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City-News Archive

Leipzig [DE] - Return of an oldtimer

J. Lehmann - 16.03.09

Leipzig – Germany

In Leipzig one of the original Trolleybuses from this former "East" German city has been saved and partly restored. Built in 1938 it is the oldest, known, surviving Trolleybus in Germany. It is a Büssing Trolleybus number 104 and was in service from the opening day of the system in 1938 until 1967. Shortly before it was scrapped it was renumbered 304. It was often in service pulling a passenger trailer.

It was one of a series of five vehicles numbered 101 to 105. All of the vehicles were in service on route "A" between Kronprinz / Bayrischer Straße and Kleinzschocher / Adler (turning circle Windorfer / Klarastraße). Today Kronprinz has been renamed Kurt-Eisner-Straße and Bayrischer Straße is now known as A-Hoffmann-Straße. The final route they serviced was route "C" the overland route to Zwenkau. some 14 kilometres South of Leipzig.

After being taken out of service on 19.08.1967 it was sold by the communist owned "Volkseigener Betrieb (VEB) Maschinenhandel" in Halle to a private person. The purchaser used the vehicle as a weekend residence on a piece of land he rented in the "Dübener Höhe" (Waldsiedlung Wellaune) a recreational and health resort area to the north of Leipzig.

In order to preserve the otherwise sensitive metal body work the new owner encased the vehicle inside a wooden structure and even built an extension to it. The piece of land changed hands and in the year 2003 a group of enthusiasts, who were part of the society "Historischen Straßenbahnhofes Leipzig-Möckern" , were able to buy the vehicle.

Several months of preparatory work was necessary to free the vehicle from it's enclosure. After which a considerable amount of aptitude was necessary to get the vehicle ready for transport. The most difficult part of this was getting the vehicle through the narrow tracks in the woodland area to a spot where it could be loaded on to a low loader. Eventually it was made "towable" and on 12.05.2004 it was finally hauled on to the low loader via ramps and transported to it's new home at the "Historischen Straßenbahnhof Leipzig-Möckern"

On 02.06.2006 the vehicle was transported to Blankenburg where the society "Vereinigung Brücke e.V." in cooperation with the local employment exchange to institute an employment promotion in order to reinstate the bodywork to it's former glory. These employment promotions are common place in Germany and are intended to find jobs for the unemployed. They generally last for a period of one year and it is hoped that the firm who is in charge of the project will take over some of the people who worked on the project into full time employment. It is a programme which is heavily subsidised by the local government. On 25.06.2008 the vehicle again returned to Leipzig. The whole of the steel bodywork had been sand blasted and restored to it's original condition. A certain amount of straightening and correction work is still required in order that it can be resprayed in it's original 1938 livery.

It is planned to completely restore the vehicle and have it reregistered so that it may be used on the road as a historic vehicle. Currently, however there is no Overhead wiring in Leipzig under which this Trolleybus could run, although, current discussions on environment problems and spiralling energy prices suggest that, possibly, the near future may see a reintroduction of Trolleybuses to Leipzig.

A detailed report about the saving of this oldtimer and the ongoing Trolleybus discussion in Leipzig can be found in the Stadtverkehr edition 3/09.
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The tram museum at Betriebshof Möckern, (Georg-Schumann-Straße 244, 04159 Leipzig, Germany) is open on the following days in 2009: 17th. May, 21st. June, 16th. August and 20th September. For further info see the following link (museum homepage unfortunately only in German).

Text: Dirk Budach / Jens Strobel, AG Historische Nahverkehrsmittel Leipzig e.V.

Photos: AG Historische Nahverkehrsmittel Leipzig e.V.

Translation: Bankes

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