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Newslog 2018

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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.

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14.12.2018 - Stadler to modernize Forchbahn Be4/6

Stadler has won a contract to modernize 13 Be4/6 Forchbahn trains by 2024. They will receive Voith converters (a first for a Swiss railway) and should remain in service until 2037

13.12.2018 - Tram Affoltern

Another proposed line that is edging towards realization is Tram Affoltern. The information I provided on this has been somewhat sparse recently but the present status is that planning began in March. An opening is envisioned for 2027.


Tram Affoltern plan
(click on map to enlarge)

The new tram line between Radiostudio and Holzerhurd will replace a section of trolleybus 32. With the population of Affoltern growing and further new areas being developed, the existing link is approaching its capacity limit. Furthermore, a tram would provide a direct link to Zürich's city centre.

The line has been in discussion for some time. In the network development strategy presented in 2006, the line was part of the long term planning (beyond 2025). By 2012, the project was clearly gaining political momentum and an opening by 2022 was envisioned. But things got a bit quieter after that with activity now finally resurging. The line will be served by tram route 11, with the 11's present service to Auzelg being taken over by route 15.

13.12.2018 - Limmattalbahn to Baden

Plans for the extension of Limmattalbahn to Baden are making progress.

The line will continue beyond its (soon to be constructed) Killwangen terminus and run to Neuenhof, before crossing the river Limmat where it wil form an interchange with a yet to be built station on the S6 line by the Tägerhard shopping centre and then running through the centre of Wettingen and on to Baden station, again crossing the river (probably on the existing bridge).

A pre-project is presently in hand and hopfeully a decison can be made in 2020.

Kanton Aargau

Limmattalbahn nach Baden
(click on map to enlarge)

Interestingly, this map also indicates the longer term option of extending the line beyond Baden station.

Another point of interest is that the final approach to Baden station is from Schulhausplatz and through Schlossbergtunnel. This was originally a railway tunnel, which was vacated when the railway was realigned in 1961 and then widened (considerably) into a road tunnel (part of the road onward from there towards Neuenhof is also on the old railway alignment). In a project realized from 2015 to 2018, a single-lane bus tunnel was opened on a lower level of the tunnel. It is not clear whether this wil also serve Limmattalbahn, or whether the tram will run on the upper level with road traffic.

13.12.2018 - Glattalbahn extension to Kloten

The cantonal government has given VBG approval to proceed with the planning of an extension of Glattalbahn from its present airport terminus at Flughafen Fracht, across the motorway and through the centre of Kloten to Grindel (on the edge of Bassersdorf). The line will be approximetaly 3.5km long and have six stops. The planning will be completed by the end of 2019 and be presented for a public enquiry in 2020. Construction could begin in 2024 for an opening in December 2027.


04.12.2018 - This newslog is 15 years old

I missed the date, but on 12th November, this newslog was 15 years old (here is the 2003 page, when it all began). Activity has dropped off lately as I haven't always found the time. But in total 1219 items have been posted (including this one). The newslog.html page alone has seen 149,754 hits (reads or attempted reads), or 141,002 according to the counter, amounting to 8042 MB of data downloaded (text only, not counting pictures). In reality, effective volume is higher as the news can also be read through newsitem.php or

I cannot promise that I will keep this newslog forever, and if anybody wants to do a better job, I am happy to support them. But neither am I planning to abandon it soon. For as long as I keep getting visitors in significant numbers, I hope to continue providing content.

04.12.2018 - is no more

Regrettably, the forum is no more. The site, which was always a valuable source for news and discussions closed down on 1st December. Fortunately, the community has found a new home on .

21.11.2018 - Ex-Winterthur GTZ in Kramatorsk

Internet find (November 2017) of one of the two ex-Winterthur GTZ trolleybuses that made it to Kramatorsk (Ukraine).

13.11.2018 - Mirage trams to return

According to 20 min, the two mirage trams presently with the tram museum will return to service next September (when the strain on the present fleet will rise to new levels due to the opening of the Schlieren extension). One tram can be released by reducing one service on route 6. The two mirage cars will venture out for the evening extension of route 17 and route 8.

13.11.2018 - Stadler to supply Limmattalbahn and Waldenburgerbahn

Limmattalbahn and Waldenburgerbahn have placed a joint order for 18 low floor cars, to be supplied by Stadler from their Valencia plant and of the Citylink type. The order will be confirmed next year. The 45m long and 2.4m wide trams wil have 88 seats, 16 jumper sreats and 172 standee spaces. They will be bidirectional and have 7 doors per side. The two operators will also cooperate on maintenance. The Waldenburgerbahn units will cost a total of 60 million CHF and enter service in 2022 in connection with the conversion of that line to meter gauge. They will be ready for the line's planned (later) conversion to driverless operation. The Limmattal units will cost 43 million and also enter service in 2022 with the opening of Limmattalbahn.


Stadler citylink

16.10.2018 - SZU seeks new trains

SZU is seeking to acquire five new sets for Uetlibergbahn. The type will be designated Be570 and be required to be compatible to the Be510. They are to be delivered in 2021 and 2022 and should replace the Be4/4 and trailer sets.

10.10.2018 - Internet find, 1973 photos

Rare internet find on Drehscheibe Online, rare 1973 rail photos including VBZ and Forchbahn.

Drehscheibe Online 1973 photo Bucheggplatz

Drehscheibe Online 1973 photo Esslingen

10.10.2018 - Photo update (minor)

I have uploaded a couple of photos reflecting recent events (Tram Hardbrücke and new trolleybuses, here).
new hess lightram5 trolleybus 94 bahnhofplatz

04.10.2018 - Trolleybus, Hönggerberg lines to be electrified by 2023?

Today's 20 Minuten features an article on the chronic overloading of the bus routes serving the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) Hönggerberg site. The site is served by bus routes 69 and 80, both of which have been considered trolleybus candidates for some time. Many of the lighting masts along the 69's route are designed to also carry trolleybus lines, and the hilly nature of the routes makes tham prime candidates.

That, unfortunately, is not the main thrust of the article. Rather, VBZ it sketches the awful conditions and says that VBZ will react by adding more buses, But as an aside, it does mention that there are plans to have both routes electrified by 2023, and that this will bring in double-articulated trolleybuses. Keep watching this space.

20 Minuten: ETH-Studenten ärgern sich über vollgestopfte Busse

28.09.2018 - New trolleybuses in Bern and Biel

Zürich is not the only city to be taking delivery of Hess trolleybuses right now. At least two double-articulated trolleybuses (similar to the new Zürich ones) are already in Bern (nos 41 and 42). They were preceded by single-articulated units 31-35 earlier this year and 21-28 last year. When deliveries are complete, Bern will have 16 single and 7 double-articulated trolleybuses. The entire previous fleet is being replaced.

Of the old Swisstrolley2 fleet (delivered 1997-2000 and numbered 1-20) some have recently been scrapped for parts. The others are being progressively set aside and will see further service in Saarajevo.

The new trolleybuses were supplied as part of a joint order with Biel annopunced in 1996. In Biel, 10 single-articulated trolleybuses numbered 91-100 entered service earlier this year. They are also replacing older Swisstrolleys, numbers 81-90 of 1997. Biel also has Swisstrolleys 51-60 of 2008.

24.09.2018 - 83 percent want Limmattalbahn

In this weekend's referndum, 83 percent of voters said no to the proposal to cancel the Limmattalbahn light rail project. This is a marked improvement on the 65 percwnt who backed the project in the 2016 referendum.

Limmattaler Zeitung

23.09.2018 - Voters give green light for Limmattalbahn (a second time)

Preliminary results of the vote on Limmattalbahn indicate that a massive majority have said no to proposals to abandon the project. The majority is much larger than in the first vote. In contrast to the previous vote, the communities directly affected have also said they want the project. The final count has yet to be announced.

21.09.2018 - Three new trolleybuses in Zürich

The thre new HESS double-articulated trolleybuses (ordered in 2017) have been delivered to Zürich. They are classified by HESS as type ST5. The electrical equipment is supplied by ABB and similar to that of 183. They also have the same streamlined front end as 183. The new trolleybuses are numbered 92, 93 and 94, following on from the previous HESS double artics.

The first two have already been sighted in service on route 31. Even so, there is still a high incidence of single articulated trolleybuses and even diesel buses on the route.

21.09.2018 - Limmattalbahn vote this weekend

In 2015, a cantonal referendum approved the construction of Limmattalbahn, the light rail project from Zürich Altstetten to Killwangen Spreitenbach. The first phase, from Altstetten to Scjhlieren, is already under construction and scheduled to open next year (as an extension of VBZ tram route 2).

However, all is not well with the project. Despite the link being approved by the canton as a whole, the local communities voted against it. Opponents have refused to give up and have in the meantime brought about a second referendum. This will be held this weekend. If accepted, the line will be completed as far as Schlieren but the further phases will not be built.

In other words, confusingly, it requires a no vote so that the line gets built in full.

Limmattalbahn abbruch nein

21.09.2018 - RBS goes to Innotrans, more photos

More on the RBS Worbla at Innotrans.

RBS at Innotrans

Link to RBS Facebook page, enlarge above screenshot

12.09.2018 - Facebook find, RBS goes to Innotrans

Interesting Facebook find, RBS train (yes, narrow gauge) on its way to Innotrans by way of the big railway.

RBS goes to Innotrans

Link to RBS Facebook page, enlarge above screenshot

07.08.2018 - Photo update: Belgrade

Duewag Beograd
A friend visited Belgrade last year and has allowed me to share some photos of the ex-Basel trams here.

01.08.2018 - Photo update: Fire brigade attend to trolleybus at Bucheggplatz

fire brigade attends to trolleybus at bucheggplatz In the early hours of this morning, the fire brigade attended to trolleybus 176 at Bucheggplatz. I managed to capture some pictures (click on pictures to view individually or here for index).

fire brigade attends to trolleybus at bucheggplatz

fire brigade attends to trolleybus at bucheggplatz

30.07.2018 - A sad moment: Kurbeli 1408 goes for scrap

A sad moment: According to, Aktion Pro Sächsitram has parted ways with Kurbeli tram 1408.

Besides the works car conversions, 1408 was for many years one of two cars of the type that survived in Zürich. But whereas 1392 was restored and is now part of the museum fleet, 1408 sat in the yard of the main workshops for many years, slowly succumbing to the elements. Things looked up in 2007, when APS saved the car and moved it to storage outside the city (but unfortuantely not under cover or safe from vandals). Despite some minor work being carried out, the tram did not appear to receive much priority. Then when in 2013, a third Kurbeli returned onto the scene in the form of 1379 repatriated from the AMTUIR museum in Paris. This car also languishes in off-system storage, but is in far better condition than 1408, further reducing the latter's chances of returning.

Kurbeli 1408 has been reported as the Thommen scrapyard in Kaiseraugst.

30.07.2018 - More on 1408

Here is some more (not quite up to data) information on 1408.

APS themselves have not mentioned the scrapping on their website yet. The old article on 1408 is still live, but no longer linked from their front page:
Aktion Pro Saechsitram Kurbeli 1408
link to APS page
enlarge above screenshot

Aktion Pro Saechsitram Kurbeli 1408
link to APS page
enlarge above screenshot

Aktion Pro Saechsitram Kurbeli 1408
link to APS page
enlarge above screenshot

Here are some pictures of 1408's move in 2007 from the pft-zh website. Transport Kurbeli 1408 2007
(click in picture to visit page)

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