Avenio is a low floor tram family produced by Siemens Transportation Systems. It is the successor to the Combino family. The first generation was sold as the Combino Supra //, Combino MkII, or Combino Plus. With the introduction of the second generation in 2009 the Combino brand was dropped and Siemens have referred to Combino Plus trams in Sul do Tejo (Portugal) and Budapest (Hungary) as part of the Avenio range.
The Avenio is made of stainless steel instead of light materials, and is manufactured at a new assembly line in Vienna. Like the Combino it utilizes a modular design with standardised components, with resulting reduced costs.
Differences between the original Combino and the Combino Supra
Unlike the Combino, the Combino Supra is designed in nine-meter fixed sections. Each section has a bogie, either powered or unpowered. The length can be anywhere from two sections (18 meters) to eight (72 meters). In Budapest and Almad, modules are in two-car blocks, each connected by a double articulation join. In the Combino and other articulated low-floor trams, the modules are suspended between the bogies. Siemens claims the axle load is 10 tonnes for a width of 2.65 meters, such as the Almada.
For Budapest, the length went from nine modules of the Combino to six for the Combino Supra.
The Combino had a half-width door near the driver's cab, where the Combino Supra has a full double-leaf door.
The city transport company of Budapest ordered 40 Combino Supra Budapest NF 12B units. The six-module trams (three units of two sections) are 53.99 meters long, exceeded only by the 59.4 m CarGoTrams in Dresden, thus making them the longest passenger trams in the world. They have been nicknamed óriáshernyó ('giant caterpillar'). The first two units were delivered on March 14, 2006, and the rest was delivered by the summer of 2007.
In the summer of 2006 problems arose. On August 1, 2006 Budapest mayor Gábor Demszky ordered all six trams to be withdrawn from service until technical problems were cleared up. There were problems with the doors, caused by sensitive fail-safe systems that brought trams to a halt for reasons including luggage or the odd leg getting stuck in a door. Siemens AG reportedly admitted the door problem to be a "design fault".
Another problem was the overhead wires, rebuilt in April and June for the new trams. This was done in a hurry and of poor quality, causing the Ganz trams still running to have problems with their pantographs. On July 15 one traction mast fell to the road on the Margaret Bridge, causing tram services to be suspended between Jászai Mari tér and Moszkva tér till July 25. In the last week of August the overhead was adjusted to prevent new problems from occurring.
The teething problems were eventually sorted out, and all 40 trams were in regular service by the summer of 2007. But Siemens realises further improvements in the ventilation (the vehicles were ordered without air conditioning), and door closing signals will be changed, after inhabitants of the streets passed complained that they are too loud by night.
Metro Transportes Sul de Tejo (MST) ordered 24 four-module Combinos for the new light rail in Almada, South of Lisbon. The first unit was delivered by the end of May 2005, but after the problems with the Combino surfaced the order was converted to stainless steel-bodied Combinos, to be delivered by 2007.
Siemens leased Almada tram C008 to Melbourne's tram network for research and development purposes. However, some commentators believed it was motivated by the potential for an order. C008 ran on Route 16, alongside the classic Combino and other tram models. C008 entered service on Grand Prix shuttles on Route 96 in March, and ran on Route 16 until Saturday, 16 June.
Siemens initially bid in August 2007 for 204 three-module Combino Plus streetcars to be delivered for the Toronto streetcar system to replace aging CLRV and ALRV vehicles. They were supposed to be 28 metres in length, have a width of 2.5 metres, and carry 183 passengers. Siemens withdrew their first bid, but when tenders were reopened in August 2008, Siemens bid again using the same model, but they lost the next year to Bombardier Transportation.
Avenio is based on the Combino Plus but is simplified. There is now one secondary spring which now seemingly can do the work of two. There are more seats over the bogies. There are no more hydraulics and the tram is made of CorTen steel. So in fact it is a completely new design.
It was announced that the first production series would go to Tel Aviv, but the project was delayed and the construction of the first Red Line started in September 2011. It will be in operational in 2016-2017 with the majority of stations underground.
HTM, the operator of the The Hague tramways, announced in November 2011 the purchase of 40 Avenio trams. They will be 35 meters long at a width of 2.55 meters with a seating capacity of 70 and a standing capacity of 168. The contract is worth 100 million euro including driver training and spare parts. They are being built in Wien Simmering, with the bogies in Graz. In March 2014 it was announced a further 20 trams were being ordered.
A consortium led by Siemens is building a tram system for Education City in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The opening was scheduled for autumn 2015 but has been delayed to 2016. No overhead wires will be installed, since the 10 Avenio trams will be powered by the Siemens Sitras HES system (Hybrid Energy Storage), a combination of a supercapacitor and a traction battery that will be charged at each stop through an overhead conductor rail. The network will have 25 stops on 11.5 km of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge track; the trams are in three modules with a capacity of 238 passengers.
On 28 September 2012, Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG) of Munich announced an order of 8 Avenio trams for that city's tramway system. They are 36 m long, 2.3 m wide and have 4 modules. The contract was worth approx. 29 million Euros and it is understood that this allows six units to be built ahead of the Den Haag trams. Due to bad management and ongoing problems with the Munich Variotrams the Avenios were necessary to deliver the advertised service improvements in the new timetable effective December 2013. They were supposed to be fully operational in little more than a year, however the first entered service on 17 September 2014 on Route 19.
- "Avenio - The new generation of trams from Siemens". Siemens. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-04-19.[dead link] 
- "Avenio - The new generation of trams from Siemens promotional sheet" (PDF). Siemens. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
Take, for example, the 24 vehicles near Lisbon, Portugal and the 40 in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, where the longest low-floor trams in the world, namely 54-m-long Avenio vehicles, are in service today.
- Siemens Combino Plus website - 'Flexibility'
- Combino Budapest Reference brochure
- Caboodle.hu - Budapest mayor calls for withdrawal of faulty Combino trams
- The Budapest Sun Online - Mayor touts Budapest as leading regional capital
- Caboodle.hu - New Combino tram fails shortly after resuming service
- Railway Market Magazine - Public Transport in Hungary: Combino-Teething Troubles in Budapest
- Caboodle.hu - Tram service suspended every evening until September
- - Siemens Transportation Australia Combino Plus
- "Kapazität auf höchstem Niveau" (in German). Siemens.
- "Die längste Niederflurstraßenbahn der Welt: Siemens stellt Avenio vor" (in German). Siemens. 30 March 2009.
- Siemens Avenio, de nieuwe Haagse tram auf htmfoto.net, aufgerufen am 20. November 2011.
- Premiere: Siemens erhält ersten Auftrag für die neue Straßenbahn-Generation Avenio – Den Haag bestellt 40 Fahrzeuge im Wert von über 100 Millionen Euro Werkstattatlas.info, aufgerufen am 20. November 2011.
- "Den Haag bestelt 20 extra trams voor 55 miljoen" (in Dutch). De Volkskrant. 11 March 2014.
- "Qatar's first Education City tram rolls out". Railway Gazette International. 11 March 2015.
- Qatar Foundation to get turnkey tram system from Siemens Siemens website, 30 July 2012
- "Bahnen auf dem neuesten Stand". Elektrische Bahnen (in German). 2012.
- "SWM/MVG bestellen 8 zusätzliche Tramzüge" (PDF) (in German). Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft. 28 September 2012.
- "First Siemens Avenio tram enters passenger service". Railway Gazette International. 17 September 2014.