AUSTRIA: Stadler Pankow formally handed over the first of 45 Variobahn trams for Graz city transport operator GVB in December.

The 27·4 m long and 2 300 mm wide five-section car has a 'bright and friendly interior', with 47 seats plus space for 98 standees and two multi-purpose areas for wheelchairs and pushchairs. 'Every operator has his own ideas on how his future trams should look', said Stadler Pankow CEO Michael Daum. 'Amongst other things, our competence lies in the ability to implement these visual and functional needs.'

A particular emphasis has been placed on passengers with limited mobility; the floor height is 350 mm throughout, the handrails and doors have highly contrasting colours and a folding access ramp is available.

The €97m order for the 45 trams was placed in October 2007. Deliveries from the Stadler Pankow plant in Berlin will run to 2015, with the first 20 cars scheduled to enter service on routes 4 and 5 during 2010.