Plans by five German Verband Deutscher Verkehrsbetriebe (VDV) members for a common tram-train design (see TAUT 968 and 977) could also be adopted by Austrian authorities.
Land Oberösterreich is overseeing proposals to convert the Linz – Gallneukirchen – Pregarten and Linz – Kleinzell lines to tram-train operation (with access to the city’s main railway station via a new Donau bridge, and potential connection to the Linzer Lokalbahn). Its rail infrastructure organisation Schiene OÖ, founded in 2013, is to take the project forward. Contact has been made with VDV to see whether the joint tram-train project would also be suitable for Austrian schemes.
Developed in order to reduce both purchase and operational costs, the VDV procurement alliance is being led by VBK/AVG in Karlsruhe and by the end of June a tender for 244 cars was being firmed up on behalf of a number of authorities, with options for another 152. It is hoped to start the formal process in September and place an order in early summer 2020. Four prototype cars would be delivered in autumn 2022, with the first passenger trials beginning in 2024 and fleet deliveries from 2025. A service life of 32 years is planned.
The project group has defined a ‘standard’ vehicle, though each of the partners will be able to set their own parameters for the design whilst staying within the overall framework, particularly in respect of the bodyshell. The standard will be a double-ended car with eight axles and two bogies under the centre section (no doors). However the likely variations – showing the standard Saarbahn vehicles and deviations to this model – are:
• Saarbahn (15+28), 37m dual-voltage, double-ended, all-axle drive, 100km/h, 380mm entrance height, toilet and air-conditioning in centre section
• Saarbahn (13), dc only, BOStrab only
• Chemnitz (23)/AVG (89+100)/Neckar-Alb (30+10), full air-conditioning, 560mm entrance height
• Karlsruhe (93+2), dc only, BOStrab only, single-ended, doors in centre section, 380mm entrance height
• Linz (20+50), 560mm entrance height.
There is a possibility that Kassel (RBK) will also join the group, further boosting order numbers.