Visit in Hannover

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The Budapest Transport Company BKV has bought used tramcars type TW6000 from the Hannover transport company Uestra in the years 2001-2002. By the way I travelled to Hannover too, not once, so I could take a closer look at the mass transit system.

I was here in the ice-cold, snow-drifted March of 2001 for the first time, and I mainly focused on those cars which were going to be sold. For the second time I was here in November to see how they load the trucks with trams. The package I got from the Uestra company contained the photo permission but also a few PR-brochures too. Looking inside I knew there is a lot more to see here...

Hannover transport system

A little bit of history...
Mass transit history of Hannover dates back as early as 1852 when the first horse-pulled tramcars started service between the main railway station and Linden/Schwarzer Bear stations. Then they founded the Straßenbahn Hannover AG (Hannover Tramcar Inc.) in 1892 which built 18,9 then 21,2 km track in one year to the existing 20,8 km network. The electrification began in 1893. The first steam power station (2600 horsepower) was built by the company in Glocksee and later built five more. To operate electrically in the city sections without overhead power cables they mounted batteries to the waggons in 1895. All sections had been operating with overhead cables since 1903. There have been freight transport on tramlines since 1899, it was ended in 1953. From 1918 they started horse-pulled omnibus services.
In 1921 the Uestra, Ueberlandwerke und Straßenbahnen Hannover AG formed. Four years later the first busline started operation. In 1928 the first steel body tramcars appeared. In this year the rolling stock for the goods traffic reached its largest numbers: Uestra had 350 motorcars and lorries for the purpose.

The first tram Freight-tram train
The first tramcar (Photo: Uestra) Freight-tram train from 1906 (Photo: Uestra)
Trolley-bus Large space tramcars
Who believes that trolleybuses also operated here? (Photo: Uestra) Conventional tramcars from the seventies (Photo: Uestra)

They built the tramline to the Fairground (Messegelande) in 1950. One year later high capacity tramcars (Grossraumwagen) appeared. From 1952 the suburban section of the tramline 10 (Gehrden-Barsinghausen) was changed to trolleybus-operation on the road, later the same thing happened on other suburban sections too, until 1961.
The company's real name from 1960 is: Hannoversche Verkehrsbetriebe (Uestra) AG. The introduction of the ticket-handler automat is also in the sixties. This allowed the firm to have single-man operated vehichles (not to have a conductor on it, only the driver). In 1965 construction began of the light rail transit system, the Stadtbahn, a novelty on all over the world. In 1970 the GVH, the Hannover Traffic Alliance formed with Uestra, Deutsche Bundespost and two more private companies.

The backbone of the mass transit is the LRT (Stadtbahn) used by 330 000 passengers every day. This system almost made the conventional tram traffic disaappear. The entire system is the brainchild of professor Herbert Lindinger of Hannover (I mean the system is named after him), the first tests began in 1969-70 with two prototypes of the type TW6000 trams (one of them remained in Hannover, operating on number 6001 and hoping to go to museum, the other one is possibly the ex-number 6002 which is currently operating in Budapest, Hungary on number 1569).
6001 Left tracks Left tracks
Prototype number 6001 in November 2001 at the main railway station Tracks left aside at... ...the open-air station of Steintor
514 514 514
This old nostalgic tram no.514 remained from the tramway-age It was put aside at Buchholz reserve-shed "Please do not dismount or damage it!" :-)

The point is to build a tram-like network which operates in the suburbs as a suburban fast train, in the city as an underground railway and in the conventional tramlines as a tramway. The lines intersect and interweave in a way that you can reach any station from the other 188 stations on the network by not more than a single change of trains (or at least in the peak period traffic, because for example tram no. 17 operates only to 8 in the evening - I did waiting for it in vain :-) ). They bored underground tunnels instead of the winding tramwaylines in the narrow city streets (the only exception are the lines 10 and 17 in front of the main railway station (Hauptbahnhof). Smart traffic lights give advantage to the LRT on other tracks in the town to reach the highest possible average speed. They built hundreds of sensors in the LRT cars and the track to make interactive connection between the LRT trains and the immobile equipment during travel. The cars allow data about themselves for example how long the train is, or which way it is going etc. This allows also the passenger information display to show where the train will stop on the long platform (where shall the passengers wait), or where the arriving train will leave. In the same way the trains switch the junctions by (and for) themselves. (My remark: this two-way interactive sensor gadget have been removed on those cars sold to BKV)

Underground Underground Underground Suburbs Sensor
There are large, multilevel underground stations where... can change trains... or just being lost :-) The trains switch their own way automatically And they run in the suburbs on a completely separated track A lot of sensors make connection between the vehicle and network (you can see one between the rails)
Underground Advantage
"Through the city centre on the underground" (Photo: Uestra) "Reaching destinations without hold-ups" (Photo: Uestra)

We need one more thing to be complete: the design. The cars have been painted lime and called "Lindgreen" after prof. Lindinger.

