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Swansong of the Standard Tram?

filed on: 02.04.2004 (2nd Apr 2004)

The demise of the Standard Trams has often been prematurely announced. The latest such report appeared in Tram (Number 77, February 2004) and claims that the four remaining two-door trailers on route 4 have been withdrawn. Stock rendered surplus by the cutting back of route 10 from Seebach to Oerlikon (see 14.12.2003) has rendered, or so it is claimed, the last of these trailers superfluous. However, 770 is still in service. This vehicle is 51 years old this year and the last of a type dating to the early 1940ies. Zürich once had 60 trailers of this type.

The Swiss Standard Tram is based on prototypes delivered to Zürich in 1939. The first production vehicle (delivered to Zürich in 1940) still survives as Cargo Tram 1922. Several hundred Standard Trams were built for a total of five Swiss cities. The Zürich cars were (trailers) 711-770, 787-801, (prototypes) 1031-1032, (Kurbeli) 1351-1415 and (Pedaler) 1501-1552. The recent withdrawals reduce the number of Standard trailers to 13, of which only number 770 represents the original two-door design with angular ends, wooden floors and louvered windows.

787-798 are all still active on route 4. These three door trailers delivered 1962-3 represent the second generation of Standard Tram. Withdrawn cars in store are 747/56/67/8.

Zürich also operated a third variant of the standard trailer family. 799-801 were VBZ's newest trailers, acquired in 1973 to the same design as that used in Basel. They joined their brothers and sisters in Basel in 1999 when they were sold to BLT. They were given the numbers 1301-3 and BLT's yellow and red livery - and see regular use on BLT's tram 17.

Kurbeli 1408, which has been parked in the open at ZW Altstetten for many years, is to be transferred to Burgwies depot. Apparently this tram is subject to a preservation attempt by Aktion Pro Sächsitram, who also wish to obtain one of the three door trailers 787-798 when these become available. No restoration is planned at present and the main concern is securing 1408 from the elements and the scrap dealers. For the time being, storage in Burgwies is a secure option. However, when rebuilding of the depot starts, another location must be found.

It should also be mentioned that 1530 and 1392 + 732 are preserved in operational condition in Zürich and that 1379 + 739 are preserved by AMTUIR at their Colombes base near Paris. 731 survives in the guise of open-topped tram 1971. Various further units are now works trams (albeit extensively rebuilt), two of which have recently been transferred to Bern. Various Kurbelis and trailers survive in Pyongyang.

This news item is from the 2004 newslog.

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