Gent [BE] - Farewell closing down journey planned
J. Lehmann - 11.05.09
Rail renewal on tram lines 1 and 4 in the town centre have necessitated the cessation of tram operations on these two lines since 20.04.2009. The overhead is also being replaced and this was combined with the removal of the tram/Trolleybus overhead crossing.
Up until now only one of the hybrid buses, which are to replace the Trolleybuses in 2010, has been delivered since mid December 2008 the 15 Trolleybus services of route 3 are all being covered by diesel buses.
Occasionally a Trolleybus can be seen helping out, the last time being on 11.03.2009 when number 06 was put into service on route 3. The last time three Trolleybuses were seen in service was on 23.12.2008. Eleven of the Trolleybus fleet, numbers 02, 07, 09, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 20, are now stored at an old depot in Lochristi. A further five have been withdrawn, numbers 01, 03, 05, 06 and 10, and are stored at the depot.
Trolleybus number 11 absolved a special for a group of 17 enthusiasts from the Nederlandse Trolleybus Vereniging (NTV) on 05.05.2009. Between Dampoort and Malpertuusplein the Trolleybus had to use its auxiliary motor due to the fact that the overhead crossing has been removed and the power cut off along this section.
It is planned to commemorate the final closing down of the system on 14.06.2009 with two Trolleybus on a farewell run. The first is to be number 08 which is to be repainted with the old livery of the vehicles which opened the system 20 years ago. The second vehicle is a 1954 built old timer from the Brussels transport museum numbered 6023, a ten metre long two axle Trolleybus with batteries as opposed to auxiliary motor. This is one of the vehicles which served on the single Trolleybus route in Brussels, route 54, between 1956 and its closing down in February 1964.
The battery pack will allow the vehicle to traverse the stretches where ther is no longer power or the overhead has already been dismantled.
During the renewal of the tram tracks in the town centre provision has been made for point work for a planned tram line 3.
The narrow streets and parked vehicles will make a two way bus service almost impossible and it would seem unlikely that it can be realised. It can only be hoped that a rethinking process will take place and the Trolleybuses are reinstated. Two facts point towards this possibility. Firstly the hybrid buses are only capable of travelling around 1 kilometre in stealth modus and secondly it is planned to leave the remaining overhead in place. The historic town centre of Gent deserves a quiet, clean means of transport.
Our two photo show Trolleybus number 11 on 05.05.2009 traversing the town centre with its auxiliary motor and lowered booms. At Malpertuusplein it was able to put up the booms again and carry on under power.
Photos: Jürgen Lehmann
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