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Solingen [DE] - The first of the new Hess Trolleybuses delivered

J. Lehmann - 08.12.08


Solingen – Germany

Friday, 05.12.2008, at precisely eleven o'clock, the first of the series of 15 articulated Hess/Vossloh-Kiepe Trolleybuses was, literally, unveiled at a press conference. The Trolleybus, which arrived at 04:30 on the Friday morning on a low loader direct from the Hess factory at Bellach in Switzerland, was parked in the Stadtwerke workshop and covered with a massive 26 by 10 meter white sheet. This was, then, duly removed at the unveiling ceremony. Besides the members of press there were representatives from the town council, drivers, mechanics and various other interested parties.

The presentation rings in the beginning of a six week training programme for drivers and workshop personal by the manufacturer Hess. The workshop personal are to undergo a four hour course in Solingen. Two of the body shop personal will be schooled in the finer parts of repair and maintenance of aluminium body work in the Swiss workshops in Bellach.

On the following Monday 08.12.2008 the second vehicle of the series was loaded on to a low loader and arrived in Solingen on Tuesday. Tuesday was also to see the first trial runs. The vehicle type successfully underwent it's TÜV (MOT) certificate testing in the works in Switzerland. The qualifying procedures for the certificate of safety for the electric parts of the vehicle, conducted by the authorities responsible for testing and certifying these components, was due to begin on Wednesday. This procedure is a particularly long drawn out affair in Germany entailing not only a physical inspection but also a minute inspection of the individual specifications of all the relevant component parts. It may only be conducted by elected engineers designated by the local county government. It also means that testing in service with passengers is not allowed until the certificate has been awarded and that will not be until an unspecified date in the new year. Often, in Germany, a "temporary" certificate is issued and remains valid for an unspecified period of time.

The Trolleybuses are to be designated the fleet numbers 951 to 965. The first of the three numbers donates the year of entering service (2009) and the second two numbers are the number in numerical order of the articulated Trolleybus following on from the numbersystem used for the VanHool vehicles of 2002.

Raimund Düllberg, the Stadtwerke Solingen engineer responsible for evaluation of tenders and the negotiations and subsequent ordering of buses and Trolleybuses, said, during the presentation, that these Trolleybuses possessed three decisive advantages over their predecessors of the fourth generation vehicles so far purchased.

Firstly, the two axle drive which will considerably improve performance in winter conditions, secondly, air conditioning for the driver's compartment and finally an automated boom system for wiring and de-wiring. This is a newly developed system from Vossloh-Kiepe is also capable of analysing unscheduled dewirements.

As with all previous generations of Trolleybuses these vehicles are also fitted with auxiliary motors for off wire manoeuvring. Whereas the first, second and third generation had air-cooled Volkswagen motors coupled to a generator to produce electricity these new vehicles are fitted with a powerful 100 kW industrial motor coupled to a generator. Also new is the fact that the motor is electrically pre warmed thus avoiding cold starts. The motor itself upholds the "Euro5" exhaust limits. The vehicles are to go into service on route 683 and will replace the 14 MAN 3 axle 12 metre Trolleybuses of the late eighties. Route 683 is to be extended from it's present Terminus at the turntable in Burg approximately 1 kilometre through the village to a new turning circle. Overhead wiring is not to be erected, so as to preserve the historic look of the village, and, therefore, this extension will be covered using the auxiliary motor.

Our photos show, top:
Reminiscent of a piece art by Christo the unveiled Trolleybus in the Stadtwerke workshops.
The middle photo from left to right: Mr. C, Troullier, Managing director of the Stadtwerke and depot manager, Mr. B Krebs chairman of the governing body of the Stadtwerke Solingen and Mr. T. Gagsch, Sales Manager for Hess who, with a little help form the Statdwerke personal, unveiled the new Trolleybus.
The bottom photo reveals the unmistakable front of the vehicle.
All photos Jürgen Lehmann.


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