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Esslingen [DE] - Approaches for "Trolley Plus"

J. Lehmann - 10.06.13

Following funding approval for the project "Trolley Plus - Battery assisted trolley", a tender will be issued this year for four articulated trolleybuses with battery drive. To ensure allocation of funds the project must be registered by the SVE by 30.06.2013. In April 2013, the management board approved the purchase of new trolleybuses, the remaining costs must be met by the SVE under the budget for the replacement of vehicles.

Bus route 113, which uses three buses, represents a possible opportunity to use the new vehicles. The route starts at the railway station and runs to Berkheim alternately via Zollberg or over the Adenauerbrücke and then returns via the other routeing. Thus, the overhead from the main line railway station at Esslingen up the Zollberg and down can be used, the rest of the route will be run using battery drive. Also route 118, which currently runs in a loop through the Zollberg district at 20-minute intervals, would, according to current plans, run round the loop in both directions. In the anti-clockwise direction battery power would be used. This would lead to a better service in the Zollberg district. The new trolleybuses could then replace the 113 diesel bus route. However, this route is operated by a private contractor, who holds a concession on the route until the spring of 2018. Negotiations are currently in progress, a new tender for concessions of all other privately-operated routes in the Esslingen area is to take place in spring 2014. Since the previous bus company has the rights to that route, this project could be scuppered.

Following the official "groundbreaking" on 07.02.2013 for the construction of the new central bus station, the overhead in the terminal loop of trolleybus route 118 at Esslingen station was dismantled on 25.03.2013. From then on, trolleybuses turned using their auxiliary drive. Simultaneously, the switch in the overhead disappeared from the station, while the crossover remained inoperative in the overhead. Drivers depoled at the newly created unloading stop in front of the building at 7 Neckarstraße and re-wired in the bus platform outside the station. In early May a rewiring pan was installed in the overhead to help the drivers.
Following acceptance on 05.06.2013 of the overhead, which had been completed during the previous night by GA Energy Instalations South, trolleybus route 101 has now received a new alignment. It now runs behind the station building on the southern ring road in the area of the former tracks 1 and 2 and passes the station to the north to run through the former turning loop of route 118 to get back to Berlinerstraße. At the same time, all traffic has been diverted over the southern ring road. This alignment of roads and overhead will remain until the spring of 2014, before trolleybus route 101 to Lerchenäcker can again stop in front of the railway station and the overhead can be aligned so that route 118 obtains a turning loop around the station building. Currently, route 118 must navigate a larger turning circle, so SVE is avoiding the use of trolleybuses. Two articulated diesel buses (No. 7042, 7045) have been borrowed from the SBB to operate on route 118 from the beginning of June.

In February 2013, the Management Committee approved the procurement of three diesel articulated buses in order to rejuvenate the bus fleet. The tender procedures were set in motion by the SVE on 19.02.2013 with a notice in the Official Journal. The offer period ended on 05.04.2013 and four bids were received. The delivery must be completed by 06.12.2013.

Mickael Pandion who took over as works manager in 2008 left the SVE on 1st June 2013 and set up his own business as a consultant in the transport sector and opened an office in Esslingen under the name Pandion Public Transport Consult.
Translation: Martin Wright

Photos: Top: Until the end of March 2013, a familiar sight in front of Esslingen railway station has now become a thing of the past. On 20.03.2013 trolleybuses 213 and 218 are in front of the station in service on routes 118 and 101. Photographer Jürgen Lehmann
Below: Trolleybus 215 using auxiliary drive in the turning loop in front of the station. A little later, the driver raises the poles manually. Photographer: Ronald Kiebler, 03.05.2013

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