Switzerland - Verkehrsbetriebe der Stadt Zürich VBZ

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The Zürich tram network is one of the biggest in the country - natural for the biggest city in the country. Now part of the communal traffic department, VBZ or Verkehrsbetriebe der Stadt Zürich operates since 1. July 1896 a network of 1 metre gauge width throughout the city.

Zürich tram of the famous Be 4/6 type nicknamed "Mirage", no. 1663. These trams were built between 1966 and -68. It was 10,90 m long, weighed 25,8 tons and had a maximum speed of 60 km/h. VBZ had a total of 90 of these common wagons. Most of the time from the 1960s to the 2010s they were used as two tram pairs on lines 7 and 13, sometimes also on other lines. In 2019 only two museum trams remain. Most of them were donated to Sofia and Oradea, where some of them are still in use.
Photo by Erik Hjelme by the tramstop Central 19 September 1995.


Zürich tram Be 4/6 no. 2021 of the so called "Tram 2000" concept series. These were for a long time the backbone of VBZ´s traffic on the most important routes. They were built in a series of 121 wagons between 1976 and 1992. The wagon weighs 25,5 tons (early ones 25,8t), it is 21,40 metres long and has a maximum speed of 65 km/h.
Photo by Erik Hjelme by the tramstop Central 19 September 1995.


Zürich trams at the square called Central in 1995. The tram by the tram stop is a "tram 2000" Be 4/6 which has one articulated joint. As a trailer it has another Tram 2000 concept wagon which has no bending joint. This is one of a very special series nicknamed "Pony". It is a motor wagon, but it lacks a driver's cockpit - it is only used as a motorised trailer in connection with another Tram 2000 wagon. VBZ has both short (jointless, nicknamed Pony) and long (with an articulated joint like the normal Tram 2000 motorwagon but without a cockpit - nicknamed Blinde Kuh or blind cow) trailer motorwagons for the Tram 2000 concept. The "Pony" trailer wagon is 15,4 m long, weighs 18,5 tons and has a maximum speed of 65 km/h.
Photo by Erik Hjelme by the tramstop Central 19 September 1995.


A Tram 2000 series motorised trailer wagon nicknamed Pony. They have motors, lights, even line numbers, but they do lack driver's cabs. A driver can just temporarily (and without even a seat) drive one of these trailers if needed for example for switching. In Zürich some of the streets are built as extremely steep slopes of up to 77 promilles, so it is a good idea that even trailer wagons are motorised even if they are never intended to be used alone.
Picture from Bahnhofbrücke 28.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


To extend their operational life, VBZ let lengthen most of their Tram 2000 trams by adding a new low-floor piece in the middle of the tram. The middle pieces are known by Zürichers as "Sänfte".
Picture of Tram 2000 tram no.2105 approaching Bahnhofsplatz 27.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


In 2018-19 Zürich's newest and best trams were the ones called Cobra. This is a nighttime shot of one Cobra tram as it is just coming from the world famous jeweller's street Bahnhofstrasse and is soon reaching the tramstop of Zürich's main station. The Cobra wagons or officially VBZ Be 5/6 numbers 3001 to 3088 were built by Bombardier and Alstom between 2001 and 2010. They are 36 metres long. It's a totally low-floor tram which had to be designed for the quite special environment of Zürich: It has to cope with extremely sharp curves as well as 77 promille hills and all this also in slush and snow.
Picture from the tramstop Bahnhof 26.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Another Bombardier Cobra tram on the bridge over river Limmat, soon reaching the tramstop Central. This shows the remarkable length of the Cobra trams.
Picture from the Bahnhofbrücke near Central 27.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Yet another Cobra tram, just turning left in front of the Zürich main station from Bahnhofplatz to Bahnhofquai.
Picture from the Bahnhofplatz 27.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Still one more Cobra tram, this one continuing from Bahnhofplatz to Bahnhofbrücke and Central.
Picture from the Bahnhofplatz 27.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


One of the Christmas season traditions in Zürich is the Märlitram. It is an old Zürich tram, which already for decades ago was decorated as a Christmas time tram. It is financed by the department store Jelmoli and one can only buy tickets for a ride from the Jelmoli store in the center of Zürich. Inside the tram there are ladies dressed as angels who try to get kids to sing. The driver is wearing the clothes of Santa Claus.
Picture from the street Limmatquai 26.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


Side view of the old Märlitram. The Märlitram rides are for kids only and aduls may not accompany the kids on their ride.
Picture from the bridge Bahnhofbrücke 27.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.


There was a young boy with his mother waiting for some other tram at the tramstop Central as the Märlitram approached. The Märlitram is not supposed to stop at Central, but since the boy was so eagerly waving his hand at the tram, the "Santa Claus" who was driving the Märlitram stopped, opened the front door and offered the kid a sweet and wishes for a nice Christmas. Then the tram continued on its route.
Picture from Central 27.11.2018 by Ilkka Siissalo.
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