2024/01/11

Step into the future, please!

Big turnout for the official handover of the first vehicle of the next generation of underground trains - tests will begin in January

Built in Berlin. Built for Berlin. As of today, 11 January 2024, the next generation of the yellow underground trains for Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is finally visible, audible and tangible. The official handover of the first test vehicle from manufacturer Stadler to BVG took place at the Olympia-Stadion underground station. Numerous guests from politics, the public transport industry and the media attended the presentation of the first train with the internal BVG series designation “JK”. They were able to take a close look at the brand new vehciles inside and out and, above all, experience the new feeling of space.

"Today is a good day for BVG and a good day for Berlin," said Governing Mayor Kai Wegner. "These new and modern trains will shape the image of the underground for decades to come - and thus also contribute to the mobility transition in Berlin. Our aim is that even more people switch to BVG and local public transport."

Passengers will be the main beneficiaries of the latest addition to the Berlin underground family. Thanks to newly designed door areas and extremely flat passenger information systems on the side walls, the vehicle appears much more spacious than its predecessor. Passengers can look forward to other innovations including light colour controlled by the time of day and the position of the sun, which ensures a pleasant ambience at all times, and the "BVG Wi-Fi", which in future will provide good Internet connections not only in the stations but also on the trains. Outwardly inclined handrails also provide plenty of space in the passageways, for example for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs.

"The mobility transition not only requires good infrastructure, it also requires modern vehicles," said Manja Schreiner, Senator for Urban Mobility, Transport, Climate Action and the Environment. "If we want to convince more and more people of the benefits of environmentally friendly mobility with buses and trains, then we also need to offer them attractive options."

"I am delighted that my return to BVG starts with this great news," said Henrik Falk, who took over as CEO of BVG at the turn of the year. "It's especially good news for our passengers, who can look forward to many improvements."

"Over the past 3.5 years, we have worked closely with Stadler in a difficult environment. I am therefore all the more pleased that we can now present the first underground vehicle," said Dr Rolf Erfurt, BVG Board Member for Operations. Before the doors open for all passengers, however, the vehicles still have to complete a tight programme, as Rolf Erfurt emphasised. "Over the next few months, our experts will be putting the trains through their paces. The quality should and must be right before the first passengers board."

The workshop specialists are currently familiarising themselves with the new vehicles. At the same time, the training of the drivers required for the test and acceptance runs has already begun. Then it's onto the tracks - first on the premises of the Grunewald workshop, then on the entire small-profile network (lines U1 to U4). Once all the tests have been successfully completed, a phase of around twelve weeks with test runs in passenger service is planned - probably from late summer 2024. Then it will be time for all interested parties to "board the future, please". Immediately afterwards, the plan is to start series delivery.

"Handing over a new underground train is always a great moment," said Jure Mikolčić, CEO of Stadler Germany. "All the more so when it's a tailor-made product - like the trains for BVG. 4600 individual components have to fit together and work perfectly with each other as well as with the existing infrastructure. We are working with our fullest commitment to get the new fleet on the tracks."

High quality standards are important for passengers, manufacturer and BVG alike. After all, the new J and JK series trains will indeed shape the image of the Berlin underground for decades to come. This is the largest procurement order in the history of BVG. According to the framework agreement with Stadler, a total of up to approx. 1,500 vehicles can be delivered by 2035. With a total volume of up to 3 billion euros, the contract also stipulates the supply of spare parts for 32 years. The current delivery order comprises 236 carriages of the large-profile J series and 140 carriages of the small-profile JK series.

The agreement initially covers the delivery of the test vehicles, which has now begun (24 vehicles in total, 12 each for small and large profiles). Possible findings from the tests can still be incorporated into the series production on an ongoing basis.

As is well known, there were unfortunately delays in delivery. This was due to supply chain problems on the global markets.

For more information on the new underground trains for Berlin, please also visit the dedicated website from BVG.

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