OVER 800 exhibitors crammed six halls of Berlin’s trade fair grounds on September 12-15 at InnoTrans. Outside, on 2 km of track laid between the halls and in sidings beyond, around 50 items of rolling stock, some of which had been kept under wraps for unveiling at the show, drew crowds of visitors. More than 700 guests attended the opening ceremony, where Mayor Eberhard Diepgen described InnoTrans as ’the leading trade event’ for the industry. Numerous specialist conferences were held in parallel, including the first East European and Asian Rail Summit, at which senior managers and transport ministers discussed common problems and debated how to improve their communications.

Star of the outdoor show was undoubtedly the LiReX lightweight experimental train (right of photo) developed by the German arm of Alstom and assembled by Fahrzeugtechnik Dessau. Hundreds of curious engineers and other visitors photographed every accessible detail of the six cars, inside and out. Less visible was the roof-mounted equipment, which included four MAN diesel-generator power packs, two energy storage flywheels, and air-conditioning modules.

Other multiple-units on show included an Adtranz dual-system Contessa for DSB (above left) and an Alstom Lint 41 diesel railcar for Connex subsidiary Nord-Ostsee-Bahn to work regional services in Schleswig-Holstein (left).

Much interest was generated by motive power for Germany’s independent operators, which included a Siemens Class 152 from the Dispolok pool and a Craiova-built six-axle electric for KEG.

Sleeping car offers quieter nights

Passenger rolling stock available for inspection included a prototype WLABmz sleeping car for DB Nachtzug. One of 42 being built by PFA of Weiden under a 40m euros contract for delivery from January 2001, it will enter service on routes such as Berlin - Paris and Dortmund - Milano.

The air-conditioned car has a new body on an underframe taken from a Bm234 inter-city coach. New SGP400 3SMG air-suspension bogies able to run at 200 km/h are being supplied by Siemens’ Austrian subsidiary, SGP. Each car offers 36 berths in 12 compartments, of which three are fitted with private shower and Semvac retention toilet; ultra-violet sterilisation ensures the water is of drinking quality.

Each compartment can be sold as a single, double or three-berth, and connecting doors can be used to form suites for families or small groups. A system for wake-up calls is fitted, and there is an intercom for passengers to call train staff. VingCard security systems are installed for passengers to lock their own compartments, and repeaters ensure good reception for mobile phones.

DB Nachtzug is also taking delivery of 10 service cars converted from InterRegio bistro vehicles.

SZ Desiro handed over

Just two years after Siemens unveiled its Desiro modular multiple-unit concept for regional operations at InnoTrans 1998, the first production unit was handed over to Slovenian Railways in Berlin on September 12. In a colourful ceremony featuring Slovenian dancers and a German brass band, Siemens representatives Dr Dietrich M