Würzburg’s tram operator has commissioned HeiterBlick GmbH to manufacture and deliver 18 new vehicles. These vehicles are five-section modular low-floor trams. They have been designed to suit the idiosyncrasies of a sophisticated infrastructure with steep sections of track and a gauge of 1,000 millimetres. The first vehicles in this series are due to start carrying passengers around Würzburg in 2022.

HeiterBlick’s engineering partner is HÖRMANN Vehicle Engineering GmbH. 

The Chemnitz-based company is taking on the entire mechanical design process plus functional system integration and processing of apparatus design for bodyshell manufacturing. Seventy HÖRMANN Vehicle Engineering employees are involved in this major project.

More transport options and quicker boarding and alighting
The new vehicles measure 36 metres in overall length (alternatively available as 42 metres) and 2.40 metres in width. There is seating for 76 and four standing areas, each measuring one square metre, providing space for 147 people in total in each carriage. Each carriage has a bright, welcoming interior that is comfortable and practical. HÖRMANN Vehicle Engineering started work on the 3D design and calculations for the carriage bodies and bogies as well as the mechanical integration of the electrical components in 2020.

In particular, the vehicles are designed to accommodate the requirements of passengers with limited mobility as well as those with pushchairs and bicycles. Each carriage has two special areas set aside to allow as many as four wheelchairs to be parked in the end modules, which can easily be accessed through the large double doors. ‘The use of low-floor technology is widespread in public transport because the low interior floors make life easier for passengers who have limited mobility due to age or disabilities, and they also speed up the boarding and alighting process for passengers in general,’ explained Frank Salzwedel, managing director of HÖRMANN Vehicle Engineering.


Partnership with HeiterBlick in Leipzig
The collaboration with HeiterBlick that began in 2010 has since evolved into a close working relationship. HÖRMANN Vehicle Engineering has been developing specially modified vehicle designs that HeiterBlick can use in new tender processes. In terms of research, both firms are working on retrofitting a tram to run on fuel cells, which would make it the first of its kind in Europe.

In a fuel cell, a fuel, such as hydrogen, reacts with an oxidising agent, such as oxygen. This electrochemical reaction is sometimes referred to as ‘cold combustion’ and is particularly efficient. Fuel cells are regarded as an environmentally friendly drive system of the future. ‘With our work on retrofitting a tram to run on fuel cells, we are on the cutting edge of technology,’ said Salzwedel.