Transtech has inaugurated the first of 40 low floor trams to be delivered to Helsinki City Transport (HKL) at its Otanmäki rolling stock plant in Finland.
Transtech, in a consortium with Voith, will deliver the first two rail cars to the Finnish capital in summer 2013 for test runs, prior to their actual production in 2015.
Following the delivery, HKL and Transtech will carry out a series of test runs on different tram lines in the Finnish capital to ascertain their suitability.
After testing, the remaining 38 trams will be delivered to Helsinki between 2015 and 2018.
The new trams will be designed for the extreme weather conditions of Helsinki, where sub-zero winters, salty condensation and summer temperatures of up to 30°C can take a heavy toll on track beds and rails.
The new trams will have freely pivoting bogies that can negotiate the steep curves of the tram network in Helsinki, while the surface materials will be selected keeping in mind the climatic conditions of the city and to facilitate easy maintenance.
Each tram car will have 74 fixed and 14 folding seats and the low-floor design is intended to offer easy access to wheelchairs and prams.
The weight of the tram cars will be reduced as much as possible, while the cars will tap braking energy to heat the passenger compartments.
Voith is supplying the electric drive system for the vehicles, which will make them energy efficient and quieter.
Voith will also supply wheels, axles, axle bearings, drive-related vehicle control and the diagnosis system for the trams.
A separate 65kW motor-gear unit powers each of the eight axles of the 27.6m trams, ensuring that the trams continue to operate at full passenger capacity and without power losses even if one of the bogies fails.
Energy generated from braking will be stored in specially designed heat exchangers, to be used if the overhead network fails to supply power, while the floor heating system installed on the trams will dry up the floor quickly to prevent the risk of wheel slip.
Image: The new trams will have pivoting bogies designed to negotiate the steep curves of Helsinki’s tram network. Photo: courtesy of HKL.