Nordhausen: a small town with big ambitions 2.

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No. 106 at the end station of the line 1 and the forthcoming line 10, Krankenhaus (Hospital). We go down to the city centre to see the actual track rebuildings. No, don't be surprised that we meet the same cars often, it's a small network! :-)

This is the Bahnhofstrasse, where the loop track breaks...

...even the half of the bridge across the river Zorge disappeared... I mean it's being rebuilt. From the left you can see the remaining branch of the loop turning out from the Uferstrasse.

A picture from the other side. The building with that small tower, at the back is the railway station.

We're in the crossing of Bahnhofstrasse and Arnoldstrasse. It would have been a double-track delta connection between the lines 1 and 2 which comes from the left, from Parkallee and the main depot, and the two lines go further up the hill in front of us, along the town hall.

Here the track is being diverted to the right side until the greened (grassed) track, from where both tracks work normally. Unfortunately the short Combinos didn't work well on these tight curves, once I had an impact into the side doors when I was standing, and another passenger nearly dropped from her seat because of a dynamicly working driver. In total: the Combino is an extremely good vehicle... for a straight track. Uphill, on the ascents, too, the vehicle runned very smoothly, easily and very silently, but when it was time to go in curves, the car body began jerking in an unbelievable manner, it didn't follow the line of the curve but it had a fling, turning crosswise, then, to compensate this radical move, went straight. Then turning crosswise again, then going straight, turning crosswise, going straight... I hope the Combino Budapest will run better because it will have a bogie in the front which could lead the nose of the vehicle into the curves more smoothly.

At last we caught a GT4, too. This is no. 78 (ex-Stuttgart 522.), built in 1959, the same year one of the historic vehicles were built. It stops at Nordbrand in the false track because the track buildings, then it winds up the hills towards Nordhausen-Ost.

We meet no. 101 again, the former guest vehicle of Halberstadt...

...then another traveller, no. 107. It has been in Gmunden, Austria as another guest vehicle sponsored by Siemens and the friends of the local tramway. In Gmunden they are also thinking about buying new vehicles, possibly Combinos.

Let it be here a photo about it in Gmunden, of course, there will be another site of mine about it...

I have to say our hostel was in a quite interesting place right beside a secondary tramway-depot where they store many GT4's. The next morning I took a closer look at it.

The one-directional no. 75 is standing at front (ex-Stuttgart 738.), the bi-directional no. 92 (ex-Freiburg 111.) besides.

One-directional no. 82 (ex-Stuttgart 543., built in 1960) among bogies and the bi-directional no. 91 (ex-Freiburg 110., built in 1966).

A one-directional Combino in the stop Nordbrand (where the lines 1 and 2 have delta connection). I think this cutout on the top of the front is much too small to this target-station display.

Interior of the one-directional Combino no. 103. I take it to Nordhausen-Ost to make my tramway tour complete.

I catch another GT4 back to the city. The type GT4 was the common development of the Esslingen waggon factory and the Stuttgart traffic company. Just like the Czechoslovakian made KT4 seen in Gotha the GT4 is also a short articulated car with two sections and two bogies underneath. Its bogies don't need a special mechanism to fit in the curves, they are able to turn because the longitudinal beams of the undercarriage don't lean on the centre point of the bogies but on the cross beams of the bogies which are the nearer to the centre point of the vehicle. The car body-halves move independently to the undercarriage, they lean on the bogies farther to the leaning point between the bogies and the undercarriage. The fixed point of the two car body-halves is the centre point of the vehicle, here they do lean on the undercarriage. In the same time the two halves of the car body can move in all three dimensions separately from one another. The two motors are hanged underneath the chassis, they drive one axle of a bogie each, through cardan axles. The floor is lowered by one step at the back of the car helping the passengers with pushchairs to get on and off. The free room at the middle joint is quite large and the swing doors which open outwards also make the inner room feel larger. It's quite funny that the get-off signal is mounted on the vertical bar of the doors so the signal turns in and out together with the door wings. And a subjective thought: a tramway with an air compressor is interesting on its own, too. Yes, the brakes and the doors are powered by high pressure compressed air, this means yet the sound of a GT4 vehicle is a class of its own! :-) Unfortunately the type is about to disappear from Germany, those cars originally built for Stuttgart (one-directionals) as well as Freiburg, Neunkirchen and Reutlingen (bi-directionals) first travelled to smaller, poorer towns which were unable to buy new cars, now they move further to the East, mostly to Romania. Interesting of the cars from Stuttgart that they didn't have to be repainted: the color schemes of Stuttgart and Nordhausen has been the same (the heritage of this color scheme was broken by the new Combinos).

After these, it's about time to see Halle, because I knew that there were GT4's too...

To Continue: Halle: farewell to the Swabian >>>

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

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