POTSDAM Transport (ViP) ordered a fleet of 48 modular Combino trams from Siemens Verkehrstechnik on December 12. They will be delivered in annual batches of four between 1998 and 2009.

The Potsdam version is 30·5m long and 2·3m wide, with 74 seats and room for 110 standees at 4/m2. Powered trucks are fitted at each end and a non-driving truck supports the centre module with pantograph (below). Empty weight will be 31 tonnes.

Siemens was bidding against Adtranz, which was offering a 70% low-floor Variobahn, and DWA Bautzen working with MGB and Kiepe Elektrik. The Siemens Combino bid and the offer from DWA were closest, and despite political pressure at the Brandenburg Land level to give preference to cars 'with a high local content', the ViP board decided to adhere strictly to European tendering criteria. The final price for the first 12 cars is reported to be DM2·9m each.

  • Berlin Transport will this year complete rebuilding of its 447 Tatra trams. The last Type T6A2 was handed over by Mittenwalder Gerätebau on December 18. o