A Skoda tram in Mannheim during its first passenger run
The first fruits of Mannheim/Ludwigshafen/Heidelberg transit operator RNV’s EUR 265M order for 80 type 36-38T low-floor trams were realised in April when the first four were put into passenger service on the BUGA-Express shuttle service linking Mannheim city centre with the site of this year’s Bundesgartenschau (Federal Garden Show). 
Ordered in 2017, and originally intended to be in service in 2021, the first of these trams was displayed at the September 2022 InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin and delivered shortly afterwards.After some months of testing over 10 000km, commissioning and driver training, approval for passenger service came on 12 April, just in time for the opening of the show. By the end of 2025 there should be 31 three-section 30m cars, 37 four-section 40m cars and 12 60m six-section cars available to RNV. There is an option for a further 34 trams.  
They will be needed for planned expansion to the 67.5km metre-gauge network covering the three cities and interurban links.Christian Volz, Commercial Director of RNV, said, ‘The procurement of the Skoda trams is the largest investment in the history of RNV. The vehicle that is being used by passengers for the first time today will become a real driving force for local public transport in the region in the years to come. If the turnaround in traffic is to succeed we need well-trained people, an efficient infrastructure and comfortable, reliable and modern vehicles’. 
Project manager Frank Then said, ‘In the last few months we have covered more than 10 000km with the new trams and we can say that the tests went practically without a hitch. This is more the exception than the rule with projects of this nature. 
A Skoda tram in Mannheim during its first passenger run
A Skoda 36-38T tram in Mannheim during its first passenger run 
Tagged as: Skoda, Mannheim
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