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.
Bern and Biel are seeking tenders for a joint order for new trolleybuses. In total 24 trolleybuses are being sought (plus options). Of these 14 will go to Bernmobil to replace their current fleet of 20. These will furthermore have battery packs to permit operation away from overhead lines. Biel is ordering 10 to replace 10 existing vehicles. Delivery is slated for 2018.
Pedaler (lightweight Swiss Standard Tram) number 1517 has for a long time been on display on the grounds of Wagerenhof in Uster. The car has now been adopted by Tram Museum Zürich for their strategic reserve and moved to secure storage off-system (sister car 1530 is an operational museum car) .
Tram 125 02-04.16
Despite politicians claims to be supporting international rail travel, the network of international trains is continuing to shrink. The last trains linking Switzerland to Belgium, The Eurocities Vauban and Iris ran for the last time on April 2nd. To mark the last day, an SBB restaurant car and panorama cars were added.
Article on wallorail.be
Appenzellerbahn has ordered 4 new trains from Stadler for 36 million CHF. The trains are similar to those on order for Nyon–St-Cergue–Morez and Transports Publics Fribourgeois and will be used on the Durchmesserlinie with through running onto Trogenerbahn.
Further to my recent report on the demise of restaurant car 1802, here is a film of it leaving Altstetten (by Specki65).
Now if only Bern's planners could learn to get their tram plans right first time.
Late last year this newslog reported on the demise of the last GTZ trolleybuses. Trolleymotion reports that 106, 122 and 142 were withdrawn on 13.11.2015, with 131 going a day earlier. The latter had accumulated the remarkable mileage of 1,433,182 km in more than 20 years (into service on 28.02.1995). 106, 122 und 131 were deregistered on 18.11.2015 and transported to the scrapper on 09.12.2015, 22.12.2015 and 25.11.2015. 142 was deregistered on 17.12.2015 with no indication provided of the scrap date.
But readers who have been following this blog will know that the GTZ story os not over yet. A pair of the long inactive GTZ of Winterthur are about to be trialled in Kramatorsk, Ukraine ...
It just doesn't stop getting worse for Europe's night trains. The already heavily decimated SNCF system is to stop all night trains from 1st July except Paris-Briancon, Paris-Rodez and Paris-Latour de Carol. The present Corail rolling stock is apparently to be replaced by trains leased from Russian Railways.
With the delivery of the new Uetliberg trains for SZU, older units are being disposed of. Sets 31 and 32 were a pair of two-car units delivered in 1978 by SWS and Siemens. Similar trains were built as a narrow gauge version and delivered to Lugano - Ponte Tresa, Centovalli and RBS (Bern). Stripped of parts, the two SZU sets made their final journey from Giesshübel to Langnau Gattikon on 4th February, before being taken to Kaiseraugst by road.
The following film was posted on Youtube by user Specki65.
Found on Youtube: a short piece from Kramatorsk, with some shots of the ex-Winterthur trolleybuses.
The last of BLT's Be4/6 of the series 101-115 (built 1971-6) were withdrawn at the end of last year. 13 of these have gone to Begrad for further service. 101 and 113 were previously scarpped due to accident damage. Attempts to retain one in Basel as a heritage car did not come to fruition.
Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue 2/16
WSB has issued a tended to acquire new trains. The tender is for 6 2-car sets or 5 3-car sets.
Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue 2/16
Former articulated tram protoytpe (whose development eventually led to the Mirage type) and later restaurant tram number 1802 is no more. After it was deemed that a repair of the defective motor was not economic, the remains of this tram, having been stripped of virtually everything including the bogies, left VBZ's workshops on a railway load loader on 7th December.
The picture shows the tram in happier times in 2008
Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue 2/16
Sankt Gallen is building a new cross-city connection that will permit through-working between Trogenerbahn and Appenzellerbahn, with the approach of the latter into Sankt Gellen being realigned using a tunnel to avoid the rack section. The project should be complete in 2018. New trains are already on order. Proposals to sell the line's previous Stadler trains to Neuchâtel have still not yet been finalized, however.
Schweizer Eisenbahn Revue 1/16
2025 planning in Basel proposes to extend the cross-border line to Weil beyond its present terminus at the station to Läublinpark, and in a longer term horizon beyond that along Römerstrasse and to the Hohe Strasse area. The town of Weil is presently applying for susbidies from the German state of Baden Württemberg.
Tram 124 11.15-01.16
Xe 4/4 2330, delivered in 1995 was scrapped in October 2015. The relatively modern vehicle had long been plagued with various teething troubles. It has been replaced by a road vehicle.
Tram 125 02-04.16
Soon work will begin on Limmattalbahn, a tram line extending from Zürich's western suburbs along the Limmat valley to Killwangen. But ambitions do not stop there: Communities further West have long been toying with the idea of extending the line into Baden. The propsal would be far from straightforward as there is no obvious preferred corridor. Costs would be about 50% higher per kilometer, especially due to the need to cross the river twice in order to serve Wettingen. The line would terminate at Baden station.
