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The 100 year old tramway in Halberstadt

As I mentioned earlier, our journey to the "Half town" (Halberstadt :-)) ) was quite by luck, we had planned Chemnitz and Zwickau for the fifth day of our tour. Accidentally we came to know that this tramway network was celebrating its 100th birthday (to be punctual the birthday itself was on 2nd July, but it was more favoured to hold the ceremony the next day on Saturday). So we decided to come, but my expectations were high, not to come in vain. The trip finally brought its fruits: with these photos I've made here, I've managed to cover the entire history of the tramcar making in the former GDR.

We waited for the tram at the railway station in vain, there were only a few trams running because of the ceremony (I think the tram only ran when there was any avaible car to be used). You have to know we're in a small town with a small tramway network, with only a few lines and a few cars. Not so surprisingly, the substitute bus has taken us to Holzmarkt where the ceremony began with a dynamic display of tramcars of all era. A quick run down on Hoher Weg to catch all of them. The queue begins with soldiers, bombardiers with a cannon, then a band of musician, then nice young cheer-leader girls, followed by the iron-wheeled wonders. The first of them is an opened platform motor car from Halle, which was the car No.4 of the late Allgemeine Elektricitaets Gesellschaft Stadtbahn Halle, preserved by the Halle tramway museum.

Afterwards is the last original Halberstadt car, no. 31 which was built in the Lindner waggon factory in Ammendorf in 1939.

Then comes another local hero, the LOWA motor car no. 36 made in 1956 in Gotha, type ET 54.

Behind it is the development of the unified tramcars: no. 39 is a Gothaer motor car built in 1960, coupled together with a B2-62 type trailer built in 1969 in CKD in Prague (according to other sources CKD has built these cars only until 1968, in 1969 was Gotha again to build some trailers).

Then there is a car of today's fleet, the good old Esslinger (built in the Esslingen waggon factory nearby Stuttgart), type GT4, the type we had seen in Nordhausen before. No. 160 served Stuttgart between 1964 and 1993, its original number was 560.

The final car is a bi-directional GT4, these are from Freiburg, just like in Nordhausen. No. 164 can be seen in the local Halberstadt livery with the black-green color scheme. Original number was 106 in Freiburg. I really like when a bi-directional car like this moves with its "B" end at front: it comes like it was going away. :-)

A turn to the left to Dominikanerstrasse then a turn to the right again to Gröperstrasse towards the 100 years old depot/workshop. Unbelievable but I managed to make a photo in the crowd with no one in my way! :-)

Gröperstrasse is getting more and more narrower, this is a single track section. Now there are those cheer-leader girls! :-)

Gathering the final momentum at the corner of Huystrasse to clamber up the gradient at the depot. We go inside with them: the day of opened gates was the second attraction of the day.

The REKO motor car which ran happily on line 3 in the town a year before, now served as a buffet displayed beside the depot hall. No. 29 was built by Lindner in 1933, then it was REKO-ed in Berlin Schöneweide in 1975.

The bi-directional GT4 no. 166 still carries its red-white-red colors of Freiburg (ex-no. 104). On the right there is the one-directional no. 154 (ex-Stuttgart 547.) and no. 159 (ex-Stuttgart 564.) having a rest.

A semi-prepared car (or maybe a base of spare parts?) still in its Stuttgart colors. Or of Nordhausen, I heard that they bought used cars from there, too. It is standing on a temporary track made of pieces of clambering junctions, fixed by concrete.

Two GT4's again, a one- (no. 153., ex-Stuttgart 648.) and a bi-directional (165., ex-Freiburg 108.). Poor old cars were standing at the gates of the depot hall in vain, a stage for the next performances is blocking them of coming out.

The auxiliary control panel at the back with opened covering of car no. 153. This is how man can drive a one-directional car backwards.

We're in the neighboring hall: this is a CKD made T2 motor car looking deceptively the same as a Gothaer. It was built in 1966. Well, not having too much time, we're about to leave.

Walking through the Gröperstrasse we see a lot of photographers waiting for their pride. The cars which participated the dynamic display they carried passengers in town throughout the day, every half hour, always a different car. This was the third attraction of the day. Not far away, at the lower Hoher Weg we meet the Gothaer train. There is a church in the background...

...but if we turn around, we see another one there. A few corners farther there are churches again, bigger and bigger. But in the foreground we see a Halberstadt-green one-directional GT4 (no. 156., ex-Stuttgart 550.), we get up onto it. Oh yes, it was the fourth attraction of the day: the public transit was free of charge!

We took a walk and we were lost. Somehow we met ourselves at one of the two tramway-railway crossings of the Halberstadt-Blankenburg railway line which I had seen from the train last year. Well, although we were rushing to the railway station but in the wrong direction. But if we are here, we make some photos anyway. Interesting that the strands of the tramway track are discontinuing at the crossings of the railway's rails.

And this is the train heading Blankenburg. This Y-junction of the tram is quite interesting: its apex is of a left-hand junction while its crossing comes from a righter.

Shortly arrived the tram, too, no. 156 again. Yes, it could have come earlier then I could have made a photo about it waiting at the crossing gates.

Going back towards the main station we catched another car (155., ex-Stuttgart 551.), then we rushed to Leipzig.

Summary: congratulations to this small tramway network, they made a quite well organized ceremony, I wish them at least as many years as many have passed. You have to know that the network is threathened of closing. Due to the financial difficulties there isn't much chance to buy new vehicles, although last year the Combino no. 101 of Nordhausen was a guest to show an attractive way of public transport is possible. Well, let's hope the best!

To Continue: Leipzig: a low-floor heaven >>>

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