BASLER Verkehrsbetriebe has ordered 28 low-floor centre sections from Schindler Waggon AG at a cost of SFr16·4m, to enlarge its Be4/6 articulated trams delivered in 1990-91. This will increase their capacity by 30%, with 14 extra seats and space for wheelchairs or prams. The first car is due to be modified by December for testing, with the rest following between mid-1998 and May 1999.

The 8700mm long centre sections will incorporate technology from Schindler’s innovative Cobra LRV design. The bodyshells will be fabricated from fibre-composite materials, and will be carried on two Fiat-SIG independent wheelsets. They will have a 370mm floor height and doorways at 320mm above rail.

In the early 1980s, Schindler added low-floor centre sections to 41 similar cars operated by Baselland Transport. These were steel bodied, and carried on an extra articulation bogie, making the cars eight-axled. The BVB centre sections will be 2·5m longer, but 700 kg lighter because of the composite construction. Use of two steerable wheelsets under the centre section means it can replace the existing articulation bogie, keeping the axle count on the lengthened cars at six. o