The final farewell: August 20, 2007.
Good-bye to UVs on route 47 - and in the whole of Budapest!
First came route 50. Then the lines in Zugló. Then route 42 and 52. Then 19 and 41. By then we knew, that the final day of the UV tram in regular operation would come sooner than previously thought. One and a half years ago it was said that UVs will last a few years on route 41 yet, and maybe even on route 47, but then the contruction works for the new metro line M4 on the Small Boulevard, and the closure of Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) for a grand renovation changed these plans, meaning that the last day of the bridge before the closure will also be the last day for the UV, too.
So I started to go out "tram-hiking" even more often, to capture these wonderful vehicles in their evening of life. Sadly the nearing of the end also meant almost no maintenance, so most of the cars got very worn. Still, from the outside they remained photogenic enough, for example as they rolled past the metro works at Móricz Zsigmond körtér (to the right) on the provisional tracks of the Fehérvári út tram services.
And there were so many people doing the same that tram photographers suddenly turned to be a normal sight: most of the passer-by and tram drivers weren't surprised or upset because of them anymore :)
Two shots taken at Albertfalva and Budafok.
And then the last day arrived - a national holiday, topped with the Redbull Air Race taking place in the middle of the city, right above the Danube. Unfortunately you cannot hear the roaring piston engines of the sport airplanes on these photos (taken at Fővám tér), but their sound sure provided a strange atmosphere to the day!
To the left: the already scaffolded Szabadság híd shortly before the closure - and so yet with an UV triple-set. To the right: the stop Bertalan Lajos utca in Bartók Béla út. As you can see, the destination plate on the back of the tram was already stolen by "souvenir hunters" :(
The BKV celebrated the last day of UV operation with a decorated UV set, which started from the reserve track in Fehérvári út.
Since I was unable to take a decent photo of the celebration tram because of the many tram-fans standing around, I took a few ones of normal UVs instead. Note the plush mole figure beside the driver on the pictrue on the left-hand side :)
The tram carried commemorative signs: "So long, Budapest! The UV tram says good-bye". To the right: the open shaft of the metro construcion works at Móricz Zsigmond körtér, seen from the celebration tram. Note the flowers and ribbons hanging off above the window!
The tram slowly rolled along Bartók Béla út, the main street of the district, where I grew up.
The ride lasted till Lónyay utca, the then-current terminus of route 47 and 49 (which were already truncated because of the metro construction works).
The decorated UV was the last tram going over the Danube (for the time being), it even had a BKV car leading it up on its way back, so that the people and police would let it through. On the right-hand side we see the celebration tram at Budafok, Városház tér, the southern terminus of route 47.
We tried to stay out on the line for the whole evening, but then we had such a heavy thunderstorm, that we stayed on the trams instead. Not that it was the dryest place possible :)
And the rain lasted until it got dark, resulting in a mournful mood. I guess it matched our feelings!
The national holiday is crowned with a huge fireworks show every year. I couldn't get close enough to the Danube to see the show, so I photographed the trams instead.
During and after the fireworks trams reversed on the crossover before Szent Gellért tér, ...
... which was a great opportunity to take photos of every single UV on the line.
Two photos of the other end of the line, Budafok...
... and a short video of a UV arriving to the boarding platform of this terminus.
Because of the rain, plus a car crashing into a Ganz articulated tram at Móricz Zsigmond körtér, and a derailment caused by a failing switch at Albertfalva kitérő, the schedule fell over, and we took photos of every tram like as if it was the last UV. We really did not know which one should be the last.
As it turned out, the last normal (scheduled) UV set was the unit 3885+6036+3888, arriving to Szent Gellért tér way after midnight, but the decorated unit (3816+5940+3836) also made a round afterwards, making it the "real last one".
The decorated set went all the way down to Budafok, Városház tér, and then retired to remise Budafok.
As of today, that was the last day of UV operation. A few hours later Budapest trams started out from their remises for a new working day, but for me, Budapest will never be the same...
© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.
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