This page presents news and other items of interest concerning the Zürich tram system and connected topics.
This is not the official information page of any organisation. All opinions expressed here are my own or belong to those to whom they are attributed. Whereas care is taken to ensure the correctness of news, no claim is made to total accuracy.
Visitors are informed that many links from this page are to external sites. Such links are provided for informational purposes only. The author of this site explicitly declines responsibility for the content of external web pages.
Zürich, a city and its trams, an article by the author of this website has been made available online today. It was first published in Tramways and Urban Transit in April and May of this year. The article presents an overview of the Zürich tram system, presenting past, present and future of the network, rolling stock and other developments.
The online version of the article has 29 illustrations, all but one of which have not featured on this webiste before. Click here and enjoy!
Yesterday's timetable switch brings only minor changes to tram operations. The most notable being that route 10 is now worked exclusively by Sänftes (Low floor Tram 2000s). The additional vehicle capacity is permitting peak headways to be stretched from 5 to 6 minutes. According to VBZ, this still results in net route capacity improvements (*).
See also: Sänfte deliveries complete (02.12.2005)
* presumably measured in comparison to the solo Tram 2000s that worked this route from 1994 until the recent transfer of P16s from route 6 — themselves since displaced by ongoing Sänfte deliveries. Now the only route to see P16s in regular action is route 5.
Seen yesterday evening at HB on route 10: 2120 with a low-floor centre section.
This concludes the Tram-2000 low-floor rebuilding programme. The scheme, designed to improve accesibility while at the same time increasing capacity involved adding centre sections to the Tram-2000 cars of the third batch (2099-121, delivered in 1991-2). A prototype centre-section was built by VBZ's own workshops using a high proportion of Tram 2000 parts from stock. This was fitted to 2113 and has been in service in this form since 25.10.2001. Experience with this led to the decison to order 22 identical units. The body sections were built by WinPro in the former SLM works in Winterthur and the bogies by Alstom in the former SIG works in Neuhausen. The first such rebuild (2118) entered service on 06.05.2004, with eleven being in service by the end of 2004 and the remaining twelve following in the course of this year.
In order of entry into service (with links to news items — yes, this website reported them all), the Sänftes are:
Sänfte means sedan chair, presumably on account of the way the low floor section is carried between the two high floor sections.
The first of the new generation of S-Bahn units is being presented at Zürich HB today. Siemens is suppling 35 of these four-car double deck trains.
Passenger numbers on ZVV's night lines are up by 30% compared to 2004. The resulting improved cashflow is permitting services to be expanded further from the coming timetable change (11th December).
From 23rd January, Zürich's popular Cargo-Tram will be supplemented by E-tram. E-tram will collect unwanted electrical and electronic appliances from the same nine pick-up points as Cargotram but on different days. Both Cargo-Tram and E-tram serve every point once a month.
Tagi and ERZ
Cargo-Tram was introduced in April 2003 to collect bulky domestic waste items from the neighbourhoods of Zürich. By creatively converting surplus tram vehicles, the innovation could be realised at low cost and in a short time. The tram stops for four hours on sidings at terminii, depot approaches and other tracks that do not see intensive use — during which time local residents leave their rubbish. The only track that had to be purpose-built was the siding into the Werdhölzli recycling centre. The service has proved very popular and the initial four destinations have been expanded to nine. Many other cities have shown interest in this project and may seek to emulate it.
The website, Obus 269, of Jürgen Lehmann explains that Zürich's new Hess / Kiepe trolleybuses will be numbered 144-59 (for the single articulated variety) and 160-76 (for the double-articulated). The numbering thus follows on from the second batch of Mercedes / ABB vehicles (101-43), delivered in 1994. The new vehicles will replace the earlier batch (2-36) of 1988/89 (and number 1 of 1986) (*). The same source also indicates that the Geneva double-articulated vehicle that will be tested in Zürich next year will be delivered to Zürich directly from the manufacturer.
* The number of vehicles to be replaced is 35. Number 12 was destroyed by fire in 1992.
The popularity of the cargo tram is growing! The city of Amsterdam is looking into the possibility of using trams to deliver goods within the city. A study by the consortium City Cargo Nederland supports the viability of the project, which says that such a system would reduce lorry movements and so improve air quality and reduce accidents and road maintenance needs. Up to half the lorry movements in the city could be replaced by trams, cutting pollution by 20%!
amsterdam.nl (announcement 23 November).
(aside) This item came to my attention because a discussion of it on fok.nl linked a Cargotram picture on this website, driving visitor figures to many times their usual level.
An article in the December issue of Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue suggests that Bombardier is no longer content with abandoning the Swiss narrow gauge market to its competitor, Stadler, and will seek to return in this sector.
The definite modification programme for Basel's Combino type trams has begun. Yesterday evening, the first of these left Basel for Siemens' Krefeld works where all European trams of this type will be treated. The modifications include strengthening of the body and increased freedom of movement betweens sections. The resulting weight increase will be compensated by lightweight bus-type seats. In total, Basel has 28 Combinos, each requiring at least 60 days in Krefeld. Two to three of these will out of service simultaneously until completion of work in 2007.
The first Combino to leave Basel is 310. It was loaded onto a road transporter at Wiesenplatz depot yesterday evening. The operation took longer than intended due to problems assembling the low-loader. See the photographs on Guido Studer's website.
Bern has 15 Combinos (on which work has not yet begun).
BVB and BLT have expressed disappointment over the lack of interest in tendering for the next tram generation. Only two companies, Bombardier and Stadler, have returned offers. This is especially remarkable as 55 trams is a large order by tram acquisition standards. The outcome of the tender will be announced in the first quarter of 2006.
Not really on topic, but concerning Bombardier in Basel:
(This announcement may be slightly off-topic, but no apology is offerered other than that the Routemaster is one of the most high-profile and significant bus designs of history)
The days of Routemasters on regular heavy-duty bus services are coming to a close. Their last day in public service will be the 9th December when they will be withdrawn from route 159.
The Routemaster was first introduced in 1954 and was strikingly advanced for its time. Instead of a traditional bodyshell on chassis construction, the Routemaster has an integral load-bearing body made of lightweight alloys permitting significant weight savings. When the last bus of this type was delivered in 1968, 2876 Routemasters had been built. For many years these buses were the very model of the double-deck, rear entrance, conductor worked red London bus. The incredible ruggedness and durability of the design granted them a long lifespan. Mass withdrawals began in the early 1980s, largely as part of a cost-driven transition to driver-only buses. Many of the withdrawn buses were sold overseas where they are seen as a London icon. In the face of privatisation, many provincial operators in the UK also acquired Routemasters, but most of these had been replaced by the early 1990s and London operations outlasted them all. Their amazing poularity among passengers led to many being refurbished and re-engined. Finally, however, it was access requirements that led to the demise of these legendary vehicles that had outlasted several generations of newer buses.
The Routemaster story is not over yet. Even before the last 159 drives into the garage, two heritage routes began operation at the beginning of this week (14th November). These run at 15 minute headways every day from 09:30 to 18:30 and strengthen routes 9 and 15. The buses used are recently refurbished examples that have been repainted into their historic 1960s liveries complete with the old London Transport roundell.
