Plzen [CZ] - Celebrating 75 years of trolleybus services
J. Lehmann - 06.06.16
75 years ago on 09.04.1941, the first trolleybus ran on the route to Doubravka. The 75th anniversary of trolleybus operations and 80th anniversary of trolleybus manufacturing in Pilsen will take place on Saturday, 18 June 2016, from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. at the depot 2015 on Presslova Street. In addition to the locally-preserved Skoda 9Tr and 15Tr, visiting vehicles will be the Skoda 6Tr and T11 from Brno and the Skoda 8Tr and Tatra T400 from Praga. It is presumed, but not confirmed, that these will all be operational. The Skoda 3Tr normally displayed in the Skoda Technical museum is also expected to be displayed but is not operational.
From the previous tender with Skoda, four trolleybuses 26 Tr without alternative drive (No. 2553-556) went into service in last year and eight trolleybuses will follow this year (between September and December). They will replace the nine Skoda 14Tr (Nr. 435, 437, 443, 444, 446, 450, 457, 459, 460). For the new arrivals in 2015, the Skoda 14Tr 449, 451-53 were sold to Mikolayiv.
A tender for trolleybuses with an auxiliary diesel drive was canceled and a new tender was placed at the end of 2015. The contract was signed last month. The local operator PMDP decided to buy only trolleybuses with batteries. The new trolleybuses are needed preferentially for the current lines 12 (extremely hilly route to Letkov) and 13, but new possibilities will be considered soon and they will replace the Skoda 21 TrACI. In this tender Skoda Electric won with 26 Tr with lithium-titanate batteries with 44 kWh capacity. It should be enough to operate these trolleybuses for minimum 12 km sections without overhead wires and a minimum of 7 years battery life. The first 7 trolleybuses with batteries are expected in spring 2017.
In the near future the change of line 10 in the city center is planed. The line from Černice, Slovany will be finished with a new central circuit route through the streets U trati, Borská, Koperníkova, Tylova, Americká, Prokopova and back to the existing route in Doudlevecká street. Stops on the circuit route will be at Radobyčická, (Belánka in the years to come), Jizní předměstí, Tylova, U Práce, Mrakodrap and Prokopova. The new route will use new overhead in U Trati and Borska. This overhead is nowadays used only by trolleybuses going from/to new depot Karlov.
New catenary will be also be installed later this year in Zelezniční street and on the bridge across the railway station. This new electric infrastructure is funded by SDC, a Czech state company, which is also modernizing the railway structures in Pilsen. Due to the construction works, the underpass at Mikuláská street will temporarily close. In 2017-18, the trolleybus line 12 will use this new detour between Koterovská street and Americká street (through Zelezniční U Prazdroje Anglické nábřezí). After construction has been completed, the overhead will remain as a alternative route between Doubravka and the western part of trolleybus network (some of the junctions and connections will be adapted), although they will be unlikely to see revenue use and only function for operational purposes and empty vehicle movements. .
Route 10 will follow a new route this year. In 2012, the trolleys couldn't use the regular alignment either and the youngest Skoda 14Tr Nr. 460 had to turn near the station to take a diversionary path back to Chenurov. Photo: J. Lehmann, May 2012.
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