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Budapest withdraws Combino trams from service

Siemens AG, Germany's largest maker of trains, temporarily took some Budapest streetcars out of service to fix glitches such as irregular power supply or faulty doors that appeared after the vehicles started running this month. The six Combino trams built by Munich-based Siemens began regular service on July 15, and the faults that subsequently appeared require „small adjustments” that may take a few days to complete, said Joachim Stark, a spokesman for Siemens's transportation division, by telephone today. Siemens had to set aside about € 400 million ($511 million) in 2004 to cover repair work on Combino streetcars that revealed cracks in their bodies. Siemens, which is Germany's largest engineering company and also makes high-speed trains as well as rail equipment, was forced to redesign the Combino following the recall, and the Budapest models are of the new type. Budapest Mayor Gábor Demszky asked BKV Zrt, Budapest's public transport company, to withdraw the trams from traffic until reasons for their repeated breakdowns are revealed and their safe operation is guaranteed, the mayor's office said in a statement today. Demszky also sent a letter yesterday to Siemens Zrt, the unit of the company in the country, asking the company's chief executive to improve the safety of the operation of the trams and to speed necessary works on the vehicles. (Bloomberg, MTI)