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2013 news

filed on: 08.01.2014 (8th Jan 2014)

A Happy New Year to all readers.

All 2013 news items can now be found on

The past year did not start too well, as the first news item announced that Cobra 3034 had been ravaged by fire. The ordering of the new trams that will replace the Tram 2000s of the 1970s batch has also slipped and an announcement is still being eagerly awaited. So much for the bad news. Otherwise the Zürich news was rather more upbeat in 2013. In terms of the route newtork, tram 17 has been extended to Albisgüli at peak times and extra services to the airport added. This is of course placing a squeeze on the fleet, but so far VBZ has coped well.

Limmattalbahn in Dietikon Planning for the future is also making good progress, with both Tram Hardbrücke and Limmattalbahn edging closer to reality, and Vision 2030 laying out a blueprint for VBZ's network of tomorrow.

In terms of preservation and museum news, the highlight of the year was undoubtedlly the return of Kurbeli 1379 and trailer 737 to Zürich (before being moved into storage).

And now to the trolleybuses: 2013 saw the delivery of the Hess Swisstrolley4s, 162-182. Together with Lightrams 87-89 (delivered in 2012), 21 new single-articulated trolleybuses and 12 new double-articulated are available, replacing in principle 43 Mercedes/ABB 0405 GTZ (101-143). The lightram3 bucheggplatzdiscrepancy of 10 trolleybuses is explained by higher capacity vehicles on route 32 permitting peak headways to be stretched and meaning four fewer trolleybuses are required. Furthermore, the exchanging of the Triemli - respectively Morgental - legs of routes 33 and 72 and the introduction of a relief route 71 while thinning out end-to-end workings slightly mean one vehicle can be economised here. The remaining shortfall is being covered by a small number of GTZs being retained in traffic a little longer. Presently there are about 10 of these remaining. They are turning 20 years old this year. In a move to replace these, two further Lightrams have been ordered for delivery in 2014. In the longer term the opening of the Hardbrücke tram link (in 2017) should reduce trolleybus operation on Hardbrücke (although diesel buses could be used as an intermediary, so there is no speculating how long these trolleybuses are safe).

However, if initial rumblings come to fruition, the trolleybus system may grow overall with the 69 possibly slated for electrification by 2016 and the 80 also being under consideration. On the preservation front, it sadly seems that no GTZ is being saved locally but Rétrobus has saved GTZ 102 as well as its Winterthur sister vehicles 147 and 149. Presently, Zürich's 106 is the city's only trolleybus to still sport display blinds rather than matrix displays, leaving it in close to its original condition. It would seem that the German dealership, Sturm, is still hanging onto Winterthur sister units.

This news item is from the 2014 newslog.

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