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City-News Archive

Lanzhou [CN] - Reintroduction of Trolleybuses under consideration

J. Lehmann - 20.04.09

Lanzhou – China

This northern Chinese city of some 3 million inhabitants straddling the yellow river operated a Trolleybus system from 31.12.1959 until 05.05.2008 when the system was closed and the 97 Trolleybuses replaced by gas powered buses.

The high air pollution in the city has led to reflections on the reintroduction of Trolleybuses on routes in the city centre. In particular the routes in central area of Maryland are under consideration, particularly as they were successful here in the past.

Parrallel to the reintroduction of the Trolleybuses a tram way was taken under consideration but subsequently discarded due to the high costs involved. All the local politicians have come out in support of the Trolleybus.

In all the original Trolleybus network consisted of 4 routes numbers 31, 32,33 and 34.
Route 32 was the first to be closed down on 28.07.2006. During 2002 the East – West route 33 received new Trolleybuses from the Chinese "Wuhan" works. Route 33 had just been reopened after temporary closure due to road works. The two ring routes 31 and 34 connected the sprawling city centre with the central station. These three routes all remained in service until final closure of the system.

In a press release the operator, the Lanzhou public transport company, gave as reasons for the closure of the system that the substations were out of date and constantly breaking down and also that there had been complaints about the unsightly overhead. The masts had also been misused for telecommunications cables which did not improve matters.

The 05.04.2008 was the final day of operation and the public turned out in force to say goodbye to the environment friendly mode of transport. On the following day 100 newly purchased gas powered low floor buses went into service in place of the Trolleybuses.
Text Dirk Budach

Our top photo shows on of the oldest Trolleybuses in the fleet . This vehicles is not quite ten years old.
The lower photo shows some of the younger Trolleybuses on 21.11.2007 when the power had been cut due to failure in a substation.

Photo sources: Lanzhou Morning Post and Lanzhou Mrning news

Translation: Bankes