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Looking back to the tram of the future

filed on: 31.05.2011 (31st May 2011)

With both Basel and Zürich in the process of selecting their next tram generations, it may be of interest to go back in time and look at the tram types that were offered for the last major renewal back in the 1990s. I have searched my archives and scanned some of the brochures distributed at the time. The Zürich order was finally won by Cobra, with Basel selecting Combino.

Bombardier produced a brochure for its Cityrunner type. The type is still in the company's portfolio and has been offered again (presumably in an updated version) but is now marketed as Flexity Outlook. The type was demonstrated in Zürich last year. As a touch of Basel-friendly customisation, the car on the front page of the flyer displays "Bahnhof SBB" as destination.
Bombardier Cityrunner brochure front
Bombardier Cityrunner brochure foldout
Bombardier Cityrunner brochure rear

Vevey, who at the time were still an independent company, advertised their quaint Urbos tram, in which every two-wheeled section is supported by the previous similarly to a Talgo train. No examples of this tram were ever built (not even as prototype), but the Vevey works were later taken over by Bombardier and Zürich's Cobras assembled there. The name Urbos is today applied to an unrelated tram type built by CAF.
Urbos tram brochure page 1 Urbos tram brochure page 2
Urbos tram brochure page 3 Urbos tram brochure page 4

At the time, of course, Cobra was a competitor to Bombardier's product. The consortium of manufacturers (SIG, ABB and Schindler) appear to have cobbled the Basel brochure together quickly, with the design on the front page being an older version than that on the reverse. The final result was in my opinion much more aesthetically pleasing than either of these. The brochure acknwoledges that low-floor trams are not new, but have been around since the beginning of the 20th Century — a nice note seeing that Basel was among the early adapters (Dante Schuggi and later the Bugatti cars). Too often tram maunfacturers ignore history and even if they don't repeat its mistakes, will claim to have invented things that were already around long before their time.
Basel Cobra tram brochure front Basel Cobra tram brochure reverse

Moving back further in time, also of interest is a look at the tram that the new generation will replace. Here is the brochure of the first batch of Tram 2000 presented from BBC's perspective (BBC produced the cars jointly with Schlieren).
BBC Tram 2000 brochure page 1 BBC Tram 2000 brochure page 2
BBC Tram 2000 brochure page 3 BBC Tram 2000 brochure page 4

And on a completely different note and going back much further in time, even if in the news iteself dates to the same decade as the Tram 2000: I know that this newslog has some Reading readers, so here is a newspaper article on the 1977 end to AEC Regent operation with Reading Transport.
AEC Regent farewell in Reading
(The bus in the photograph, 303 aka 3, MRD 146 was to remain with Reading Transport as a heritage bus for about another 10 years before being sold into preservation. It is currently owned by Tim Wale, whose website has more information on this bus.)

This news item is from the 2011 newslog.

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