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City-News Archive

Zurich [CH] - Battery mode proves successful

J. Lehmann - 18.01.16

As part of the timetable change on 14 December 2015, the diesel bus line 83 has replaced the temporary trolleybus operation on route 71. This service had been introduced in late 2013 in order to boost traffic intervals on the busy trolley lines 33 and 72 along the Hardbrücke corridor.

Due to the reconstruction of catenary at Albisriederplatz and a lack of electrc buses with back-up battery packs, the trolleybus service on line 71 therefore had to be discontinued in late 2015. A total of 21 battery trolleys are presently available for all services on the popular routes 33 and 72, but this is insufficient during rush hour, as up to 23 vehicles are required to run all diagrams then. Therefore several older SwissTrolleys with merely back-up diesel motors also had to be pressed into service.

As of 5 October 2015, trolleybuses have also been used on a temporary basis for peak hour booster services on line 46. In December 2015, the last 4 Mercedes-Benz O405 GTZ units 106, 122, 131, and 142 were withdrawn. Particularly noteworthy is Nr. 131, as in its roughly 20 years of service, it clocked up an impressive total of 1.433.182 km.

In the mean time, officials from the municipal public transport operator VBZ have been very satisfied with the results of battery mode trolleybus operations during the rebuilding process at Albisriederplatz. According to information provided, the batteries have functioned very well, while the automated de and re-wiring process has caused virtually no problems. From over 3500 such applications in the span of 7 days, only 3-4 errors occurred with de or re-wiring. Given the success of these battery trials, VBZ has now decided to retrofit those 18 articulated and 17 double-articulated trolleybuses that were originally fitted with a back-up diesel motor. The Swiss bus builder Hess has been contracted to replace those diesel motors with state-of-the-art battery packs. The work is expected to be commence in summer 2016. The first two trolleys will be upgraded at the Hess factory in Bellach, before the work will shift to the VBZ facilities in Zürich.

Top: After 2 years of running rush hour booster services, the Zürich trolleybus line 71 is already history again. On 24 August 2015, the first series SwissTrolley Nr. 145 is seen operating in diesel mode at Albisriederplatz, while the second series unit Nr. 166 passes it in battery mode.
Bottom: On 21 August 2013, the 5 Mercedes-Benz trolleys 123, 115, 123, 131 and 140 form a line-up at Hardau garage. These units were formally withdrawn as of late 2015. Photos: J. Lehmann.

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