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BKV could claim Ft 3 bln in damages from Siemens

Budapest public transport company BKV Rt could claim as much as Ft 3 billion in damages from German engineering company Siemens because of faulty trams it delivered. The amount is stipulated in the contract, daily Népszabadság reported on Wednesday.

The trams were recalled on Tuesday after Budapest Mayor Gábor Demszky asked Siemens to carry out checks following technical malfunctions. Siemens spokesman Dirk Rosler said on Tuesday a group of German and Austrian engineers would start examine the Combino trams on Wednesday to determine the cause of problems with their hydraulic brakes and doors. If the engineers find the vehicles are completely safe, one or two could be back on the tracks again by Thursday, he said. Rosler said the problems with the trams would not delay Siemens' schedule for delivering the rest of the 40 ordered by BKV. BKV is expected to take delivery of all of the vehicles by the end of the year.
Siemens won the tender to supply BKV with 40 of the trams in consortium with Kiepe with a bid of €136 million in 2003. The transaction was financed from a loan of the European Investment Bank. The first trams were to be delivered in autumn 2004, but the start of the delivery was put off to 2006 after technical problems were discovered on the trams in other European cities.
The mayor also recently complained to Siemens' unit in Hungary about malfunctions in the overhead lines which power trams running along the capital's ring road. The unit is responsible for renovating the lines. Gábor Beke-Martos, who heads Siemens' unit in Hungary, responded to the mayor in a letter saying the company had taken alls steps possible to ensure the proper functioning of the lines, but he noted that the work was carried out under a tight deadline in order to prevent long holdups along the tram line. These tight deadlines presented some risks, which BKV agreed to when it signed the contract, he said.