Dutch national railway operator, Nederlandse Spoorwegen(NS), has enlisted the help of a Bombardier-Siemens consortium to upgrade their fleet of 131 Sprint Light Trains. The Sprinter trains are currently being fitted with a range of amenities to make them more accessible to the visually impaired and passengers with limited mobility.
This week, passengers in the Netherlands got their first look at their new and improved trains. To make them more inclusive and accessible, Bombardier-Siemens services technicians equipped the train with a large wheelchair-accessible toilet and a sliding step at the door as well as two dedicated places for wheelchairs with an emergency button nearby. In addition, engineers added a tactile information system, like braille, so visually impaired passengers can easily navigate their way throughout the length of the train. They even found space to accommodate two more of the Netherland’s ubiquitous bicycles.
These upgrades were carried out in close collaboration with Dutch advocacy groups Ieder(in) (Everyone(in)) and Oogvereniging (Eye Association), who were involved in the process from design to testing. Once the upgrade is fully complete, NS’s Sprinter fleet will offer the highest level of accessibility and even more comfort, meeting the needs of their entire passenger base, regardless of their physical ability.
The first two trains are already running on NS’s timetable with a third to soon follow. These three will operate until the end of the year enabling us to gather valuable passenger feedback that will be used to determine if and what further renovations are needed. The upgrade work is being carried out at Talbot Services in Aachen, Germany, a former Bombardier Transportation site where our share of the fleet was originally built. The Bombardier-Siemens consortium will continue to upgrade two trainsets at a time, a process that takes just around two weeks. Moving forward, passengers in the Netherlands will gradually see more and more upgraded trains with the complete upgrade project for the full 131 trains expected to be finished by the end of 2021.
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A Bombardier-Siemens consortium is upgrading 131 Sprinter Light trains to improve accessibility
Services teams installed sliding steps at each door to facilitate entry and exit
Each train received a toilet and two additional spaces dedicated to wheelchairs
Toilet facilities are able to accommodate passengers with wheelchairs
The Sprinter now features a baby changing table in the restroom
New wheelchair-accessible basins have been installed in every toilet
Easy-to-reach emergency buttons with tactile information offer an extra layer of passenger security