Trams in Belgrade

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Belgrade tram network
CAF & KT4 Tram Belgrade.jpg
Station "Block 45"
Overview
Owner GSP Belgrade
Locale Serbia Belgrade, Serbia
Transit type Tram
Number of lines 11 (daytime)
Website GSP (in Serbian)
Operation
Began operation 1892 (horse tram)
1894 (first electric tram)
1904 fully electric tram grid
Operator(s) GSP Belgrade
Technical
System length Route length: 43.5 km (27.0 mi)
Line length: 127.3 km (79.1 mi)
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge
Electrification 600 V DC
System map
Map of the Belgrade tram system

The Belgrade tram system is a 1000 mm gauge network that in 2011 had 10 routes running on 43.5 kilometres (27.0 mi) of (at least mostly double) track in the city of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.[1] It is operated with around 200 trams, including ČKD Tatra KT4, CAF Urbos,[2] and DUEWAG Be 4/6 vehicles. The first tram line was introduced in October 1892. In the late 2000s, complete reconstruction of the system commenced.[3]

Lines[edit]

There are (as of January 2016) 11 lines in operation every day until around 12:00 am. There are no tram services throughout the night.

  • Line 2 (circle line): PristaništeVukov SpomenikSlavijaPristanište
  • Line 3: KneževacRakovica – Railway Station – Omladinski Stadion
  • Line 5: Kalemegdan – Vukov spomenik – Ustanička
  • Line 6: Tašmajdan – Vukov spomenik – Ustanička
  • Line 7: Blok 45Novi Beograd – Railway Station – Tašmajdan – Vukov spomenik – Ustanička
  • Line 9: Banjica - New Belgrade Block 45
  • Line 10: Kalemegdan - Banjica
  • Line 11: Kalemegdan - New Belgrade Block 45
  • Line 12: Banovo Brdo – Railway Station – Tašmajdan – Omladinski Stadion
  • Line 13: Banovo Brdo – Railway Station – Novi Beograd - Blok 45
  • Line 14: Ustanička - Banjica

Former lines on current infrastructure[edit]

These lines ran on the current tram network, all these services were discontinued in the early 1990s.

  • Line 1: Kalemegdan – Railway Station – Rakovica – Kneževac
  • Line 4: KalemegdanDorćolOmladinski Stadion
  • Line 8: Voždovac - Slavija - Omladinski Stadion

Another line was discontinued in 2012 after re-routing of the line 12 in Resavska street and extension of the line 3 to Omladinski Stadion through Slavija Square:

  • Line 7L: Tašmajdan - New Belgrade Block 45

History[edit]

From 1892 to WWI[edit]

On 14 October 1892, the first tram line in Belgrade was opened. It went from Kalemegdan to Slavija. The first electric line was introduced in 1894.[4] Then for about 10 years, from the end of 1894, there were no works on modernization and widening of the tram system. It was not until 1903, when the operations related to the construction and exploitation of tram transport and electric lighting were passed, that the electrification of tram lines sped up.

During 1904, electric trams replaced horse-drawn trams on the Kalemegdan – Slavija and Kafana Žagubica (Inn) – Električna centrala routes and in 1905 the last ones were replaced at Terazije - Novo groblje route. Apart from performing the function of public transport, “horse trams” were also a focus of great interest in Belgrade at the time and their striking image remained with their contemporaries for a long time.

Twenty years after the introduction of tram transport and 7 years after the electrification of the last line, in 1912 there were 8 tram lines in Belgrade on which a daily average of 24 tram motor cars and 12 trailers operated. That year 7.5 million passengers were transported.

Interbellum[edit]

World War I and occupation of Belgrade left the electric power plant, electric network and, consequently, city tram transport in a very bad state. Soon after the liberation of the city in 1919, the Belgrade Municipality took over the system, which was previously private. Most of what was left from the pre-war period was worn out. It was replaced in stages, by 1932.

