Switzerland - TCB - Tramclub Basel, historic trams of Basel

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Tramclub Basel is a voluntary club organisation which maintains and operates historic Basel trams of the BVB (and its predecessor B.St.B.) but also of the Baselland side BLT and the precursosrs of BLT such as the Birseckbahn. The tramclub does not own the old trams, it just maintains and operates them. The club´s homepage is here (page in German!).

This is one of those many trams that the tramclub has been taking good care of. Motorwagon 163 and its trailer 371 are here seen on a charter ride because of some pair getting married. A group of some 30 or so marriage party guests packed into the trailer 371 which had been fitted with nice tables and champagne was served. While they boarded, I and my camera had time to inspect the motorwagon 163. It is said to be from the year 1921 but I slightly doubt it, because it looks so very similar to the wagons that went in 1921 to Birseckbahn / B.St.B. At least those were taken over as used trams from Germany as part of a war reparations payment after World War I. It could well be that this wagon is one of them and thus still older (??). Anyway, the website tramoldtimer.ch claims that this motor wagon Ce 2/2 163 is from 1921 and that they would have been delivered in two series between 1919 and 1921. What is known for sure is that these trams were in continuous use for well over 50 years. This one was taken out of use in 1972 after running tens of years mainly on the lines towards Bruderholz, which were not so frequented by passengers as the main lines.
Picture from Schifflände tramstop 12.7.2019 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Inside view of the working space of motorwagon 163. 100 years ago a tram driver had no such luxury as a chair for example. Everything looks now brand new as everything has been rebuilt, but the design and technology is 100 years old.
Picture from Schifflände tramstop 12.7.2019 by Ilkka Siissalo.


This old tram trailer wagon is also said to be from the year 1921 and it is nowadays more or less fixedly offered together with the old motorwagon 163 as an "Apero-Drämmli" (tram for pre-dinner drinks). There are 22 sitting places in the trailer wagon, with nice tables. This trailer wagon is said to be made by the company SIG in 1921 and that it was running in daily traffic until 1979, mainly on the line 7 from Binningen to Schifflände.
Picture from Schifflände tramstop 12.7.2019 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Now all the wedding party guests have been loaded into the trailer wagon 371 and apero serving can begin. Note the metal rod from the roof front of the trailer to the motor wagon. That brings in electricity from the motor wagon into the trailer.
Picture from Schifflände tramstop 12.7.2019 by Ilkka Siissalo.


An old Basel BVB Be 2/2 from 1927. It weighs 14,7 tons, is 9,48 metres long and has a maximum speed of 36 km/h. Photo 21.9.2002 at the Birseckbahn BEB´s 100 year jubilee party at Dornach station, when this and a number of other oldtimers provided free of charge rides between Dornach and Basel´s Aeschenplatz.
Photo by Ilkka Siissalo.


Another view of the old BVB Be 2/2 no. 190 at Dornach station as the tram is ready to start another journey to Aeschenplatz in Basel full of enthusiastic oldtimer friends.
Photo by Ilkka Siissalo 21.9.2002.


A closeup view of the old Be 2/2 shows the way electricity was transferred from the motor wagon to the trailer in the old days via a metallic rod on the roof.
Photo by Ilkka Siissalo 21.9.2002.


Another view of the old BVB Be 2/2 no. 190 at Dornach station.
Photo by Ilkka Siissalo 21.9.2002.


Birseckbahn is one of the precursors of today's Basellandtrafik BLT. It operated private trams from Aeschenplatz in Basel to Münchenstein, Arlesheim and Dornach along the river Birs valley. When the Birseckbahn, BEB, started its operation in 1902 it ordered four two-axle trams for their new Basel-Dornach service. These Ce 2/2 trams no. 1-4 were given to the B.St.B., precursor of the present BVB, to operate. Out of the first four trams three have survived in some form to the present day. All four and also two further ones, no. 5-6 from 1905 were rebuilt to 3 axle trams in 1932. This one, number 4, was for many years listed as "zerbrochen" or "broken to pieces", but it was restored by the tramclub to its original lustre as well as they could and presented here to the public at the 100 year jubileum party of the BEB line.
Note the modern airconditioning device on top of the roof, giving comfort for the driver during hot summer days :-)
Photo from Dornach station 21.9.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Another view of the old BEB no.4 at Dornach station on 21.9.2002, when tens of enthusiasts were trying to queue and push to get into the old tram and its trailer no. 27 for a free nostalgic ride to Basel.
Photo by Ilkka Siissalo.


The BEB trailer coach no. 27 is one of the used wagons which BEB got from Germany in 1921, during the years when Germany paid its war debts of WW I. BEB got three trams and four trailer coaches representing the so-called Minden-Merseburger-Potsdamer style and looking particularly German. They soon got the not so polite nickname "Valuta-Wagons". The three motor wagons suffered from a restless, jumpy rolling pace and were therefore not very comfortable until they were rebuilt to 3 axle wagons in 1934. For more than 50 years long these were then the last new pieces of rolling material which the financially ailing company BEB managed to get. They were in hard day to day use until 1971-72.
Photo by Ilkka Siissalo.


Ready to go, better than new. The BEB no.4 leaving Dornach station during its first day of new operations after having been in the rubbish dump for tens of long years and then having been meticulously repaired.
Photo from Dornach 21.9.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


There it goes, the combination of Ce 2/2 (Ce 2/3) no.4 and trailer 27. This picture shows particularly well the very German 1910s style of the trailer coach.
Photo from Dornach 21.9.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Between 1902 and 1921 BEB got only twice new trams. These four axle trams BEB bought when it took over itself the operation of its Dornach-Basel line from B.St.B. in 1916. There were four of these wagons, numbered 12-14 and better known as "Maximum Wagen" due to their then remarkable length. Note how modern the style is for a 1916 tram ! The motor wagons were built by SWS and BBC. They are 11,97 metres long, weigh 18,7 tons and have a maximum speed of 30 km/h. They have two electric motors, each generating a modest 66 kW. Most of the construction is metal, which was very modern and expensive those days. These wagons were used for over 55 years in daily traffic.
Photo from Dornach 21.9.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Another view of the Ce 2/4 no. 13 with its summer trailer coach. Out of the four original "Maximum-Wagen" trams of 1916, two (nos. 12 and 13) have remained until the present day. These originally four axle trams got an additional fifth axle in the 1930s, at the same time as their smaller counterparts did. The original reason for these added axles was to make the roll of the smaller wagons a bit more comfortable and less jumpy.
Photo from Dornach 21.9.2002 by Ilkka Siissalo.
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