GERMAN regional operator GoAhead says incorrect measurements caused it to withdraw part of its fleet from service in Baden-Württemberg earlier this month, leading to significant disruption for passengers.

GoAhead removed some of the 66 Stadler Flirt EMUs from service in mid-February for what it called “precautionary checks” after measurements apparently showed wide variations in axle loading and wheel wear in situations where loading should be similar. The measurements were taken during an ongoing programme to fit the fleet with onboard ETCS equipment.

Stadler sent specialist engineers to assist GoAhead staff at Essingen depot near Stuttgart after the operator made its concerns public on February 14. Independent consulting engineers also assisted with a rapid review of the problems and how measurement had been undertaken.

Following four days of intensive checks, Stadler was able to establish that there were no unexpected variations in wheel loads and that the apparent problem was the result of measurement errors by those undertaking the original work. The full fleet was then returned to service.

GoAhead usually only schedules up to two EMUs to be maintained each r day, with each train undergoing more detailed inspection every 40,000km or roughly every six weeks.