Helsinki metro cancels major contract with Siemens on automation

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 19, 2014
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Helsinki City Transport (HKL) has given up a project to convert old metro trains into automated usage, after canceling its deal with the German company Siemens, local media reported on Thursday.

The municipal operator attributed the cancellation to the uncertainty about the time when the project would be completed and Siemens' actions in contravention of the contract. The German company has denied the grounds.

The price tag for the train automation was 170 million euros (about 209 million U.S. dollars), and according to local media reports Siemens had demanded compensation of more than 20 million euros.

While automated trains are common in major cities, the Helsinki plan was unique in planning to convert existing old wagons into automated usage. Automated trains could run at shorter intervals and carry more passengers.

The automation plan was connected with the opening of a western extension of the Helsinki metro into the neighbouring city of Espoo.

Now that the original plan seemed doomed to failure, HKL claimed the western extension will be launched on a driver-basis in late 2016 or early 2017.

Representatives of the city of Helsinki told local media that automation is now envisaged for 2021 when existing train equipment will be retired.

New tenders will be requested for the interlocking and signaling system. At least parts of the equipment from Siemens would be used for some time.

The Helsinki metro system now connects eastern suburbs via downtown with the western waterfront of the city. The extension will open metro train connections to Espoo. The cost of the extension has been given as 970 million euros. (1 euro = 1.23 U.S. dollars) Endit

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