A full-scale mock-up of the front two sections of the 43m Bombardier Flexity 2 tram design for VBZ was unveiled at Altstetten works on 24 April. The wooden mock-up will be used to consult with staff and passengers to finalise all aspects before delivery of the first two prototypes (4001/2) at the end of 2019 (in time for the Christmas lights according to VBZ director Guido Schoch).
Fleet delivery and passenger service with the single-ended cars will come in 2020, with the order completed in 2021. VBZ has ordered 70 of the seven-section trams for CHF358m (EUR300m), with an option for a further 70.
The exterior and interior design was developed by Bombardier and VBZ in collaboration with Milani Design & Consulting of Thalwil, using high-quality natural material, including Zürich’s traditional wooden seats. A striking external feature is LED lighting strips each side of the headlights as turn indicators and each side of the doors, which will pulse green at stops and red to indicate closing. Handrails are polished steel.
There are 91 seats and space for 187 standing and each tram will have two areas for wheelchairs or buggies. Seats will have USB charging points. Drivers will benefit from the assistance system developed by Bombardier to warn of track obstructions.
Delays during the evaluation and placing of the order (tenders were first invited in 2019) mean that the city’s Tram 2000 cars have had a three-year reprieve; withdrawal will now start in 2020. However the extension of line 2 from Farbhof to Schlieren in December 2019 will require two vehicles from the reserve fleet.