A LIGHT RAIL testing circuit at Bombardier's Batuzen plant in Germany was formally inaugurated on February 1 by Thomas Jurk, Minister of Economic Affairs & Labour for the Land of Sachsen.

The 850 m circuit will be used for the testing and approval of new vehicles, supplementing a 800 m heavy rail track opened in 2006. It offers a range of gauges and supply voltages, and can accommodate vehicles up to 45 m long. The line includes a gradient and level crossing.

Construction took nine months, partly funded by the Land. Launching the first tram, a Flexity Classic due to be delivered to Dortmund shortly, Jurk said that 'knowledge gained on the test track is also a stimulus for new products.' Bombardier is the largest industrial employer in the region, with 1 000 staff at Bautzen, and the Land will 'continue to support Bombardier with our joint industry initiative Bahntechnik Sachsen and in future projects.'

Site manager Germar Wacker said the circuit enables Bombardier to offer a more streamlined acceptance and handover process. 'Type approval, endurance tests and simulated line operation are important stages on the route our products take to reach the customer. We are now able to carry out these tests directly in the plant'.