There are three main tunnels under the city: section A between Waterlooplatz-Lister Platz, section B between Vahrenwald-Döhren and section C between Königsworter Platz-Braunschweiger Platz. Of course, there are also service tunnels connecting the main ones: for example the sold cars to Budapest had to go first from Glocksee workshop to Leinhausen depot (where they were loaded on trucks) using the A and C sections. The final section of tunnel D (Goethestrasse-Sallstrasse) at Steintor is in pre-planning status.

Click here to download the network maps of Hannover in PDF format

Mass transit is built upon the GVH (GrossraumVerkehr Hannover) traffic alliance nowadays. You can travel by the buses and trams of Uestra as well as the regional and suburban (S-Bahn) trains of the DB (German Railways) with the same ticket within its borders. The new traffic price system was introduced in 1997 together with the zoning system.


Today's bus network was introduced in September 1996. It complements the LRT system in the city while they bring passengers to main stations of the LRT in the suburbs too. Uestra started express LRT-trains in the morning, from these main stations directly to the city with only a few stops.

This is a gas powered bus with low floor at front made by M.A.N, it is travelling on ring-line 131 (Ringlinie):
Front Rear

Uestra introduced the new Mercedes-Benz (EvoBus/DaimlerChrysler) buses (StadtBus) designed by James Irvine in 1999. In 2000 the firm has 53 articulated and 48 solo buses, from which 56 is powered by gas and 45 is by conventional diesel engine.

This futuristic design Mercedes StadtBus is running along the opposite direction of the Ringlinie on line 132. The design of the bus fits to the new TW 2000 LRT trams, they have also been purchased because of the 2000 Expo. The traffic registration number of this bus is: H TY 327 so its serial (?) number at Uesra is 9327.
At dawn's mist At the stop Interior
They put its low floor part to good use despite the offered space. All three doors are here. There are folding seats on the sidewalls to make the space roomier. There are passenger information LED displays both in- and outside the bus.

This is an articulated bus on the square in front of the main train station. The traffic registration number is: H UP 104 so its serial number at Uestra is 9104.
Front Rear

LRT Tramcars

Uestra purchased trams type TW 6000 to support the new light rail transit system, from the seventies. They are also known in Budapest and the Hague for a while. They wanted a quick change of passengers in the stops, it can be made for example without steps. At this time technology didn't make possible to build low floor tramcars. The high platform - high floor system don't make possible to use the cars at conventional tramway stops. So they came up with a new idea: folding steps.
They purchased the new TW 2000 tramcars to upgrade the fleet ready for the transport challenges of the 2000 Expo. The plans were introduced in May 1996, the first car was displayed on 14 April 1997. There are two versions: TW 2000/I. (numbered from 2000) is 25,66 metres long and has two drivers' cabin while TW 2000/II. (numbered from 2500) is 24,765 metres long and has only one drivers' cabin, the other end of the car can be closed or in service two of these cars form a 50 metres long monospace train.

Drawing of a TW 2000/I. and a TW 6000 tram
TW 6000 beside high platform while changing drivers during journey All-vehicle advertising TW 6000 in front of the main railway station Coupled TW 2000/I.: four drivers' cabin
Coupled ends of the two kinds of type 2000 (in the front: type I., at the back: II.) TW 2000/II. can be driven from the cabinless end too, making service movings easier at the depot TW 2000/II. alone TW 2000/II. coupled: access through two cars
Swivel stairs of TW 2000 Ready to go at the depot

Technical data TW 6000 TW 2000/I TW 2000/II
Design 8 axle bi-directional with two driver cabins, double articulated, powered light rail vehicle 6 axle bi-directional with two driver cabins, double articulated, powered light rail vehicle 6 axle bi-directional with only one driver cabin and one open-end, double articulated, powered light rail vehicle
Carriage numbers 6001-6260 2001-2048 2501-2596
Years of manufacture 1974-1993 1997-1999 1997-2000
Length 28.280 mm 25.660 mm 24.795 mm
Width 2.400 mm 2.650 mm (up to floor level 2.450 mm) 2.650 mm (up to floor level 2.450 mm)
Weight (unloaded) 38.800 kg 39.850 kg 39.050 kg
Seats 46 54, of which 8 folding 54, of which 8 folding
Standing room (4 pers./m2) 104 105 105
Wheel diameter (new) 730 mm 730 mm 730 mm
Floor height above track 943 mm 860 mm 860 mm
Entrances 3 step folding stairs 4 step swivel stairs 4 step swivel stairs
Axle arrangement B'2'2'B' Bo' 2 Bo' Bo' 2 Bo'
Max. coupled units 3 4 (type I. and II. mixed also) 4 (type I. and II. mixed also)
Drive output 2x 217 kW 4x 145 kW 4x 145 kW
Motors DC series 3 phase asynchronous 3 phase asynchronous
Manufacturer, mechanics Duewag / LHB Alstom LHB Alstom LHB
Manufacturer, electrics Siemens, Kiepe, AEG Siemens Siemens
Design Prof. Herbert Lindinger, Hannover Jasper Morrison, London Jasper Morrison, London

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