FEBRUARY 10 is due to see the start of revenue operation with a metre-gauge Combino articulated LRV on Basel tram Line 8. Basler Verkehrsbetriebe took delivery of the first car on December 21, with a small ceremony attended by Basel city President Ralph Lewin and BVB Director Urs Hanselmann.

BVB is buying 28 of the 43m long cars from Siemens at a cost of SFr98m. The seven-section cars, with a floor level just 300mm above rail, will each accommodate 90 seated and 163 standing passengers. A further SFr7m has been needed for infrastructure modifications to accommodate the 2300mm wide cars.

BVB expects to take delivery of two cars per month from March. As well as Line 8, the air-conditioned Combinos will also run on Line 6. Existing trams with low-floor centre sections will be redeployed to ensure low-floor access on all routes by mid-2002.