Add us to your taskbar by dragging this icon RGI logo to the bottom of your screen.

Share |

Nordhausen boosts the Combino family

01 Apr 2002

Andrew Grantham reports from Wegberg-Wildenrath

AMONG recent orders for Combino trams placed with Siemens is one for a batch of eight 1000mm gauge cars destined to run in the German town of Nordhausen. Three of these vehicles will be dual-mode, able to operate under overhead wires in the town centre and then continue on diesel power. When the last of the eight is delivered next year, Nordhausen plans to operate the hybrid units on through services to Ilfeld on the Harz Railways network.

Nordhausen already has two single-ended Combinos, which entered service last year. This second order takes the total number of Combino vehicles ordered from Siemens to over 500, and more than 100 of these are already in service (Table I).

The Combino design is based on three basic modules. The end car, centre car and running gear modules are produced from welded aluminium extrusions, and are available in a range of configurations. Trucks, drives based on a 100 kW traction motor and bodyshell components are standardised across the range (RG 8.96 p512). The appearance, interior and car-end design can be customised to suit the operator's requirements.

Combino is available to run on 1000mm or 1435mm gauge, with body widths between 2300mm and 2650mm for unidirectional or bi-directional operation. Paulussen Design of Düsseldorf developed the styling of the Combino with the aim of producing what Siemens describes as a 'simple and low-cost yet aesthetically-pleasing design'. Designer Werner Paulussen said that the aim was for the Combino to 'look like a tram, not a supersonic jet'.

Each of the current Combino orders includes design features specified by the customer. The vehicles for GVB of Amsterdam, the first of which began trials in the city in December, are intended to look 'welcoming and friendly'. They are also fitted with substantial rubber bumpers. In contrast, Melbourne wanted a 'dynamic, determined and up-to-date appearance' for its new trams.

The vehicles built for Rheinbahn of Düsseldorf have sloping sidewalls and particularly spacious cabs, making the best use of the space available within the loading gauge. They have small-wheeled bogies mounted under the cabs, to a design originally developed by Duewag. The Basel cars are able to traverse curves down to a radius of 11m.

The use of standardised components speeds production, and it currently takes around 30 days to assemble a Combino. Two to three vehicles are completed at the Krefeld factory each week, and Siemens expects this rate to increase. The company offers a complete spares and maintenance package for its trams throughout their service life, expected to be around 30 years.


  • CAPTION: Front ends are tailored to suit individual requirements. Lined up in this shot are Combinos for Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Hiroshima, Basel and the prototype
  • CAPTION: This year will see the first 20 m cars delivered for the M>Tram network in Melbourne
  • CAPTION: An Amsterdam car on test at Wegberg-Wildenrath; these unidirectional vehicles have a conductor's compartment

Table I: Combino orders to date

Operator First delivery No of cars directional # Length, mm Width, mm No of seats Standees at 4/m² Wheel arrangement Gauge, mm


1996 1 B 26380 2300 48 102 Bo-Bo-1 dual +

ViP, Potsdam

1998 16 U 30520 2300 69 107 Bo-2-Bo 1435

Hiroshima Electric Railway

1999 12 U 30520 2450 52 135 Bo-2-Bo 1435

VGA, Augsburg

2000 29 B 41960 2300 101 151 Bo-2-Bo-Bo 1000

BVB, Basel

2000 28 U 42860 2300 90 163 Bo-2-Bo-Bo 1000

Rheinbahn, Düsseldorf

2000 36 U 39980 2400 89 145 2'Bo-2-Bo 2' 1435

EVAG, Erfurt

2000 7 U 30520 2300 59 115 Bo-2-Bo 1000

FVAG, Freiburg

2000 17 B 41960 2300 82 171 Bo-2-Bo-Bo 1000

VSR, Nordhausen

2000 2 U 19080 2300 42 60 Bo-Bo 1000

GVB, Amsterdam

2001 151 U 29200 2400 60 106 Bo-2-Bo 1435

SVB, Bern

2002 15 U 30500 2300 65 113 Bo-2-Bo 1000

EVAG, Erfurt

2002 7 U 31480 2300 59 118 Bo-2-Bo 1000

EVAG, Erfurt

2002 12 U 20040 2300 36 67 Bo-2 1000

M>Tram, Melbourne

2002 38 B 20040 2650 36 88 Bo-Bo 1435

VSR, Nordhausen

2002 8~ U,B 20040 2300 42 62 Bo-Bo 1000

GVB, Amsterdam

2003 4 B 29200 2400 54* 115* Bo-2-Bo 1435

M>Tram, Melbourne

2003 21 B 29850 2650 64 131 Bo-2-Bo 1435

ViP, Potsdam

2003 32 U 31480 2300 69 109 Bo-2-Bo 1435

# B = bidirectional, U = unidirectional; + dual 1 000 / 1 435 mm gauge; * approximate figure; ~ includes three dual-mode cars