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Trolleybus city: Bern [Schweiz]

General Information

SwissTrolley Nr.10 in service on route 11 in front of the station Berne on 15.09.2006, photo: J. Lehmann
City: Bern (127.217 citizens)
Country: Schweiz
Opened: 29.10.1940
Lines: 3
Vehicles: 20 Trolleybuses
Operator: SVB BERNMOBIL Städt. Verkehrsbetriebe Bern
Remarks: State: 31.01.2016
Link to route-sheme:

Present State

Currently there are only 20 Trolleybuses available for service following the withdrawal of the last of the 32 FBW- and 5 Volvo- articulated Trolleybuses . During normal working the remaining 3 routes can therefore be served by Trolleybuses with the exception of route 13 and 14, which ceased operations due to works for the new tram to Bern-West in 2006/7.

Currently routes 11 and 20 have a 7½- minute headway and require 5, 6 and 4 vehicles respectively. Route 12 has a headway of 6 minutes and requires 8 vehicles. During the peak periods all routes revert to a 6 minute headway with routes 12 and 20 being partially strengthened to a 3 minute headway. Then also diesel buses and Gas buses are in service on the trolleybus-routes.

News for Bern

Date Headline
29.05.2017 Planed e-buses for Route 17 were also delivered by Fa.Hess
21.12.2015 Trolleybus line 11 extended to Insel hospital and Holligen terminus
26.01.2015 Additional extension of trolleybus line 11 decided
05.08.2013 New Trolleybuses with Battery Drive from 2018
22.04.2013 Extension of Route 11 by 2014?
03.05.2010 Again three trolleybus-routes
21.07.2008 Route 12 again in electric mode
21.04.2008 trolleybusroutes linked again
17.10.2006 Transport of the FBW-Trolleybuses to Romania
18.09.2006 The last FBW trolley buses retired from service
29.05.2006 End of trolleybus operation on two routes

The 1985 delivered Volvo/Hess articulated Tb 64 in the pleasing green painting at the station place on 02.10.1989, photo: J. Lehmann


line route length frequency1
11 Holligen - Inselspital - Bahnhof - Neufeld P+R km 5/7½
12 Länggasse - Bahnhof - Zentrum Paul Klee km 3/6
20 Bahnhof - Wyleregg - Wankdorf Bahnhof km 4/5

1 frequency: minutes peak / off peak

Lines: 3


numbers quant. vehicle delivery
1- 8 8 NAW/Hess/Kiepe GN 1997/98
9-20 12 NAW/Hess/Kiepe GN 1999/00

Vehicles: 20 trolleybuses

FBW/Gangloff articulated Tb 55, in service from 1975 to 2003 on 25.09.87 at Bern-Strasse, the car is today museum car of the Obus-Museum Solingen e.V., it was in Solingen as demonstrating car in 1976


The first Trolleybus route in Bern was Route 12 from Bärengraben to Schloßhalde 4.22 Kilometres in length for which 17 solo Trolleybuses were acquired. The inauguration took place on 29.10.1940. Within a few months an extension to the Hauptbahnhof was built and went into service on the 22.01.1941. On the 5th. of July, in the same year, a further extension went into service which terminated at Bumpliz. In order to avoid a complicated crossing with the trams passengers were required to change at the island bus stop travelling towards the town centre. This meant the the shortened length of this route amounted to only 3.7 Kilometres. From the 9th. of May 1948, diesel fuel, being once again more readily available, this route was served by diesel buses and could travel unhindered through to the Hauptbahnhof.
During 1950 the first four of the original Trolleybuses were disposed of, going to Winterthur and La Chaux de Fonds. The 13 remaining vehicles were sold between 1961 and 1967 after 9 articulated Trolleybuses had been taken into service as replacements. The Trolleybus route once again lengthened, this time along a route previously served by trams, until 1959, as far as Länggasse.
A referendum was held, on 21.03.1971, to decide whether or not to purchase 20 new diesel buses. On 24.09.1972 the a motion was carried to purchase 26 Trolleybuses and to convert three routes to Trolleybus operation. 27.10.1974 saw the opening of the first, route 14, followed six months later on 15.04.1975 by route 20. The third route, route13 was inaugurated just over three months afterwards on the 28th. of July 1975.
Two years further on namely on 18.051977 route 11 went into service requiring a further six, new, articulated Trolleybuses. The order for the Trolleybuses coincided with orders from several other Swiss systems and the first production model was sent for testing on 27.08.1974 to the towns of Seattle and Vancouver. This was something quite new for the Americans as they did not have articulated buses anywhere in service.
The success of the Trolleybus in Bern coupled with it is popularity lead to a marked increase in passengers and it became necessary to order a further 5 articulated Trolleybuses, this time as dual mode vehicles, during 1985. Between 1996 and March 2000 twenty low floor articulated Trolleybuses replaced the first of the 1961 FBW Trolleybuses. These vehicles were supplied by a consortium made up of the Swiss firm NAW, (Nutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon AG, Arbon), the firm Carosserie Hess AG from Bellach in Switzerland and the German based firm Kiepe. In view of the planned introduction of a new light rail system during the years 2003 to 2006 the remainder of the FBW were replaced by diesel and gas powered buses.

FBW/R&J articulated Tb 28, in service from 1961 to 1998 on 25.09.1987 at the depot exit, the car is today museum car of the TVS, photo: J. Lehmann.