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Bombardier contract New train fleet launch beset with problems

The Director of Bombardier giving a speech in front of a new train

Stephane Wettstein, the CEO of Bombardier Suisse gave a speech in 2015 to Swiss Federal Railways staff at the company's production site. 

(Keystone)

Technical issues led to a further delay of the launch of the Swiss Federal Railway’s new fleet of Bombardier trains, originally scheduled for 2013. Train drivers believe there will be disruptions to the regular schedule, according to a report on Swiss public radio SRF.

Only six of the ordered 62 trains are ready for service due to continuing software problems. Several test drives have revealed technical problems with the bombardier fleet which led to delays of up to 40 minutes. While it is not unusual that train software needs to be restarted every few days, this normally takes far less time than it does in the highly technological Bombardier series.

Hence, passengers will have to wait up to an hour if there is a problem during their commute. As a result, train drivers fear it will be impossible to stick to the interval schedule.

In a written statement to SRF, Swiss Federal Railways said that “it is the genuine nature of test drives to thoroughly test vehicles in order to find out what may be improved. It is also a known fact that the trains do not yet fulfil our high standards and the demands according to which we have ordered them.”

The 62 new Bombardier trains cost CHF1.9 billion ($2.4 billion). For six of those, the Federal Office of Transport gave a temporary permit more than two months ago. Nevertheless, Federal Railways has not yet put any of the new trains into service, indicating that their test runs have so far proved less than satisfactory.

SRF/ln

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