MID Saxony Transport Authority (VMS) has announced the expansion of the Chemnitz tram-train system from January 2022 when through services from Chemnitz city centre to Thalheim and Aue will commence.
Tram-train services to Thalheim/Aue will use a brand-new connection to the existing Chemnitz South - Aue railway line from the 2.2km long section of city tramway to Technopark, which opened on December 8 2017.
Regular services will begin on January 30 following a series of public events on January 29. Chemnitz City Rail will operate the services which involve extending the existing tram-train routes which use DB Networks infrastructure east and north of Chemnitz Main Station and the tram system to Technopark. Two routes - C13 (Burgstädt - Chemnitz - Aue) and C14 (Mittweida - Chemnitz - Thalheim) - are planned and will offer an hourly off-peak service, increasing to half hourly at peak times.
Stadler Citylink bi-mode 750V dc-diesel LRVs, built in Spain, which are equipped with onboard toilets, will be used. VMS has bought four additional Citylink vehicles for the Aue extension bringing the fleet to 12. These vehicles were delivered in 2017-2018.
Work to complete the 300m-long mainline connection at Technopark was completed in late August and commissioning work for signalling and other systems by mid-November. The 47.2km section of the DB RegioNetz Infrastructure owned line to Aue has been upgraded with seven new passing loops installed, four new stations added and seven bridges rebuilt. The 1.5km section of track north of the new junction to Chemnitz Süd will remain in situ for engineering trains but regular passenger services ended between Chemnitz Süd and Aue to allow for the line’s rebuilding on September 15 2018.
VMS reported the cost of the Aue tram-train extension as € 71.3m in late 2020, of which 60% was funded by the German federal government and 30% by the state of Saxony. Planning for further expansion of the tram-train network is continuing with public consultation underway in November for the planned 2.3km Limbach - Oberfrohna northern extension and a further 17km extension proposed.
The expansion will be served by a new fleet of vehicles and VMS issued a tender for the procurement of up to 46 dual-voltage tram-trains with an initial order for 19 vehicles in December 2020. The European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide a €70m loan to the city of Chemnitz to support the €148m project in September.
The first two prototype vehicles are due to enter service by the end of 2024 and the remainder in 2025. The contract will include an option for a further 27 tram-trains with a base order for 17, which must be exercised by 2035.
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