Solingen [DE] - Another vehicle reaches one million kilometres
J. Lehmann - 27.10.08
The Chassis and bodywork of first two Hess Trolleybuses for Solingen have been completed. Currently they are being fitted with the electric equipment by Vossloh-Kiepe at the Hess works in Bellach. When this has been completed the vehicles will be fitted with their seating, interior fitting etc.. It is planned to deliver them to Solingen some time during September 2008.
On the 13th. Of October 2008 the MAN 3 axle Trolleybus number 36 surpassed as the second of its generation the one million mark. Not many vehicles have reached this magic figure in the past. A few of the ÜH IIIs followed by MAN articulated Trolleybus number 1 which was in service for just over 19 years from 27.01.1984 to 30.04.2003. It is highly likely that further MAN 3 axle vehicles will follow 36 and 1 as quite a few (e.g. 37, 40, 48 and 50) are only around 30 000 Km away from the one million mark.
A precise date for the withdrawal from service of the remaining MAN 3 axle vehicles has not been specified. It will depend entirely on the new Hess vehicles going into active service. It is speculated that this will be in conjunction with a new timetable sometime during the summer of 2009.
The vehicles will only be prematurely taken out of service in the case of extensive repairs being required. Currently ten of the MAN 3 axle vehicles are required daily to serve route 683 and in all thirteen of these vehicles are available for service.
(see the following link: http://www.trolleymotion.com/cities/facts.php?sy_ID=74)
In preparation for the new articulated Trolleybuses various alterations such as lengthening of bus stops and the new turning circle at the Beverly Nightclub in Burg have been commenced. The extension plans for route 683 in Wuppertal-Vohwinkel to the railway station has been temporarily been shelved again.
MAN 3 axle Trolleybus number 42, which has been used by Vossloh-Kiepe as a test bed for various electrical and electronic innovative components since 1990, was withdrawn from service at the end of 2007. Due to the testing phases it went through the vehicle has a very low mileage as it was only extremely irregularly in passenger service. For this reason it was decided to let the Obus-Museum Solingen e.V. take possession of the vehicle as a museum exhibit. Members of the Museum are converting it back to its original state.
The VanHool articulated Trolleybus number 254 caught fire on 02.04.2008. The fire broke out in the area around the traction motor and power steering pump. After several weeks of assessing the cause of the fire by experts the vehicle was returned to VanHool in Belgium for repairs during May 2008. It is due to be returned shortly.
The remodelling of the area around the recently renamed Solingen Hauptbahnhof (Ex Ohligs Bahnhof) or central station is continuing to plan. During the weekend 21st. - 22nd. Of June 2008 the Trolleybus routes 681 and 682 were served by diesel buses to allow the overhead crews to dismantle the wiring of the old bus station and remount it in its temporary positioning. The majority of the diesel bus stops have been relocated together with the stop for Trolleybus route 681 on the kieler Straße. The rest have been relocated to stops in front of the central station together with the stop for Trolleybus route 682.
The civil engineering works at the central station were due to be completed during October 2008. The new asphalt resurfacing of the affected area including the Kieler Straße took place during the autumn holidays (29.09.2008 10.10.2008). During this period the buses had to use a variety of diversions and for this reason between 01.10.2008 and 06.10.2008 Trolleybus routes 681 and 682 were served mostly by diesel buses. Due to the fact that Solingen does not have enough diesel buses the occasional Trolleybus could also be seen in operation. Between 17.09.2008 and 06.10.2008 the bus stop for route 681 was also placed in front of the station reminding the passengers of the situation as it was prior to 1971 when both Trolleybus bus stops were situated on the Bahnstraße in front of the station buildings. The kieler Straße is now restricted to bus and taxi traffic.
It was also during the Autumn holidays that canalisation in the area around the Hästen terminus of route 681 was carried out. The Trolleybuses terminated at the Bülowplatz turning circle. Passengers for Hästen transferred to a shuttle service for the remaining stretch. From seven oclock in the evening the Trolleybuses were withdrawn leaving the whole of route 681 being served by diesel buses. On Sundays the route was served completely by diesel buses from ´the commencement of services until one oclock and then again from 7 oclock in the evening. Between one oclock and seven oclock the Trolleybuses and the shuttle service were operating. A water mains burst prolonged the road works so that after the schools had started again the shuttle service was still in operation. It was not until 21.10.2008 that normal service with trolleybuses through to Hästen could be resumed.
On the 08.10.2008 Trolleybus route 683 also had to be served by diesel buses due to work being carried out on a frog in the overhead which necessitated shutting down the power in the affected section.
The photo shows the first Hess articulated production vehicle for Solingen taken on a visit to the works at Bellach on 19.09.2008. The front bumper and the front flap will mounted after the electrics have been fitted during the final fitting procedure.