Premiere in Dortmund: New high-floor LRV from HeiterBlick and Kiepe Electric boasts pioneering energy consumption, safety and accessibility

  • First of a total of 26 new high-floor light rail vehicles delivered to Dortmund’s public utility company DSW21 due to go into service in summer 2023
  • LRVs supplied by vehicle manufacturer HeiterBlick and Kiepe Electric boast market-leading energy consumption, safety and accessibility
  • DSW21 project also involves upgrading 64 fleet LRVs to same technical standard
  • Systems supplier Kiepe Electric is responsible for planning, delivering, assembling and commissioning LRV electrical systems

Delivery of the first new-generation light rail vehicle – an impressive 28 meters long – is cause for celebration at the Dortmund depot in Dorstfeld. Among those celebrating are LRV operator DSW21, Leipzig-based vehicle manufacturer HeiterBlick, and of course Kiepe Electric. As a systems supplier, the Düsseldorf-based company is responsible for all electronics in the 26 new vehicles on order, and for modernizing 64 existing vehicles to the same standard. The first vehicle is now ready for commissioning and will start operating in summer 2023.

The first new light rail vehicle for Dortmund meets with an enthusiastic reception at the Dorstfeld depot (L-R): Guntram Pehlke, CEO of DSW21; Hubert Jung, Chief Transport Officer at DSW21; Samuel Kermelk, Managing Director of HeiterBlick; Thomas Westphal, Mayor of Dortmund and Chair of the DSW21 Supervisory Board; Alexander Ketterl, Managing Director of Kiepe Electric; Ulrich Jaeger, Board Member at DSW21, Chief Transport Officer from 1 January 2023; Harald Kraus, Industrial Relations Manager at DSW21; Jörg Jacoby, CFO at DSW21. © DSW21, Photo: Claudia Posern
Among other features, the doors of the new, Dortmund-bound, 28-meter LRVs are fitted with a traffic-light system to keep passengers safe while boarding and alighting. | © DSW21

Hubert Jung, DSW21’s Chief Transport Officer, underscores the magnitude of the project as a whole. Totaling EUR 210 million, the investment includes new and modernized vehicles: “The project has kept – and is still keeping – many of our in-house departments busy, from engineering to purchasing. That’s why we’re very proud to have reached another important milestone with the delivery of the first LRV to our Dortmund depot.”

According to Alexander Ketterl, Managing Director of Kiepe Electric GmbH: “We’re delighted that DSW21 regularly relies on Kiepe Electric as a systems partner, thus also relies on innovation and ingenuity from North Rhine-Westphalia! Because of this strong regional relationship, this project represents a high point in Kiepe Electric’s long history.” He goes on to emphasize that: “The electrical systems supplied by Kiepe Electric will contribute to vehicle safety and passenger comfort, and by reducing energy consumption, help to make light rail operations even more sustainable. We’re proud of our contribution to Dortmund’s mobility revolution.” In addition to the 26 new vehicles on order, the project also involves modernizing the operator’s existing Type B80-C fleet to a technically equivalent level. This will enable Kiepe Electric to ensure that all electrical systems are operating reliably and comply with the latest standards, and will also extend the life cycle of the entire LRV fleet. DSW21 has been operating low-floor light rail vehicles fitted with Kiepe Electric systems since the 1990s.

As systems supplier, Kiepe Electric is in charge of planning, assembling and commissioning all the electrical equipment. The new six-axle, high-floor bidirectional light rail vehicles, each 28 meters long, are powered by a state-of-the-art three-phase (AC) drive. The driver’s cabs are equipped with ergonomic, multifunctional displays. Equipped with Kiepe Electric’s traction, onboard power supply and control technology, the LRVs are running on the latest ultra-reliable electrical systems. To ensure that passengers stay comfortable, Kiepe Electric is also supplying advanced heating and ventilation technology. Combined with innovative vehicle insulation, this will significantly reduce each vehicle’s energy requirements. Passengers will undoubtedly appreciate other standard equipment such as the Wi-Fi system (prepared for installation by Kiepe) and USB ports. As part of the aftermarket service, Kiepe Electric is also providing DSW21 with a comprehensive spare parts and workshop package.

To modernize the existing fleet, Kiepe Electric will install the same electrical systems as those used in the new vehicles, making vehicle operation and maintenance significantly easier and more efficient for the customer. The one major difference is the existing vehicles’ DC drivetrain. This is powered by an advanced DC chopper managed by state-of-the-art Kiepe control technology.