Brussels debuts new generation of trams
Brussels public transport operator Stib has debuted its next generation of trams, which began carrying passengers this week.
The ultra-modern vehicles ‘Tram New Generation’ (TNG) are said to be more accessible and comfortable than older models and the fleet will strengthen the tram offer in the Belgian capital.
For now there is just one tram that is operational, running on the northern section of line 51 between Brussels-Midi station and Stade, near the Atomium.
The vehicle is the first of a series of 90 trams ordered by Stib which will be delivered over the next three years. By the end of this year, a total of 10 TNG trams will be delivered.
“These TNG vehicles guarantee a solid upgrade for our tram passengers,” Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt said.
“These trams are the most accessible ones that will be running around. Together with the continuous improvement of accessibility at the stops themselves, this is a big step forward to offer smooth use of public transport to all Brussels residents and visitors to our city.”
TNG is described as a “modern and stylish” evolution of the most recent trams (T3000 and T4000) currently operating on the Stib network.
Its design is inspired by the Art Nouveau style and was entrusted to designer Axel Enthoven of the company Yellow Window.
With wide doors and a low floor, the vehicle was designed to provide easier access for people with reduced mobility and better flow and comfort for passengers on board.
The tram has two multi-purpose spaces for wheelchair users and parents with prams, and the seating arrangement provides more comfort on longer journeys.
The TNG is also equipped with ramped entrances integrated in the floor, which facilitate wheelchair users' entry and exit at stops where adapted platforms are not yet available.
Folding seats, large information screens with line diagrams, indirect LED lighting and an efficient air cooling system are part of the interior design, while smooth bogies minimise vibrations.
Safety innovations have been added, including sensors at each door, external rear-view cameras in addition to ordinary mirrors and a front camera to reduce blind spots. Part of the front of the tram is also equipped with soft elements to reduce impact in the event of a collision, and there is also an anti-collision control system.
The TNG comes in a short version of 32 metres with 182 seats, and a long version of 43 metres with 256 seats.
All new tram models require a running-in period of 1,000km before they can be used for passengers, in order to ensure all safety tests are passed. In general, the time between tram delivery and the start of passenger service on the network is about three weeks.
“We strengthened our bus network with almost 30% more seats and we are continuing to expand and strengthen our tram lines,” said Stib chief executive Brieuc de Meeûs.
“With the TNG, we can increase the number of available seats by 25% within three years and we have many projects to build new lines ahead, because tomorrow's network will be built today. That applies to buses, trams and the metro.”
There might be new generation trams on some lines but we on the line 81 are stuck with the oldest trams with three steps up. People with pushchairs and older people with shopping trollies find it next to impossible to get on a tram. When I have been shopping I then have to walk home as I can't get up the steps with a full trolley. Think about it STIB.
Line 81 is staying with the old trams until Montgomery is sorted out because it can't handle the newer ones. Line 39 has the same issue.