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Luzern [CH] - Next 1ER delivered

J. Lehmann - 14.07.14

Following the festive inauguration of the first double-articulate trolleybus on 12 June 2014, the vehicle already entered revenue service one week later on 19 June. During the weeklong lapse in between, the required staff training runs took place. On 8 July, the second vehicle was delivered. It is likely to enter regular service together with the third unit in the series, once the Swiss Federal Office of Transport has certified both buses in late July. Hess, the producer of the 1ER, then plans to deliver the next unit in mid August, following the summer holidays. All nine double-articulated trolleys are expected to be in Luzern by mid October with certification of the last vehicle planned for 21 Oct. Presently no single units have yet been withdrawn, as a result of the 1ER fleet introduction, although the trailer Nr. 305 was transferred to the Hess works for refurbishment as a demonstrator unit for potentially interested buyers. Because of the temporary cessation of services on line 2, the Luzern operator vbl presently has a surplus of buses. It is expected that 11 trailer-consists will be decommissioned and offered for sale. Most of these were built between 1998 and 2002 and still have a lot of life left in them. Presently vbl only intends to keep the five newest trailers dating from 2005. These are numbered as 312-316. One trailer consist has been earmarked for preservation purposes, while nine single units are being sold to Valparaiso in Chile. The single units Nr. 253 and Nr. 280 will also remain in Luzern. The former is used a staff training vehicle, while the later functions as a de-icer. The total size of the trolleybus fleet in Luzern will therefore shrink to 47 units, including 12 double-articulated buses, five trailer consists and four single units.

The remaining trailer-consists will continue to be used on line 8 and will also be available as an operational reserve on line 1. This flagship route requires 12 vehicles at peak time in the morning and 13 in the afternoon, in order to offer a 5-minute interval pattern. In total, the city’s entire trolleybus operation requires 36 units to uphold all services on all lines during rush hour.

Once services recommence on line 2 in December 2016 and the new peripheral trolleybus route 3 starts running at the same time, additional vehicles will be required. It is presently being evaluated whether these could be more double-articulated units, based on existing contractual options with Hess, or if single articulated units would be preferred, in which case a new tender would need to be issued.

Translation: Andrew Thompson

The distinct design of the new 1ER trolleybuses on Luzern’s line 1 is part of the “RBus” concept. This scheme seeks to improve and adapt the urban road infrastructure during the coming years, so as to accelerate the journey time of the trolleybuses. Photo: Jürgen Lehmann

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