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A long weekend in Upper Silesia - Interurban trams III.

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Open day in depot Stroszek

The 110th birthday of the Upper-Silesian Tramways was celebrated with a nice open day in depot Bytom Stroszek. And it seems organisers took the word "open" literally: you could go to everywhere and try anything at least it wasn't explicitly closed/barred. And most places and trams weren't.

Visitors were running up and down the yard, posing in the driver's cabs for photos and playing with the knobs and switches there like children! :)

Although most of the rolling stock consists of Konstal 105Na trams, I don't think I have seen two identically-looking trams :)

These photos were taken on some of the older-looking cars - I have seen others sporting more modern equipment.

The most interesting tram that day was this weird Konstal 102N articulated unit. It sure looks like a prop from an old science-fiction series!

This particular vehicle is used as a training car (driving school), and whoever has had the time to wait in the queue, could drive it around inside the remise.

Various footage of this car in the depot and in downtown Bytom.

There was also this other training car there, but the queue was still too long :)

Left: the oldtimer shuttle service to the event, reversing in the depot. Right: I wonder if this power generator is still working.

The "Type N" and its cousins are the most frequently used heritage and works trams in Poland, because they were used until the nineties. They were based on the german "wartime standard tram" (Kriegsstrassenbahn, KSW) design, and seem to be indestructable.

Left: I have absolutely no idea what cause this works car serves. To the right: I think this is the underframe of some version of the Type N.

A PCC accelerator, as used in Konstal trams, which were copied off of a czechoslovakian CKD Tatra T1 tram.

The bogies are also quite like the St.Louis B-something PCC bogies. This must have been a weird story: CKD Tatra has bought the licence for the PCC cars, but Konstal didn't. Hence, the Konstal PCC-alikes are "illegal clones" of legal PCC copies. I heard CKD was not really happy about the matter, but at least Konstal did not build any such cars for outside Poland, hence CKD's quasi-monopoly was unhurt. On the other hand I also heard that Konstal has cooperated in some way with belgian PCC-builder ACEC, so the case might have been simpler. I really look forward to read the true story - was it ever published anywhere?

The 111N is a modified, semi-bidirectional version of the105N, with doors on both sides. When two such cars are coupled back-to-back, they form a bidirectional unit, which does not need a reversing loop or wye - ideal during temporary shortenings!

Left: the front/end doors of the 111N are quite narrow: if the door stucks a bit, only children fit through :) To the right: two different modernisations of the 105Na.

The original look of the 105N, reconverted by ALSTOM, the current owner of the Konstal works.

Very 1970s!

By the way, this is no museum car: you can see it in normal traffic, too!

Some rubber-tyred auxiliary vehicles.

Left: the oldtimer shuttle service was called "line 110" to celebrate the anniversary. To the right: a trailer version of the Type N, designated Type 4ND1.

Two shots before we leave the remise: the storage yard (it was a saturday, no wonder it was quite full), and a "lost" piece of trackage in front of the depot.

Next page: more Type N: Line 38

© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.

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