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Nuremberg without trials or master-singers

We took the train after Heilbronn, our next aim was Nuremberg (Nürnberg). The town about which I heard that they enforce underground Metro trains instead of the tramways, just like Budapest, my home town. The tramway lines seem to be cut back and closed down from time to time.

Still as a tourist I saw that the things aren't so bad: the underground railways are also built as much comfortable and friendly as they can. For example here at the main railway station, we can directly see the large hall of the underground station from the underpass. This is one of the two stations where the two underground lines cross each other.

Besides, they also improve the tramcar rolling stock: low floor trams just like in Munich or Jena are purchased, built by AEG-MAN or ADtranz. They are normal gauge and one directional cars.

Although here, at the main station square, we can see aborted tramway tracks of former lines, one or two of them are used as reserve tracks for special trams - I guess.

This is the four-section version of the same tram, with a more modern head design, passing the older, three-section version by.

In front of us is a three-section low-floor tram again. Even, this is the first example of them in Nuremberg, which was built by AEG-ASN in 1995. We're looking at the back of the four-section car no. 1115, which series were built by ADtranz between 1998-2000. These are very interesting types: you can find a bogie underneath each car body section instead underneath the articulations. The car bodies are coupled together by torsion springs which keep them straight without any other mechanism. But then going in curves, due to these springs the car runs with an interesting snake-like movement, like a samba dancer, I think this is why they have the nickname "Sambawagen" - as I heard. These trams have an official name too, City-Bahn, meaning City Train. I think this determines what the purpose of the tramways in this town is: where the underground railways don't reach, where there is only need for street tramways, they remain.

All for one: car number 1111. type GT8N built in 1999 by ADtranz.

Of course, we can also find older cars, too: they purchased 12 of the M/N Stadtbahnwagen series in 1976-77. They became type N6S while they were built as six-axle articulated cars with contactor switch controls, by MAN/DUEWAG. They received low-floor middle sections in 1992, so we can say, most of the rolling stock are low-floor trams (only a few pieces remained at this time from the old, rounded-face, DÜWAG-licence, MAN-made motor cars and trailers, but they are about to be withdrawn from service).

We get on one of these. The next surprise: the cars are rebuilt as one-directionals: the doors on the left side are closed down (there are no head-terminus on the network, but when they need bi-directional cars again, they can re-open the doors on the left). Until then, they can increase the passenger room with covering the stairs.

This is the youngest Stadtbahn-car from the outside at the brand new terminus, Doku-Zentrum (Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitage), even the grass has not grown out yet. Do you think this doesn't look like a terminus at all? Yes, you're right, they have only connected two near stations (Luitpoldhain and Dutzendteich), this station only functions as a place to compensate timetable deviation. The trams of the two directons also change route numbers: our tram from 9 becomes 6...

...while the 6 coming from the opposite direction becomes a 9-er.

We take a low-floor car like this, to our next route.

The interior of the car is similar to those in Jena: motors at the side, in the length of the car, installed in the boxes underneath the seats, so as the wheels.

The difference in the four-section cars is the middle articulation which is double long, the car works as two, two-section cars coupled here together.

A leap in space: another 6-er goes in the opposite direction towards Doku-Zentrum via Zufuhrstrasse, the other track towards Plärrer lies in the neighbouring street.

Plärrer. Beside there are a lots of tramway tracks, the other common station of the two underground lines are here (U1 and U2 are the two main lines, U11 and U21 are only shorter inserts of these). Please forgive me this time, but the underground station is really more interesting than the trams!

As we reach the platforms of the underground railways through the escalators, we are surprised by another staircase, going even lower. That reaches another platform. Although it's not so surprising because the two directions of the two lines require four tracks, beside two platforms. But the different directions of each line go underneath each other! This means that trains beside a common platform arrive from the same direction. At the first look this makes you a litle bit dizzy, I didn't expect this... :-) But it really is a good thing: passengers can easily transfer from one line to another when coming from the outskirts and going to the other sides of the town, or from the inner city to the outskirts.

Here you can see the older kind of train, in the new and in the old livery. These were built by MAN, the local factory, between 1970 and 1984. It is roughly the same type as at the other Bavarian metro, Munich, but those were built by their local manufacturer, Rathgeber.

Next stop: Opernhaus. The station lies under the streets of Frauentorgraben, and due to the moat of the historical castle (Stadtgraben) goes along it, they opened a galery on the side, to let natural lighting into the underground railway station. But you can also see how one can ruin a great idea: the two ends of the station are not well illuminated (see the picture in the middle).

"Zug fährt ab!", the train leaves. Yes, the driver has to come out of the driver's cabin, because they have no rear-view mirrors. They can only say this notice after coming out. :-)

Rathenauplatz, and the MAN twincar type DT1 no. 498, built in 1982. You can only find the surprise only for the second look: if you stand in front of the wall, you can't see what those mosaics show...

...only looking from low angle you can see the portraits of these people.

We go tramming again: we move eastwards en route 8, to Erlenstegen.

Surprised again: the map we belived to be valid showed that the line turns here to the left where the tramway tracks had to be ended in a loop. Instead, they go further, where there had to be a railway bridge.

No. 1012 goes along the place of the lost railway bridge. The car type GT6N was built in 1996 by ADtranz.

The terminus of the tramway and also the railway station can be found a little bit further. That is only a plus that I managed to shoot a tram with a terminus display "Christuskirche": the line was temporarily shortened until the new depot and workshop was ready to use. In a short time we're going back to the main railway station.

Hmmm... maybe the roof is not the best place to put the network map. Well, at least it's good for a neck-workout! :-)

A picture along the way: this is an advantage of the one directional cars I really like: the panoramic view at the back. The grass has not been grown here either, maybe the greened tracks are a novelty in Nuremberg.

Farewell at the main railway station.

To Continue: Wien, Innsbruck, Ulm: the longest day(s) >>>

Text and photos by András Báti, except where otherwise mentioned (C) 2003-2005

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