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Zurich unveils new trams (using cool life-size model made entirely of wood)

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Zurich unveils new trams (using cool life-size model made entirely of wood)
The astonishing wooden model of the Zurich's new 'Flexity' trams. Photo: VBZ
18:05 CEST+02:00
It has taken a few years, but Zurich on Tuesday finally unveiled its new 'Flexity' tram – or rather an exact replica of the model expected to hit the city’s roads in late 2019.

Specialists at the workshop of Zurich VBZ transport authority spent months constructing a full-size wooden model of the trams manufactured by Canadian firm Bombardier to use as a mock-up of how the city’s newest fleet will look – both from within and without.

“This is our most important work instrument at the moment,” said VBZ boss Guido Schoch of the model during its presentation.

How the trams will look on the inside. Photo: VZB

With seating space for 91 and standing room for 187, the new Flexity trams have 20 percent more capacity than Zurich’s Cobra trams. They also have two large sections for disabled passengers or families with prams.

The trams’ seats are made of wood – a homage to the city’s much-loved Mirage trams which came off the roads in 2010 – and the hand rails are of polished steel. Among the design features are clothes hooks and USB ports so that people can charge up their phones.

The trams also feature a driver assistance system to improve safety. This will be tested in Cobra trams from May 2018 on, according to Swiss daily Aargauer Zeitung.

The Flexity trams are set to be in full service by early summer 2020, ushering in a drawn-out finale for the Tram 2000 vehicles which are, after 40 years, coming to the end of their long and busy lifespan.

A pair of Mirage trams at Zurich's Paradeplatz. Photo: Stefan Baguette

Zurich has ordered a total of 70 of the trams for a total cost of 358 million francs.

“We still have a shortage of trams,” said VBZ chief Schoch on Tuesday, adding the city would try and keep Tram 2000 vehicles in operational condition for as long as possible to help cover the needs of the new Hardbrücke tram connection and the extension of the city’s Line 2.

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