Helsinki Variotram (Photo: Vladimir Waldin)

POLAND: Two of the 40 Variotrams which have been withdrawn from service in Helsinki are to be tested in Łódź this summer, with the city’s transport operator potentially looking to acquire further vehicles if the trials prove successful.

MPK Łódź will be able to use the two trams free of charge for eight months, paying only the cost of transport. The test period has been selected to cover both summer and winter conditions.

The 40 metre-gauge trams were delivered to Helsinki by Adtranz and Bombardier Transportation in 1998-2003, but suffered from problems with track profiles and operating conditions on the Finnish capital’s network. Modifications were undertaken in 2006-07 and Bombardier took over the responsibility for maintenance. However, it provided impractical to make the vehicles fully compatible.

In 2017 two of the trams were sent for testing in Mannheim, Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen. Helsinki transport operator HKL and Bombardier then agreed to co-operate to try to find the fleet a new home, and in early 2021 HKL signed a contract to sell the fleet to an undisclosed customer.