A subsidiary of the UK-based National Express Group (NEG), an international operator of heavy and light rail systems, placed an order with the Siemens Transportation Systems Group (VT) for 62 metro trains and 59 low-floor Combino trams. These trains will serve the two lines operated by NEG in Melbourne, Australia. VT was also awarded a service and maintenance contract for these trains covering an initial period of 15 years. The first trams are expected to be rolled out in 2002, with the first metro train to follow in 2003. By the end of 2005, the shipment of both series will be complete.
"Attractive, reliable and rapidly available vehicles are an absolute must in today's profitable mass transit business. Operators' vested interests will only be served on the basis of modular designs", stated Herbert Steffen, President of the Siemens Transportation Systems Group. "Siemens started to focus on this market at an early point in time. The most recent contract from Melbourne demonstrates again the international competitiveness of our modular vehicles." Moreover, this contract is a major success for the newly formed service business at Siemens Transportation Systems. "We are expecting the service market to grow by approximately 6 per cent per annum. By 2004, we are planning to increase our sales in this segment by approx. Euro500 million to Euro 800 million (approx. DM 1.6 billion )", Steffen continued.
The new rolling stock is based on Siemens' modular product platforms of the Combino low-floor light rail vehicle and the launch of MOMO (modular metro concept) which was successfully introduced with projects in Vienna and Sao Paulo. Modular design means that the rail vehicles do not need to be individually developed for a specific order; rather existing modules are combined to suit each customer's requirements. The advantage of such modular designs lies in the fact that trains are put together from well tried and tested systems and components; the use of standardized assemblies produces economies in production, hence more competitive manufacturing and maintenance costs. The modular design allows the customer to assemble a train which meets all his individual requirements in terms of performance, capacity and application.
The Combino units for Melbourne's "Swanston Trams" line are 19 or 29 meters long and designed to operate in double-ended mode. During peak hours, the Combino will seat up to 54 passengers. The three-unit metro trains will carry almost 800 passengers at a speed of almost 130 kph on "Bayside" line network. The new trains are a key element in NEG's strategy to increase the transportation capacity while also enhancing the general attractiveness of the kind of transport provided. Both lines are part of Melbourne's mass transit system. Within the framework of a privatization program, NEG received a license in August 1999 to operate both the "Swanston Trams" and "Bayside Trains".
With the modular MOMO metros and the Combino, for which a large number of orders have been received from both home and abroad, Siemens has succeeded in establishing further modular rolling stock designs on the world market. Only about a week ago the transit company of the City of Amsterdam announced that it will place an order for 95 modular low-floor light rail rolling stock of the Combino design.
The service and maintenance contract for new rolling stock also covers the complete spare parts management. With the creation of two new independent business units, VT pooled and strengthened its service activities on December 1, 1999. One business unit specializes in infrastructure and the other one in rolling stock. Both units report directly to the Group Executive Management. Their range of activities include maintenance, refurbishment, components exchange, as well as engineering consultancy and services.
The Siemens Transportation Systems Group is one of the leading international suppliers to the railways industry. As a single source and system integrator, the Group combines all the technical expertise in the fields of signaling and control systems, traction power supplies, as well as rolling stock for mass transit, regional and main line services. In the last fiscal year 1998/99 (30 September), Siemens Transportation Systems generated sales of approx. EUR 3 billion (equaling about DM 5.8 billion) with a staff of approx. 14,500.