Technology and professionalism behind the scenes
VAG is short for “Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft Nürnberg”, which means traffic stock corporation. We are a hundred percent daughter company of ”Städtische Werke Nürnberg GmbH” which, on its part, is completely owned by the City of Nuremberg.
The VAG stands for safety, reliability, innovation, and customer service in the public transport network of Nuremberg, Fürth, Erlangen, and other smaller neighbouring cities and towns.
As a future-oriented company, we also consciously aim at environmental sustainability and social commitment.
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The driverless underground
The first fully automated underground in all of Germany is a good example of our pioneering role in innovation – we launched it on June 14th in 2008. It runs on the new line U3 between the stations “Friedrich-Ebert-Platz” in the north and “ Gustav-Adolf-Straße” in the southwest. In the inner-city area, it uses the route network and six stations of the line U2 – here, automated and normal trains did service together from 2008 to 2010 which never had been accomplished before all over the world.
When switching the U2 to fully automated service in 2010, we managed yet another world first: The whole line (from Röthenbach to the airport) was reorganized for driverless operation without stopping service.
Using central control and electronic surveillance, the driverless underground is capable of maximum safety, a high frequency of rides, and technical reliability. The fully automated service allows for intervals as short as 100 seconds between trains. In this way, we reduce the waiting times of our passengers to a minimum. Another benefit for passengers is that our staff now has more time to answer questions and give assistance.
Every day, our vehicles drive 80,000 kilometres altogether – this equals two times the circumference of the earth. It is not surprising that our buses and trains need regular maintenance service.
Underground train workshop “Nürnberg-Langwasser”
Especially our underground trains “eat” kilometres on a huge scale: Last year, every single train travelled 100,00 kilometres. Nevertheless, thanks to careful maintenance, we manage to keep our vehicles in service for about 35 years.
In “Nürnberg-Langwasser”, about 130 workshop employees make sure that the vehicles are ready for use. All repair and maintenance work is carried out, here – from internal and external cleaning to wheel set, furnishing, or motor services to the ever more sophisticated vehicle electronics.
Tramway depot „Heinrich-Alfes-Straße“
Our tramway depot sets an example for all of Germany. On 68 square kilometres, it currently houses 50 tramway vehicles. Since it is a depot and a workshop at the same time, most of the time-consuming maintenance work can efficiently be done here.
It is particularly in respect of ecological aspects that this location is special: its roof-integrated solar power system is the biggest one in Germany. Moreover, the vehicle washing plant as well as the sanitary installations of the depot are supplied with processed rain water. No wonder that the German transport association (Ger.: Verband deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen, short: VDV)) calls our company a model of industry.
Central omnibus workshop “Nürnberg-Schweinau”
Every one of our buses drives 55,000 kilometres per year. In a service life of about twelve years, this amounts to a distance one and a half times longer than a travel to the moon. Of course, this makes regular and careful maintenance a must.
While most of the maintenance services can be carried out in our depots in Nuremberg, Fürth, and Erlangen, more complex repairs are done in the Central omnibus workshop “Nürnberg-Schweinau”. There, on an area as big as five square kilometres, we cover the whole range of testing, repair and maintenance works.
Also in our bus services, we aim at an environmentally acceptable operation. Good examples of this innovative approach are our diesel-electric bus (1998), the fuel cell bus (2000), the ultracap bus (2001), as well as our buses with motor 5 engines (since 2005). With these buses with natural gas or hybrid drive, we were continuously one step ahead. Up to the present day, we rely on low-emission, low-noise vehicles.
Vocational education and development
Technical reliability of our vehicles is one strong foundation, the skills of our staff another. Because this is so important for us today, we make provisions for the future invest permanently in vocational education and development.
Of course, our training involves the safe operation of vehicles and a passenger-friendly way of driving. Additionally, we expect our staff to have high service orientation and comprehensive knowledge of mobility so they can answer questions on ticket prices or localities – any time and always friendly.
In our in-house driving schools for omnibuses and rail vehicles, we teach the basic professional skills. Beyond that, we use modern training technologies to give drivers as much individual practice as necessary. In Germany, we are the first transportation company with a bus simulator. In this way, our drivers not only learn individually how to drive safely and economically – they also have the opportunity to experience realistic extreme situations in the virtual bus which would not have been possible in a normal bus. Another, quite similar driving simulator is used in the training for underground trains.
Our operations control center
The heart and brain of public transport in Nuremberg, Fürth, and Erlangen can be found in our operations control center. From there, we control and coordinate 5 tramway lines, 80 bus lines, and 3 underground lines. In doing so, our goal is to provide a public transport service that is just about perfect: highly reliable, regularly audited, and always customer-oriented!
Everyday we move 600,000 passengers, make stops at 1.000 stations and return to these stations up to 100,000 times. These figures show what it means to have a watchful eye on the entire public transport. For about 70 employees in the operations control center, this also means to act quickly and help, for example if vehicle operation is interrupted. Be it calling the police or the fire and rescue services – be it organizing transport replacement services. You can rely on us!