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RNV tenders for 92 new Mannheim trams destined to be ‘world’s longest’

RHB 1042, delivered in 1994, carries a livery marking the centenary of the interurban service linking Mannheim and Bad Dürkheim. (Image credit: C. Henseler)

Rhein-Neckar Verkehr, which operates the tramway serving Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen in Germany, has invited tenders for 92 new trams – 80 30m cars and 12 60m cars, with an option for a further 46. The metre-gauge network is seeking to replace its Duewag vehicles dating from 1994-95, plus some surviving older cars used in Heidelberg and on the former OEG interurban.

The tender specifies 2.4m-wide double-ended cars with a working life of 36 years, mounted on bogies capable of swivelling up to 12° and with a maximum floor height in the passenger areas of 300mm. The 60m cars should be capable of separation into two 30m sections in the workshops. If ordered, the 60m cars will be the world’s longest trams indivisible in passenger service, and will probably be used to replace coupled sets used on the ex-OEG circular service Mannheim – Heidelberg – Mannheim, and perhaps on the Rhein – Haardt-Bahn interurban to Bad Dürkheim.

Delivery is required by 2028 and a full-size mock up is to be delivered by the end of 2017 to permit detailed design elements to be tested. Mannheim has a history of long trams that started with the delivery of 12-axle Duewag cars for the RHB in 1965.