Zürich's popular fondue restaurant tram is back! It runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 26th October to 25th February departing Bellevue at 17:45 and 20:30. In December and January it will additionally run on Mondays.
See also events calendar.
On 12th November this newslog completed its second year. I would like to thank all those who have visited regularly and who have contributed to the (slowly) growing visitor numbers(*).
The number of websites linking to this page has also increased. The bulk of visitors are, however, referred either by search engines (mostly Google) or from browser bookmarks. Please tell your friends about this website and help it grow to a really useful resource!
This website is, as far as I am aware, the only English-speaking resource to report on any aspect of Swiss public transport with any regularity. Any readers with any information they feel should be on this page, or with any other suggestions, comments or queries are welcome to contact me.
* Currently, the statistics show the newslog page alone has had 5027 visits (according to page counter), 7189 hits (requests to download) amounting to 267 MB of data (of this 3502, 4678 and 203 respecitvely in the last twelve months). In total, 179 items have been posted on this page of which 97 in the last twelve months. The total word-count passed the 20'000 barrier four days ago.
The project to operate a tram service in Antananarivo (Madagascar) is in urgent need of money. Four ex-Forchbahn units are already in Madagascar, but the remaining material needed to repair and operate the line is still in Antwerp (including eleven vehicles from Forchbahn and other Swiss railways). 310,000 Euros are needed for the shipment. 100,000 are provided in foreign aid by the Swiss side leaving a shortfall of 210,000 Euros which must be raised by 15th November. If the money is not available by then, all parts and vehicles will be sold for scrap.
The project, called TUT (Train Urbain de Tana) plans to revitalise a 30km railway line in the suburbs of Antananarivo serving Soarano-Soanierana, Alarobia-Tanjombato-Andoharanofotsy, Ambohimanambola and industrial parts of the capital. 400,000 Euros in total are budgeted for shipping and 300,000 to fit diesel generators to the trains — needed because the line is not electrified.
This alarming news was announced at a press conference on 19th October. The author of this website was unable to find whether any progress was made since then.
Website opinion: It would be a great shame to see this project fail for the lack of such a small sum of money! The missing 210,000 Euros would maybe not suffice to get the train running. Besides the fitting of the generators, some work would also be required on the track (including the fitting of additional passing loops). But the remaining money could be collected over a greater period of time. Where else can an urban rail project be realised for 700,000 Euros? Far larger sums have been wasted on totally misguided development projects. Here we have a project that is realistic, is realisable and will bring real benefits. The city's major, Patrick Ramiaramana, who is personally a supporter, is one of only three African majors to be among the 65 shortlisted for the 2005 World Major Award. May this be a good omen!
A recently published study reveals that 62 percent of commuters into the city of Zürich use public transport. This figure is higher than in any other Swiss city (Bern: 56%, Basel: 54%). In the broader Zürich area, the figure is considerably lower (at 37%) but still well above the national average (27%).
The study shows that relative journey times affect the choice of mode. On connections where public transport requires 1.5 times as long as driving, 50% use public transport. For public transport journeys that requires twice as long as the car, this share drops to 20%. It is thus no surprise that public transport is used more intensively on radial connections than on tangential ones (in one example of the latter — Oberland to Pfannenstiel — the share was at 17%). The share of public transport also rises over longer distances (88% for commuters from Bern, 85% from Basel and 73% from Luzern and St. Gallen).
These results were published by the Canton of Zürich in a study entitled "Verkehrsmittel der Pendler im Zürcher Wirtschaftsraum" and are based on data of the 2000 census. Since 1970, the number of commuters has risen from 620,000 to 860,000. In 1970 about one third used public transport.
A visit to the Stadtbahn Glattal building site last week revealed that a continuous stretch of track is now in position between Hallenstadion and the Hagenholzstr. junction (Airgate). The track is not yet connected at Hallenstadion. In the coming weeks, a triangle is to be assembled at Airgate. This triangle is not required in Phase One, but will permit the connection to Bhf. Oerlikon Ost to be realised as part of Phase Two. The Hallenstadion side turnouts are already in position and connected to the track there. The rest of the triangle will be complete by 16th December. This is a busy road junction requiring the work to be carried out in phased partial closures.
Stadtbahn Glattal (also known as Glattalbahn) is a project to bring trams to the Glattal area to the North of Zürich. Phase One (on which work began in September 2004) will open in December 2006. Further phases will see lines to the airport (second phase) and Stettbach (third phase).
TMZ's end of year photo tour will take place on 27th November. The tour will use historic Forchbahn unit 4 and trailer 11. These will depart Stadelhofen at 09:30 and head for Burgwies depot. The work on the transformation of Zürich's oldest surviving depot to a tram museum is now in full swing and will be explained. From here the tour continues to Esslingen where a meal will be served at Restaurant Löwen (optional). The tour finishes at Forch at 14:00. The tour costs 30 Franks and the meal 19.50 extra. Reservations should be made with Tram Museum Zürich.
See also Events diary.
Seen today on route 10: 2115 with new low floor section (overhaul R2 10.05) and the ubiquitous roof boards "Ich bin die 22. Sänfte – Achtung keine Stufe – Umsteigen lohnt sich".
To celebrate the centenary of the Honold confenctionery, a "chocolate tram" started running yesterday. Hot chocolate and cake are served on the tram for 100 cents. The tram, one of the historic Elefants, runs on the city loop (Bellevue - Limmatquai - Bahnhofstrasse - Bellevue) every 20 minutes from 13:30 to 16:30 — until Saturday 29th.
An article in VBZ's staff magazine, Regenbogen, presents interesting background information on the acquisition of double articulated trolleybuses (Megatrolleybus) by Zürich.
Trolleybus route 31 is already loaded to capacity for much of the day. New urban regeneration projects will bring even more traffic into this corridor. Simply raising the service frequency is not a solution because under heavy traffic, overloaded vehicles tend to group into "packets" with unsatisfactorily long gaps in between. Only higher capacity trolleybuses can provide the necessary relief. In a second phase (circa 2015), conversion of this corridor to tram operation will provide a further capacity boost. The double-articulated trolleybuses will then be cascaded onto route 32.
VBZ's 17 double articulated trolleybuses are being built by Hess with electrical equipment by Vossloh-Kiepe. They will enter service in 2007.
The interior of the new trolleybuses will be designed with sight-impaired passengers in mind. Also, the front door will be narrower than on previous buses. This will permit the front seats — often favourised by older people — to be positioned at low-floor level. The asynchronous motors that will power the buses will also be quieter than on previous generations.
A Genève vehicle underwent night-time tests in Zürich in July 2004. The performance of this vehicle impressed VBZ staff and did not reveal any significant incompatibilities, although a number of minor infrastructure modifications were identified and are being addressed. Another TPG trolleybus will visit Zürich in 2006 and be used in service for an extended period to more fully evaluate its suitability. In the unlikely case of unresolvable problems being encountered, the order for 17 double articulated vehicles will be changed to 20 single articulated trolleybuses.
