Szeged in winter's sleep , December 2009
I visited Szeged during the winter holidays, after quite a few months
of hiatus. I was hoping for some good weather (after all, the city's
nickname is "City of Sunshine"), but as you will see, I had no luck
Tram line 1 was temporarily closed for an overhaul long overdue. Unfortunately things got delayed, and then when winter arrived, most of the construction work stopped. Anyway, here are two buses of the supplementary bus service "1V": an Ikarus 417 - bought used from Wuppertal - in front of the main railway station, and an obviously much older Ikarus 280 from the hungarian town of Kaposvár, just before crossing the "Small Boulevard". Because Kossuth Lajos sugárút, where tram line 1 runs, was closed due to the construction works, these buses took interesting detours via parallel-running small streets.
But only tram line 1 was suspended: 3/3F (line 3 is a shortened version of 3F: instead of going all the way to Fonógyári út, it turns back at the passing loop at Vadaspark) and 4 were runing normally. Of course "normally" is a very relative attribute when these "Bengáli" two-rooms-and-a-bath monsters are involved :)
But a tram enthusiast is a strange kind of human: although the Tatra trams on route 4 were much more comfortable, I had had to take a Bengáli, because that's were fun is! It is quite an experience, indeed - unless you have to use it every day :)
Route 3F is also more scenic, in a very depressive and run-down way: first there's this very simple level crossing with a railway main line (left), then the single-track line runs through some torn-down former industrial area...
... before reaching the terminus in Fonógyári út (left). To the right we can see what seems to be a completely different world: the recently rebuilt terminus at Tarján. This facility now acts as the open-air remise while these lines are cut off from the tram depot due to the renovation of line 1.
The Bengális are necessary because the Tatras (types T6A2H and KT4Dm) are unidirectional trams, while the lines 3 and 3F need bidirectional vehicles, as they don't have reversing loops/triangles at their outer ends. This shall change in 2010: two reverse triangles should be built: one at Fonógyári út for 3F, and one at Textilgyári út for 3. Most of the Tatras will then be running on 3/3F and 4, while the new line 2 (a complementary service to line 1 with a new section to be built in 2010) will feature 9 low-floor trams from PESA (type 120Na) Of course the PESAs will only arrive in two years, so the Bengális won't be gone for a while yet.
The "open-air remise" of Tarján.
But Tarján wasn't the only reversing loop temporarily used for storing trams! The loop at Rókus pályaudvar (normally the terminus of route 1) shared this kind of utilisation - because the tram depot itself was also rebuilt, most of the currently unused trams were pulled out here.
As you can see, these tracks were also cut off from the rest of the network. To the very left there's an ex-Cottbus KT4D, which was not used on line 4, because it still has a PCC accelerator, which would necessitate an inspection pit for servicing - the modernised cars can be maintained without one (at least until something really breaks).Then we can see an ex-Budapest 4-wheel trailer car, bought for future heritage operation.
Former training vehicle number 656 looks quite bad. It now belongs to a local tram enthusiast association, who are planning to get it in shape.
Two more Bengális. The one on the left-hand-side, number 609 sports an old livery - it looked like this when it was taken over from Budapest (it was repainted for its 40th birthday 7 years ago).
This KT4D was bought recently from Potsdam (originally VIP 207). It will probably be modernised here later. To the right: the track-building works in the remise yard were interrupted by the incoming winter...
... but not the construction of the new halls: this new complex was taken in usage in mid-March 2010 (the old halls were also retained).
And another recent newcomer: KTNF6 Number 172 of Cottbus was bought to see if the installation of a low-floor middle section can be accomplished locally. As you might know, Cottbus has meter-gauge tracks, while Szeged has normal gauge, so currently the vehicle is robbed of its low-floor "two-wheel, axle-less bogies" (one of these can be seen to the right), while the high-floor sections are standing on spare trucks.
© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.
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