Stuttgart Stadler ZT4.2 rack tram (3)

GERMANY: The first of first of three light rail vehicles and bicycle carrying trailers for the 2·2 km metre-gauge Riggenbach rack line which climbs 200 m up a valley in Stuttgart has been delivered to operator Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen.

These are the fifth generation of cars for the line, nicknamed the ‘Zacke’, which dates from 1884, is fully integrated into the city transport network and is used by 2 500 to 3 000 passengers per day.

Stuttgart Stadler ZT4.2 rack tram (4)

The custom built Type ZT4.2 cars being supplied from Stadler’s Bussnang factory are a similar size to the current fleet dating from 1981, at 20·1 m long and 2 650 mm wide. They have 46 fixed and five folding seats and space for a total of 115 people with standees at 4/m2. There is multi-purpose area with space for one pram, and one wheelchair space at the downhill end.

The maximum speed will be 30 km/h uphill and 21 km/h downhill.

The new cars are partly low-floor and platforms will be modified to provide level boarding, although the line’s steep gradient means the eight stops cannot meet the requirements to be considered fully accessible.

The new bicycle wagons positioned at the uphill end of the trams are being supplied by Swiss firm Ferdinand Steck. They are 12 m long and provide double the capacity of the older wagons, with space for 20 bikes, including a cargo bike. The wagons are fitted with CCTV which can be viewed by the driver to improve visibility.

The total cost of three trams, the bicycle wagons and spare parts is €19m.

Entry into service is planned for 2022. Swiss technical standards for rack railways are being applied, and the Swiss Federal Office of Transport in Bern is supporting the approvals process.

Stuttgart Stadler ZT4.2 rack tram (2)

One of the previous trainsets dating from 1981 is now in the Stuttgart Tram Museum, and the other two are to be offered for sale.

‘The Zacke is one of Stuttgart’s landmarks’, said Thomas Moser, head of Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen. ‘But this landmark is not static and not just historical. It does not stay as it is, it changes so that it can continue to serve the population.’