GERMANY: The board of Berlin urban transport operator BVG approved plans to order two prototype metro trains and exercise an option for a further 39 trams at its meeting on June 22.

The Land of Berlin is to provide €158m to fund an order for new U-Bahn trains to replace the A3L71 stock from late 2017, by which time the current vehicles will be 45 years old. As the first stage of the procurement, tenders are to be called for two pre-series sets to be delivered in 2015 for extensive testing.

The four-car trainsets are required to have wide gangways, level boarding, wheelchair spaces, air suspension, CCTV and modern passenger information. Regenerative braking is expected to reduce power consumption by 20%. It is thought that it will be possible to make the trains 100 mm wider than current cars, increasing passenger space.

The BVG board also agreed to take up an option for Bombardier Transportation to supply a further 39 Flexity Berlin trams to replace Tatra cars by 2017. This is the first option to be exercised on BVG's 2010 contract for an initial 99 trams. They will be bidirectional cars, with the long-term aim of eliminating the need for turning loops.