«We want this train to be a success»
Press release, 11.02.2019
SBB CEO Andreas Meyer and Laurent Troger of Bombardier Transportation today jointly answered questions asked by the Transport Committee of the National Council about the launch of the new long-distance double-deck trains. Both companies are working together under high pressure to resolve technical problems and improve reliability. SBB and Bombardier are doing everything in their power get the trains running on the east-west axis as soon as possible.
SBB and Bombardier regret the current situation and apologise to passengers for the fact that the stability of the trains does not yet live up to expectations. The current situation is not only difficult for passengers but also for the staff and project teams.
Meyer and Troger emphasise that their primary objective is to successfully and cooperatively overcome the challenges associated with the launch phase of the new train type as soon as possible: “We want the long-distance double-deck train to be a success. It will still be a while before the train can satisfy all aspects of Switzerland’s high customer standards. We are doing everything in our power to make this happen as soon as possible. Regarding commercial matters, there are still some issues that we will clarify later.”
Trains to be deployed as soon as possible
SBB is currently in possession of twelve vehicles: four Intercity 200 out of a total of 23 of this type, five InterRegio 200 out of a total of 30 and three InterRegio 100 out of a total of nine. They operate as InterRegio services on the Zurich–Chur route via St. Gallen and the Zurich–Basel route (IR 13/37). As soon as the trains show the requisite stability in scheduled deployment and disruptions are reduced to an operationally acceptable level, SBB will accept delivery of more trains. Meyer and Troger emphasise that they are doing everything in their power to ensure that the train can also be used on the IC 1 line between Geneva airport and St. Gallen as soon as possible.
Measures to be improve stability
The launch and bringing in service of an entirely new train type is always challenging; SBB has had similar restrictions when launching other rolling stock in the past. This project has been made more complicated still by the long delay in the completion of the trains for various reasons. The time frame for test runs and placing in service was therefore limited.
Thanks to intensive monitoring of scheduled operations by SBB and Bombardier, the most common defect sources have been identified. Faults relating to the doors, software/control technology, traction/motors and air compressor performance are at the roots of more than three quarters of all train disruptions and malfunctions.
As an immediate measure, Bombardier technicians and—in some cases—experienced SBB conductors have been present on trains since mid-December 2018 to improve availability. The number of passenger attendants has been increased due to door faults.
Experts from SBB and Bombardier are involved in daily discussions to analyse how the trains are functioning in operation. At the end of January 2019, new door-control software was installed. In addition, SBB and Bombardier have decided to carry out special maintenance by mid-March 2019 and to further optimise the vehicle software by April/May 2019. In this way, the reliability of the trains will be steadily increased. At the same time, Bombardier is taking measures to improve travel comfort.
No suspensory effect due to complaints
The appeal lodged in January by Inclusion Handicap against the ruling by the Swiss Federal Administrative Court has no suspensory effect. The trains can continue to be used within the scope of their permits.
As is standard for these types of procurement, SBB and Bombardier have agreed on penalties for delayed deliveries. The contracting parties have agreed that to keep the sums of the contractual penalties confidential, as is the norm for all public procurements. To date, SBB has paid around a third of the total costs with bank guarantees.
Long-distance double-deck train: more room, more light, more comfort
The new long-distance double-deck trains provide more capacity with up to 1,300 seats per train. They have a bright and spacious interior, power sockets at every seat in 1st and 2nd class, wheelchair-accessible compartments and toilets, WCs with baby-changing facilities, and designated spaces for prams and bikes spread throughout the train. The pressure-resistant coaches reduce ear pressure when travelling through tunnels or passing other trains at high speed.
Media Relations SBB
051 220 41 11
Media Relations Bombardier
079 476 51 15