In the early hours of November 1st, 2023, Bern witnessed a significant leap in its public transport system as the first Tramlink vehicle glided through the city streets. This event marked the beginning of a new chapter for Bernmobil, the city’s transport operator, as it rolled out the first of 27 state-of-the-art Tramlinks into regular service.
The Tramlink, a product of Stadler Rail, is set to replace the aging fleet of Vevey Be 4/8 and Regionalverkehr Bern-Solothurn (RBS) vehicles on Line 6. This transition is not merely a replacement but a strategic move to accommodate the growing mobility demands of the city and its surrounding regions. By the end of 2025, the 12 Vevey and 9 RBS trams will have been phased out, with the Tramlink also catering to the extended Line 9 to Kleinwabern.
The deployment of these new vehicles aligns with the canton’s mobility strategy, aiming to shift the traffic volume towards public transport. The Tramlink stands out for its high transport capacity and eco-friendliness, making it an ideal fit for the urban environment.
Technical Sophistication and Environmental Consciousness
The Tramlink boasts a length of 42.5 meters, with seating capacities of 56 in the bi-directional and 71 in the unidirectional vehicles. Its fully low-floor interior ensures optimal passenger flow and maximizes standing space. The design includes spacious multifunctional areas, accommodating wheelchairs, strollers, and luggage with ease. Each door is equipped with a sliding step to bridge the gap at stops, ensuring accessibility for all.
Energy efficiency and safety are at the core of the Tramlink’s design. It features innovative bogies with continuous axles, providing a smooth ride and enhanced comfort. The tram is also equipped with an environmentally friendly air conditioning system and a brake assistance system for collision prevention.
Christian König, Deputy Head of Marketing & Sales at Stadler, highlighted the success of the Tramlink model, stating, “With more than 300 sold in 15 cities, our trams set the standard in terms of performance, reliability, safety, accessibility, comfort, and cutting-edge technology.”
Innovative Training with Simulation Technology
Bernmobil has embraced advanced training methods with the introduction of a tram simulator by LANDER Simulation & Training Solutions. This simulator, featuring a Tramlink control panel, allows drivers to experience and train for unusual scenarios on a digital visualization of Bernmobil’s network.
Community Engagement and Future Prospects
The public had a chance to engage with the new Tramlink during an open house event on October 28, 2023, at the expanded Bolligenstrasse tram depot. Bernmobil and Stadler Rail officially inaugurated the new Tramlink with shuttle services between Wankdorf Bahnhof – Guisanplatz Expo and the tram depot, featuring both the new Tramlink and a historic tram from BERNMOBIL historique.
As eight Tramlinks are scheduled to enter regular service by the end of the year, primarily on Line 7, and with the bi-directional vehicles set to commence on Line 6 by mid-2024, Bernmobil is on track to modernize its fleet and enhance the public transport experience in Bern.