AUSTRIAN open-access inter-city operator Westbahn has presented its new Stadler-built Kiss 3 double-deck EMUs to the public at a ceremony attended by Austrian secretary general in the Ministry of Climate Protection, DI Herbert Kasser, Westbahn shareholders Dr Hans Peter Haselsteiner and Dr Erhard Grossnigg, and Westbahn CEO, Dr Erich Forster, after entering service on the Vienna - Salzburg route at the start of the month.  

The first 10 sets from the order for 15 six-car trains have been delivered, with the 11th due to be delivered in two weeks. Westbahn will receive the remaining sets ahead of the December timetable change.

Stadler overcame a CRRC bid to win the €300m contract in October 2019. The six-car Kiss 3 fleet will replace the 17 double-deck Kiss sets Westbahn sold to German Rail (DB) in 2019. Westbahn retained eight of these trains while awaiting the Kiss 3 trains and they have now transferred to DB. The new fleet has been approved for operation by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA).

To coincide with the launch of the KlimaTicket annual pass in Austria, Westbahn will use the Kiss 3 EMUs to launch an additional eight daily services between Vienna and Salzburg a day. The new pass will allow passengers to travel on all participating public transport in all nine federal states, including Westbahn and Austrian Federal Railway (ÖBB) services, for €1095 per year from October 26.

The new fleet will also allow Westbahn to introduce a connection between Vienna West and Munich Main Station from the December 12 timetable change, with six trains a day. The service will include a stop in Munich East to provide an interchange to S-Bahn trains to reach Munich airport.

The timetable change will also see Westbahn introduce services to Straßwalchen, Neumarkt am Wallersee and Seekirchen am Wallersee with two trains to Salzburg in the morning and three trains from Salzburg in the afternoon, in cooperation with the province of Salzburg and the Salzburg Transport Association.

The weight of each train has been reduced by 2 tonnes, which means Vienna - Salzburg trains use 25% less energy than other rolling stock operating on the route. The trains also have an axleload of 18.5 tonnes, about 3.5 tonnes less than comparable trains, which reduces the impact on the track. The fleet is equipped with ETCS Level 2 Baseline 3.

The trains also include a new class - Comfort Class 2+ - which sits between second class, now designated as standard class, and first class.

First class is located on the upper deck in the end car, with comfort class in the lower deck and the upper and lower decks of the other end car. KlimaTicket holders will be able to upgrade to the Comfort Class 2+ for free on every journey, and they can also reserve their seat free of charge.

Westbahn is also working with CRRC Zhuzhou to add four new six-car double-deck trains to its fleet.

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