While recently googling to find whether there had been any new developments on this, I chanced upon this article in Aargauer Zeitung which even speaks of a further extension still. A tram could revive the former Nationalbahn railway line. The line between Wettingen and Mellingen last saw timetabled passenger service in 2007 but is still a strategic diversionary and freight route for SBB and will remain so until additional capacity becomes available through new alignment projects in circa 2030. Proposals see this line being diverted into Baden's main station through a new tunnel. The parallel road is blightd by regular congestion, so there is definitely a case for this. However, many of the more developments over the years have been on land away from the railway. Let's wait and see...
The world famous horse tram along the promenade in Douglas is set to end after 140 years. A very sad day for trams.
Zürich's new tram acquisition process, which has been seriously delayed following differences between VBZ and ZVV over who is to provide a second opinion on the evaluation of the tenders, has taken an important step forwards. Both sides have agreed to employ the servics of TÜV Süd. A decison on the order is expected this Spring.
The tram acquisition process has been a protracted one. Starting in 2009, three manufacturers were invited to demonstrate their trams in Zürich. Specifications were issued in 2011, with the five suppliers emerging from the pre-qualification round entering the race in 2013. Things began to turn sour in mid 2014 as it became increasingly clear that something was delaying the decision. In 2015 it was revealed the point of contention was doubt over the neutrality of the consultant ZVV was employing.
Two ex-Winterthur GTZ trolleybuses were presented in Kramatorsk yesterday (numbers 161 and 152). The trolleybuses have not been bought by Kramatorsk but will be trialled for three months pending a decision.
Construction of Limmattalbahn is set to begin in 2017, with the first section (extension of city tram route 2 to Schlieren) to open in 2019. Trolleybus route 31, which presently serves this route, will be cut back from Schlieren to Micafil in 2019 (the article in Limmattaler Zeitung mysteriously says no turning loop will need to be built at Micafil). Originally it was planned to divert tram route 2 to serve Bahnhof Altstetten, and this would have permitted the trolleybus to terminate at that location. However, with residents having succesfully petitioned to keep the tram on its present alignment, the trolleybus will continue to be required to assure a direct connection between Hermetschloo and Bahnhof Altstetten.
Here is one I missed earlier. Bern's trolleybus system celebrated an extension on 13th December when route 11 was extended to Holligen. The 700m extension serves Inselspital. A further 600m extension is planned that will take this route to Warmbächliweg, but construction will probably not begin before 2020.
The change is not all growth, however, as the recent extension leads to the abandonment of 500m line to Bremgartenfriedhof and Güterbahnhof, where passengers will now use postal buses. This section was a tram line until 1965 (part of tram route 1, Güterbahnhof - Brückfeld) and was converted to trolleybus in 1977.
A correspondent has made me aware of the appearance of ex Winterthur GTZ trolleybus 161 in Kramatorsk (Ukraine). The trolleybus is believed to be for use in Kramatorsk or Mariupol.
I have uploaded two new videos to Youtube. One shows the illuminated Schwamendingen subway (news item here) and the other recently withdrawn ex-Cisalpino ETR 470 Pendolini in Kaiseraugst.
At about 5am on 31st December, emergency services attended to a fire in an electrical cabinet in the Schwamendingen tram subway between Milchbuck and Tierspital. Although tram operation was resumed later that day, the fire had taken out the block signalling system. When driven on sight, the maximum speed in the tunnel is 18km/h (rather than 60km/h), and the tunnel lighting needs to be on.
I travelled through the tunnel on the evening of 6th January and the slow regime was still in force between Tierspital and Milchbuck. As a silver lining, the lighting reveals many details of the tunnel interior otherwise not seen.
A Happy New Year to all readers.
For those who read these news items on the www.proaktiva.ch/tram/zurich/newslog/newslog.html page, as every year, the previous news items have been moved to a separate page, which for 2015 is http://www.proaktiva.ch/tram/zurich/newslog/2015.html. For those reading as individual items, as usual, there is no change.
Just to summarise some of the highlights and look back on 2015:
There is still no decision on the new tram order, but at least the different parties appear to be moving towards an understanding on how to solve the issue. To summarise, the spat was caused by ZVV wanting to call on the services of a consulting company that some of the parties involved did not consider neutral.
Construction work on the Hardbrücke tram link is now underway. The next extension, Limmattalbahn, has also cleared its last major hurdles.
On the trolleybus side, the last three Mercedes/ABB GTZ bowed out in late November. This means the fleet is now made up entirely of Hess low-floor vehicles. The older of these are being retrofitted with battery packs to replace their auxiliary generators. There will be an increased running without overhead lines as junctions are simplified.