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Szeged: new tram already here, new line starting soon!

Hier geht's zur deutschsprachigen Version / Kattints ide a magyar változathoz

Szeged's first low-floor tram - PESA 120Nb number 100 or "90 55 9396 100-6" as its full registration goes  - arrived on September 30, 2011, and started its 10,000-kilometers trial four weeks later. When I first saw it on the streets, doing driver training on January 5, 2012, that phase was almost complete (the tram got its final acceptance on January 25). Here's a report of that day.

Driver training took place in shifts: one from forenoon to early afternoon, and another during the evening, on route 1, 2 and 3 (more or less at will). On these two photos we see the car on route 1 in Kossuth Lajos sugárút and  Boldogasszony sugárút.

Indóház tér, right in front of the main railway station was remodelled recently. Earlier there was only one platform plus one track for storage, now there are two platforms, one for route 1 and one for route 2 (to be launched in March).

To the left: in the reversing loop at route 1's other terminus, Szeged Plaza/Rókus pu. To the right: the soon-to-be terminus of route 2 at Csongrádi sugárút.

Grassed track, elevated platforms in line with the low-floor car: route 2 at Vértói út. In the background you can also make out the overhead wires of trolley bus route 5.

To the left: switching from the middle strip to the side in Rókusi sugárút. To the right: the reverse driving panel next to the back seats.

A short video taken of the PESA:
0:04- Route 2 at Körtöltés utca (the flickering of the destination display is just a fault of the video)
0:11- The 90-degree bend at Széchenyi tér
0:22- Running straight in Boldogasszony sugárút towards Indóház tér
0:36- The bend at Széchenyi tér, but this time in the opposite direction
0:49- The (future) terminus of route 2 at Csongrádi sugárút
1:04- The new line switches from the side of the road into the middle strip in Rókusi körút
1:24- A view of the driver's cab while the tram is reversed controlled from the rear end
1:34- Széchenyi tér with a bit of Christmas decorations

To the left: bus line 2 will vanish from Rókusi körút when tram line 2 will be launched. To the right: a Skoda 15Tr trolley bus of line 8 at Klinikák. This line was extended to here in 2010, as part of the city's ambitious electric transportation campaign. This programme was launched years ago, and included the renewal of the main tram corridors, the installation of new reversing facilities on the single-track lines enabling the use of unidirectional Tatra trams brought from Potsdam and Cottbus, modernised partially in Prague and here (with choppers replacing the PCC accelerators), the extension of trolley bus lines also operating with used, locally converted and new vehicles (replacing an outdated rolling stock), plus the modernisation and extension of depot/maintenance facilities. As a result of this, a number of traditional bus services were and will be replaced with trams or trolley buses, and due to the higher level of service, the decline of public transit utilisation was slowed down (more precisely it was even reversed until a general wave of decline hit the country). Above this - not as part of this project, but I have to mention this - they also renovated the heritage twin set number 313+314, built a replica of the first streetcar type of Szeged, and rebuilt a ZIU-9 and an Ikarus 280T trolley bus as heritage cars.

Tram line 1 was totally renewed during the last few years, with the stretch running through the inner city being the last piece of the project. Széchenyi tér (to the left) retained the stop in front of the main post office with the trees between the tracks, while Kelemen László utca received a floating trackbed system to reduce noise and vibration. By the way, the two sets on the two pictures are not entirely similar: to the left we see a T6 + B6 set, composed of a T6A2H motor car built for Szeged coupled with a B6A2D-M powered trailer that was built out of an unpowered B6A2 trailer bought from Rostock. On the other photo, both cars are T6A2H units.

Public transit scenes in downtown Szeged:
0:04- Skoda 14Tr (2-axle) and 15Tr (articulated) trolley buses in Híd utca
0:21- Ex-Potsdam Tatra KT4D on tram route 3, followed by a trolley bus
0:33- More Skodas in Tisza Lajos körút (and also an old Ikarus 260)
0:44- Ex-Cottbus KT4D on route 4 at Dugonics tér
0:52- The vicinity of the stop "Centrum Áruház" is a busy interchange point between tram, trolley bus and bus services
1:03- Trolley bus leaving the stop at Dugonics tér. Note how the trolley bus' overhead wires are off-set from the trams overhead
1:10- Ex-Potsdam KT4D turning into Kálvária sugárút at Dugonics tér
1:19- Tram route 1 running in Kelemen László utca, with a Tatra T6A2H + a B6A2D-M set
1:30- A CNG-powered bus crossing the river Tisza via Belvárosi híd
1:38- A KT4D, this time on route 1 at Széchenyi tér
1:49- The same place, looking in the opposite direction
2:01- Another T6A2H+TB6A2 unit in the same bend

And now, scenes from the evening shift, when the tram also rode route 3. To the left: the joint terminus of route 3/3F and 4 at Tarján. To the right: Kálvária tér. It's interesting to take a look at how these places looked like a few years ago: Tarján was a two-track stub terminus, while Kálvária tér sported a passing loop in the middle of a single-track stretch. It's nice to see such a development!

The interior of the tram. Quite far from the "Bengáli" level of comfort to which passengers were used to until a few years ago!

To the left: the driver's cab. New among trams in Hungary is that the vehicle has cameras and monitors instead of rear view mirrors. To the right: the row of blue LED lights - seen here with the interior lights switched off for the photo - above the doors turn red when the doors are closing.

To the left: in the reversing triangle (wye) of route 3's terminus, Vadaspark. To the right: Gőz utca (part of the reversing loop near Indóház tér).

And we end this report in front of the main railway station, but this time at the second platform. You can see how much wider and bulkier the PESA is than the KT4 at platform one.

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

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