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Riding into the Future: BVG's New 'JK' Series Transforms Berlin's Transit Experience

Riding into the Future: BVG's New 'JK' Series Transforms Berlin's Transit Experience
photo: Milos Djuric / BVG / Public domain/Stadler's 'JK'
15 / 01 / 2024

The official handover of the first test vehicle from manufacturer Stadler to BVG took place at the Olympia-Stadion underground station. Numerous guests from politics, the public transport industry, and the media attended the presentation of the first train with the internal BVG series designation “JK”. They could look closely at the brand-new vehicles inside and out and, above all, experience the new feeling of space.

"Today is a good day for BVG and a good day for Berlin," said Governing Mayor Kai Wegner. "These new and modern trains will shape the image of the underground for decades to come - and thus also contribute to the mobility transition in Berlin. Our aim is that even more people switch to BVG and local public transport." 

BVG / Public domain

Passengers will be the main beneficiaries of the latest addition to the Berlin underground family. Thanks to newly designed door areas and extremely flat passenger information systems on the side walls, the vehicle appears much more spacious than its predecessor. Passengers can look forward to other innovations including light color controlled by the time of day and the position of the sun, which ensures a pleasant ambiance at all times, and the BVG Wi-Fi, which in future will provide good Internet connections not only in the stations but also on the trains. Outwardly inclined handrails also provide plenty of space in the passageways, for example for wheelchair users or parents with pushchairs. 

"The mobility transition not only requires good infrastructure, it also requires modern vehicles," said Manja  Schreiner, Senator for Urban Mobility, Transport, Climate Action and the Environment. "If we want to  convince more and more people of the benefits of environmentally friendly mobility with buses and trains,  then we also need to offer them attractive options." 

"I am delighted that my return to BVG starts with this great news," said Henrik Falk, who took over as CEO of BVG at the turn of the year. "It's especially good news for our passengers, who can look forward to many  improvements."  

"Over the past 3.5 years, we have worked closely with Stadler in a difficult environment. I am therefore all the more pleased that we can now present the first underground vehicle," said Dr. Rolf Erfurt, BVG Board  Member for Operations. Before the doors open for all passengers, however, the vehicles still have to complete a tight program, as Rolf Erfurt emphasized. "Over the next few months, our experts will be putting the trains through their paces. The quality should and must be right before the first passengers  board."  

The workshop specialists are currently familiarising themselves with the new vehicles. At the same time, the training of the drivers required for the test and acceptance runs has already begun. Then it's onto the tracks - first on the premises of the Grunewald workshop, then on the entire small-profile network (lines U1 to U4).  Once all the tests have been successfully completed, a phase of around twelve weeks with test runs in passenger service is planned - probably from late summer 2024. Then it will be time for all interested parties to "board the future, please". Immediately afterward, the plan is to start series delivery.

BVG / Public domain

"Handing over a new underground train is always a great moment," said Jure Mikolčić, CEO of Stadler  Germany. "All the more so when it's a tailor-made product - like the trains for BVG. 4600 individual components have to fit together and work perfectly with each other as well as with the existing infrastructure. We are working with our fullest commitment to get the new fleet on the tracks."

High-quality standards are important for passengers, manufacturers, and BVG alike. After all, the new J and  JK series trains will indeed shape the image of the Berlin underground for decades to come. This is the largest procurement order in the history of BVG. According to the framework agreement with Stadler, a total of up to approx. 1,500 vehicles can be delivered by 2035. With a total volume of up to 3 billion euros, the contract also stipulates the supply of spare parts for 32 years. The current delivery order comprises 236  carriages of the large-profile J series and 140 carriages of the small-profile JK series.

The agreement initially covers the delivery of the test vehicles, which has now begun (24 vehicles in total, 12  each for small and large profiles). Possible findings from the tests can still be incorporated into the series production on an ongoing basis. 

As is well known, there were, unfortunately, delivery delays. This was due to supply chain problems in the global markets.


Source: Stadler