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Siemens Combino Supra Budapest 12B
The arrival of the longest tramcar in the world
Latest update: 16.03.2006.

The first of Budapest's newest trams,  the "Combino Supra Budapest 12B" (which in fact is not a Combino, but a new design based on the M.A.N./AEG GT6N/GT8N) low-floor vehicle arrived to the railway station Budapest-Ferencváros in the early hours of 14.03.06. It was first put down onto tram tracks, and then taken over to Remise Hungária, where they will be operated from on the Grand Boulevard routes. The latter transport took place around 11AM...

... so quite a number of tram freaks have gathered in front of the BKV yard, where the tram was put onto the rails. BTW, this is right next to Remise Ferencváros. The new tram was to be towed by a coupled set of Ganz CSMG2 articulated cars, because according to locla regulations, it's not yet allowed for them to run on their own.

The first Combino Supra leaves the yard. The short footages on this page were taken with my digital still camera, so don't expect high quality!

The towing unit consisted of 1419 and 1418, behind the "train" went number 1341 for safety reasons.

The tram was first pulled onto the tracks leading to the back yard of Remise Ferencváros.

"Move on at the same speed, please!" - as you can see on the video above, the first points was approached with greatest care. The rest was passed quite normally.

The 108-meter-long (2 Ganz cars + the Combino) "tram train" was quite a sight!

Here the "train" reaches the tracks of tram route 1 in Könyves Kálmán körút.

The destination was only a few kilometers away along route 1. On the pictures above we see the convoy climing from the railway underpass between Kőbányai út and Salgótarjáni utca.

"BANG-BANG-BANG" - the level crossing of Salgótarjáni utca and Hungária körút (where route 37 crosses route 1) has deep rail grooves, so it was passed with a loud clunking.

The tow then reversed onto the tracks of route 37 "wrong road"...

... and then took the connecting turnout to Remise Hungária.

There were so many photographers around by now, that it almost felt like a procession...

... with a large crowd of cheerful tramspotters following the tow via elderly-looking Sport utca.

They were allowed to take a quick look at...

... the new tram inside Remise Hungária. Later the same day a press conference was held in the recently modernised halls of this depot, where the Combino Supra was presented by the mayor, the BKV and Siemens.

And now some trivia about these new trams: the "CSBP12B" (this is not an official designation - I' don't have information what the type will be known as) is a 54-meter-long bidirectional tram with a welded stainless steel (!) frame, capable of transporting 350 passengers. Due to the specific nature of route 4/6, where they will be used (250,000 passengers daily, with a rush-hour headway of 1.5 minutes), the vehicle has only 65 seats, and lots of standing space. Budapest has ordered 40 such vehicles (numbered 2001-2040), they should all arrive until May 2007. The first two cars must pass a 6000-kilometers test phase, before they will be allowed into revenue service. This should be something like June 2006. Until then the platforms and the overhead wire (and some sections of the tracks) along route 4/6 has have to be rebuilt, which will mean two months of partial track closure on the Grand Boulevard. In the first weeks the car should only be used in off-peak times (probably weekends) to avoid traffic collapse due to unforseen failures or too many curious passengers :) The first cars should enter normal daily service by September. By the end of 2006 20 of the Combinos will be delivered - the replaced Ganz CSMG2 articulated cars of route 4 and 6 should be regrouped onto tram lines currently operated with UV's.

Next: the first test run on the Grand Boulevard

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

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