Bombardier was selected as preferred bidder in February and the contract could be worth up to €480m if all options are exercised.

The delivery of the initial batch will enable Stib to withdraw its oldest PCC high-floor trams, which date from the 1970s, and expand the fleet to accommodate growing ridership and network extensions. Stib says the delivery of the new air-conditioned vehicles will increase fleet capacity by 7% or 4600 passengers.

The initial order comprises 49 five-section 32m-long vehicles and 11 43m-long seven-section vehicles, with deliveries due to commence in March 2020.

The LRVs will be equipped with high-contrast LCD passenger information screens, an intelligent climate control system, LED lighting, and Bombardier Flexx Urban 3000 bogies. The vehicles will also feature Bombardier’s Driver Assistance System, which uses an array of sensors and cameras to identify potential hazards.

Like the new CAF M7 metro trains and the series 3000/4000 trams, the LRVs will be styled by Antwerp-based designer Mr Axel Enthoven.

Over the last decade Bombardier has supplied 220 Flexity Outlook LRVs to STIB, the last of which entered service in March 2015.