I already told you about how the "genuine" hungarian tramcar was born. Now, let's see today's Budapest trams!
Our current Budapest numbering scheme was introduced in 1923, but its seeds have been planted when BKVT have numbered one of their new series into the 1000er regime in 1911. After the merger of the two big tram companies (BVVV and BKVT) and various smaller ones into BSzKRt, a standard scheme was badly needed to establish a way to calendar more than a thousand cars, so they had chose a four-digit numbering system with every type having its own - one or more - 100er regime. Of course there have been, and there are recurrences, but the system remained usable even after a series of re-numberings. For example the 3200 regime of the UV's were formerly used by the mid-entrance cars until 1955, and TW6000s are now the third "incarnation" of the 1500ers: there were two previous 1500 series, first in 1923 (type F1, renumbered to 1600), and then between 1941 and 1984 (type F1A)).
Currently used numbers:
1300 and 1400 series: Ganz CSMG2 and KCSV7 8-axle articulated cars introduced between 1965 and 78
1500 series: DÜWAG TW 6000 8-axle articulated cars introduced in 2001
2000 series: Siemens "Combino Plus" low-floor units, introduced in 2006
3200, 3300, 3400 and 3800 series: Ganz UV 4-axle cars introduced between 1956 and 65, withdrawn in August 2007
3700 series: experimental cars, currently only number 3750 introduced in 1988 (not used currently)
4000, 4100, 4200 and 4300 series: CKD Tatra T5C5 and T5C5K introduced between 1980 and 84
5800, 5900 and 6000 series: 2-axle trailers manufactured by MWG, DV and the Central Tram Workshop between 1939 and 53, withdrawn in August 2007
7000 series: electric locos ("Muki")
7100 series: snow sweepers
8000 series: freight cars, open wagons
This classic has been withdrawn from regular traffic in August 2007. I haven't deleted it from this page because officially they're still not deleted from stock. Due to the temporary shortenings, there's a need for less tramcars now, but we cannot know what the future will bring.
With the car body based on the 3600er series and the electric circuitry based on the Ganz mid-entrance multiple unit tram, the UV was designed as a simple, but efficient vehicle to be produced in large numbers (375 pcs). We must say its designers have succeeded in their objects: although the cars were neglected and badly under-maintained during their lives, the UV is still the second most reliable tram type in Budapest after the DÜWAG TW6000!
There were four production runs, and you can
still see representatives of them all, because single cars were disposed not
after their age, but after their actual status (kilometers, major repairs,
UV1, 1956-57 (3200-3249): proto series
UV2, 1957-58 (3250-3349): second series with modified electronics
UV3, 1959-61 (3350-3474): basically the same as UV2, but with slightly different interior design
UV5, 1962-65 (3800-3899): the last series, with driver cabs only on one end and with double-width center doors
The UV1, UV2 and UV3 series have originally had two driver cabs, these were removed in the late 70's, as the cars were mostly used in sets (multiple units), and not as single cars. Also in the seventies, number 3400, 3401, 3402 and 3403 were rebuilt into training vehicles (7660-63). By the early eighties UV's were standardized with just one driver's cab (separated from the passenger cabin), and with eletric equipment and other bits unified (e.g. head light, motorized bell instead of the manual punch bell, rear-view mirror, etc).
If you take closer look (and listen carefully), you'll recognise lots of different UV details. Some of them have flourescent lights, others light bulbs. Some of them have static power converters, others have rotating converters. Some of them have bright panelling inside, others sport darker colors...
This type (in reality three types (R5 or 58, EP and FP) brought into a similar condition) was withdrawn in August 2007.
The middle cars that you would have found between UV cars on busier routes were originally built as trailers between 1939 and 1953. They were towed by two-axle cars, but in 1957 they were introduced as the middle car in UV sets (I call such units "triple sets"). They have a very basic design, and because of this - and their age - their riding comfort is a bit rough.
