05. 03. 12. - 16:15
Old trams to become more eco-friendly
Wiener Linien plans to improve its carbon footprint.
The Viennese public transport agency said yesterday (Sun) 120 older tramways would soon be equipped with a new steering system. The company explained that electricity would be produced during the public transport vehicles’ slowing-down processes. The created energy flows back into the system to provide other operating trams with power. The technology will help reduce the fleet’s carbon emissions by 4,900 tons a year, according to the city-owned enterprise.
More than 10 million Euros will be invested in the modernisation of Wiener Linien’s old generation of trams in the coming months. The newer generation of trams in operation in the Austrian capital at the moment were manufactured by Siemens Austria. The company – which is part of German company Siemens, one of the most powerful brands in the world – achieves a turnover of around one billion Euros a year by producing public transport vehicles such as trams and long-distance train wagons.
Siemens Austria increased its specialised workforce by 200 in the past two years due to rising demand for its public transport products, company officials said last month. Around 50 million Euros were spent on its Viennese factory to keep up to date with global public transport developments.
Siemens Austria was recently assigned to produce and deliver underground trains for the public transport network in Polish capital Warsaw. The deal has a volume of 273 million Euros. The business headed by former Porr AG chief Wolfgang Hesoun was further asked to manufacture trams for The Hague in the Netherlands and underground trains for the award-winning public transport network of Munich, Germany. Nevertheless, Siemens Austria’s various branches register the strongest growth rates in Asia.
The Viennese government coalition of Mayor Michael Häupl’s Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Green Party recently asked Bombardier Austria to produce 20 new underground trains for the city’s U6 service. The decision to give the all-clear to the assignment came shortly after the head of the firm, Germar Wacker, warned that 300 jobs might be at risk if the city government kept postponing the order. Bombardier Austria is part of Bombardier, one of the busiest public transport vehicle producers in the world. The Canadian company has more than 65,000 employees in the world. It generates two-digit million-Euro turnovers year after year.
Wacker issued his warning after experts warned the Viennese coalition from economically challenging times ahead. The city’s debts rose by almost two billion Euros to over three billion Euros from 2009 to 2010. SPÖ Financial Affairs Councillor Renate Brauner pointed out that Vienna had, alongside Tyrol, the lowest per capita debt among Austria’s nine provinces at 1,807 Euros.
The U6 is one of five underground train lines in operation in Vienna where 2.2 million people use trams, buses and U-Bahn train services each day. The U-Bahn train service started in 1976 when a part of what is today’s U4 line was opened. The first electric tram started operating in Vienna, which has 1.7 million residents today, in 1897. Public transport claims a share of 37 per cent in the city where the price for annual public transport passes will decline from 449 to 365 Euros in May.