2024/04/03

3619 is now called 'Heslach' - Sixtieth Stadler light rail vehicle for Stuttgart

It's an old custom: once upon a time, locomotives also had names. At Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB), this custom was revived over 40 years ago: since then, 40 of the more than 200 yellow light rail vehicles have gradually been named after districts of the state capital Stuttgart or after the towns served by SSB in the surrounding area. In the meantime, however, some of the vehicles have been in service for so long that the first ones are already being retired. This was also the case with the vehicle named Heslach, which has not been running since 2023. In fact, it was the first SSB vehicle to be given a "christened name" in 1982. Now it was time to find a replacement.

Jure Mikolčić, the division manager of Stadler in Germany, therefore had a special task: on 3 April, he unveiled the city coat of arms on the brand new 3619 light rail vehicle at the SSB's Heslach depot, revealed the christening name Heslach - and sprinkled the beautiful vehicle with water from the Heidenklingenbach stream, which babbles right next to the depot. He was joined by Thomas Moser, spokesman of the SSB board, and district councillor Reinhard Otter.

Mikolčić had two reasons to be happy: in addition to SSB's connection with the people of Stuttgart, he was able to honour the sixtieth light rail vehicle that Stadler has built for Stuttgart since 2012, in three tranches of twenty units each, with train 3619. Delivery of the third series was completed in November 2023 with carriage 3619. All light rail vehicles were manufactured at Stadler's Berlin-Pankow plant. Stadler Rail has already delivered a total of 63 vehicles for SSB, namely the three railcars for SSB's inner-city rack railway that were delivered in 2021/22. Jure Mikolčić reminded the audience what the light rail vehicles constantly have to achieve on the steep SSB network: Around 100,000 kilometres per year, and on gradients of up to 85 per mille.

"Since the start of our collaboration with SSB in 2010, we have jointly set milestones for mobility in Stuttgart and created a fleet of modern light rail vehicles," said Jure Mikolčić. "With the light rail vehicle 3619, named 'Heslach', we are not only celebrating the successful delivery of 60 vehicles, but also looking back on a decade of innovation. We are also looking forward to realising the new S-DT 8.16 vehicle generation together."

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