article

New pleasures of driving

Posted: 28 October 2009 | Martin Baltes, Managing Director, IVB | No comments yet

At the end of the year, the last of 32 tram vehicles will be arriving in Innsbruck. Four years have passed since the contract was awarded – and it has been a period of intense work for the Innsbruck transport services (IVB). But the hard work has paid off: Tyrol’s state capital and the Stubaital valley are now home to a modern, tailor-made and customer-friendly tram.

Innsbruck’s new tram offers many advantages but one is particularly close to the heart of the IVB: the new tram is accessible to all IVB customers. The 100% low-floor design and step-less interior throughout makes it much easier for older people or parents with pushchairs to use the tram and wheelchair users can now enter the tram without assistance for the first time. The IVB involved representatives of the disabled from the outset in order to adapt the design of the new trams to suit the requirements of those with a physical disability or hearing or sight impaired passengers.

At the end of the year, the last of 32 tram vehicles will be arriving in Innsbruck. Four years have passed since the contract was awarded - and it has been a period of intense work for the Innsbruck transport services (IVB). But the hard work has paid off: Tyrol's state capital and the Stubaital valley are now home to a modern, tailor-made and customer-friendly tram.Innsbruck's new tram offers many advantages but one is particularly close to the heart of the IVB: the new tram is accessible to all IVB customers. The 100% low-floor design and step-less interior throughout makes it much easier for older people or parents with pushchairs to use the tram and wheelchair users can now enter the tram without assistance for the first time. The IVB involved representatives of the disabled from the outset in order to adapt the design of the new trams to suit the requirements of those with a physical disability or hearing or sight impaired passengers.

At the end of the year, the last of 32 tram vehicles will be arriving in Innsbruck. Four years have passed since the contract was awarded – and it has been a period of intense work for the Innsbruck transport services (IVB). But the hard work has paid off: Tyrol’s state capital and the Stubaital valley are now home to a modern, tailor-made and customer-friendly tram.

Innsbruck’s new tram offers many advantages but one is particularly close to the heart of the IVB: the new tram is accessible to all IVB customers. The 100% low-floor design and step-less interior throughout makes it much easier for older people or parents with pushchairs to use the tram and wheelchair users can now enter the tram without assistance for the first time. The IVB involved representatives of the disabled from the outset in order to adapt the design of the new trams to suit the requirements of those with a physical disability or hearing or sight impaired passengers.

In addition to offering passengers a barrier-free entry and descent from the tram with plenty of space for pushchairs and wheelchairs, Innsbruck’s bordeaux red-coloured carriages are characterised by their quiet driving, air-conditioned interior and infotainment system. The introduction of the new tram marks a milestone in the history of public transport in Innsbruck, not least because of the high level of customer comfort.

Wide range of measures

Following completion of the first delivery load of 22 vehicles, the new trams with their Bombardier Flexity Outlook-type-carriages have been running on the three IVB tram lines and on the Stubaitalbahn, an 18km narrow gauge tram, since the start of Summer 2009. It took four years from the awarding of the contract in October 2005 until the completion of the first batch. During this time, the IVB worked closely with the manufacturer Bombardier/Elin to devise a tailor-made vehicle solution for Innsbruck as well as implementing a range of supporting measures:

Adaptation

As part of its comprehensive construction work, the IVB adapted the entire tram network to suit the significantly heavier and somewhat wider tram carriages. Numerous stops underwent renovation and were optimised to suit the low-floor vehicles. As part of the work on the platform area, a rail insulation system consisting of three components was fitted in parts to reduce vibration in the surrounding buildings and to make a significant contribution to protecting those living or working alongside the line from noise pollution. The IVB has also implemented a new points control system which operates independently of the traction current. The points are positioned based on the IBIS on-board computer and independently of whether the vehicle is accelerating or braking. Another advantage is the tram vehicles can receive information from the points. Malfunctions are therefore transmitted to a storage device and then uploaded and analysed in the depot.

Substations

Given that more electricity is required, two additional substations have been built and stronger transformers have been fitted to the power supplies of all the substations over the last few months. The advantage of the new vehicles is that the tram can feed energy back into the network so that energy released during braking is not lost.

The IVB workshop

A comprehensive range of measures was implemented at the tram depot of the IVB workshop. A key project was the construction of a 69m-long rooftop work stand which provides space for two tram carriages and meets the very highest safety and technical standards. As the two areas of the contact line system are connected separately, the vehicles can be driven in and out independently of one another – which is significant in terms of safety and the considerable simplification of work it brings. Adjustable barriers on the stand itself and electronically operated hatches on the staircases ensure the safety of the employees. The technology for the new tram carriages is integrated into the roof and can be maintained and repaired efficiently using the rooftop work stand. Another crucial function relates to the single rail hoist which runs along the entire length and can be used to lift and exchange electric containers.

A single bogie on the new tram weighs 5 tonnes. In order to maintain and repair the bogie (three per vehicle) and the axles, disc brakes, engines and gears they contain, a special crane has been purchased. The IVB workshop has also been equipped with a so-called under-floor rail wheel machining device; this enables wear to the wheels (e.g. after slamming on the brakes) to be evened out.

