Rimini [IT] - 9 new VanHool trolleys on order
J. Lehmann - 07.10.18
In July 2017 the local public transport operator secured funding worth 10.4 million EUR to acquire new trolleybuses for the coastal network on the Adriatic. By late 2017, negotiations had been successfully completed and orders placed with the Belgian bus builder VanHool. Delivery of the articulated vehicles is now expected to commence in summer 2019, at the same time as the identical trolleys for Montreux will be supplied. In order to accelerate the certification procedure in Italy, a prototype will first complete trials and allow for the examination and approval of all new vehicle components. Kiepe is supplying the electrical equipment.
Once in revenue service, the new trolleybuses will run on the modern express route Rapid Coast Transport between Rimini and Riccione. This line has BRT-like features with its own segregated bus lanes situated adjacent to the main line railway tracks. The catenary over the new route has already been mounted and energized and a VanHool trolleybus did successfully complete tests there in February 2018. With the exception of the terminus loop at Riccione station, the whole BRT alignment is separated and fenced in. These measures are to prevent trespass and improve safety. At the other end of the line in Rimini, the trolleybus terminus is located about 200 m from the station building and can be completely enclosed with gates. All in all, 15 intermediate stops are served, including a calling point at Miramare Airport. Current plans call for the use of 5 trolleybuses to offer a normal 10-minute headway. During rush hour, 8 trolleys are to be used, thus providing a 7.5 minute interval pattern and a end-to-end journey time of 23 mins.
The existing trolleybus route 11 will continue to operate after the introduction of the new express line, even though the two alignments are quite close to each other, located anywhere from 150 to 500 m parallel. The total journey time on line 11 remains roughly 33 mins, with 46 stations served. Because of the prolonged construction of a new wastewater treatment plant near Piazza Kennedy, the catenary along line 11 was severed for short section, forcing the trolleybuses to use their auxiliary diesel drives instead. After several years of interruption, the gap in the power lines will soon be closed, as new catenary masts have already been mounted and funding for the re-wiring has also been secured.
Top: Due to the severed catenary on line 11, trolleybus 36503 is seen running in diesel mode. Parts of the new power lines, including the cone for re-wiring, having already been mounted on this picture, illustrating that a return to all electric traction is likely to happen very soon. From this location, the alignment of the new BRT-style express route is only 150 m away.
Bottom: The new BRT-style trolleybus terminus at Riccione station. The main line railway tracks are visible in the background, while the turning loop is behind the photographer. Photos: J. Lehmann, April 2018
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