Solingen [DE] - Smooth and quiet
J. Lehmann - 02.02.09
The new Hess built "Swiss-Trolley" has found favour with the drivers in Solingen. "A Trolleybus the way it should be: powerful but quiet" is just one of the comments. It appears the local press, members of Trolleymotion and the trade press were also impressed after completing demonstration journeys on 30.01.2009 (see link).
The two Hess Trolleybuses which were delivered in December 2009 were officially certified and passed, after having fulfilled all the necessary regulatory standards and conditions, on 26.01.2009. Due to the fact that, at the time of writing, only 20, of the total of 300, drivers have been schooled on the vehicles they were only put into service on rush hour extras. Number 952 was in service on Tuesday 27.01.2009 and number 951 on Wednesday 28.01.2009. They were both in service on the supplementary rush hour service which connects Krahenhöhe (route 683) with Aufderhöhe (route 686). During the remainder of the day schooling was carried out for both drivers and the workshop personnel. This schooling, which began on 16.01.2009, is being carried out by the manufacturer and the employees of the Stadtwerke Sollingen.
On 02.02.2009 schooling of the remaining drivers started. It is hoped that all the drivers will have received their schooling within around 14 days so that the vehicles may then be put into all day service. The Stadtwerke Solingen also contracts driving out to a private firm as well as employing it's own drivers. This company is the "Verkehrs-Service GmbH" (VSG), also known under the name ELBA, partly owned (25%) by the Stadtwerke Solingen. It is in fact a method of getting cheap personnel. The VSG drivers are also to be schooled together with the Stadtwerke drivers. VSG is to cover the complete duty roster for Trolleybus routes 684, 685 and 686 therefore making the schooling necessary. This new duty roster came into operation on 19.01.2009 together with the new timetable.
The two new Trolleybuses are to go into intensive testing on the back breaking routes 681 / 682 in order to find out whether or not, as a result of the testing, any further alterations or adjustments for the next vehicles is required. There have already been a few requests for changes to the design. The workshop personnel have requested that some of the maintenance openings be enlarged and a superfluous bus stop request button is to be removed.
Delivery of the first of the series vehicles is to start on 06.04.2009 and it is hoped that, by then, all of the drivers will have been schooled.
The TÜV (the regulatory body) inspections and certifying of the series vehicles is to take place in Solingen (as opposed to the first two prototypes which were inspected in Switzerland at the manufacturers plant see our report from 08.12.2008) and four vehicles at a time are to be inspected. The last batch is to have been delivered by the end of June 2009. The vehicles, which have been specifically designed to operate on route 683 entailing off wire running with passenger sin "Unterburg" for about 2 kilometres, will not go into service on this route until the building of the new turning circle, which is on the farther side of the village and will replace the turntable, is completed. The new turning circle is to built on the site of the old "Kleinbahnhof". Currently work has not begun but it is planned that it should be completed for use in time for the new timetable at the end of the summer holidays and is to become operational on 15.08.2009.
Our photo shows number 951 on 28.01.2009 in service on driver training (destination blinds: "Lehrwagen" which, literally translated, means learning vehicle). The vehicle is seen here on the Kuller Straße travelling towards Hasselstraße on route 684.
Photo Jürgen Lehmann
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