Luzern [CH] - New Trolleybuses and new extensions
J. Lehmann - 20.04.09
The operating concern continues to renew the fleet. Ten new Swiss-Trolley form Hess were delivered between September 2004 and mid 2006 and now an order for a further sixteen Hess/Vossloh-Kiepe has been placed. The first three have already been delivered. The first Swiss-Trolley of this batch was presented at a press conference on 20.04.2009. It was part of a new advertising campaign for "Mehr Luft" (translated "more air"). It is not however, a campaign for cleaner air due to the use of Trolleybuses but a campaign acclaiming the advantages of the Trolleybuses fitted with air conditioning units resulting better air in the vehicles and also space for the buses in the streets which means bus lanes.
The managing director of the operating company "Verkehrsbetrieb Luzern" (VBL), Mr. Norbert Schassmann, stated in his opening speech that, in his opinion, Trolleybuses are almost twice as expensive as their diesel counterparts but due to the aluminium body work and the longevity of the service free electronic components they have a life expectancy of double that of the diesel buses.
Pia Maria Brugger manager of the " Zweckverbands öffentlicher Agglomerationsverkehr Luzern" (ÖVL), which is a public transport alliance in the Luzern region, also stated that investment in the infrastucture is also planned and has the support of the local political parties. A first step will be the opening of a 1.6 kilometre extension of route 6 to Büttenen which will be realised by December 2012. This is to be followed in 2013 by a 4.5 kilometre extension of route 1 from Maihof to Ebikon. Further extensions are under discussion. The proposed are extensions to route 12 to Littau, 2.4 kilometres, and to route 20 to Horw, 2.6 kilometres.
Preliminary to a demonstration ride with the new Trollleybus Mr. Christian Zumsteg, VBL fleet manager, explained the main differences between these new Swiss-Trolleys and the first ten delivered during 2004/2006. All 18 are fitted with air conditioning units for the passengers, the vehicles are, at 18.66 metres, 80 centimetres longer than the first ten and the carrying capacity is 14 more than the older ones being 146.
When all 16 new vehicles have been delivered routes 2, 6, 7 and 8 will be serviced completely with low floor vehicles. This is already the case with route 1 which is served by the three 2006 purchased double articulated "LighTram" Trolleybuses and the twenty year old two axle vehicles with low floor trailers.
Only route 4 is served by 12 metre Trolleybuses which have not yet all undergone restoration and repainting. Trolleybus numbers 260 to 266 and 270 have, so far, received the new white/blue livery. The option with the firm Hess for double articulated Trolleybuses has not yet been taken up.
The 16 new Trolleybuses will replace the twenty year old vehicles numbers 181 to 200. Numbers 181, 182 and 186 were withdrawn from service at the beginning of 2009 and were used as spare parts donors for the other vehicles. They have since been scrapped. They were no longer required due to the new timetable for route 2 which had been introduced ( see or report from 10.03.2009) Of the remaining 17 vehicles only five are to be resold the remainder are to be kept as donors for the other two axle vehicles which are to remain in service.
Our photos show the Swiss-Trolley articulated Trolleybus leaving the depot on it's demonstration run for the members of the press. It was given an advert for the "Mehr Luft" campaign.
Below: with 188 kilometres on the clock the vehicles enters regular service for the first time on route 1 at 15:27. It retained the festive decoration as can bee seen here as the vehicles crosses the "Seebrücke" shortly before arriving at the central station.
Photos: Jürgen Lehmann