The X-Wagen metro made by Siemens has started passenger service on the Viennese metro lines. After undergoing extensive tests and receiving the operating permit, the first of the new generation of metro carriages officially started running on the U3 line the other day.
The new rolling stock features an innovative digital passenger information and guidance system and displays real-time information above each door. There is also a new airless braking system, according to a Siemens press release.
It ensures greater comfort and safety and optimal accessibility. The digital passenger information and guidance system was developed by Siemens Mobility and, together with Wiener Linien, adapted to meet the specific requirements of Vienna’s public transport system. Continuously updated information is displayed to passengers on screens above all doors inside the X-Wagen metro.
Metro carriages with airless brakes
The screens above the doors that open at the next station show the direction of exits from the station, other lines for transfers and departure times for those lines. The screens above the doors that remain closed at the next station show a digital network map with the current train location, direction of travel, next stop and important transfer options.
Additional information, such as planned operating restrictions in the metro system or out-of-service station lifts, can also be displayed on either side of the door.
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 an intelligent actuator – the brake caliper. The servo motor ensures excellent braking performance, even in poor track conditions.
By eliminating the usual compressed air components, weight and installation space are saved at reduced life-cycle costs. In addition, the new system significantly reduces the time until the vehicle is ready for operation.
With conventional compressed air brakes, this takes about 12 minutes; with Siemens Mobility’s new airless braking system, it takes only a third of the time. The new X-Wagen metro offers an open-plan interior with spacious entry areas that speed boarding and exiting. Up to 928 passengers can travel on an X-Wagen metro train, exactly 46 more than on the V-train it replaces. Passengers travelling with trolleys or luggage have plenty of space. Seats are made of high-quality materials and are arranged in a combination of standard cross rows with additional seats along the sides, as well as folding seats.
From 2026, the U5 line between Karlsplatz and Frankhplatz will be the first fully automated metro line in Vienna to operate with X-Wagen trains. To prepare for this change, the stations from Karlsplatz to City Hall will be equipped with platform doors and the U5 Frankhplatz station will be rebuilt. Fully automated operation will make the metro even safer and more reliable. The platform doors will only open when the train has stopped and is properly positioned in the station.