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Linz, where size does matter

Day six. After our tour around East-Germany we came eastwards to see real western vehicles, too. For example the rounded DÜWAG-licence articulated cars, similar to those which have been sold to the Hungarian town Miskolc by Wien (Vienna).

And there is one, on the temporary loop tracks in front of the main railway station. These tracks won't be here for long, only until 2005, just as they had not been here a few years before, as you can see on a picture of the local traffic company. The line will finally run through a tunnel underneath the railway station, this temporary section was built to be used until the opening of the tunnel line. The tramway line will lead through a tunnel of just two kilometres length, passing under the tracks of the Westbahn railway (Wien-Salzburg) to the southern side of the town. Well, something's wrong on this tramcar! Oh yes, this is a ten-axle, four section articulated car, just a section longer than what is a familiar look for me. Although its full size ad is not new: there had been Austria Lotto in Hungary, too, in the late eighties! :-)

How this tramcar became so long? It was built in the late seventies by Bombardier-Rotax in Wien (Vienna) together with 11 more cars of the same kind, but as eight-axle, three section cars. Then, because size does matter, they were lengthened by a plus middle section in 1979-80 due to the growing number of passengers, becoming 10-axle motor cars. You can see, this is the same building block concept by which today's modern tramcars (Siemens Combino, Bombardier Cityrunner - or Flexity Outlook since -, or Alstom Citadis) are built. As far as I'm right, there are longer rounded DÜWAG-cars only at the West-German Rhein-Hardt-Bahn.

We take it to the other end station of line 3, crossing the Danube, to Urfahr. There is another eight-axle DÜWAG-licence car no. 63 standing on the sidings. The series of seven cars were built between 1970 and 1972 by Lohner, as six-axle motor cars (they looked like the E1 type trams of Wien or Miskolc, but with a 900 mm track-gauge). Later in 1973-74 they also received middle sections and two additional axles. Wow, quite an idea to use the headlights to be a part of the advertising.

The previous car in the loop at Urfahr. You can see in the background of the second picture the Linz-Urfahr station of the Austrian federal railways ÖBB with the usual diesel powered branchline motor coaches.

But there is still more for a tramwayfan: the valley station of the Pöstlingbergbahn. It has been running since 1898, and is reckoned among the steepest adhesion railways with is largest incline of 11,6 percent - this means it's not rack-assisted! It has metre gauge despite the 900 mm gauge of the tramways.

Coming closer you can see these old two-axle cars have poles instead of pantographs to make contact with the overhead cables, just like on trolleybuses. At the terminus they have to turn these poles around to the other direction. The rolling stock also contains four opened summer motor cars from 1898, one of them runs in Gmunden, permanently hired.

Let's go back tramming. As usually, we didn't have too much time to stay, and the daily ticket was not valid on the Pöstlingbergbahn :-(. Yes, that's right: these Austrian collegues are not timid to stand railway-like semaphores inside the town just to ensure the unconditional preference of the tram over the car traffic!

We take the low floor tram of the town, the Cityrunner, or as they offer it nowadays: Flexity Outlook, built by Bombardier. The propulsion is hidden inside the small boxes under the seats together with the wheels.

Although the interior was not so roomy (the middle section of the Combinos in Nordhausen was roomier but I don't know how wide that car was), its running comfort in curves was uncomparably better than the Combino's.

Take a look from the outside. They have a differently designed front to the earlier ones in Graz, but it still looks as if it had a head or a skull at both ends of the car. And, because size does matter: this is two sections longer than the ones at Graz.

We reached the terminus Universität, the Cityrunner no. 001 is standing ahead of us in the end station loop, with the own advertisement of the city-operator Linz AG. Due to the guys here are not the masters of organizing yet, the cars of lines 1 and 2 use the same loop track despite there are two loop tracks. So our car no. 005 couldn't manage to stop at the station, the driver let off the passengers only at the first door.

The reason was a third car standing ahead of no. 001, car no. 55. This car reminds us the M and N (metre- and standard gauge) DÜWAG/DUEWAG Stadtbahnwagen series, but these were built by the Bombardier-Rotax factory in Vienna, just like the ones for Graz. As an exception, these were built originally as ten-axle cars. :-)

They struck a pose, hey everyone, what could I do?!? Yes, I made a photo about them. :-) The white ground-color with an orange stripe is the most recent livery for the Linz Linien AG vehicles. This livery also appeals to another Turkish tramway company who purchased their new cars in the exactly same livery, but of course, shorter ones.

Although the car is a 100 percent low floor tram, there is only one door designated for passengers with wheelchairs, this is where a folding ramp is installed.

Information on vehicle about the forthcoming divertings of the tramlines, due to the construction works of the tramway tunnel heading for the main railway station. The wide red stripe which turns to the bottom right corner on the drawing, marks the final way of the trams, namely the ramp into the tunnel.

The place reserved for the wheelchair users. Coming back to the city we cross the railway branchline again, the one which leads to the previously seen Linz-Urfahr station. Don't worry, there is no real passenger service around there, it's only something like a service line for the railway with low traffic.

You can't afford to miss making a photo of the pedestrian zone and the Hauptplatz or Main Square either.

A car again which was built as a six-axle by Lohner in the early seventies, lengthened to an eight-axle, no. 66, with the usual livery of the eighties and nineties (at last an older car without full size ads).

Cityrunner no. 003. You can clearly see the place around it hasn't always been a pedestrian zone.

A tram across its bridge over the Danube (Nibelungen-Brücke)...

...and two others on the main square again. Interesting that both cars were made at Bombardier in Vienna, but with a difference of two decades.

Going back to the railway station via Landstrasse. There, where the next tramcar comes behind us, you can see a confusion, a puddle of overhead wirings, now that is a crossing of tramway and trolleybus lines.

And here you can see that until they finish the tunnel construction, the trams will run on a temporary double track on Blumauer Platz. This is where today the line 3 and the busier lines 1 and 2 divide. They want these two lines to reach the new central at the main railway station, that's why they build the tunnel.

Today's temporary line 3 and the new track in the tunnel a few metres below, crosses each other just outside the railway station. They also build two new loop tracks underground, connecting to both ends of the underground station.

The whole thing is going to look something like this. This advertising board was placed in the passenger underwalk of the railway station. But now it's about time to go further, there is an interesting little tramway line waiting for us, on the shores of the Traunsee.

Branchlines: Linz, for the second time >>>

To Continue: From Lambach to Gmunden: travelling on the local lines of the Stern & Hafferl company >>>

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