Stadler Rail and Swiss rail company BLS presented the new BLS double-decker at the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin. It is due to start timetabled services in the Swiss capital as of December 2012. BLS has ordered 28 vehicles from Stadler. The double-decker was named “Ville de Neuchâtel” in Berlin.
BLS is procuring 28 double-decker multiple-unit KISS trains (KISS stands for the German for comfortable innovative speedy suburban train) worth a total of CHF 494 million. The second-largest train company in Switzerland will gradually be putting the new trains into service when the new Berne commuter railway system timetables come into effect in December 2012. The last units will be delivered by the end of 2014. In Berlin today, Claude Nicati, Councillor for the canton of Neuchâtel, named one of the BLS double-deckers “Ville de Neuchâtel”.
This vehicle purchase represents the biggest investment in rolling stock in BLS’s history. The trains are being built at the Stadler plant in Altenrhein near St. Gallen. After a series of successful test and trial runs, the first double-decker was handed over to BLS and it was rolled into the Berne region on 4 September 2012. This vehicle was named “Stadt Bern”. As part of its fleet strategy, BLS plans to invest another CHF 0.7 billion in new rolling stock by 2025.
More space, comfort and safety
With 335 seats (including 61 in 1st class) and standing room for 110 passengers, the double-deckers are not lacking in space and comfort. Bernard Guillelmon, CEO of BLS AG, is pleased to report: “This is a historic moment for the company and a groundbreaking step forward for the passengers. The new trains will allow us to increase peak-time seating capacity by around 30% on the Berne commuter railway system lines affected.” The new vehicles feature low-floor entry with sliding steps, air conditioning, underfloor and wall heating, modern audio and visual passenger information, video surveillance, two toilets (one accessible for wheelchairs), wheelchair spaces in both carriage classes, sockets in 1st class and waste bins in the seating area.
Milestone for BLS and Stadler
This order is a milestone for Stadler. Peter Spuhler, CEO and owner of Stadler Rail Group, is proud of the vehicle: “The development and enhancement of our KISS trains have once again proven how innovative and flexible we are. In just nine months, we have developed the vehicles to meet the most stringent fire-safety and crash-test standards. I am very pleased that BLS will now be using our trains in and around the capital.”