The presentation of the first BLS double-decker multiple-unit train in Erlen, canton of Thurgau, is a historic moment for BLS. BLS’s first-time procurement of double-deckers will provide up to 30% more seating capacity on the Berne commuter railway system lines they are used on. The 28 compositions ordered will be produced by Stadler Rail in Altenrhein and delivered by the end of 2014. The first trains are due to start timetabled services in late 2012.
In Erlen, canton of Thurgau, Peter Spuhler (owner and CEO of Stadler Rail) and Bernard Guillelmon (CEO of BLS) unveiled the first BLS double-decker train in history. 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 in late 2014.
The first KISS was built in just nine months in the Alternrhein plant. After extensive tests and trial runs in Eastern Switzerland, the handover of the first double-decker to BLS and the roll-out in the Berne area is scheduled for September 2012.
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 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.
Double-deckers to operate on S1, S3, S31 and S6 routes
As of this summer, BLS will start operating the vehicles to introduce them to the network and for staff training purposes. Service trials with passengers are scheduled to start in September 2012. These will be carried out exclusively on the S31 route for all 28 trains. In December 2012, the trains will gradually be introduced on timetabled services. By the end of 2014, they will be brought in on a gradual basis on Berne commuter railway system routes S1 (Fribourg–Berne–Münsingen–Thun), S3 (Biel/Bienne–Berne–Belp), S31 (Münchenbuchsee–Berne–Belp) and S6 (Schwarzenburg–Berne). By that time, all the platforms must be extended to ensure the trains can operate effortlessly in double-traction mode.
Milestone for BLS and Stadler
This order is a milestone for Stadler. Peter Spuhler is proud of this 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 required for transit through the Lötschberg Base Tunnel. I am very pleased that BLS will now be using our trains in and around the capital.”
The acquisition of the 28 low-floored double-decker multiple-unit trains is the biggest single investment in rolling stock in the history of BLS. In line with its long-term fleet strategy, BLS is planning further investments totalling around CHF 1.2 billion by 2025, providing that planned extensions to its infrastructure and services can be completed by then.