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Combino problems

Following reports of structural problems Siemens took a Freiburg Combino to its factory in Prague and tested it to destruction. The results of this test indicated that stresses in the aluminium body shell could propagate weaknesses that would result in structural failure in certain circumstances. As a result all Combinos that have done more than 120 000km in service have or are being withdrawn until a remedy can be implemented. Known to be affected are Augsburg, Basel, Erfurt, Freiburg, Düsseldorf, Nordhausen, Potsdam and Hiroshima. Amsterdam and Ulm and Berne are believed not to be affected yet.

Many of these cities are suffering from acute tram shortages which is leading to revivals of withdrawn stock and sadly also timetable cutbacks or service suspensions on some routes. Potsdam is considering the option of borrowing vehicles from other operators. Siemens technicians are now inspecting individual vehicles of all fleets concerned and hope to identify cars which are only mildly affected so that these can be temporarily returned to service.

18 March 2004

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