filed on: 03.01.2008 (3rd Jan 2008)
A Merry Christmas and a happy new to all readers!
All 2007 news items (132 in total) have been moved to: www.proaktiva.ch/tram/zurich/newslog/2007.html#latest.
2007 was an eventful year. For VBZ, it marked the 125th anniversary of trams in Zürich (although the tram aspect was played down slightly, with it being officially said that it was the 125th anniversary of public transport). The height of the celebrations were no doubt the opening of the tram museum at Burgwies on May 26th. This marked the conclusion of a long and challenging campaign to obtain political approval for the project and raise the necessary money. The previous museum at Wartau had already been closed in October 2006, but will be retained as a museum workshop and parts store. The new museum is considerably larger and permits most of the collection to be displayed in a single location for the first time, while still allowing sufficient space to walk around and admire the vehicles. The museum also includes a mezzanine viewing gallery, a model tramway and a well equipped shop. Tram Museum sources suggest the museum is a success.
Further to the anniversary, tramcar number 2005 was repainted as a birthday card that members of the public were able to sign.
After a period of a very restrictive policy towards special liveries, three trams and a trolleybus have been repainted in sponsored liveries for the approaching Euro 2008 football championship (that is soccer, for American readers). This is being jointly hosted by Austria and Switzerland, and three matches will be played in Zürich's Letzigrund stadium. The first of these sets, Mirage set 1683+1717 is sponsored by Credit Suisse, with the company's own name taking a civilised second place behind the event being advertised. The following adverts, for Carlsberg (2087+2428), Volkswagen (trolleybus 63) and Coca Cola reverse this concept however. Let us hope that this is not the first step towards overthrowing Zürich's policy of resisting the temptation of permitting all over advertising liveries to transform trams to rolling billboards.
The football event is also connected to the tram in another way. The Tram Zürich West project was originally envisioned as being completed in time for the 2008 event. Opposition to the rebuilding of Hardturm stadium led to the project being transferred to Letzigrund, and so killed all hope of the new tram line being able to meet this ambitious target. Further delays mean that, ironically, work cannot now start until after the event (for security reasons). However, the last major hurdles wer cleared when two referenda were accepted by overwhelming majorities. These were the city referendum over 59 million Franks on 17th June and the cantonal referendum over 90 million on 25th November. If work does begin by 2008, federal contributions will halve these costs. An opening date of 2011 is now envisaged. On the other side of town, meanwhile, construction of the second phase of Stadtbahn Glattal (serving the airport) is making good progress and set for a December 2008 opening.
2007 also saw an unexpected line extension. Private contributions meant that the extension of route 5 from Bahnhof Enge to Laubegg, serving the Sihlcity shoping centre, could open on 22nd March rather than December 2008 as previously planned.
A traditional feature of Zürich's trams, the roof-mounted route boards, are set to be replaced by electronic displays, ending a tradition going back 125 years — to the very first tram that ran in the city.
With the rapid deliveries of Cobra trams, more and more Mirage units are being rendered surplus. Even so, they are still a common sight. 2007 saw their demise on route 4, but they can still be seen solo on the 8 and in pairs on the 2, 7 and 13. The 8 and 7, however, are increasingly seeing Tram 2000 units displaced from other routes. Cobras operate all of route 4 and share with Tram 2000s (20xx + 24xx) on route 9 and with Tram 2000s (20xx + 20xx/23xx) on the 11 and 14. Tram 2000s (20xx + 24xx) furthermore work the 3 and 5 with Tram 2000 Sänftes on the 6 and 10 and helping out on the 5 at weekends. It is likely that several surplus Mirages will be sent to the Ukrianian town of Vinnitsa soon. Meanwhile, several of the type without cab (Blinde Kuh 1691-1726) have been scrapped, a policy that is likely to continue in view of the limited deployment possibilities of such trams. 2007 also marked the demise of the B4 trailers, so ending the era of the Swiss Standard Tram as far as Zürich is concerned. The first Standard Tram entered service in 1939, the B4 trailers that were still running in 2007 dated to the early 1960s however.
On the trolleybus side too, the ongoing delivery of new Hess vehicles is rendering older Mercedes/ABB vehicles surplus. Several have been scrapped or redeployed as driver trainers. It is likely that others will see further service in Eastern Europe. Deliveries of the shorter Swisstrolley3 vehicles (144-161) is now complete, with the longer (double-articulated) Lightram3's (61-77) to be completed this year.
See also 2006 news.
This news item is from the 2008 newslog.
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