Trams in Gotha and the Thüringen Forest Railway 3.

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...because it's an articulated Gothaer tram. It has two parts each with two axles and a third, suspended middle part which has no wheels, it is supported by the two other parts. It's also a familiar look for me, the Hungarian HCSV tram lookes like this. While the HCSV is powered on both ends, the articulated Gothaer is basically a motor coach and an unpowered waggon coupled together. Maybe this is the reason why they built only one-directional cars like this, it is not desirable to push a lighter waggon by a heavier motor car, because the risk of derailing is higher. Meanwhile I start to believe that the high number of handrails is a local speciality :-)

Driver's cabin. The biggest difference between this and the ones in Jena is the position of the motor regulator: this is not operated by the cranck on the left side but the regulator wheel in the middle which looks like a steering wheel of an old East-German Wartburg car. This is called Unterflurschalter (underfloor-regulator) because the pole (axle) of the wheel goes actually under the floor, the switch itself is down there. At front you can see the back of the previous luggage lorry: "Attention when taking over, train length: 28 meters!".

Beside them there is a modernized KT4D built in 1982, no. 305...

...and another train of ex-Erfurt KT4D trams, each around ten years younger. At front is no. 311 (ex-548).

The service car no. 38 is standing in front of the old hall, its type is ET55, another direct predecessor of the Gothaer trams.

The other bi-directional DÜWAG car from Bochum no. 592 (ex-292) stands on the sidings beside another nostalgic car, a bi-directional Gothaer motor car no. 47.

In addition snow baggers...

...freight lorries...

...and other nostalgic vehicles. There is a special site of mine about these kinds of trams, the trams like the Gothaer deserve it (see the link below!).

Another special car in the depot, it's a local born Bothmann-car.

Its speciality is the small lorry coupled to it which carries none other than a diesel aggregator which is a power supply for the Bothmann-car when there is a failure of the overhead cable network. Think of it: sometimes they need to work on the track or the overhead cables at otherwise inaccessible places like in the deep forest.
 
I astonished, looking at the command centre: the tram network (or at least a part of it) is supervised by computers. I really didn't expect that, the TWSB didn't look like a rich company to me (you can see the rolling stock: they didn't buy any new cars since 1982, they bought only used cars). Roumors linger that the company has financing problems, as I heard three part-owners (the town of Tabarz, Waltershausen and Friedrichroda) cannot pay their parts - well, let's hope the best!

Let's go back to the main station quickly, Nordhausen is waiting for us! At last I caught no. 301 type KT4D, the first car in Gotha since 1894 which was not built in the local waggon factory (Bothmann & Glück, then VEB Waggonbau Gotha in the (East-) German Democratic Republic). A few years ago it was also modernized on site, in the own workshop, as well as the five other, same kind of trams. Each became new KIEPE electronics.

Further on Waltershäuser Strasse towards the city. Yes, it's quite difficult to make a photo without hills! :-)

Here we are again at the main railway station. The afternoon peak period is about to begin, so we met a coupled train of two ex-Erfurt KT4's (no. 310, ex-540 and no. 312, ex-552).

Interesting that the KT4 has two articulated parts but they have only two bogies. That's why these bogies are coupled with a mechanism to the articulation to turn accurately underneath the car bodies. There is a beam above the axle bearing on the right towards the car chassis, if my observation is right, that beam is likely to be a part of this mechanism. This is also a meter-gauge bogie, that's why the wheels are inside the longitudinal beams of the bogie frame again, unlike the Tatra cars in Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin, Budapest etc. where the wheels are on the outside.

The long train is heading to Tabarz. You can see how much the car-owners respect the advantage of the bigger tram: why do you think this car's reversing lights are on?!? :-)))

A lost rail at the end: there have been freight service between 1982 and 1988 between Gotha and Tabarz by the rebuilt version of the ET55 no. 40, the waggon no. 91 and the luggage lorries no. 102 and 103. I guess these lost rails are the remains of the freight traffic.

At the end of the day we arrive at the third town with tramways, Nordhausen.

Suggested literature: The Gothaer and others: trams from the GDR >>>

To Continue: Nordhausen: a small town with big ambitions >>>

Text and photos by András Báti, except where otherwise mentioned (C) 2003

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