These characteristic articulated cars were designed in the mid-1960's. Although we like to refer to this vehicle simply as "the Ganz", this is not really correct, as most of the older Budapest tram types were also built by Ganz Syndicate. We also call it "industrial articulated" because before it came out, there was another type - built by the tram company FVV itself - that was nicknamed "home-made articulated". IMHO this is not the best of tram types ever built: it has a number of flaws which - combined with a bit of under-maintenance - result in a bouncy and noisy riding. Despite this, they can be found on prominent routes like 2, and on interesting services like 41.
Routes: 2/2A, 17, 19, 41, 47, 49, 50, 52
Depots: Kelenföld, Ferencváros, Száva, Baross
Thirty Ganz articulated cars were modernised by Ganz Ansaldo between 1996 and '99. They received a modern traction control system with an Ansaldo chopper, and their bodies were also rebuilt - unfortunately without major modifications, so the high floor level and the bouncy riding "quality" remained.
Routes: 2/2A, 17, 24
This car has been taken out of usage in 2006 (or maybe even earlier). According to unofficial informations, it should be repaired and put back in revenue traffic in 2008.
If you meet tramcar number 1303, you might sense there's something strange about this car. The vehicle has a sad life story: in 1984 it had an accident at Közvágóhíd, during which it was so badly damaged that it had had to be sent to the main tram workshop for repairing. Right after its recovery it had a brake-failure accident in the tram workshop, resulting in the death of a worker. The car was so badly damaged again, that it was pushed to a side-track, and left there for almost a decade. Between 1991 and 1994 Ganz-Ansaldo and Ganz-Hunslet (the successors of the Ganz Electric Works and Ganz-MÁVAG) have rebuilt the car with a chopper. The result was not really reliable, so it spent more time in the depot than on route. In 1999 the car has lost its advertising livery for Ganz, but it could be only rarely seen. I guess the people in its home depot Ferencváros have since came to learn how to handle it, because nowadays you can see it regularily.
The strangest thing about this tram is its bent "banana" shape: the two ends stand higher than the middle. I'm not sure why! The other thing is that you can see that the car body was strengthened at the doors, so the roof can sustain the added weight of the chopper.
BKV has made bad experiences with Ganz-MÁVAG in the seventies: the shipment of the Ganz articulated series was delayed so badly, that in 1978 they decided to try something new by buying new trams from a foreign company, namely CKD Tatra in Czechoslovakia. Two test cars were brought in from Brno: T3 number 1583 and K2 number 1013. BKV was not satisfied with these, so CKD designed a tram specially for Budapest: the T5C5. Although its look was based on the experimental T5A5 and the KT4, its electric system is different to the other Tatras: it's the old contactor-switched thing with microprocessor control, driven with a push-pull lever instead of a foot switch.
I think it should be said that buying 4-axle tramcars (instead of articulated cars) in 1980-84 was a step back, but the whole thing was ment as a temporary solution to quickly replace all two-axle motorcars. Interesting is the car body width of 2.5 meters, which necessitated a number of modifications in the tram network. There are still routes where Tatras are not allowed, e.g. route 19 and 2 past the narrow Chain Bridge underpasses!
Routes: 1/1A, 12, 14,
18, 28/28A, 37/37A and sometimes on T5C5K lines
Depots: Angyalföld, Baross, Budafok
Eighty T5C5 cars were rebuilt in 2003-2004 by the BKV tram workshop and Ganz-Transelektro. They received a modern traction system, but you will more likely to recognise them by the dot-matrix destination displays on the front and the different interior colors.
and 18 (partially)
This car has been taken out of usage in 2007. It will be repainted and then transported to the Urban Public Transit Museum in Szentendre in 2008, where it will be displayed. As far as I have heard, the car is in a working condition, but maintaining it and getting spare parts for it is expensive, that's which BKV took it out of revenue traffic. If someone would finance it they would have nothing against its return to Budapest as a charter/party tram.
