The new long-distance double-deck trains are operating with greater stability than in late 2018 thanks to a host of improvements. Assuming this positive trend continues, SBB plans to put more Bombardier trains into operation over the next few weeks. Further ongoing measures are being implemented to increase operational stability and travelling comfort. Acting on instructions from the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (FOT), SBB has had the gradient of the boarding ramps measured by independent experts.
Since December 2018, around 4,500 journeys have been made and more than 700,000 kilometres covered by the LD double-decker. Since then, manufacturer Bombardier has been working with a team of its own suppliers to implement a series of measures to enhance the trains’ operational stability. This has involved updating the door software, carrying out maintenance work on doors and remedying any defects. Operational stability is well on the rise with no train cancellations recorded in the last few days. Bombardier will further optimise the vehicle software over the coming months.
Progress has also been made in terms of how smoothly the train runs. On a test train, the wheel profile has been changed and the software used to control the passive tilt mechanism has been modified for lower speeds. Independent measurements have revealed a tangible improvement. The initial measures to improve smooth running are set to be implemented on the remaining vehicles by the time the timetable changes in December 2019.
SBB planning to introduce more vehicles
SBB intends to gradually use more vehicles on the InterRegio (IR) 13/37 lines between Chur, St. Gallen, Zurich and Basel and expects the LD double-decker to be running on the InterCity (IC) 3 line between Basel, Zurich and Chur as of December 2019. By this point, the locomotive crew and passenger attendants in this region will have had plenty of operational experience and will thus be able to contribute to ensuring high operational stability.
The LD double-decker will then be deployed on the IC 1 route between St. Gallen and Geneva Airport when enough fully operational vehicles are available.
Implementing the condition set by the Federal Administrative Court
With its ruling of 20 November 2018, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court (FAC) confirmed that the new train complies with the relevant standards and the provisions of legislation on equality for people with disabilities. The FAC is requiring SBB to provide evidence that each vehicle has one entrance and exit each per coach with a wheelchair section and per dining car with a maximum gradient of 15%.
Acting on instructions from the FOT, SBB has had the gradient of the boarding ramps of three trains (IC200, IR200, IR100) measured by independent experts. The gradients of the boarding ramps measured 14.8% on average across all three trains. 69 out of 76 ramps were correct. Seven ramps were slightly too steep, which, according to Bombardier, can be attributed to manufacturing tolerances. In the case of two marked wheelchair entrances, the deviations were 0.1 and 0.3%, which, given a ramp length of 785 mm, means a difference of 0.8 mm and 2.4 mm respectively. All ramps on the trains already manufactured have been checked and adjusted where necessary. Bombardier will also ensure that the standards are complied with when future vehicles are manufactured. The measurement results have now been made available to the FOT.
Inclusion Handicap has challenged the FAC’s ruling before the Federal Supreme Court, and the legal proceedings are still ongoing. However, this referral to the high court will not impact on the use of the new trains.