Trams of Cologne 1.
Cologne is a very special place for me: my mother used to work and live here for years and I almost became an inhabitant of the city, too. After all I didn't do that, but nevertheless, I spent so much time here that fell in love with the city. This is a very liberal place with nice people and a colorful public life (just think of the Cologne Carnival), and with well-engineered infrastructure. And of course, there are trams here as well... :-) I visited the city again after eight years in 2002.
This is Rudolfplatz at the main boulevard ring. The K4000-series vehicle coming towards us on the picture is coming from Neumarkt, the public transport center of the inner city.
This type is very similar to the trams of Croydon, England. They are bi-directional, 70% low-floor articulated cars, from which 120 were brought since 1995. I must say it was strange for me to see these cars here, they are very much unlike the german designs that were used here before - but there again they blend in nicely!
The tram in Cologne is more of an LRT than a normal network of streetcar lines: they call it "Stadtbahn" (city rail). Around Rudolfplatz trains on the Ring lines go underground for example. This was built out in the 1960's and 70's: by then car traffic became so large that trams were obstructed.
Of course the tunnel sections do not turn trams into underground lines (although they are referred to as U-Bahn): they come up to the surface at less densly used/populated areas.
The car we see here and on the previous photo is a vehicle of the "Stadtbahn B" (city rail car type "B") series. This is in fact not a type but a class of vehicles produced by various companies for more than twenty years.
While the Stadtbahnwagen B cars have high floor with folding steps for non-high platform stops, K4000's are more comfortable on the more "tram-ish" routes.
This is tram stop Heumarkt.
Most of the cars feature all-over ads. This one looks almost like if it would be some kind of official livery...
... while others are more showy.
A bit of "lost rails": there used to be a turning loop around the streets at Heumarkt until the late nineties. When the new, bi-directional Bombardier cars arrived, the loop became unneeded...
K40000's are usually run in two-car coupled sets, like this here on Deutzer Brücke.
More "lost rails" under Deutzer Brücke on the other side of the river Rhine.
A nice place for trainspotters: Hohenzollernbrücke in the heart of the city features six parallel tracks!
The Main Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof) is located right besides the fabulous gothical/neogothical Cathedral of Cologne. I think this is one of the most interesting railway stations of the world!
© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.
Back to the top Back to the main page