Berlin Alstom Urbanliner tram (Photo BVG) (8)

GERMANY: The first of the longest trams ever ordered for Berlin has been unveiled by operator BVG. The nine-section trams will be used to increase capacity on Route M4 from Hackescher Markt to Falkenberg and Zingster Strasse, which carries up to 18 trams/direction/h and around 100 000 passengers/day.

In December 2020 BVG signed a €571m framework agreement for Bombardier Transportation, now part of Alstom, to supply up to 117 trams from the Flexity family and provide spare parts for 32 years.

This included a €115m firm order for an initial three 30 m five-section and 17 extra-long 50 m nine-section trams to be delivered from the manufacturer’s Bautzen factory from this summer to 2026.

The shorter trams will be used on routes in the southeast of the city, while the longer ones will gradually replace pairs of GT6 trams on M4 from Q1 2025.

Branded Urbanliner by the operator, they are 50·89 m long and 2 400 mm wide. They have 92 seats and space for 220 standees, around 12 more passengers than a pair of GT6 trams.

The Bauhaus-inspired styling includes large windows and cabs designed to provide the driver with good all-round visibility.

Berlin Alstom Urbanliner tram (Photo BVG) (9)

BVG said they are its first trams without exterior mirrors, with CCTV being used to improve the rear view and eliminate blind spots. A driver assistance system warns of obstacles ahead.

The doors have warning sounds and green and red LED strips to clearly indicate when passengers can board, and the interior lighting changes between cold and warm white depending on the time of day and year.

Accessibility features include space for passengers with wheelchairs or pushchairs, and seats with a height of 510 mm for people with limited mobility and lower seats at 400 mm for smaller people. There are grab bars with a ‘golf ball structure’ on the doors to improve orientation for visually impaired people when getting on and off, and gap bridging for barrier-free entry.

An advertisement for leaving your car at home

Berlin Alstom Urbanliner tram (Photo BVG) (1)

‘We want a transport turnaround in Berlin – with attractive local public transport and technically up-to-date offers for all Berliners’, said Governing Mayor Kai Wegner when the long tram was unveiled at Lichtenberg depot on July 3. ‘That’s why we need a good network so that people can get to the outskirts of the city quickly and comfortably.’

Ute Bonde, Berlin Senator for Mobility, Transport, Climate Action & the Environment, said ’attractive buses and trains that run at a tight and reliable frequency are the best advertisement for leaving your own car at home and using public transport.

‘Berliners love and value their trams and, as experience shows, improvements to the service can always attract new passengers.’