Berlin mayor christens brand-new U-Bahn trains

Berlin mayor christens brand-new U-Bahn trains
Berlin Mayor Michael Müller smashes a bottle of Berliner Weisse beer against the metal skin of a new U-Bahn train to christen it. Photo: DPA
The first of an all-new model of Berlin U-Bahn trains was christened on Wednesday evening by city mayor Michael Müller in a typically Berlin ceremony.

Rather than champagne, it was a bottle of Berliner Weisse – the sour-tasting traditional beer of the capital that drinkers sweeten with fruit syrup – that Müller smashed on the metal skin of the new train, which will henceforth be called “Icke” (or “me” in Berlin dialect), Tagesspiegel reported.

Icke's first trip saw it make a non-stop run from Warschauer Straße to Zoologischer Garten and back along the U12 line through the Kreuzberg district south of the city centre.

Passengers who won places aboard the special trip were impressed by the low level of noise inside the train.

“You can actually have a very nice conversation inside here,” Martina Langschwager told Tagesspiegel.

Like other more recent U-Bahn trains, Icke boasts carriages that are completely linked together in the interests of convenience and security.

The interior of Berlin BVG's new “Icke” U-Bahn trains. Photo: DPA

And thanks to a redesign of the train's skin, designers have squeezed ten centimetres of extra width into the cabin.

The BVG (Berlin public transport company) has ordered 37 of the new trains for lines 1 through 4.

Most existing rolling stock on the U-Bahn network is more than 26 years old, BVG board chairwoman Sigrid Evelyn Nikutta said at the christening event, meaning that the company must spend €2 billion on new trains by 2020.

The new Icke trains are expected to be in service for at least 40 years.

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