Bombardier FLEXITY 2 trams for Blackpool enter service
Posted: 3 April 2012 | Bombardier | 1 comment
Residents in Blackpool have had the opportunity to enjoy their first ride on the very latest tram technology…
Blackpool tramway's new Bombardier Flexity 2 lowfloor articulated tram
Today, residents and Easter holiday visitors in Blackpool had the opportunity to enjoy their first ride on the very latest tram technology by the world’s rail technology leader Bombardier – the BOMBARDIER FLEXITY 2 trams. The opening ceremony to celebrate the event was hosted by Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Transport. The project to upgrade the tram system has been cofunded by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Blackpool and Lancashire County Councils. Blackpool will operate 16 new, ultra-modern FLEXITY 2 vehicles on the Blackpool and Fleetwood tramway alongside the popular heritage fleet.
In 2010 Blackpool celebrated its 125th year of operation, as the longest operating tram system in the UK. The popular tourist destination’s trams transport 4 million passengers each year, with the majority travelling during the busy summer period. Although the heritage trams operating in Blackpool remain a popular tourist attraction, Blackpool and Lancashire County Council began an extensive programme to identify a supplier for a new fleet of vehicles to enable ease of access and comfort for all passengers.
“Trams are good for passengers, good for the local economy and good for the local environment – and the travelling public enjoy using them,” Norman Baker said. “Blackpool’s trams are absolutely on the right track.”
Paul Grocott, Programme Manager, Tramway Upgrade, Blackpool Council said: “Today, which sees our tram system reborn after 125 years, has been keenly anticipated by all in Blackpool. We travelled to every part of Europe to find the best solution available to modernize our tram system. The Bombardier FLEXITY 2 trams bring the world’s latest and best technology to our town and we appreciate Bombardier’s professional support throughout the delivery of this project. Five years ago, we committed to providing this new service and modern vehicles to our passengers and today we are immensely proud to deliver on our promise.”
Germar Wacker, President Light Rail Vehicles, Bombardier Transportation said: “This marks the dawn of an exciting new era in urban transportation. Bombardier’s FLEXITY 2 trams combine ‘the best of the best’ – market-leading experience, proven parts and visionary engineering. These groundbreaking vehicles will ensure that all passengers in Blackpool can enjoy the best possible standards in comfort and safety.”
Trams and light rail vehicles are the most energy efficient mode of transport, consuming up to five times less energy per passenger than cars. The FLEXITY 2 trams reflect Bombardier’s commitment to sustainability in public transport and the twin benefits of saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions, for example through the integration of the energy efficient BOMBARDIER MITRAC propulsion system that helps reduce operating cost. Other features include the intelligent drive manager, innovative lighting concepts and optimized heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
The FLEXITY 2 tram is based on Bombardier’s highly successful FLEXITY family of light rail vehicles and combines proven technology with continuous improvement and innovation. As well as having 100% low floor technology for optimal ride comfort, the FLEXITY 2 tram includes some new advanced features, such as touch-screens in the driver’s cab, reflecting the latest developments in intelligent digital technology.
To date, more than 3,500 trams and light rail vehicles from Bombardier have been ordered or delivered in around 100 cities in more than 20 countries. Blackpool is the latest location in the UK to operate Bombardier’s light rail solutions in addition to Croydon and Docklands in London, Nottingham and Manchester.
The FLEXITY 2 vehicles have been eagerly anticipated by the general public in Blackpool and public interest was high today, though this does not signal the end for the heritage trams, which will continue to run alternate services with the new vehicles. Passengers will be able to choose which vehicle they want to use, old or new, with five minute intervals between each service.
Following Bombardier’s success in Blackpool, the Queensland Government in Australia followed suit by ordering 14 new FLEXITY 2 trams for its Gold Coast Rapid Transit system. As part of the GoldlinQ consortium, Bombardier will also design, build, finance, operate and maintain the system. In January of this year, the Swiss city of Basel became the latest customer to opt for the world-leading FLEXITY 2 trams.