With high-tech trains, on 16 June, the first new-generation train, the X – Wagen, series 3700, produced by Siemens in cooperation with Wiener Linien, the operator of the public transport network in Vienna, was authorised for operation on the U3 metro line.  The train will be permanently operated on the U3 line from Monday to Friday, followed by other similar trains under construction.

The number of trains ordered in autumn 2017 by Wiener Linien is 34, with the possibility of further trainsets being optioned. At least 10 trains should arrive within the year, then deliveries will stabilise at three trainsets per year from 2024 onwards. The new arrivals will replace the ‘silver arrow’ trains, and will also be used on the future U5, which will connect Karsplatz with Hernals and is scheduled to open in 2026, as well as on the other lines.

Wiener Linien and Siemens Mobility together for Vienna’s subway

With the introduction of the new trains into service, the maintenance contract between Wiener Linien and Siemens Mobility specifically for the X-Wagen metro also came into effect. The digital support based on Railigent-X application  will enable joint maintenance by Wiener Linien’s specialised personnel in close cooperation with Siemens Mobility. This will allow Wiener Linien to benefit from better planning of maintenance costs and long-term collaboration on all issues related to new trains. Railigent X is part of the Siemens Xcelerator open digital business platform, which enables customers to accelerate digital transformation easier, faster and at scale.

Inaugurated in 1976, Vienna’s metro network is now organised on five lines, totalling 78.5 km and 104 stops. The longest line is currently the U1 (Leopoldau-Oberlaa Therme Wien), 19.2 km long, with 24 stops.  The U6 line, opened in 1989, runs over 17 km from Siebenhiten to Florisdorf. Lines. U2, U3, U4 lines  were opened between 1976 and 1991 (U3), are 13 to 16 km long and have 20 stations, U3 one more. The service starts at 5 a.m. and ends at around 1 a.m. The U1 line passes every 5 to 7 minutes, even in the evening hours The U2 line has scheduled passages every 3 to 5 minutes, then settles at 8 to 10 minutes, every 15 minutes after 9 p.m. The U3 line, certainly one of the most used on the network, has passages with 2 to 5 minute intervals from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., then 7 minutes in the evening hours. On Saturdays and Sundays, trains run every 5 minutes throughout the day, decreasing in the evenings. The same operating schedule is planned for the U4 and U6.

X-Wagen, in detail

The new X-Wagen metro offers an elegant and spacious interior with intercommunicating spaces and wide entrance doors that speed up boarding and alighting. Up to 928 passengers can travel in a six-piece X-Wagen metro train, exactly 46 more than the V-metro train it will replacePassengers travelling with bicycle or luggage have much more space available.

The seats are made of high-quality plywood and are arranged in a combination of standard cross rows with additional seats along the sides and folding seats. Blue seats indicate priority seating and are intended for passengers with reduced mobility.

The train is innovative in many ways, one of the most important being the digital passenger information and guidance system above each door. Developed by Siemens Mobility together with Wiener Linien, the system was designed to meet the specific requirements of Vienna’s public transport system. Constantly updated information is displayed to passengers on screens above all doors of the X-Wagen metro. The screens that open at the next station show the direction of the station exits, the other transfer lines and the departure times of these lines. The screens above the doors that remain closed at the next station show a digital map of the network with the current position of the train, the direction of travel, the next stop and important transfer options. Additional information can be displayed on both sides of the door, such as planned operating restrictions in the underground network or out-of-service lifts in stations.

An important innovation for transport safety is the use of the new airless brake system (winner of the German Innovation Award 2023) from Siemens Mobility for the first time in vehicles. The brakes are controlled by an electronic signal – called brake-by-wire – which is sent from the brake controller to the actuator – the brake caliper. The actuator ensures excellent braking performance, especially in unfavourable railway conditions. By eliminating the usual compressed-air components under the bogie, weight and installation space are saved, resulting in reduced costs over the entire life cycle of the rolling stock In addition, the new system significantly reduces the time it takes to get the train into daily operation.  With conventional air brakes, this takes around 12 minutes; with the new airless braking system from Siemens Mobility, the time required is only a third.

The future will be fully automated starting in 2026: the new U5 line will be the first fully automated metro line in Vienna and X-Wagen trains will be used. As necessary security measures, the stations from Karlsplatz to City Hall will be equipped with screen doors on the platforms and the U5 station at Frankhplatz will be rebuilt. The fully automated operation will make the metro even safer and more reliable. The screened platform doors will only open when the train has stopped and is correctly positioned in the station. Delays caused by falling objects on the tracks will be eliminated.

Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock of Siemens Mobility, noted: «With the introduction of the X-Wagen metro, the city of Vienna is taking a big leap into the future of digitised transport. Innovations such as the new passenger information system with real-time updates and the airless braking system are making their world debut, and the fully automated operation coming on the U5 line will offer great benefits. Despite the difficult circumstances of recent years, we have produced the trains on schedule in our Vienna plant and will also be a good and reliable partner for service and maintenance».

«This is a great day for Vienna and the Viennese public transport system. The X-Wagen underground train sets a trend for our climate model city. A sophisticated train with state-of-the-art technical solutions included and produced in Vienna makes public transport even more attractive and comfortable. The X-Wagen underground is part of the complete modernisation of Vienna’s public transport fleet, which also includes new electric buses and trams», says Peter Hanke, city councillor for public transport.

«We are modernising our train fleet with the new Metro X-Wagen. It will successively replace the Silver Arrow trains and, as of 2026, will enable fully automated operation of the Vienna Metro for the first time on the U5 line. Together with the entire project team, I am delighted that the new X-Wagen metro will be used by all passengers», said Gudrun Senk, CTO of Wiener Linien.

by Stefano Alfano

Highlights

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