Visitors to the town of Locarno may be familiar with the disused tram tracks crossing the Piazza Grande. However, they hardly expect a real tram to actually turn up!
To add to the period atmosphere of a historic style market held on the Piazza on 8th October, the last surving original Locarno tramcar, Ce2/2 7 (now in the custody of FART) was transferred to its former track for static display from the 7th to the 10th.
The current edition of Prellbock magazine (5/05) has an article on the progress of the ex-Forchbahn units in Madagascar. The new service on which these sets will be used is called TUT (Train Urbain de Tana). The alignment, which dates from the French colonial period and was completed in 1936 is being repaired with Swiss assistance.
After a sea journey of about one month, the Swiss rolling stock (from FB, MGB and TB) will be landed at the port of Toamasina. From here, diesel locomotives will tow it on a 368km trip to Antananarivo. Before entering service there, the trains will be overhauled and repainted. The purpose of the two ex-MGB luggage vans (see 02.08.2005) is to house the diesel generator sets that will power these trains. Electrification of the line using hydro-power is a long-term objective.
The complete list of ex-Swiss vehicles that TUT will have at its disposal is ex-FB BDe4/4 11-6 and Bt 101-6, ex TB-BDe4/4 6 and ex-MBG Z 100 and DZ 4354. Of these, 15-6,101-3 were dispatched in 2004. Interestingly, it is not the first time that second hand Swiss rolling stock finds its way to the island. In 1921, ex RhB G2/3+2/2 ((1'B) B) mallets 25/9-32 were sold here. According to this page on RhB mallets, they were numbered 51-55 (later 40-820 to 4) in Madagascar and lasted until the early 1950s.
The same magazine also reports on the progress of Tram Bern West. Following the rejection of this project last May (see 17.05.2004), a revised proposal is being put forwards which it is hoped will be more acceptable. Work on the 200 MCHF project could begin in 2008 (costs include rolling stock and accompanying measures, about 15% cheaper than the rejected proposal) .
A short article in yesterday's Tages Anzeiger reports that a referendum will be held over Tram Zürich West (see also 28.07.2005) in 2007.
The 09-11.2005 edition of Tram magazine states that the identities of the scrapped Mirages (see 22.08.2005) are 1654, 1690-1 and 1700. They were scrapped in the VBZ main workshops and at a scrapyard in Waltenschwil. It is also reported that ex-FB Bt 108 was transferred to Villenueve on 31st January where it was scrapped by TPC.
Delays in the approval process and problems with financing mean the opening of the planned aerial cable car link from Stettbach to Zoo must be postponed from 2009 to 2015 (or beyond).
Tagi and 20 Minuten
The canton of Basel-Stadt has published a white paper on its public transport strategy for the coming years. The report includes a commitment towards the following goals:
Previous plans for Stadtbahn Glattal saw 97% of track on reserved right of way. Besides intersections, the only mixed running was in Schwarzackerstr in Wallisellen (phase 3). Following objections, it has been decided the Stadtbahn will not use this street but run on reserved right of way alongside the railway (replacing an underutilised siding). This will permit faster running without lessening the catchment area (no stops are affected).
The 21st Tram 2000 low floor rebuild, 2106, is now in service on route 6. Rebuilt to date are 2099-114/6-9/21, leaving only 2115 and 2120 to be modified.
Zürich is again participating in the Europe-wide event "In town without my car". On Sunday 25th September, much of the city centre will be car-free and various events offered. Museum trams will be operated by both APS and TMZ (see events diary). The TMZ postal trailer will be coupled to one of the musuem trams on the Hauptbahnhof - Wartau route. Letters posted on this will receive a special postal tram cancellation.
The list of cities operating, or taking interest in goods trams has been joined by The Hague. The Dutch Rail Magazine (September 2005, quoting source: www.haagstramnieuws.org) reports that a concept is being evaluated to supply city centre shops. Such a tram would operate in the early mornings to avoid interference with passenger services. A tram of the type being acquired for Randstadrail is considered suitable, the large low floor area being ideal for fast unloading.
Goods by tram: background
In 2003, Zürich introduced its Cargotram to collect refuse from neighbourhoods and bring it to a recycling centre. In contrast to the Dresden model, this tram uses older vehicles adapted at relatively low cost. The offer is succesful and popular and has been expanded to serve further destinations in the city.
Vienna is currently evaluating the potential of trams to carry a broader range of cargoes. A prototype / demonstrator has been built.
Follwing evaluations of various alternative sites for a new depot, the city of Basel has decided to retain Wiesenplatz depot, which was badly damaged by fire last year. The depot will be totally redesigned to meet the requirements of a modern depot, but will retain its listed historic front. A striking modern grass-roofed annexe will be added which will also house administrational facilities.
The mountain resort of Saas Fee is considering introducing a steam tram. The village may be car-free, but is nevertheless facing traffic problems on account of the large number of electric vehicles on its streets. A service with electric buses was succesfully introduced in the past winter season, but Saas Fee is aiming higher. A wood-burning steam tram could - in the long term - ply the village street. The system, requiring 750mm gauge track, two locomotives and eight coaches is estimated at 7.2 MCHF.
Following the granting of permission by the council and the expiry of the objection period, construction work at Burgwies began on 23rd August. This former tram depot is to be rebuilt as a tram museum and a Migros supermarket.
A mezzanine floor is being built on the location of tracks one and two. The upper floor will be an exhibition area with viewing gallery for the museum. The lower floor will have a joint entrance area for museum and supermarket as well as the museum shop and facilities. The rest of the main shed (four usable tracks) are for the tram museum's vehicles with the side shed becoming the supermarket. To date, 610'000 Franks have been raised for the museum. It is hoped to raise 1.5 million. The supermarket will open in 2006 and the museum in 2007.
To permit work to start, the various vehicles stabled here have been transferred to Wollishofen depot except Forchbahn (ex-Lausanne) B4 119 which is now at Forch.
A news release from VBG explains the tram stop shelter at Hallenstadion (see 30.08.2005) is the prototype of the design that will be used across the entire Glattalbahn system. It has been installed for evaluation and presentation purposes and will subsequently be removed to prevent damage from vandalism or ongoing construction work (the system will not open until December 2006). In total, the system will have 22 stops. The shelter was designed by the architect Rainer Klostermann of Feddersen & Klostermann. The very marked design elements are continued in the overhead masts which will equally contribute to the recognisability of the system.
City executive councillor, Andres Türler, has announced that from 2009, at least every second tram on all VBZ-worked routes (which include Stadtbahn Glattal, at least during the initial phase) will be low-floor (either Cobra or Sänfte). Glattalbahn is the first railway project in the Zürich area to fully conform to the 2004 requirements on disabled access.
According to VBG chairman, Otto Halter, Glattalbahn is already having a positive impact on the Glattal area, with many companies investing stating this system as a reason for chosing the location.
Stadtbahn Glattal is a project to bring trams to an area to the North of Zürich. The first phase (on which work began in September 2004) will see tram route 11 extended from Messe/Hallenstadion to Auzelg. Further phases will see lines to the airport and Stettbach.
The twentieth Tram 2000 low floor rebuild has entered service on route 6.
This year, Zürich's annual Museum Night is on 3rd September. Almost 40 museums are participating and opening their doors to the public for the night. The Tram Museum is taking part and will be operating museum trams on the loop Bellevue - Hochschule - Central - Escher-Wyss-Platz - Paradeplatz - Bellevue from 19:00 to 02:00. The workshop at Escher-Wyss-Platz will be open to show progress on the overhaul of Ce2/2 176.
See also events diary.
Rapid visible progress is being made on the construction of Stadtbahn Glattal. A visit to the Hallenstadion area yesterday revealed that rails have been installed alongside this building. The connecting points to the city tram system have also been installed but are not yet connected to the other new track. At the other end of the new track, the rails stop just short of the railway bridge, but resume on the other side ending short of the Hagenholzstr junction. At least one of the overhead masts has already been planted (and has a working streetlight). At Hallenstadion the inbound platform and shelter have already been built. The shelter is larger than those in the city and is built to a high standard with architectural accents that will be repeated throughout the Stadtbahn Glattal project. Advertising posters are already installed in the shelter and are lit up!
Stadtbahn Glattal is a project to bring trams to an area to the North of Zürich. The first phase (now under construction) will see tram route 11 extended from Messe/Hallenstadion to Auzelg using 2.7km of new track and serving five new stops. This section will open in December 2006. Further phases will see lines to the airport and Stettbach.
Groups opposed to new road building projects in Liechtenstein are, as an alternative, promoting a Stadtbahn. Liechtenstein's booming economy and high salaries are attracting more and more commuters from neighbouring regions in Austria and Switzerland. The Stadtbahn concept originally emerged from an consultancy study in 2003 and is based on Saarbrücken's system.
Currently, Liechtenstein's capital, Vaduz is not served by any form of rail, but this could be corrected by this new Stadtbahn. The proposed system would run from Sargans (Switzerland) to Feldkirch (Austria) via Vaduz and Schaan with a branch from Schaan to Buchs (also Switzerland). Existing railways would be shared between Sargans and Trübbach and between Buchs and Feldkirch with the Schaan to Trübbach section having to be constructed. In total the Stadtbahn would be 30km long, take 12 years to realise and cost 350 to 450 million Swiss Franks.
Just arrived back from a trip to Brussels, Gent and the Isle of Man so apologies if I've missed any important news! The trip was wonderful, as were the trams and the weather.
According to reports on bahnonline.ch, the first Mirage type trams (Be4/6 1601-1726) have been scrapped. The trams concerned are 1654 and 1691. Further withdrawn units stored at Wollishofen are 1610/1/90 and (two?) others. The forum thread is here.
The number of teddy-bears being carried on the front of trams is also rapidly dwindling. Some appear to have been lost or stolen and others removed to make way for signs advertising various forthcoming sports events. The bears should last until 18th September.
On Sunday 21st August, various works trams will be on display at Wartau. Others will be running between Hauptbahnhof and Wartau (so photographers, don't miss the opportunity!). The presence of Cargotram is also announced. The museum will be open from 10:00 to 18:00. Historic passenger trams will provide a half-hourly service from Hauptbahnhof to Wartau from 10:00 to 17:00. At the tram museum, a sale will be held of old and new tram books, collectibles, models and souvenirs and food and drinks will be served.
See also events diary.
Spotted today at Bhf. Oerlikon on route 10: 2119 as 19th low-floor tram 2000 rebuild (overhaul date is R2.0 8.05).
It is with great regret that we have learnt of the passing away of VBZ director Thomas Portmann (49) yesterday.
On 21st July, the Belgian ship "Love Story" left Basel loaded with eleven Swiss narrow gauge vehicles for Madagascar: Trogenerbahn BDe 4/4 6, two ex Furka-Oberalp Z4 postal vans, Forchbahn BDe 4/4 11-14, Bt 4 102/5 and two further Bt's (two of 103/4/6). These are the last ex-Forchbahn vehicles bound for Madagascar to leave Basel. They wil be transshipped onto an ocean-going vessel in Antwerp.
The current status of these vehicles is: #9 FB snow broom. #10 FB/VHF museum car, #11-14/102/105 to Madagascar by second shipment, #15/16/101 to Madagascar by first shipment (reported arrived, see 21.01.05.), #103/4/6 to Madagascar by first or second shipment(?), #107 scrapped at Hügle, Dübendorf (see 13.05.2004), #108 acquired by TPC for parts (see 25.02.2005).
63 objections have been registered concerning Tram Zürich West (the proposed new tram line from Escher-Wyss-Platz to Bhf. Altstetten). 39 of these are connected to land acquisition, the others to car parking, environmental and connected issues (running under the Hardbrücke viaduct, the new tram will displace the car park area that currently uses this site).
VBZ is already negotiating with many of these objectors and is confident that satisfactory solutions can be agreed upon soon. The scheduled opening date of 2009 is not threatened. Planning permission for the 300 million Frank project is expected next Summer (the costs include remodelling of Pfingstweidstrasse, an important road thoroughfare along which trams will run).
Following positive experiences with video surveillance cameras on night buses, VBZ is considering the introduction of such a system to six tram and eight urban bus routes. It is not known which routes are concerned.
With the arrival of the Winterthur's new Solaris Trollinos (delivery to be completed by the end of this year), Saurer 122-131 (introduced 1982-3) will be withdrawn. Trolleybusverein Schweiz is organising a tour with a member of this class on 28th August. The tour departs Winterthur Hauptbahnhof at 13:45. The fare will be 10 Franks. No reservation is necessary.
Good news for the trolleybus!
On 15th July, VBZ announced that it is acquiring 33 new trolleybuses. Of these, 16 will be single articulated and 17 double articulated. The new trolleybuses will replace the first generation of Mercedes Benz / ABB 0 405 GTZ units (35 in total). The chosen supplier is Hess AG (of Bellach SO, Switzerland) with electrical equipment from Vossloh Kiepe GmbH (of Düsseldorf, Germany). Deliveries will commence in mid 2006 and be complete in early 2008.
Double articulated trolleybuses are a premiere in Zürich. A Genève vehicle visited the city last year for trials, but did not run in service. It toured the system at night to check clearances and the aptitude of the power supply. The double articulated units are primarily intended for the chronically overcrowded route 31, but the infrastructure of route 32 is also being adapted to permit some flexibility in deployment (on both routes modifications to the stops are needed). The double articulated buses will be able to carry 35% more passengers than the current trolleybuses, translating into savings of 570,000 Franks annually.
Further trials with a double-articulated trolleybus will take place on route 31 from January 2006 — this time in passenger service (presumably a Genève vehicle is being borrowed again). In the unlikely case of it proving unsatisfactory, the order will be changed to a larger number of single-articulated trolleybuses. The double-articulated units are scheduled to be delivered from mid 2007.
Besides Zürich and Genève, St. Gallen is also investing in double-articlulated trolleybuses. In contrast to these cities, however, the St. Gallen units are being created by rebuilding older vehicles. All three orders have been secured by Hess.
The single articulated units for Zürich and Genève are of type Swisstrolley3 and the double articulated units lighTram3. Genève is taking 38 and 10 units respectively.
See also: VBZ to order new trolleybuses (26.02.2004).
At 09:21 yesterday, an Oerlikon-bound tram on route 11 ran into the back of a stationary route 14 tram at Kronenstrasse stop. 24 people were injured, three of whom had to be taken to hospital. This is one of the severest accidents in recent times. Its cause is being investigated. The driver of the 11 is suffering from shock and has not been able to make a statement. The road was not cleared until 16:30. Press photographs show both trams have suffered severe damage. The rear unit of the 14 was 2309, and the front unit of the 11 was 2030.
Models of the different Forchbahn BDe 4/4 variants and B4 trailers (including ex OEG and Lausanne vehicles) are now available from Malu Tram. The models are presented on this page and can be purchased from VHF.
BVB and BLT are jointly inviting tenders for 55 new trams. These will be 45m long, 2.3m wide, at least 60% low floor and able to transport 270 passengers. Tenders must be entered by 30th September. To prevent a repetition of the Combino problems, the manufacturer will supply four prototypes which must undergo a thorough test phase. Measurement points will verify that simulated values conform with reality. The production units will then follow in three batches until 2014. 15 units are for BVB and the remaining 40 for BLT.
The first track of Stadtbahn Glattal (Glattalbahn) was laid last night. In a posession lasting from 21.15 to 06.30, a turnout that will connect the new line to the existing system was installed at Messe/Hallenstadion. Further work will be carried out in the coming nights. Operations will be restored to normal by the weekend. Tracks will be installed as far as the Hagenholzstrasse junction by the end of the year.
Stadtbahn Glattal is a project to bring trams to the area to the North of Zürich. The first phase, which is now under construction, will see tram route 11 extended from Messe/Hallendsadion to Auzelg using 2.7km of new track and serving five new stops. This section will open in late 2006. Further phases will see lines to the airport and Stettbach.
Congratulations to VBG for putting this news on their website so quickly!
Pictures of the inauguration of "Zürich 737" (ex-Bruxelles 7037) available on this site: San Francisco Zürich Initiative.
A recent visit to Werdhölzli tram terminus confirms that a cargotram siding has been built and is now operational. The siding attaches to the turning loop by means of a trailing turnout — the tram reverses in from the loop. The track enters the ERZ grounds by means of a gate and takes a sharp right turn immediately after this (space in the yard is restricted). The track is wired on its full length and can be electrically isolated from the running line by means of a section divider. A green light indicates when the wire is safely isolated. Two of the masts have emergency off buttons. The cargo terminus is built to a high standard: The point is clearly new and the line track and overhead masts probably also are. The rail is grooved and set in asphalt throughout. Its end is marked by a GF-coupling buffer stop. The high quality of the work definitely indicates that cargotram is not a passing experiment but is here to stay.
The current operating pattern appears to be that the cargotram vehicles remain stabled here when not in use. At the time of my visit; Xe4/4 1922, X2 1984 and X4 1991 were on-site, having just returned from service. No attempt was being made to unload these so I assume this was planned for the next day. 1991 was positioned at the end of the track, with 1922 and 1984 remaining coupled and close to the gate.
Prior to the completion of this siding, cargotram frequently worked to the VBZ workshops in Altstetten from where the payload would continue its journey by lorry — time between passenger trams being too short to allow unloading on the running line at Werdhölzli.
The Zurich tram which will run on San Francisco's Market Street Railway is ex-Brussels PCC 7037. This vehicle was built by La Brugeoise in 1952 and acquired by San Francisco (Muni) in 2004. It is being repainted in blue and white to mark San Francisco's sister city relationship with Zurich. The tram has not yet entered service. It will use the fleet number 737 as 7037 is already in use in San Francisco. For information on this vehicle check 7037's page on the Market Street Railway website.
On 1st June, the city council gave its final approval for the creation of a tram museum in Burgwies depot - by 111 votes to zero.
The mystery surrounding the Zürich streetcar in San Francisco is solved. An ex-Brussels tram has been repainted in VBZ colours and will operate on San Fransisco's heritage F line (Castro — Fisherman’s Wharf). A display inside the tram will inform riders about Zürich. The tram will be unveiled on 5th June as part of the World Environment Day activities and will operate in its Zürich guise for at least a year. For the longer term future, the regauging of a genuine Zürich tram is being considered.
See also 23.05.2005
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the inauguration of the S-Bahn in Zürich. Average daily passenger figures have risen from 159,288 at the time of the opening to 311,000 today.
In connection with this year's Caliente festival, Zürich's restaurant tram (1802) is running in public service from 25th May to 18th June. The restaurant is open Wednesdays to Saturdays during this period from 11:30 to 12:30, 13:00 to 14:00, 18:00 to 20:00 and 20:30 to 22:30. The "beer garden" trailer (1971) is open from 11:30 to 14:00 and 18:00 to 22:30. The itinerary is Bellevue - Central - HB - Bellevue, with boarding at Bellevue. Reservations are strongly recommended for the restaurant: 079 505 4877.
Following the lead of Dresden and Zürich, Wien may soon be moving goods by tram. In contrast to these earlier examples, this service will not be focussed on a single product but must attract a broader range of cargoes. By running at night, it will be possible to load and unload on running lines, so avoiding the prohibitive costs of dedicated sidings. However, some legal aspects have to be resolved before this can be put into practice. For now, the newly completed prototype (presented on 17th May) is confined to moving supplies between tram depots.
For more information on this project, check the Gueterbim website.
See also 11.08.2004.
Since Sunday (22nd May), hundreds of teddy-bears add life and colour to the streets of Zürich. Numerous artists were involved in decorating and painting these figures — each one is individual. They will remain on the streets until 18th September. The bears follow on from similarly succesful themes: lions (1986), cows (1998) and benches (2001).
This time, the trams are involved too: A small friendly bear sits on the front of every tram displaying the route number. Its ears match the route colour and its trousers are blue. The only trams that are not fitted with bears are the Cobras.
San Francisco's Market Street Railway is a tourist attraction, operating a collection of heritage streetcars from across the world in regular service. The idea of adding a Zürich tram to this fleet is not new — especially in view of the special relationship between the two cities. But the difference in track gauge makes such plans seem rather hypothetical. The San Francisco Zürich Initiative, however, announce on their website that such a tram will be operational in June. We look forward to the result.
Updated: 25.05.05, 28.07.05, 05.08.05, 01.09.05, 01.11.05, 15.11.05.
2105 is now in service on route 10 with a low floor centre-section.
See also 12.04.2005.
On 12th December last, Basel's trolleybus route 33 went over to diesel bus operation, leaving the 31 as last operating trolleybus route. Pro Trolleybus, the organisation fighting against BVB's abandonment plans, was quick to point out a legal hitch: The concession covering this route specified trolleybus operation. The matter was taken up with the transport ministry and BVB had to admit an error. Rather then reverting the damage however, a concession change was applied for. This was granted on 6th May. It is not yet clear whether BVB wil be fined for this breach. Individuals participating in the intervention have 30 days to lodge an appeal. The silver lining is that the ministry states the remaining route 31 must be trolleybus operated until 2010.
Pro Trolleybus has brought about a referendum on trolleybus retention, but no date is announced yet. Public sympathy for the trolleybus is thought to be considerable — the bigger challenge is preventing too much being dismantled before the vote can take place.
The May edition of Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue (SER) reports on the new Cargotram trailer. This bogie vehicle is fitted with a crusher to be able to handle more refuse (it has frequently occured that Cargotram was unable to carry items because it was full). The crusher needs to be fed by a power cable from Xe4/4 1922. The new vehicle, numbered X4 1991, uses the bogies of Standard trailer B4 756 (see also 25.02.2005).
There have been various rumours, that the arrival of X4 1991 has led to one of the older X2 trailers (1984 or 1987) being withdrawn. A report on BahnCH confirms that this is not the case.
The May edition of Tramways and Urban Transit (No 809, pp180-184) features the second (and final part) of the Zürich article by the author of this website. The contribution entitled "Zürich: The Cobra rules, all above ground", traces the newer history of the tram system (from the abortive U-Bahn project to the present) and discusses future developments (Tram Zürich West, Stadtbahn Glattal, Stadtbahn Limmattal). In terms of rolling stock, the Tram 2000 and Cobra types are presented. The five-page article has nine photos by the author.
The other main articles in the magazine are concerned with the new route 25 in Rotterdam, the acquisition of ex-Halle Tatra 902 by Crich, and the Vicinal museum at Thuin (Belgium).
According to BahnCH, Be 4/8 2111 and Be 4/6 2029 were seen at Laubiweg yesterday on a test run as a coupled pair. This would be the first report of low-floor Tram 2000s being run in this manner.
A Be 4/8 + Be 4/6 combination may be too long for many stops, but a Be 4/8 + Be 2/4 set could offer an attractive way of providing low floor accomodation on routes worked by Tram-2000s in multiple.
Yesterday, Aktion Pro Sächsitram visited the WINPRO works in Winterthur (formerly SLM). A report with photographs is published on their website. Views of Sänfte (low-floor sections for Tram-2000) under construction must be a highlight for tram fans. WINPRO's main activity — heavy repairs on railway equipment — is also well documented: www.6-tram.ch/Sechselaeutenexkursion_2005.htm.
The web page explains that Sänfte 16 to 18 are in final assembly. All 22 units should be delivered by late Summer.
It is reported on BahnCH that the 15th Sänfte (number 2101) is now in traffic. Rebuilt to date are 2100-4/7-11/3-4/6-8, leaving 2099/105-6/12/5/9-21 to be modified.
See also: 09.03.2005.
Following an incident on 29th December when Mirage tram 1696 lost a ceiling-mounted spring leading to the injury of a passenger, all trams of this type have been inspected. No similar damage has been identified on any other unit, but protective elements are being fitted nevertheless. The work is costing 30 000 Franks. A dozen vehicles have already been equipped. An investigation by the materials science institute EMPA revealed that the failure was caused by material fatigue.
See also 07.01.2005.
The current edition of Tramways and Urban Transit (No 808, April 2005, pp130-134) features the first part of an article on Zürich and its trams by the author of this website. The article is entitled "Zürich: Top city — thanks to light rail". Part one sets the scene and covers the history of the system from the beginnings to the 1960s (introduction of the Mirage type and Tiefbahn planning and rejection).
The article features a colour system map drawn by the author showing existing, closed and planned tram and trolleybus routes. There are also seven photographs by the author.
The other main articles in this edition cover the metro in Sao Paulo, light rail develoments in London and Stuttgart's Zuffenhausen tram museum.
Tramways & Urban Transit is a monthly magazine published jointly by LRTA and Ian Allan Publishing. It is available by subscription. Individual copies can also be bought directly from the publishers and some newsstands.
The city has purchased a plot of land on Aargauerstrasse directly adjoining SBB's Herdern stabling area and on the route of the planned Escher-Wyss-Platz to Bhf. Altstetten extension. It will initially be used as a yard for the road maintenance department, but will later become a tram depot or stabling yard.
Latest plans suggest that there will not be a tram 18 as previously suggested, but that when this new tram line opens (in 2009 or 2010) it will be served by a diverted route 15. Coming from Bellevue, the 15 will cross the river at Central and continue as the 4 does to Escher-Wyss-Platz. The planned Glattal route A will run to Hauptbahnhof via Milchbuck - Schaffhauserplatz - Central and the 10 will be cut back to Milchbuck.
In the opinion of this website, this solution would be suboptimal due to the lengthy parallel running of routes 4 and 15 and the loss of route 15 at Bucheggplatz. An extension of route 10 from Hauptbahnhof to Bhf. Altstetten would be a better way to serve the new line. Such an option would create many new direct connections from the Escher-Wyss-Platz to Hauptbahnhof "main line" without sacrificing any existing connections. Furthermore, if route A were treated as en extension of route 10 and continued to run via ETH, further direct connections would be created without an additional service having to be routed across the Central - Hauptbahnhof bottleneck. Route A cannot aim to be an express link from central Züich to the airport — that is what the S-Bahn is for.
See also 13.01.2005.
It is now more than a year since Siemens ordered the worldwide immediate withdrawal of all Combinos with more than 120'000km on the clock — following the discovery of cracks threatening the vehicles' structural integrity in case of an accident. The trams concerned have since returned to service with temporary repairs, but agreements over a permanent solution and compensation for the damages caused have yet to be concluded.
Siemens has now offered to pay an undisclosed sum to Basel as compensation if BVB accepts the company's repair proposal and relinquishes all further claims. Under these proposals the trams will be shipped to Siemens in Uerdingen or Prague. Bodywork will be strengthened and running gear modified. The exact terms of the payment offer are strictly confident.
If Basel does not accept, and chooses instead to demand a refund of the full sales price from Siemens, the case will probably have to treated by the courts.
On 14th March, the cantonal parliament agreed to subsidise ZVV (Zürcher Verkehrsverbund - the body responsible for all public transport in the canton) with 650.5 million Franks for 2005 (320.5) and 2006 (330). The 2004 deficit was 303.5 million. The higher spending is necessary to cover upcoming investments and service improvements (including Stadtbahn Glattal).
On 15th March, Mercer Institute, a London-based HR consultancy, announced the results of their annual survey in search of the world's most liveable cities. Zürich has scored position one several times — and did so again this year — jointly with Geneva (106.5 points). 39 criteria are considered in the evaluation, including criminality, health-care, gastronomy, entertainment — and transport. The reference city is New York (100 points). The survey is considered to have influence on the location decisions of companies wishing to offer their employees attractive conditions.
Good news for the North! The cantonal government has given the green light for phase two of Stadtbahn Glattal. Construction will start in the Summer of 2006, following on seamlessly from phase one, and be complete in late 2008. The new 5.2km line serving eight stops will branch from the phase one line at Ambassador and run to the airport via Opfikon, Glattbrugg and Bäuler. The project features a 400m tunnel under the railway and motorway at Glattbrugg and a 700m viaduct on its approach to the airport.
Coming during a time of tight purse strings and tough budget consolidation, the approval of the second phase of Stadtbahn Glattal stands as a sign of the confidence placed in this project and its importance for the development of the Glattal area. The 329 million Franks made available for the project are earmarked as follows:
— 200 million for the Stadtbahn proper between Ambassador and Airport.
Ongoing roadworks in Dübendorf (Sonnental) are apparently also connected to Stadtbahn Glattal. The future alignment of phase 3 is being respected and the new road layout is designed to permit an easy integration of the future Stadbahn line.
Stadtbahn Glattal is a new tram system for the Glattal area (to the North of Zürich). It is being realised in three phases for completion in 2010. The first phase (construction in progress, opening 2006) connects to the city tram system at Messe (Oerlikon) and runs to Auzelg. The second phase (now approved) serves the airport, with the third phase (awaiting approval) running from Auzelg to Stettbach. The three phases will cost a total of 537 million Franks. In the longer term future a line will link Bassersdorf. There are tentative discussions about further extensions, including one to Bülach.
See also 21.12.2004.
On 9th February, the city executive council approved the project to create a tram museum in Burgwies depot. Pending approval by the full council, work will begin in early Summer for an opening in 2007 - coinciding with the 125th anniversary of trams in Zürich and TMZ's 40th. The Migros supermarket, which will occupy part of the building, will open in 2006.
See also 01.04.2004.
On 28th March, the annual Osterhasenfahrt (Easter bunny tour) will converge on Burgwies depot. Museum trams leave Usteristr. at 09:45, 10:15, 11:15 and 12:15 for this depot. Forchbahn BDe 4/4 10 leaves Esslingen at 10:00 (Egg: 10:05, Forch 10:13) for Burgwies. Historic vehicles will be on display at the depot. Refreshments will be served and various organisations present with sales and info stands.Between 10:30 and 16:00 tours will operate from here using preserved trams and buses. A day pass for all activities costs 10 Franks (5 for children) and is available on the vehicles. The event is jointly organised by TMZ, APS and VHF.
On 10th April, TMZ will operate their popular Spring photo-tour. This years' stars will be Pedaler Be 4/4 1530 and Ce 2/2 2. The tour will concentrate on routes 8 and 15 — rarely graced by museum cars. Meeting point is Gessnerallee loop at 13:30. Tour ends at 17:30 at Haupbahnhof. Charge is 20 Franks (10 for children).
Non members are welcome at all events.
The regular museum tram season opens on 2nd April. Historic trams run between Hauptbahnhof (Bahnhofstrasse) and Wartau Tram Museum on the first Saturday and last Sunday of every month from April to October. The trams run every half hour from 13:30 to 16:30. A single trip takes about 20 minutes. Regular tram tickets are valid. The museum at Wartau is open during operating times of the museum route, and also every Wednesday night from 19:00 to 21:30. Admission is free.
The night services offered by ZVV continue to grow in popularity. In 2002, the night lines (some still privately operated) carried on average 1500 people on a Saturday night. In 2003, when ZVV re-organised the services and added night S-Bahn trains, patronage rose to 4474. This climbed to 5432 in 2004. A record was reached on 7th November with 9371 passengers.
Economically, the system is on sound footing. The night network lost 500'000 Franks in 2003 but payed its way in 2004 (farebox recovery for day services is 60% — also considered a good figure).
The success is leading to overcrowding on many routes. Operators are using larger buses and longer trains to alleviate this. The high percentage of passengers without a ticket (5%, comapred to 1% for day services) is also a problem and caused in part by the difficulty of inspecting tickets on crowded vehicles. Additional revenue enforcement staff are being added. Saturday patronage is about 50% higher than Friday's.
Night services operate on Friday and Saturday nights. To use the service, a regular ticket is required, in addition to which a supplement of five franks (valid all night) must be payed. The cantonal government requires that ZVV operates the night services without subsidies.
The reduction of the legal blood alcohol limit for driving (from 0.08 to 0.05%), which came into effect on 1st January is expected to bring further passengers to public transport.
Seen yesterday on route 6 at Bhf. Enge (and travelled on): brand new low-floor centre section on 2103 — complete with roofboard "Ich bin die 14te Sänfte". With 11 units rebuilt in eight months in 2004, delivery appears to have slowed to one a month so far this year.
An article on Zürich's trams — by the author of this website — is set to appear in the upcoming (April 2005) edition of Tramways & Urban Transit.
The preview column of the present edition announces "Run it with flowers", adding a flower-decorated "Goldtimer" tram picture and asking "is this the supreme city tramway? Travel with us to the Swiss city of Zürich, which has every reason to be proud of its showpiece system."
Tramways & Urban Transit is a monthly magazine published jointly by LRTA and Ian Allan Publishing. It is available by subscription. Individual copies can also be bought directly from the publishers and some newsstands.
Last year, VBZ moved their all time best figure of 289 million passengers - up 7 million on 2003. The growth is principally due to more commuters using the S-Bahn, and then continuing their journey by VBZ. Tram 14 is the most used route, carrying 24 million passengers. The largest growth was observed on the night lines, with 40% more passengers than the previous year. Income grew by 5 million Franks to 167 million. 80 million was spent on track and vehicle renewals.
The latest edition of Tram magazine (81/03-05.2005) reports (among many many other things) that a new Cargotram trailer has been added to the fleet. This is converted from a former passenger trailer (This website assumes that no. 1990 is meant: a flat car originally modified for moving escalators and other large parts into the subway. It started its life as a Standard trailer). It is also stated that the siding to Werdhölzli recycling centre should be operational by early February 2005!
Furthermore, the magazine reports on the disposal of the withdrawn Forchbahn BDe4/4 and Bt4 cars. It states that 108 was cannibalised by TPC (Chablais) staff at Esslingen and that 16 and 101 are already in Madagascar.
The latest issue marks the 20th anniversary of Tram. This website sends its best wishes.
In 2006, SBB will replace the railway bridges crossing Schaffhauserstrasse at Bhf. Oerlikon (these cross the tracks of tram 14). Zürich would like to use this opportunity to widen the underpass from 17 metres to 40 to be able to create a tram/bus/railway interchange. The tram/bus stop will be relocated to under the bridges and direct connections to the railway platforms provided. The second phase of Stadtbahn Glattal (the airport route) will also use this tram stop.
SBB will pay what it would have cost to replace the existing structure by a similar one (6.26 MCHF), with the additional charge for the longer bridge (5.32 MCHF) being payed by the city. Initially, only the bridge will be built, the full interchange waiting until the more distant future.
According to a report on the Trolleybus Yahoogroup, the first Solaris trolleybus for Winterthur (171) will leave Ostrava for WV on 23rd February.
The first of Winterthur's ten new Solaris trolleybuses is currently being tested in the Czech city of Ostrava.
See also 19.03.2004.
A major tram track renewal and remodelling programme is starting at Bahnhof Enge. The work will stretch over almost two years. It includes the laying of a connecting spur allowing direct workings between Wollishofen and Albisgüetli. Besides being useful for depot runs, such a track will enable the possible extension of tram route 5 to the future Sihl City shopping centre. This curve is remarkable as it is not only very tight but also in a gradient.
The plans also see a total transformation of Tessinerplatz, the square outside Bhf. Enge. The single loop track will be replaced by a double loop. Planting of trees will transform this area into an attractive urban setting.
The 1/05 edition of the quarterly Prellbock magazine has several items on Züich. There is a report on the renovation and reopening of Dolderbahn and also on the withdrawal of Forchbahn BDe4/4 and Bt4 cars, their farewell tour and their transfer to Madagascar. The article is very up to date, even mentioning the shipment of 108. It explains this was acquired as a source of spares by AOMC (Chablais).
The magazine features a discussion of Tram Bern West (a new project will be presented this autumn). There are also reports on the rebuilding of Gornergratbahn Dhe2/4 3015 (ex Bhe2/4 3015) for goods traffic, the 75th anniversary of the Glacier Express, the transfer of modern steam loco 16 from Rocher de Naye to Brienz Rothorn and future changes to the rail system beyond Bahn 2000.
Seen this morning at Bhf. Oerlikon on the 10: 2110 with new low floor centre section and roof board proudly proclaiming 'Ich bin die 13te Sänfte'.
Sänfte trams now in service are 2100/2/4/7-11/13-4/6-8. Remaining to be rebuilt are 2099/101/3/5-6/12/5/9-21.
According to reports on BahnCH, a Forchbahn Bt (driving trailer) left Zürich by railway low-loader yesterday; hauled in style by an Ae6/6. It appears the new owner is BVB (Bex).
Originally BVB wanted to acquire three such units. Subsequent reports mentioned just one, or none at all, or just a pair of bogies. The Bt will be passing through Bombardier's Villeneuve works on its way to Bex - it is not entirely clear in what form it will finally enter service.
The identity of the vehicle is not confirmed, but probably 108, which spent its final weeks on the FB collecting graffiti at Esslingen. This makes it the very last of its type to leave the rails of Zürich.
On a related note, the VHF website has a gallery of photographs documenting the transfer of ex-FB cars to Basel (Birsfelden Hafen) on their way to Madagascar. Units currently in Birsfelden are 11-4 and 104/5.
The first four Forchbahn vehicles have arrived in Madagascar. Negotiations are under way with MAN Diesel over the provison of diesel generators.
Background: As regular readers of this page will know, a suburban passenger service is to be introduced in Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo, using ex-Forchbahn BDe4/4 and Bt4 cars equipped with diesel generators. See also 13.01.2005, 17.12.2004, 18.10.2004, 09.09.2004, 13.07.2004, 01.07.2004 and 13.05.2004.
20.01.2005 - Tram Museum web archive back online
Found today on the web: The old TMZ searchable web archive has returned! It can now be found on www.tram-museum-archiv.ch.
See also 01.04.2004.
An information booth opens today to inform residents about the projected 3km tram route from Escher Wyss Platz to Bahnhof Altstetten (sometimes also referred to as Tram 18). The stand is located outside Schiffbau, not far from where the new tram will run. And rather than using a portacabin or something equally unimaginative, the office is nothing less than a tram!
Opening times of the tram are Thursdays and Fridays from 14:00 to 18:00 and Saturdays 10:00 to 14:00. The exhibition will last until 2006. The closest bus stop is Pfingstweidstrasse.
The latest schedule sees construction work on this line starting in 2007 for a 2009 opening (instead of 2008). Planning is making good progress and a public enquiry is set for March. A referendum will probably also be required.
One feature of the plans is a total redesign of Escher-Wyss-Platz, where the new line will join the existing system. The tram stop will be moved from its present location under the viaduct to the Limmatstrasse. The East (city) side of the square is to be pedestrianised, making it easier for tram passengers to interchange with the bus services on the viaduct. The pedestrianisation will be achieved by concentrating the car lanes on the West side (in front of the depot). The pedestrianisation will provide a new quality to this currently car-dominated location. The tram track layout will become considerably more complex, allowing many movement that currently require reversals. Basically, it will be possible for trams coming from any direction to continue in any other direction and to enter/leave the depot without reversing.
The street-running railway siding running parallel to the viaduct and crossing tram tracks at grade at Escher-Wyss-Platz will have to be realigned at its junction with Pfingstweidstrasse. This siding serves Swissmill and is used several times a day.
Euro 2008: On a related note, it is now official that Euro 2008 games will be played at Letzigrund and not at Hardturm. This would explain why the schedule for the new line could be allowed to slip slightly (Tram Zürich West should have been running to Hardturm in time for the championship - this urgency is now lost). See also 11.11.2004, 30.09.2004 and 09.09.2004.
Infotram: For those who want to know more about the infotram itself: the tram at Schiffbau is 768, one of the Standard trailers rendered surplus in December 2003 (see 02.04.2004). The front part of the tram is used to screen a computer-animated film of the new line. Viewers sit on the original tram seats. The rear part of the tram is an exhibition area with plans and drawings of the new line. Visitors enter and leave through the rear door.
13.01.2005 - First tram reaches Mulhouse!
Not really Zürich at all, but a tram and in Zürich's broader region! The first of Mulhouse's new yellow trams has arrived and will be presented to the public on 15th and 16th January from 10:00 to 17:00 at Mulhouse Mertzau depot (close to Musée de L'Auto).
We wish Mulhose all the best with their ambitious new tramway!
According to observations on BahnCH, another two Forchbahn cars have left Zürich by rail. They are headed for Basel and ultimately Madagascar. It seems that the acquistion of trailers by BVB (Bex) is not going ahead.
There has been some discussion on the BahnCH Yahoogroup and on TramForumBasel concerning an incident on 29th December when a spring broke loose from the roof of a Mirage tram on route 7 and caused parts of the ceiling to fall into the passenger compartment. A pensioner was hospitalised.
The spring concerned is one of those used to distribute the weight away from the centre bogie onto the motorised outer bogies. Following this incident, all trams of this type (1601-1726) are being inspected and are the springs fitted with additional protection. The operation is costing several 10 000 Franks.
Seen today on route 10: 2111 with low floor centre section (Sänfte).
Being the 12th rebuild to enter service (or the 11th WinPro-built Sänfte), this marks the halfway point of the rebuild programme (all 23 units of the 2099-2121 batch are being rebuilt). With the first WinPro unit entering service on 6th May last, the delivery rate has been considerably higher than the one per month intended.
The first Sänfte (2113) was bult in VBZ's own workshops and has been in service since 25.10.2001. Experience with this led to the order of 22 identical units from WinPro. Centre sections are buing built in Winterthur and fitted to the trams by VBZ in their own workshops.
02.01.2005 - 2004 news
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers!
All 2004 news items (85 in total) have been moved to: