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The Combino is a low floor tram produced by Siemens Transportation Systems (formerly DUEWAGmarker). The first prototype was produced in 1996 at the Duewag works in Düsseldorfmarker; the trams are currently made in Krefeldmarker-Uerdingenmarker. Because of its modular design using standardised components, and the resulting reduced costs, the Combino was for a time one of the most successful tram types. They were sold to twelve jurisdictions and a further development was sold to two others. In 2007, a new generation of Combinos was sold to Bernemarker. The Combino line is expected to be superseded by Siemens new line of trams called Avenio, which have been built on the design technology of Combino Plus in Sul de Tejo and Budapest.

Use of the Combino world-wide

Around 500 trams went into service in the following cities:

Control panel of Poznań Combino
Locality Operator Type Model Year Number
Almadamarker, Portugalmarker Metro Sul do Tejo (MST) Combino Plus 24
Amsterdammarker, Netherlandsmarker Gemeentevervoerbedrijf 2005 155
Augsburgmarker, Germanymarker Stadtwerke Augsburg Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH (StwA) 2004 41
Baselmarker, Switzerlandmarker Basler Verkehrsbetriebe BVB 2002 28
Bernmarker, Switzerland Bernmobil (ehemalige Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Bern) 2003 15
Budapestmarker, Hungarymarker Budapesti Közlekedési Részvénytársaság Combino Plus 2006-2007 40
Düsseldorfmarker Rheinbahn AG NF 10 2000-2002 36
NF 8 2003-2004 15
NF8U 2006-2007 15
Erfurtmarker, Germany Erfurter Verkehrsbetriebe AG 2000-2006 48
Freiburg im Breisgaumarker, Germany Freiburger Verkehrs AG (FVAG) 2003 18
Hiroshima Hiroshima Dentetsu 2002 12
Kaohsiungmarker, Taiwanmarker
Melbournemarker Yarra Trams D1, D2 2003 59 (38 D1, 21 D2)
Nordhausenmarker, Germany Stadtwerke Nordhausen Verkehrs- und Stadtreinigungsbetrieb GmbH 2002 7
Combino duo 2004 3
Poznańmarker, Polandmarker Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne w Poznaniu Sp. z o.o. 2004 14
Potsdammarker, Germany Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH (ViP) 1998-2001 16
Ulmmarker, Germany SWU Verkehr GmbH 2003 8


Twenty-two trams were ordered by Veronamarker, Italymarker, but the contract was cancelled because of the technical problems noted in this article.

Technical specifications

Chassis


The tram is largely made out of aluminium, with a welded underframe to which the body framework is bolted in sections, which means that the Combino can easily be adopted to different lengths, widths and gauge. The length of the trams varies from (Nordhausen "Duo" and Melbourne D1) to a world record (Budapest), accommodating between 100 and 250 passengers. All versions are designed to have a floor height and a axle load. It can be built as a one-way or a two-way vehicle, and it is also produced as DuoCombino with an additional diesel propulsion system.

They usually take 600V DC overhead power and convert this to 400V 3-phase AC power for the regenerative low wear motors via 3 IGBT PWM inverters. On board controls, lighting and air conditioning run at 24V DC.

2004 - Recall due to flaws in construction

On March 12 2004, Siemens admitted to problems concerning the stability of the car bodies and, as a precautionary measure, instructed all public transportation services to take all Combinos with a service distance of more than out of service. Torsion forces generated in S-curves were much higher than anticipated, leading to cracks around the articulations between the car modules. Subsequently, hairline cracks were found in the joints of the aluminium bodies, which could cause the roof to collapse in the case of an accident.
Interior
On April 12, Siemens admitted that the Combinos had been built to an improper technical standard. Siemens put provisions of more than 300 million on its balance sheet, but some analysts expected a higher fallout.

Siemens launched a three stage process of rebuilding the 454 modules affected. This relieves forces on the body modules and reinforces the modules to give an expected 30-year life.The cost of the rebuild programme was put at €400m.

Potsdam

In 1997, the public transportation authorities of the city of Potsdammarker were the first to purchase Combino cars. The advantages of its low-floor technology were stressed during the introduction. A total of 48 cars were to be bought through 2009.

The order from Potsdam was of great importance for advertising the Combino in other cities. Cars from Potsdam were frequently used for demonstrations.

After a short period of service, many inhabitants of Potsdam noticed noises during the operation of the cars louder than those of the previously used Tatra cars. In March 2004, the sixteen Potsdam cars were taken out of service. As a replacement, several Tatra cars which had been given to museums were taken back into service. The shortage was aggravated by the fact that several old cars had been sold to Hungarymarker just a month before.

In June 2004, Potsdam and Siemens "amicably" declared that the at the time 32 outstanding cars were not going to be delivered. This decision is likely to have consequences for other cities.

Amsterdam



In June 2004, the first Amsterdammarker Combinos passed the mileage threshold of 120,000 km and were taken out of service. Earlier, Siemens technicians had identified stress fractures in the door segments of two of Amsterdam's oldest cars. But, according to Siemens, those turned out not to be dangerous, which is why the cars continued to be used. At the end of April 2004, it was decided not to call upon the twelve undelivered cars which were outstanding at that time.

Siemens is currently experimenting with a new model in Amsterdam, the Combino Supra (Combino 2091). In September, it turned out that 32 of the 48 oldest Combinos had cracks in the floor segments. Siemens is expected to patch up these trams temporarily. A structural solution for the construction flaw was announced for September 2004. Beginning in 2005, a two-year program was to be started to fix the cars. All Amsterdam cars were to be brought to the plant in Germanymarker where their hulls were to be strengthened.

Poznań

Poznańmarker announced in 2002 a tender for low floor trams. Siemens won the contract with Combino. Poznań ordered 14 trams, each consisting of five modules, three double doors and three bogies, identical to the Amsterdam version. The first Combino entered service at the end of 2003. Due to flaws in construction, not all trams were in active service. An agreement between Poznań and Siemens AG provided that the city would pay the fraction (31%) of trams' cost only after the refit of all 14 Combinos. Combinos are usually used on the Poznański Szybki Tramwaj (Poznań Fast Tram) (light rail), that is on lines 14, 15 and 16. On weekends they also turn up on line 6. On match days instead of 6 and 15 whose route is close to stadium combino turn up at route 5.

Combino Supra

The current Combino model (Combino MkI) will be no longer produced. For the cities which have already ordered Combinos, such as Budapestmarker (Hungarymarker) and Almadamarker (Portugalmarker), Siemens will provide trams based on an older ADtranz design , under the new name Combino Supra. The new Combinos will have thin stainless steel rather than aluminium carbodies. Siemens now also wants to sell the Viennese Ultra Low Floor (ULF), another 100%-low-floor model, to other cities. The first two Combino Supras were delivered March 14, 2006 to Budapestmarker.

After serious initial teething problems, which involved door mechanism malfunctions that led to a recall of all Budapest Combino trams by Siemens, the trams were in regular service during 2006. After they had been repaired, Budapest's government decided that they would return them to Siemens. However, this did not happen because of contractual terms. The local public transport company began using them in 2007 and now they are working successfully again.

Gallery

Image:Strassenbahn Augsburg 18-08-2007.jpg|Combino tram in Augsburgmarker, Bavariamarker, Germanymarker.Image:Combino Erfurt1.JPG|Combino tram in Erfurtmarker, Thuringiamarker, Germanymarker.Image:Combino VAG auf Rasengleis.jpg|Freiburg Combino on grassed track.Image:D1 class tram.jpg|Combino D1 class in Melbournemarker, Australia.Image:PotsdamTram1.jpg| Combino tram in Potsdammarker, Brandenburgmarker, Germanymarker.Image:Siemens Combino PST RB1.JPG|Combino tram in Poznańmarker, Polandmarker on the PST LRT line.

See also



References

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