Stadler Rail has unveiled its first double-decker multiple-unit train in Erlen, Switzerland, ordered by Bern-Lötschberg-Simplon (BLS) railway.
BLS placed its CHF494m ($542m) first order for 28 double-deck trains in March 2010 with the aim to provide up to 30% more seating capacity on Berne commuter railway system lines.
The trains are being built at Stadler Rail’s Altenrhein facility, and scheduled for delivery by the end of 2014.
Stadler Rail owner and CEO Peter Spuhler said, "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."
The first train will undergo testing in eastern Switzerland before being handed over to BLS for in-service trials in the Berne area from September, while it is scheduled to enter services on the S31 route in December this year.
Upon delivery by the end of 2014, the train fleet is expected to enter regular service on Berne commuter railway system routes S1, S3, S31 and S6.
Each train has 335 seats, of which 61 are in first class, and is capable of accommodating a further 110 standing passengers.
The trains feature low-floor entrances with sliding steps, air-conditioning, CCTV, and electricity sockets in first class, and there are spaces for wheelchairs in both first and second class, and a wheelchair-accessible toilet.
As part of a long-term strategy to standardise its fleet on fewer types of train, BLS is planning further investments of CHF1.2bn ($1.3bn) by 2025.
BLS operates the commuter railway systems in Berne and Lucerne West, as well as several regional services in a total of seven cantons.
The company also acts as a transport firm and operates Autoverlad Lötschberg (car transport), Schifffahrt Berner Oberland (boat trips) and buses in the Emmental region.
Image: Each four-car train has 335 seats including 61 first class, and can accommodate a further 110 standing passengers. Photo: Stadlerrail