The sanding of the tram carriages has also been reorganised. When the brakes are applied, sand is automatically blown onto the rails to increase friction. The vehicles are filled up at a ‘sand filling station’. The sand is transferred from a truck to four intermediate depots using air pressure. From here, employees can pump it into the eight sand containers of the new tram.

Emergency vehicle

A special emergency vehicle has been purchased for use on the track. The 13 tonne lorry (Mercedes Atego), adapted by the Rosenbauer company, is fitted with all the required equipment and tools (5 tonne winch, extendable light towers with halogen emitters, emergency power unit, single rail tool etc). The properties of the new tram mean that the fire service can no longer lift the carriages itself to recover injured passengers. In the event of an emergency, the IVB would also be on hand immediately if a tram accident were ­to occur.

Personnel training

Another key measure relates to the training of personnel. The tram drivers were familiarised with the new vehicle and its features during two days of theory and one practical day. The lesson plan included a detailed explanation of the individual components and switch elements, an introduction to the diagnostics system which reports various things to the driver(s) and the general operation of the vehicle. Employees forming part of the pool of drivers were also included in the planning phase to create an optimal driver environment in the new trams. A project group consisting of drivers and representatives from the management board, operations management and works committee investigated the design, ergonomic seat design and operating elements over the months.

The new trams also brought about adjustments to the day-to-day work of the motor mechanics and electricians working at the IVB workshop. The employees affected were able to find out about the exact construction of the carriage bodies and electrical facilities from the manufacturer Bombadier before the internal and external panelling was added on-site.

Lengthy approval procedure

The process to approve the new tram was a long and intensive one. Over the months, the manufacturer Bombardier/Elin, IVB and the TÜV Süd (appointed by the Tyrol government as an unofficial expert) worked hand-in-hand to ensure the process was completed in the best way possible. The experts from TÜV Süd were included in the process from the beginning and checked the documented presented by Bombardier throughout for their accuracy. Thanks to this excellent collaboration, the approval processes which accompanied the production process could be completed relatively quickly.

The development of a modern tram is, of course, not just limited to one site. Work was carried out in parallel at various different workshops. The bogies were made in Wrozlav in Poland and were subsequently integrated into the trams at the Bombardier plant in Vienna. At the Bautzen plant (Germany), production of the chassis, roof and side framework was carried out. The new carriages come with seven carriage box parts consisting of two front modules, two connecting modules behind, two so-called sedans and a central module – each carriage box part was produced individually and the vehicle was then put together piece by piece. As there was no 1 metre track available at the Vienna Bombardier plant, numerous tests were initially carried out in Innsbruck. The key points to these comprehensive tests were: numerous test journeys, electronic tests, brake tests – partly with a full load (with 16 tonnes of sand), electro-magnetic tolerance tests (is interference coming from the inside and outside of the vehicle), by the TÜV Süd including with regard to employee protection.

In March 2008, the type approval and operating approval were granted by the authorities. The first of the 32 vehicles for regular transport and the additional vehicles could finally be built in accordance with the plans and authorised as part of a strict procedure. The 14-day cycle delivery proceeded without any problems and there were a few smaller adaptations to be made to the regular IVB operations (e.g. integration of additional tram stop facilities). The outstanding eight tram carriages will be delivered to IVB by the end of the year.

A high level of passenger comfort

Positive experiences of the new trams confirm that the long planning phase for the new trams has definitely paid for itself. Innsbruck’s tram vehicles are tailor-made to suit the requirements on-site. The particular features include additional LED line displays by the doors, the passenger area designed in accordance with the suggestions of the IVB, the driver area designed with the involvement of the driver staff as already described, four internal CCTV cameras and a modern and appealing bodywork design which makes a statement within the cityscape. Particular value has been placed on safety: the driver cabin will resist a buffer pressure of 40 tonnes and the steel structure of the chassis, which runs up as high side walls, offers passengers optimal protection against a side impact.

The infotainment system plays a big part ensuring the passengers enjoy a high level of comfort. It has been installed in all of the tram vehicles and has been very well received by IV customers. The four 15-inch monitors are mounted in pairs and provide all the relevant passenger information (line sequence, next stop, ‘tram stopping’ etc) as well as the latest news. The Austrian and world news is provided by the company Infoscreen, which has implemented similar systems in Graz, Linz and Vienna. Interesting reports on local events are provided thanks to a cooperative agreement with the ‘Tiroler Tageszeitung’ newspaper publication (the regional market leader).

What will the future bring?

In renewing the carriage stock, the state of Tyrol and city of Innsbruck, together with the IVB, have paved the way for a successful future of public transport in central Tyrol. Trams as an environmentally-friendly form of public transport will play a crucial role as part of the regional rail concept in Innsbruck. Detailed planning is underway to extend and expand an inner-city tram line. In future, large parts of tram line 3 will run on a roadbed which buses can also travel on. This will significantly reduce traffic jams. It is estimated that the extended eastern section of line 3 will begin operation in Autumn 2011. This expansion is the first step of the regional rail concept; other milestones will hopefully follow as part of a strong and high performance transport system in the greater Innsbruck area.

Related people

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend