you are in: tram -> zurich -> news

Newslog 2019

latest news | archive | news search

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.

latest news | older newslogs | articles.

return to Zürich tram home page.

2019 news:

next year | previous year | current year | other years | search.

guide to linking to news items

19.12.2019 - WSB / AVA update

WSB is the narrow gauge railway (now operated by AVA) connecting Menziken and Schöftland to Aarau.

With WSB's new Stadler Saphir ABe 4/12 70-74 and the ABe 4/8 28-39 now handling most of the traffic, the older Be 4/4 + Bt sets are now relegated to two weekday diagrams. Some of these are in storage in Suhr but are being regularly swapped against the active ones to keep them operational. These are (refit) Be 4/4 16, 17, 20-27. 15 has been converted to a de-icing vehicle. 18 was withdrawn in the 1980s due to fire damage. The last vehicle still in orange livery is 19, which last saw service five years ago and has been cannibailzed for parts. The vehicle is now in Schöftland and awaiting scrapping.

17.12.2019 - Tram museum update

According to the November issue of the Tram Museum Zürich newsletter, the tram museum society is having to vacate the stores at Escher-Wyss-Platz depot (Hard depot). The museum has benefitted from being able to use storage space as well as a workshop along the river-facing side of the building for many decades. However, as has been reported previously on this newslog, the depot is to undergo a major rebuild including a new residential block above the rear part of the site (with implied demolition of the various outbuildings, which include the oldest buildings on the site dating back to Industriequartier Strassenbahn, one of the private companies from the early days of the tram system).

The stores hold numerous spare parts for the heritage fleet as well as other items of historic value. Fortunately a new out of town storage site could be identified and the stores will be moved in the first quarter of 2020. The heritage bus workshop will move to Wartau.

Also being moved into off-system storage is crane car Xe 2/2 1952 (that is the one on the Peckham truck) that was until now resident in the Wartau workshop. The Polybahn car presently stored off-system is in poor condition and will be scrapped if no new owner can be found.

Still in progress are the overhaul of the Kurbeli set and of ZOS Ce 2/2 1.

16.12.2019 - Preparing electrification of routes 69 and 80

In November, VBZ began planning of the conversion to trolleybus of bus routes 69 and 80. A grant of 3.4 million CHF was received from the canton for this planning. Planning for route 69 will be completed at the end of 2021 and for route 80 a year later. In 2022 the canton will decide on its financial contribution to the electrification. Trolleybus operation of the two routes could commence in 2024 and 2025 respectively.

When I reported on this topic in October 2018, the target completion date was 2023.

Both routes will be physically electrified only on sections, with other sections being negotiated on battery power. Besides the ecological arguments in favour of electrification on these very hilly routes, the measure will allow the use of double-articulated trolleybuses, providing much needed capacity relief.

16.12.2019 - Léman Express opens

The Léman Express opened on 12th December. Léman Express is an express commuter service in the Geneva area, the heart of which is a new line connecting Cornavin and Annemasse, which has been under construction for 8 years.

The event was marred somewhat by the strike that affected the French part of the network.

16.12.2019 - Limmattalbahn to Fislisbach

With Limmattalbahn now under construction between Schlieren and Killwangen, and the extension to Baden also looking increasingly likely, ideas for further extensions still are coming up. One of these features a conversion of the Nationalbahn railway line between Baden Oberstadt and Fislisbach to tram. The line no longer carries regular passenger trains but is used by SBB as a diversionary route. However, in the longer run SBB may seek to dispose of the line if a planned second direct route between Aarau and Zürich gets built. So this is obviously still a very long term (25 year plus) and speculative proposal for now.

The newspaper article linked below also features a video of the proposed route of the Killwangen to Baden section.

12.12.2019 - Bernmobil signs contract for Stadler Tramlink

stadler tramlink bern

Bernmobil has signed an order to buy 27 Tramlink type trams from Stadler for 130 million CHF. The first new tram will be delivered in 2022. They will enter service in 2023/4 and replace the Vevey units as well as route 6's RBS (Tram 2000) units.

The contract also contains an option for 23 further trams which could be used on the Ostermundigen line from circa 2027.

The artist's impression is still provisional. The definte design is yet to be finalized with Bernmobil.

10.12.2019 - Glattalbahn to Kloten A website has been launched for the extension of Glattalbahn from Zürich Airport to Kloten:

Glattalbahn is a light rail system, developed as an extension of Zürich's tram system beyond the municipality's northern boundary in three phases between 2004 and 2010. The airport line opened in 2008.

From early on in the project, the intention was voiced to add further extensions later. At the time this long term option was dubbed Ringbahn Hardwald and would have continued beyond the airport via Kloten and Bassersdorf to Dübendorf, where it would have rejoined the other arm of Glattalbahn, effectively closing a ring. Now the first section of that project, the airport to Kloten extension, is rapidly approaching reality.

glattalbahn kloten
glattalbahn kloten map
glattalbahn kloten map

According to the website, construction could begin in 2025 for a 2028 opening. The 3.5km extension will cost 180 million CHF with a further 70 million allocated for flood management measures and 50 million for a cycle route. The canton of Zürich will make an application for federal money in 2021. The project forms part of Kloten's development startegy dubbed Strategie 2030.

10.12.2019 - End of line for RBS Mandarinli

RBS Tschuess Mandarinli

The days of RBS's iconic Mandarinli trains are coming to a close. When introduced in 1974, they were very much ahead of their time and arguably represented the first true S-Bahn units in Switzerland. They were extended to three car sets in 2001-2 by adding low-floor middle cars.

The remaining Mandarinli sets will make their last runs bewteen 9th and 16th December. A timetable is published on the RBS web page here.

10.12.2019 - Correction on SZU Be 570

Contrary to what I indicated previously, the Be 570 units to be delivered to SZU will be dual voltage units just like the similar Be 510.

Even though their working life requiring DC equipment is likely to be short, developing an entirely new type would also have incurred costs, so this option was chosen.

19.11.2019 - Flexity again

Bahnonline Willkommen Flexity
has an article on Flexity, including a nice collection of photos. In my view the interior looks quite a bit better than suggested in the earlier mock-ups. It is also indicated that the new Be 6/8 will carry the number 4001.

19.11.2019 - Stadler Limmattalbahn tram order signed

Stadler Limmattalbahn
Aargau Verkehrs AG (AVA, the company formed by the merger of WSB and BDWM on 19th June 2018, and which holds the contract to operate Limmattalbahn) has signed the 44 million CHF order (which was announced on 23rd October 2018) for eight seven-section Tramlink sets for use on Limmattalbahn. The trams will be built by Stadler in Spain. The order is part of a joint procurement with BLT.

Stadler's Facebook page

The artist's impression of the new vehicle shows it displaying route number 20, which is in fact the route number that is now officially earmarked for this service (Bhf. Altstetten to Killwangen Bhf.).

18.11.2019 - The Flexity story

A nice summary of the Flexity story, of all that went wrong and that contributed to the ten year procurement saga has been published by NZZ.

NZZ Das Zuercher Tram-Trauma oder Was schiefgehen kann geht schief

18.11.2019 - Second Flexity order to be confirmed next year

A decison on the second Flexity order is expected next summer. A fleet of 140 Flexitys should permit a replacement of the entire Tram 2000 fleet (including the third batch) as well as sufficient vehicles to cover anticipated new lines such as that to Affoltern.

18.11.2019 - SBB and ÖBB to deepen cooperation on night trains

An article on reports that SBB and ÖBB are reacting to the increased popularity of night trains. They will look into added capacity for the Zürich - Berlin / Hamburg train, and also at adding couchettes to the presently sleeping car only Zürich - Prague connection. Daytime services are also being improved, with a sixth connection being added to the Zürich - Munich EC.

According to the article, Zürich is a real night-train hub. No other European city besides Vienna presently sees more night trains.

15.11.2019 - Second Flexity order?

Delivery has only just begun, but VBZ is already thinking about a second Flexity order. In addition to the 70 trams on order, a further 70 are required. According to VBZ's director, Guido Schoch, the original order includes an option for these further vehicles, but ZVV must also approve the spend.

TOP Online artcle, Stadt Zürich braucht noch mehr Trams

15.11.2019 - More about Flexity

NZZ has published an interesting article on the new Flexity tram (here). According to this, the front design is inspired by the art-deco tram-stop shelters of Paradeplatz and Bellevue. The seats are made of beechwood, which is considered both more hygienic than moquette and more durable (this was decided following a consultation with the public in 2012). The interior photo makes the tram (in my opinion) appear more austere than the Cobra with less colour, more obvious plastic and a return to strip lighting. The tram is, however, packed with hi-tech goodies. USB connectors will permit passengers to recharge electronic devices. LEDs on the doors and at the ends of the trams will highlight the tram's departure status (green = doors can be opened, red = doors closing, ready to depart). And the trams will have an obstacle detection assistance system (ODAS) to support the driver. Initially this will only issue audible warnings but it could technically also be set up to intervene.

Flexity wil have 91 seats, compared to Cobra's 90. Standee capacity will increase from 130 to 188 (based on 4 standees per square meter). Weight will increase from 39t to 54t, whereas maximum speed is down from 70 to 60km/h. At 43m, the tram is 6m longer than Cobra.

Extensive adjustments and acceptance testing is still required, meaning passenger service is not anticipated before May or June. The second tram will not be delievered until February, and a third in May, after which deliveries should be monthly until all 70 are in Zürich.

NZZ article, Das neue Züri-Tram rollt an – alles, was Sie über das Flexity wissen müssen

14.11.2019 - Flexity gets welcome in press

Plenty of press coverage of the delivery of the first Zürich Flexity. Much of it using nocturnal pictures of its arrival on a low loader.

flexity toponline

14.11.2019 - First Neuchâtel GTW in service

The first (ex Trogenerbahn) GTW is reported to have entered service in Neuchatel yesterday.

SwissRail ioGroup

14.11.2019 - More on tram route changes

Further to the previous report on changes to VBZ's tram network that will come into effect on 25th November, has a more detailed report. The modifications will reduce the number of trams required to operate the system by 10.

VBZ tram network changes

13.11.2019 - Flexity touches down in Zürich

The first Flexity is finally here. This report from Basler Zeitung shows it being delivered by way of Hardbrücke in the early hours of this morning and finally being rolled onto Zürich tracks in the yard of the Altstetten workshops at 08:00.

flexity on hardbruecke

12.11.2019 - Flexity spotted in Weil

A Flexity in Weil is probably no special occurence these days. But this one is a Zürich Flexity and it's on the back of a low loader lorry. Spotted today by a member of

12.11.2019 - Retrobus collection under threat

Retrobus is a Swiss trolleybus and bus preservation group. Besides having collected numerous vehicles from different fleets, they also have in their care some vintage vehicles previously preserved privately or disposed from the sadly dwindling heritage fleets of the municipal operators.

Unfortunately, not all news concerning Retrobus is good. With the help of, among others, support from lottery funds, they were able to build storage facilities on in Moudon (a small town between Lausanne and Fribourg). The continuing growth of the collection however meant that further vehicles had to be stored outdoors.

The community of Moudon, who previously welcomed the group has taken offense at this and is taking legal steps against Retrobus. A court ruled that the stored vehicles were a public nuisance and ordered their scrapping. The costs of this action would have to be borne by Retrobus and could end up bankrupting the association, endangering not only the vehicles stored outside but also those under cover. I understand Retrobus is presently appealing the decision.

One sad lesson here is that preservation should not just be about collecting vehicles but groups should also allocate resources to their restoration, presentation and operation to build bridges to the local community and the public at large, recruit further members and supporters and create a broad base of sympathizers. Maybe concerating on a smaller and manageable core of representative vehicles is better than trying to obtain one of each type with little real perspective of ever meaningfully restoring most of them.

Retrobus website:

12.11.2019 - Nightjet network expands

This newslog has in the past reported about the demise of night trains. The remaining night trains services from Switzerland are now for the most part consolidated in the hands of Austrian Railways (ÖBB) and marketed under the brand Nightjet.

After years of bad news, things are looking up again for night trains. Among the causes are doubtlessly increased awareness of the carbon footprint of flying. Different governments have grown more open to the idea of supporting night trains. Among these is the Swiss government. Although no new night trains from Switzerland have been announced, financial support is again forthcoming and some ÖBB Nightjet cars now even have SBB co-branding.

Elsewhere more tangible results are being seen. As from January, Nightjet is introducing a night train from Vienna and Innsbruck to Brussels, and intends to add Amsterdam a year later.

The map below represents the 2019 network of night trains offered by Nightjet.
Nightjet night train network 2019

11.11.2019 - Photo update Alicante

Alicante tram la marina I have added some recent photos from Alicante, principally documenting the abandoned seafront line, but other aspects are also touched on.

Entire series here.
Alicante tram abandoned trenet
Alicante tram abandoned trenet
Alicante tram marq

08.11.2019 - First Flexity tram to be delivered on 15th November

Bombardier flexity for Zurich

The first of VBZ's new Flexity trams will be delivered to Zürich on 15th November. The new tram is not, however, expected to appear in service until mid 2020. It is anticipated that there will be 10 of these trams in Zürich by the end of 2020 and 25 by the end of 2021. Once production is ramped up there will be a delivery every five weeks. Previously every seven weeks had been anticipated.

Presently there are 30 trams out of service awaiting repairs, exacerbating the vehicle shortage to which the new trams will provide relief. They will also replace all Tram 2000 units of the first and second batches.

08.11.2019 - More on new Uetliberg trains

Further to yesterday's news item on the new uetliberg trains, an article in 20 Minuten reveals the order for the five Be 570 sets is worth 46.7 million CHF. According to the article, the date of delivery has not been stated but earlier releases spoke of June 2022.

Not mentioned in the article, but the conversion to AC will almost definitely spell the end for the unique crossing between trolleybus route 32 and the S10 at Friesenberg. VBZ's trolleybus strategy sees trolleybuses capable of operating without overhead using batteries, enabling the elimination of costly and non-standard overhead installations.

07.11.2019 - VBZ reacts to rolling stock shortage

The shortage of rolling stock is putting increased strain on VBZ. The delivery of the new Flexity units is delayed, while an increasing number of trams is unavailable due to accident damage. At the same time VBZ is having to cover expanded service due to the recent tram extensions, Hardbrücke and the first phase of Limmattalbahn. This is already leading to single Tram 2000 units increasingly appearing on diagrams intended for coupled pairs. The return to service of the two Mirage trams from the heritage fleet is providing some relief of course, but this is not enough.

VBZ has now announced a range of changes that will take effect from 25th November. These include:

- 50 percent of trams on route 8 will be Sänfte.

- Route 17 will be discontinued. The Werdhözli leg will be replaced by extending / diverting route 6. Route 10 will replace the Bhf Enge leg of route 6 during the hours that route 6 served this section, extending to Albisgütli at peak times as replacement for route 17.

- Route 12 will be operated by a mix of Cobras and Sänfte units.

- Route 15 will see a headway reduction to 15 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays.

- The two Mirage trams presently on routes 8 and 17 will be transferred to route 13 and run as a coupled pair.

SwissRail ioGroup

07.11.2019 - Stadler awarded order for new trains for Uetliberg line

Stadler has won an order to supply five new trains to SZU for use on the Uetlibergbahn (S10). The trains will be classified as Be 570 and be operationally compatible to the earlier Be 510 but be built for AC only operation, foreshadowing a discontinuation of DC operation on this line. They will replace the current Siemens Be 4/4 and trailer sets.

18.10.2019 - Farewell to old trains in Neuchâtel

neuchatel littorail tram A farewell event for the old trains on Neuchâtel Littorail (similar to the Forchbahn 2000 units) is planned for 27th October. The actual entry into service of the ex-Trogenerbahn units that are replacing them is not expected until mid-November.

SwissRail ioGroup

09.10.2019 - Swisstrolleyplus in Arnhem

swisstrolleyplus in arnhem Swisstrolleyplus 183 has recently visited Arnhem in the Netherlands. I am grateful to Harry Sanders for allowing me to share these pictures (taken on 14th September).

Trolleybus Facebook Group
swisstrolleyplus in arnhem

09.10.2019 - Photo update, various

tram and trolleybus bucheggplatz Recent photos uploaded including trams and trolleybuses at Bucheggplatz, SBB, Spain and Hungary. Full gallery here.
511 flirt at zurich hb
locomotives in alicante
freight train in kelenfold

01.09.2019 - Photo update: Limmattalbahn opening

drivers eye view of new tram line in schlieren Photos from today's events surrounding the opening of Limmattalbahn (here).
opening of new tram line in schlieren
opening of new tram line in schlieren
steam locomotive at opening of new tram line in schlieren

21.08.2019 - Limmattalbahn opening, and second phase launched

LSB tram flowers Festivities in Schlieren over the weekend of 31st Auguist / 1st September will mark the opening of the first phase of Limmattalbahn, with trams offering rides on the new section. Some sources suggest that heritage trams will also be running on both days, but the flyer from Tram Museum Zürich suggests this will only be on Sunday. For Limmattal Strassenbahn number 2 (built 1900), this is a notable return to its former home route.

Limmattal Strassenbahn was a private tram company running from Zürich Letzigrund to Dietikon via Schlieren (at times running through from Letzigrund to Hauptbahnhof), and also a branch from Schlieren to Weiningen (both lines opened in 1900). Besides passengers, mail, beer and other goods were also carried. The area was still sparsely populated at the time and ridership never developed as intended. The line from Schlieren to Dietikon closed in 1928. The entire company was taken over by the city tram operator (StStZ) in 1930 and the Weiningen line closed the following year, leaving Schlieren as terminus. LSB tram wartau The line was cut back to Farbhof in 1956. The new line does not have an identical alignment to the original, but follows it in many places (including all of the first phase).

The completion of the first phase also marks the official commencement of the second phase of construction, which will complete the line from Bahnhhof Altstetten to Killwangen. In reality, preparatory work is already in evidence in many locations along the route.

15.08.2019 - Photo update, Mirage and more

vbz mirage tram 1674 in service Brief photo update with Mirage 1674 in service, a visit to Hungary and SBB's new double-decker train. Full gallery here.
narrow gauge in hungary balatonfenyves somogyszentpal palmajor
railways in hungary class 86 balatonfenyves
RABe 502 zurich hb

22.07.2019 - 90 times to the moon and back

90 times to the moon and back Yesterday, mankind celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. Here is VBZ's take on the matter.

17.07.2019 - Limmattalbahn and Farbhof update

construction Limmattalbahn According to a corresponent on the SwissRail ioGroup, the loop at Farbhof was closed at end of traffic on 12th July (Friday night), with tram route 2 now turning at Letzigrund while the Farbhof turning loop is removed and replaced by the track connection to Limmattalbahn.

The extension from Farbhof to Schlieren Geisswied will open to timetable traffic on 2nd September but there will be an opportunity to travel during the opening festival on 31st August which will include the use of museum cars.

The line beyond Letzigrund is being worked by a bus replacement in the interim, but tram movements are not totally suspended as this is the access line to the Altstetten workshops.

25.06.2019 - Limmattalbahn photos

construction Limmattalbahn Following up on my recent report on the first phase of Limmattalbahn, here are some pictures of my visit on 9th June (including the soon to vanish turning loop at Farbhof). See pictures here.

24.06.2019 - New AVA trains

erste neue zug von ava auf wsb gleis Another one I missed previously: The first of the new Stadler-built trains for the Schöftland to Menziken line of AVA (previously AAR, previously WSB) was delivered in Suhr on 18th January (report in Aargauer Zeitung). This is the first of a batch of five units that will lead to a modernization of this line's fleet and displace the Be 4/4 + ABt sets. The first unit (nr 70) entered service on 22nd May. The delivery on 71 was on 14th March and that of 72 on 16th May.

24.06.2019 - Photo update — Brienz Rothorn Bahn

BRB in rain New pictures uploaded of a rainy day on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn as well as heritage coaches seen in Winterthur.

19.06.2019 - Pyongyang pictures

Not quite up to date, but a fascinating internet find. Ex-Zürich Standard Trams in Pyongyang on Richard Lomas' website.

18.06.2019 - Restore WSB Saloon car

A society has been formed with the goal of salvaging and restoring to working order WSB's saloon car 115. This bogie car was originally built in 1901, underwent several major rebuilds, and was not withdrawn until 1982, after which it became a private hire vehicle and operated in an inauthentic blue livery. In 2012 WSB declared the car surplus and it narrowly avoided scrapping by, surprisingly, being saved by a scrap merchant. It was then placed in the Bertschi scarpyard at Reinach and used as an information booth for visitors. It is a nice touch that the instigator of this idea, Olivia Bertschi, said that her parents had celebrated their marriage apero in this car.

web page verein pro salonwagen wsb An iniative is now underway to salavge the car and restore it to working order, and a society, Verein Pro Salonwagen WSB has been founded with the specific aim of acheiving this. Their website is still being set up and does not yet have any specifics. The society is appealing for membership and money.

Aargauer Zeitung

18.06.2019 - Geissbock tram back in Zürich

Some catching up one news I missed. This newslog announced the return of the Geissbock tram from Lucerne to the Zürich tram museum. The event has been well covered, so here are some links to some of that coverage:

Some dedicated coverage with lovely (and obviously meticulously planned) footage from Tele Züri (first broadcast on 28th March at 18:20).

geissbock kommt zurueck nach zuerich
geissbock kommt zurueck nach zuerich
geissbock kommt zurueck nach zuerich
geissbock kommt zurueck nach zuerich
geissbock kommt zurueck nach zuerich

Also a whole collection of great photos as well as another film clip on Bahnonline.

geissbock kommt zurueck nach zuerich

17.06.2019 - Limmattalbahn opening

Infrastructure on the first phase of Limmattalbahn (Farbhof to Schlieren) is approaching completion. The line will commence operation on 2nd September as an extension of route 2. Festivities are planned in Schlieren to accompany this.

To permit the line to be connected to the VBZ network, route 2 will be cut back from Farbhof to Letzigrund at the beginning of the school holidays (I believe these start on 16th July, but was unable to ascertain whether the closure will take immediate effect). The turning loop at Farbhof will then be dismantled and the tracks connected to the new line. There are no plans to re-establish a turning loop at Farbhof, but when the second phase of Limattalbahn opens, the line to Bahnhof Altstetten will branch off here.

The trolleybus loop will also be removed and not put back. Instead, a new turning circle has been built at Hermetschloo, where tolleybuses will run around a block of buildings. The last stop served by route 31 will be Micafil.

So photographers wishing to capture the combined tram/trolleybus loop at Farbhof before it vanishes forever need to hurry.

17.06.2019 - New funicular at Zürich airport

A new short funicular is to be built just outside Zürich airport. The area on the other side of the Glattalbahn stop and elevated roadway is being redeveloped with an office, hotel and convention area called The Circle. Just behind this is a small hill quite popular among aviation enthusiasts. Part of the development of The Circle includes upgrading this hill to a park and adding a short funicular.


17.06.2019 - SZU on rare track

There will be no SZU trains Zürich HB to Selnau from 13.07.2019 to 01.09.2019 (inclusive) due to track work. During this period, some peak trains will be diverted to Wiedikon, creating an opportunity to ride on this otherwise rarely used connecting line. The trains diveretd are:

0600 Langnau-Gattikon to Wiedikon 0618 repeats every 20min until 0820/0838

1600 Langnau-Gattikon to Wiedikon 1618 repeats every 20min until 1900/1918

0609 Wiedikon to Langnau-Gattikon 0630 repeats every 20min until 0829/0850

1609 Wiedikon to Langnau-Gattikon 1630 repeats every 20min until 1909/1930

Trains will be worked by SZU's two Re 450's as well as a third one borrowed from SBB, because SZU's Re 456's do not have the required ETM signalling equipment.

SwissRail ioGroup

07.06.2019 - Basel St Louis: Services suspended over antisocial behaviour

The cross-border tram extension of Basel's route 3 opened amidst much fanfare in 2017. Following incidents of antisiocial and threatening behaviour on the French segment of the line, with individuals aggressing both passengers and staff, BVB suspended the evening service (after 20:00) from 2nd May. However, it appears a solution could be found with St Louis pledging more security. Full services were resumed from 15th May.

04.06.2019 - Peckham cantilever truck number 8

Peckham number 8 cantilever truck Following up on the previous item on this newslog, concerning Peckham cantilever trucks, the same Facebook source has provided a scan of a number 8 truck (from the same catalogue). This is, I believe, the type that was used in Zürich (click on picture above to enlarge).

Facebook Tramway Modelling Group

Peckham number 8 truck As reference, here is a view of the casting of one of the Zürich trucks.

31.05.2019 - Facebook find: Peckham cantilever truck

Peckham cantilever truck Interesting find on Facebook, from the 1897 (American) Peckham catalogue, showing "Peckham's 'Standard' Cantilever Extension Truck 6C", and claiming that "Peckham trucks cost 75 per cent less to maintain than any other truck". The design shown appears very similar, even if not entirely identical, to the Peckham trucks supplied to Zürich for Ce 2/2 57 - 84 in 1898 (the catalogue shows a number 6 whereas Zürich has number 8. I'm not sure of the precise differentiation).

The Zürich trucks were rebuilt in Zürich several times, with wheelbases being extended, springing arrangements modified, the original Westinghouse motors replaced by more powerful Swiss-made ones, and various associated strengthening of the overall truck being required as a result. Note the decorative details in the catalogue picture above (click it to enlarge). I don't know if the Zürich trucks orginally had this too, but apart from the castings themselves, all this is gone.

Peckham truck When the trams were withdrawn in the 1920s, many of the trucks saw further use as works cars, which accounts for the numbers that survived into recent times. Recent withdrawals went as donors to preservation projects in Scotland and Canada. One works tram is still in use with the Blonay Chamby heritage railway, another survives under Zürich's preserved crane car 1952, with (I believe) at least a further complete truck and various parts in store in Zürich. And then of course there are two trucks still seeing regular use in Zürich's cargo tram service.

Not bad for 121 year-old trucks!

31.05.2019 - SBB considers bringing back night trains

Die SBB pruefen den Ausbau der Nachtzugverbindungen (NZZ) This newslog has reported the slow demise of night train services from Switzerland. SBB officially pulled out of the business in 2009 but foreign railway companies continued to serve Switzerland. The train to Spain was lost in 2012, and that to Denmark in 2014 (I believe the through coaches to Moscow and Minsk were discontinued at the same time). Finally in 2016, DB pulled the plug on all its remaining night trains (two of them serving Switzerland) but fortunately ÖBB stepped in and now runs a train to Berlin and Hamburg (but not Amsterdam unfortunately). There are also still two night trains to Austria, taking through coaches to Hungary, Czech Republic and Croatia.

So, despite some respite, the long terms prospects for night trains would appear to be ever deeper retrenchment. Despite widespread concern about pollution and greenhouse gases caused by airplanes, the Kyoto protocol apparently excluded air traffic. But despite all that, a report in yesterday's NZZ says SBB are looking into new night train connections. If any are agreed on, these will take two to three years to implement due to the lead time for ordering rolling stock. The new connections would not be operated independeently but in cooperation with ÖBB.

Good news at last? Watch this space.

30.05.2019 - Trolleybus pics

Trolleybus Wehntalerstrasse Some random photos of trolleybuses (and other stuff) I took today on Wehntalerstrasse near Milchbuck. No specific reason.

12.04.2019 - Ex-Trogenerbahn trams in Neuchatel

According to reports on the SwissRail io group, the sale of Trogenerbahn 31-35 to Neuchatel fell through in early 2017 as Neuchatel was unable to raise the money. But a fresh agreement was reached later that year. The five trains sold will be replaced on AB by additional tango units, taking the fleet size to 11. The latest news is that 32 arrived at Neuchatel on Tuesday (9th April) painted in Neuchatel's current black and green bus livery. Driving trailer 533 went for scrap the same day.

28.03.2019 - Geissbock returns to Zürich

Geissbock tram After 37 years in the transport museum in Luzern, 32 is returning to Zürich. This 6-wheeled tram, built in 1939, is celebrating its 80th birthday this year. Together with its long scrapped sister car, 31, it was a protototype (at least as far as its bodywork was concerned) for what was to become the Swiss Standard Tram, and was an important milestone in the development of modern tram designs internationally.

The return of the tram to Zürich has long been an objective of the Tram Museum. The car is being delivered to Burgwies by lorry today and will be placed on display in the museum shortly.

28.03.2019 - Cobra trams in trouble again

Cobra tram Oerlikon A routine control late last year revealed fractures in one of the rods fitted under a Cobra tram to guide the wheels into curves (these radially adjusting wheels are an important feature of the Cobra design). Further investigations involving Alstom (as succesor to SIG who designed this part of the tram) and the material science laboratory, EMPA, showed that the damage could have led to a derailment.

As an immediate measure, commencing 21st March, all Cobra trams are being inspected. In the meantime, uninspected trams are having to operate at reduced speed. The new limits are 42km/h generally, 12km/h on points and crossings as well as restrictions on curves.

The restrictions mean that overall speed is reduced and connections cannot be guaranteed. There is also an increased use of high-floored Tram 2000 cars, including on the airport routes where these are otherwise a rarity.

With many Cobras having now passed their test, regular operation is slowly resuming.

21.02.2019 - Mirage back in service soon

According to a correspondent on the SwissRail iO Group, Mirage 1674 is expected to return to service from 25th February (that is, coming Monday). Expected timings will be:

On route 8

Monday to Friday only

15:29 Salersteig via Stampfenbachplatz-Sihlquai to Hardturm

16:01 ex Hardturm
16:38 ex Klusplatz
17:23 ex Hardturm
18:00 ex Klusplatz

18:41 ex Hardturm via Sihlqual-Stampfenbachplatz to Sternen Oerlikon

I have recently observed this tram on what I assume was a test or driver familiarization run. On the inside, the tram is fitted with route boards in the style of the old ones used when Mirages were still commonly in service, but updated to reflect the extended route 8.

25.01.2019 - VBZ web article on history of Tram Affoltern

With the tram line to Affoltern slowly but surely moving towards the spades in the ground stage, VBZ has published on its website a history of previous attempts to build a tram line to Affoltern, as well as looking at the history of the bus line that served this corridor in the interim.

VBZ tram Affoltern die zeit wird reif

The first attempt to serve Affoltern by tram was in 1903 when the ZOS company applied for powers to build a line from Wallisellen to Regensdorf via Oerlikon and Affoltern. Only the section from Schwamendingen to Oerlikon was actually built, with one of the reasons being that the westward continuation would have involved crossing SBB tracks on the level (the Regensburg bridge not yet having been built). The alignment proposed was only party identical to that of today's project, as it would have connected to the existing system at Oerlikon rather than following Wehntalerstrasse. The Oerlikon connection is still being entertained by VBZ as a longer term objective.

VBZ tram Affoltern 1903 plan

A second attempt followed in 1910, this time curtailed to Affoltern, but extended at its eastern end to Dübendorf. ZOS's motivation was tactical, as by obtaining the concession they could keep competitor companies from building a similar line. The plans were dropped with the share offer being undersubscribed.

VBZ tram Affoltern 1910 plan

A third attempt in 1928 saw a shortened line to Neuaffoltern, as part of a project also featuring a line in Hofwiesenstrasse. Again, this was to stave off attempts by competition to build a line competing with ZOS's main line from Zürich to Oerlikon. The tactic failed and the city did soon build a new tram line through Hofwiesenstrasse, with the entire ZOS company being bought out by the city not long afterwards.

VBZ tram Affoltern 1928 plan

With Affoltern's population growing, a fourth attempt at building a tram was launched in 1946, but this was dropped as trams were falling out of favour at the time.

The bus competition moved fatser, with a privately operated bus service commencing in 1905, but closing two months later. Another operator, with ZOS support, provided service from 1910 to 1914. A third abortive attempt followed in 1925. Finally the city inauguarted a bus service in 1932. This was the forerunner of today's service, and was converted to trolleybus in 1975.

VBZ Orion bus Affoltern

25.01.2019 - Internet find, Altdorf tram

Internet find: this rare film footage of the Altdorf tram.

The Altdorf – Flüelen tram operated from 1906 to 1951. More information, pictures and a map can be found on this page of Eingestellte Bahnen.

25.01.2019 - 2018 news

News items for 2018 have been moved from the newslog.html main page to the 2018.html page.

top of page.

next year | previous year | current year | other years | search.

return to Zürich tram home page.