LD double-decker running a more stable service.

The new long-distance double-deck trains are operating with greater stability than in late 2018 thanks to a host of improvements. Assuming this positive trend continues, SBB plans to put more Bombardier trains into operation over the next few weeks. Further ongoing measures are being implemented to increase operational stability and travelling comfort. Acting on instructions from the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT), SBB has had the gradient of the boarding ramps measured by independent experts.

Since December 2018, around 4,500 journeys have been made and more than 700,000 kilometres covered by the LD double-decker. Since then, manufacturer Bombardier has been working with a team of its own suppliers to implement a series of measures to enhance the trains’ operational stability. This has involved updating the door software, carrying out maintenance work on doors and remedying any defects. Operational stability is well on the rise with no train cancellations recorded in the last few days. Bombardier will further optimise the vehicle software over the coming months.

Progress has also been made in terms of how smoothly the train runs. On a test train, the wheel profile has been changed and the software used to control the passive tilt mechanism has been modified for lower speeds. Independent measurements have revealed a tangible improvement. The initial measures to improve smooth running are set to be implemented on the remaining vehicles by the time the timetable changes in December 2019.

SBB planning to introduce more vehicles.

SBB intends to gradually use more vehicles on the InterRegio (IR) 13/37 lines between Chur, St. Gallen, Zurich and Basel and expects the LD double-decker to be running on the InterCity (IC) 3 line between Basel, Zurich and Chur as of December 2019. By this point, the locomotive crew and passenger attendants in this region will have had plenty of operational experience and will thus be able to contribute to ensuring high operational stability.

The LD double-decker will then be deployed on the IC 1 route between St. Gallen and Geneva Airport when enough fully operational vehicles are available.

Implementing the condition set by the Federal Administrative Court.

With its ruling of 20 November 2018, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (FAC) confirmed that the new train complies with the relevant standards and the provisions of legislation on equality for people with disabilities. The FAC is requiring SBB to provide evidence that each vehicle has one entrance and exit each per coach with a wheelchair section and per dining car with a maximum gradient of 15%.

Acting on instructions from the FOT, SBB has had the gradient of the boarding ramps of three trains (IC200, IR200, IR100) measured by independent experts. The gradients of the boarding ramps measured 14.8% on average across all three trains. 69 out of 76 ramps were correct. Seven ramps were slightly too steep, which, according to Bombardier, can be attributed to manufacturing tolerances. In the case of two marked wheelchair entrances, the deviations were 0.1 and 0.3%, which, given a ramp length of 785 mm, means a difference of 0.8 mm and 2.4 mm respectively. All ramps on the trains already manufactured have been checked and adjusted where necessary. Bombardier will also ensure that the standards are complied with when future vehicles are manufactured. The measurement results have now been made available to the FOT.

Inclusion Handicap has challenged the FAC’s ruling before the Federal Supreme Court, and the legal proceedings are still ongoing. However, this referral to the high court will not impact on the use of the new trains.

Accessibility at SBB.

SBB takes the issues of accessibility and equality for people with disabilities very seriously. That is why it aims for people with reduced mobility – e.g. passengers in a wheelchair, the elderly, passengers with prams or large items of luggage – to be able to use trains in the most unobstructed way possible. SBB is investing substantial sums in ensuring the accessibility of its trains and in its infrastructure. Passengers in wheelchairs, people who have difficulty walking, the visually disabled as well as people with learning disabilities are assisted free of charge in boarding and alighting trains. In 2018 alone, SBB organised around 150,000 cases of assistance at a cost of 10 million Swiss francs. A total of 78 employees were deployed across Switzerland for this purpose. At present, 78% of all possible services can be accessed by wheelchair users and 61% of passengers can board or alight trains at SBB stations thanks to higher platforms, ramps and lifts. SBB also operates the SBB Call Center Handicap, helping customers with reduced mobility to plan and embark on their train journeys.

LD double-decker: a call for tenders under public procurement law.

On 29 April 2009, SBB invited tenders for a train tailored to the needs of passengers, Switzerland’s infrastructure and the timetable concept. It wanted the modern and comfortable trains to offer more seating and an enhanced service.

The decision was preceded by a public tendering procedure in accordance with the Swiss Federal Act on Public Procurement (PPA/PPO). Bombardier explicitly confirmed that it had the relevant expertise and resources to render the services under the contract in good time and offered extensive contractual safeguards. The straitjacket of public procurement law left no room for manoeuvre when it came to evaluating the bids – Bombardier clearly fulfilled the criteria most convincingly.

The new long-distance double-deck train has up to 1,300 seats to provide more capacity. It has 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 pressure in the ears when travelling through tunnels or passing other trains travelling at high speed.

Media relations SBB
051 220 41 11
press@sbb.chLink opens in new window.

Media relations Bombardier
079 476 51 15
ext.andreas.bonifazi@rail.bombardier.comLink opens in new window.

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