Swiss railway operator SBB has awarded a contract for 60 additional InterRegio (IR) double-deck trains to rolling stock manufacturer Stadler for $1.42bn (Sfr1.3bn).

The new order is part of SBB’s strategy to expand its regional services and meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) on its long-distance services.

The act requires barrier-free boarding for passengers with reduced mobility by the end of 2023.

SBB will use 41 of these rolling stock vehicles to replace the old fleet and meet DDA requirements for long-distance services.

The remaining 19 vehicles will be utilised to reduce capacity bottlenecks in regional traffic in Zurich and the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

Stadler stated that the first rolling stock vehicles are planned to commence operations as off-timetable 2024.

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The IR double-decker is a multiple unit train that provides 466 seats in a 150m-long train and offers 2:1 seating in First Class. Its low floor design facilitates barrier-free boarding for all passengers.

The interior of the train includes easily accessible bicycle spaces, power sockets, multifunctional compartments with space for pushchairs, toilet facilities and a modern information system available throughout the train.

SBB currently has 93 IR and RegioExpress (RE) double-deck trains in its possession and is utilising an existing option to obtain further 60 IR double-deck trains.

Earlier this week, ABB won an order from Stadler to deliver energy storage systems and traction converters.