Completion of Germany’s RUBIN metro project in Nuremberg, the first in the world to propose shared-track use by an automated and a conventional driver-operated subway system, has been delayed for at least 12 months.
The first phase of a new fully automated metro line 3 (3.8 miles, with nine stations) in the city’s U-Bahn was originally planned to open for fare-paying passengers in time for the 2006 FIFA World Cup soccer event in June. However, in March the supplier, Siemens Transportation Systems, announced that they needed an additional 12 to 15 months for further development and testing of the system.
The RUBIN (Realisierung einer automatisierten U-Bahn in Nurnberg) project is led by Verkehrs-Aktiengellschaft (VAG), the operator of the Nuremberg U-Bahn, on behalf of the city of Nuremberg. It includes new automated sections of route and conversion of an existing line from conventional to driverless operation.
Once fully implemented, lines 2 and 3 of Nuremberg’s U-Bahn system will be automated. The first-phase sections of the newly constructed line 3, with an estimated cost of $402 million, are now expected to begin service in the fall of 2007. Siemens, awarded the contract in 2001, will also supply 30 two-car DT3-type metro trains for driverless operation, at a cost of $140 million.
The most difficult challenge faced by VAG is designing and building a system for mixed operations during the introductory period along the section of route below the city center between Rothenburger Strasse and Rathenauplatz shared by lines 2 and 3. Despite this challenge, converting to an automated subway system will greatly increase capacity because of the ability to operate within shorter headways.