The order is De Lign's biggest single tram order in its history, and will replace an aging fleet of venerable PCC streetcar, as well as increasing passenger capacity, in part due to the increased length of 20 of the new vehicles, Bombardier says.
Passengers also will benefit from the easy access afforded by the low-floor vehicles, also equipped with multi-purpose areas for wheelchair users and storage space for bicycles and child strollers.
Said , De Lijn General Director Roger Kestelootm, "As an operator, we look forward to the arrival of 48 FLEXITY 2 trams toward the end of 2014. First and foremost, because it allows us to offer modern and spacious vehicles to our customers in Antwerp and Ghent, but also because they are more economical in terms of maintenance and operational costs. With these additional vehicles, we will increase the number of passenger seats by nearly 10,000, making it more attractive to take the tram. It goes without saying that this will efficiently improve the accessibility and the quality of life in both urban areas."
Germar Wacker, Bombardier Transportation president Light Rail Vehicles, said, "The FLEXITY 2 trams developed for De Lijn combine proven technology with ecological innovation and operational efficiency. These vehicles will allow De Lijn to offer superior passenger comfort and accessibility, as well as optimized energy consumption, maintenance and overall lifecycle costs. The inspiring design will define the cityscapes of Ghent and Antwerp in the decades to come."
The vehicles come in different lengths and configurations. Ghent will receive 10 bi-directional seven-module vehicles with a length of approximately 43 meters, able to accommodate 378 passengers. Antwerp will receive 38 mono-directional trams: 10 seven-module vehicles with a length of approximately 43 meters and a capacity for 380 passengers, and 28 five-module vehicles with a length of approximately 31 meters, able to accommodate 266 passengers in total.
Bombardier will manufacture the trams at its sites in Bautzen, Germany, Bruges, Belgium, and Vienna, Austria. Bombardier's site in Bruges will also oversee all project management, commissioning, warranty, and fleet support.