May 09, 2012

Berlin S-Bahn train fleet restoration makes progress

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THE long-suffering passengers of the Berlin S-Bahn, who have been plagued by years of train disruption and cancellation caused by poor train maintenance, can at last look forward to

a more reliable service and the restoration of the full timetable. "We have cleaned up the S-Bahn company, we have created new structures, and we have overhauled the technology," says Dr Rüdiger Grube, CEO of German Rail (DB), the parent company of S-Bahn Berlin. "It was right to turn over every stone and not to lose heart to solve the problems permanently. Our passengers will benefit from the result."

In December S-Bahn Berlin completed the replacement of 4000 wheelsets on its trains, and in February finished a project to modify more than 2500 traction motors which will protect them against low temperatures and moisture. A new automatic method of replenishing sand boxes has been developed in cooperation with manufacturers.

This month, the need to conduct extensive manual tests on class 481 trains came to an end, and modification of class 480 trains is now underway. S-Bahn Berlin spent Euros 106.7m on maintenance in 2011, and on May 4 Grube launched a Euros 15m project to reopen Friedrichsfelde workshops, which is due to be completed in 2016.

Increased train availability will enable S-Bahn Berlin to reintroduce services on Line S85 linking Waidmannslust and Grunau on June 4. However, the planned extension of lines S9 and S45 to the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport on June 3 has been postponed due to the announcement yesterday that the opening of the airport has been delayed until "after the summer holiday period" due to problems commissioning fire detection equipment.

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