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Vienna’s X-Wagen Metro Takes First Passengers: A Revolution in Public Transit

Vienna’s X-Wagen Metro Takes First Passengers: A Revolution in Public Transit
photo: Siemens Mobility/Vienna’s X-Wagen Metro Takes First Passengers: A Revolution in Public Transit
19 / 06 / 2023

The X-Wagen metro has initiated passenger service on the Wiener Linien. After undergoing extensive tests and receiving its operating permit, the first train of the new metro generation officially began service on the U3 line this morning. The train’s inaugural run was accompanied by Vienna City Councilor Peter Hanke and numerous project participants from Wiener Linien and Siemens Mobility, among others.

Albrecht Neumann, CEO of Rolling Stock at Siemens Mobility, noted: “By introducing the X-Wagen metro, the city of Vienna is taking a big leap into the future of digitalized transport. Innovations like the new passenger information system with real-time updates and the air-free brake system are making their world debut, and the fully automated operation coming later on the U5 line will provide great benefits. Despite dealing with the difficult circumstances of the last few years, we manufactured the trains right on schedule in our Vienna plant and will also be a good and reliable partner for service and maintenance.”

"This is a great day for Vienna and the Viennese public transport system. The X-Wagen metro is trendsetting for our climate model city. A sophisticated train with state-of-the-art technical solutions included and produced in Vienna makes public transport even more attractive and comfortable. The X-Wagen metro is part of the comprehensive modernisation of the Vienna public transport fleet, which also includes the new electric buses and trams," says Peter Hanke, city councillor for public transport.

At the Erdberg station on the U3 line, today came the announcement “All aboard for passengers!” for the new X-Wagen metro train. The train will also begin running between Simmering and Ottakring on the U3 line Monday to Friday over the next few days and weeks. Passenger service was inaugurated today with the first X-Wagen metro, and further new trains will follow in the summer. The tenth X-Wagen metro will be delivered by the end of the year, and Siemens Mobility will be handing over up to three more X-Wagen metro trains per year to Wiener Linien beginning in 2024. 

“We are modernizing our train fleet with the new X-Wagen metro. It will successively replace the Silver Arrow trains and, beginning in 2026, enable fully automated metro operation in Vienna for the first time, on the U5 line. Together with the entire project team, I am delighted that the new X-Wagen metro can now be used by all passengers,” said Gudrun Senk, CTO of Wiener Linien.

With the beginning of passenger operations, the maintenance contract between Wiener Linien and Siemens Mobility for the X-Wagen metro also took effect. Digital servicing based on Railigent X will enable future-orientated maintenance by specialist staff at Wiener Linien in close cooperation with Siemens Mobility. This will ensure that Wiener Linien has the benefit of better planning for maintenance costs and a long-term partnership on all matters relating to the new trains. Railigent X is part of the open, digital business platform, Siemens Xcelerator, that enables customers to accelerate their digital transformation easier, faster and at scale. 

Innovative digital passenger information and guidance system above every door 

One innovation featured in the new X-Wagen metro right from the start is the Passenger Information Plus system. The digital passenger information and guidance system was developed by Siemens Mobility and, together with Wiener Linien, tailored to meet the specific requirements of Vienna’s public transport system. Continually updated information is displayed to passengers on screens above all doors inside the X-Wagen metro. Screens above doors that open at the next station show the direction of the station’s exits, other lines for transfers, and the departure times for those lines. Screens above doors that remain closed at the next station display a digital network map with the train’s current location, the direction of travel, the next stop, and important transfer options. Additional information, such as planned operating restrictions in the metro system or out-of-service station elevators, can also be displayed on both sides of the door. 

New airless braking system 

For the first time, the new airless braking system - winner of the German Innovation Award 2023 - from Siemens Mobility is used in the vehicles. The brakes are controlled by a purely electronic signal - brake-by-wire - which is sent from the brake control unit to the intelligent actuator - the brake caliper. The actuator ensures excellent braking performance, especially in poor rail conditions. By eliminating the usual compressed air components under the carriage, weight and installation space are saved at reduced costs over the entire life cycle. In addition, the new system significantly reduces the time until the vehicle is ready for operation. With conventional compressed air brakes, this takes around 12 minutes; with the new airless braking system from Siemens Mobility, it takes only a third of the time.

Greater comfort and security, optimal accessibility 

The new X-Wagen metro provides an open-plan interior featuring spacious entry areas that speed up boarding and exiting. Up to 928 passengers can travel in an X-Wagen metro train, exactly 46 more than in the V-metro train it is replacing. Passengers travelling with buggies or luggage have plenty of space. The seats are made of high-quality plywood and are arranged in a combination of standard transverse rows with additional seating along the sides as well as folding seats. Blue seats indicate priority seating and are designated for passengers with reduced mobility. 

The future will be fully automated 

Beginning in 2026, the U5 line between Karlsplatz and Frankhplatz will be Vienna’s first fully automated metro line operating with the X-Wagen trains. To prepare for this change, the stations from Karlsplatz to City Hall will be equipped with platform screen doors and the U5 Frankhplatz station will be rebuilt. The fully automated operation will make the metro even safer and more reliable. The platform screen doors will open only when the train has stopped and is properly positioned in the station. Delays caused by objects falling on the tracks will be history.

Source: Siemens Mobility