This beast is half a tram, half a bus. It was built by the BKV in 1987 as an experiment about what kind of tram they would like to buy in the next years. Bogies and electric parts came from the Ganz CSMG2, interior and auxiliary parts may be familiar from 400-series Ikarus buses. The headlights came from the east-german car Wartburg, front end blinkers from a soviet Lada (VAZ) automobile, while the controller switches are said to be originated from the Ganz CSMG prototype 3730, which was scrapped in 1976.
Altough polictical struggles between the two governing parties have almost hindered these vehicles coming to Hungary, they're here, and although most of their assets (speed, high floor level to be used with high platforms for fast boarding) are still left unused, they blended nicely into the city's landscape. Their arrival also started a big wave of UV disposal, so the average age of the rolling stock decreased. Their main area of deployment is route 3, a new, not yet complete outer tram ring launched with these vehicles in 2001 as the contraction of route 13 and 63. Since the Zugló depot was fully converted from UV to TW6000 operation, they can also be seen on route 69 and route 3's insection service route 62.
Routes: 3, 42, 50, 51, 52,
Depot: Száva, Zugló
Siemens has won the call for tender for the new Grand Boulevard trams (routes 4 and 6) with a construction based on the Düsseldorf NF10 trams, which were basically Combinos with small-wheel bogies at the front and back. After the structural problems of the original Combino design became known, Siemens came up with a new design which was accepted by the City Council and BKV. The new type, sometimes called "Combino Plus", but sometimes also "Combino Supra" hasn't got much to do with the original Combinos: instead of a multi-articulated vehicle made out of aluminium, and with rigid trucks, this one is made out of stainless steel, and has bogies.
The first car arrived on March 14. 2006, and was taken into revenue usage on July 1 of the same year, after many months of compulsory trial runs. The last one arrived on May 4, 2007. Currently all forty cars are assigned to the Grand Boulevard routes, but there are plans to run them on route 1 on weekends. The whole series consists of forty 54-meter-long, 100% low-floor cars, currently the longest tramcars in the world. Dut to the nature of the Grand Boulevard (=immense passenger loads even at intervals of 1.5 minutes), they are meant as "standee cars", with buffer areas at the doors and less seats than in other modern designs.
Routes: 4, 6
They have been built in 1927, and they're still indispensable: the small electric locos with the wooden car body. When they were built, BSzKRt has had on one hand massive freight traffic on its tram network, on the other hand lots of company-internal transports, too. When the city council stopped freight transports on the tram and interurban network in 1996, the territory of these boxy vehicles shrank significally, but they're still regularily used for the transportation of refurbished bogies, current collectors, motors, etc between depots, for hauling rails to the sites of track renewals, and for the transportation of damaged or disposed trams. Two out of the six existing Mukis (7033, 7038, 7039, 7040, 7045, 7061) bear an all-over advertisment for the newspaper "metro". An interesting feature of the Mukis is the warning whistle operated with compressed air: if you hear it, you'll know right away what's coming!
Probably one of the most interesting tram type in Budapest is the snow sweeper with its rotating brushes. Most of these works cars have been converted from ordinary Mukis in the 1950's, although there were four that were built out of the predecessors of the Mukis, namely four tram locos of the company BVVV built in 1910; and there's number 7117, which was built newly in 1965 with a metal car body. As you guess, these cars spend most of their lives hiding in depots, but you might see them in the summer, too, when driving courses for trams with pneumatic brakes takes place: since the snow sweepers have pneumatic brakes, they're the preferred learning vehicles!
Depots: there's one snowsweeper assigned for every depot, with ocassional regroupings for the summertime
As I mentioned earlier, you won't see freight trains with goods wagons or tank cars on the tram network anymore, but you might see some of BKV's special vehicles for internal transports: flat cars, small wagons (built on the frames of the earliest tramcars!) and rail transporters towed by Mukis.
Disclaimer: The author cannot
be held responsible for mistakes, misinterpretations, inaccuracies, inactualities,
etc. on/of these pages, nor for the content of other pages linked in.
Send a mail to the author
The author's homepage