transport regionally in the future and to draw the corresponding synergies in the cities,” says Steve Preißner, Managing Director of Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Zwickau GmbH.

Overview of the project partners of the new “Saxon Tram Platform” I © Leipziger Gruppe

“Thanks to the close cooperation with our partners, we are in the fortunate position of being able to procure a modern, economical and innovative vehicle that is not only state of the art, but also provides space for future technical innovations,” adds Sven Sellig, the managing director of Görlitzer Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH.

The joint procurement programme until probably 2030, including all options as well as the development costs and the spare parts package, has a total volume of around 600 million euros. The joint order of the first vehicles of all three Saxon transport companies thus generated a cost advantage of 27 million euros in total. This advantage is mainly due to one-off and development costs for a common vehicle platform.

The next steps: Next year, the specifications will be drawn up so that production can begin in 2023. Delivery and trial operation will then take place in 2024.

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