At the end of 1932, Belgrade had 65,5 km of tracks, of which 2/3 were double-track and 1/3 single-track ones. During 1931 and 1932 the following new lines were opened: Knežev spomenik – Dedinje, Slavija – Dušanovac, Terazije – Pašino brdo and Smederevski drum – Cvetkova mehana – Prištinska Street (today Cara Nikolaja II street).

In 1940, there were ten lines, and there were 104 trams all together. The system and city sustained heavy damage during World War II. Bombing in 1941 destroyed 38 trams.

Post-WWII[edit]

KT4 tram in Central Belgrade

The system was steadily rebuilt after World War II. In 1955 there were eight lines with 162 trams. In the 1970s plans to build the Belgrade Metro appeared. They fell through in 1982, as the city opted to expand the tram network instead. In 1985, the system was extended to 42 km[citation needed], and the tram connected Novi Beograd, across the Sava River.

In 1990 and 1991, the system reached its peak usage. This was to change, with the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Sanctions on Serbia resulted in funding being slashed drastically. Investments in the purchase of new vehicles, spare parts and maintenance of infrastructure were minimal. During 1996 and 1997, tracks were reconstructed in Bulevar revolucije (from Cvetkova pijaca to Radio-industrija), as well as in Ruzveltova Street and Jurija Gagarina Street. The country was bombed in 1999, putting additional pressure on the system.

In the 2000s, funding for mass transit increased as the country slowly recovered. In 2004, some 150 trams were in service. Widespread reconstruction was announced approaching the end of the decade. Between 2005. and 2010. tracks were completely reconstructed and modernised in following streets: Treći bulevar, Milentija Popovića, Savska, Nemanjina, Bulevar kralja Aleksandra (from Vukov spomenik to Cvetkova pijaca), Požeška, Pariska, Bulevar vojvode Mišića, Tadeuša Košćuškog. Also,tracks on Autokomanda are reconstructed as well as Old Sava bridge (this bridge is used mostly by trams on lines connecting two parts of Belgrade). Vojvode Stepe, in the Voždovac neighboroughood, was also under reconstruction, including changing tracks and moving them to the street center. The reconstruction was completed in August 2015.

The reconstruction of track in Bulevar Oslobođenja has started in July 2017 and should be followed with the reconstruction of track on Slavija square. This long awaited reconstruction shall finally allow the operation of low floor trams on the Slavija - Banjica mainline (southern portion of line 9).

Circle of 2[edit]

Tram No. 2 has no terminuses, instead it circles around the majority of the city's center. As the route is being unchanged since 1924,[5] the tram, colloquially named Dvojka in Serbian, and its circle (Krug Dvojke) became one of the symbols of Belgrade[6] as, in the local folklore, marks who are the "real Belgraders" (those living inside the circle) and who are the "peripheral Belgraders" (those living outside the circle). Living inside the circle indeed grants the higher prices of the real estates and higher rent.[7]

Following the counting of the commuters in October and November 2014, in July 2015[7] city government announced that, when it comes to the trams, somehow it turned out that the biggest problem is the southwest section of the route of Dvojka. It was announced that the route will be shortened for one block, the one that reaches the Vukov Spomenik. Instead, it will pass next to the Faculty of Law.[5] Slaven Tica, professor at the Faculty of Transport Engineering, who was involved in the counting and subsequent changes in the lines of public transportation, said that "Dvojka will be improved as it showed signs of certain illnesses in its functioning...the basic problem of Dvojka is the sharp decline in the number of passengers in the zone of Vukov Spomenik". He also added that all tram lines will be changed to some degree.[5] It was also stated that Dvojka slows down the trams No. 3, 6, 7 and 12 and obstructs the Slavija-Dorćol connection.[8] City government also reported that the citizens were interviewed and that they voted for the line to be shortened.[7]

The heated public debate, mostly online, lasted for months. As experts from the Faculty of Transport Engineering were involved in the change of the route,[5] popular objections were that with the problems in Belgrade's transportation, which are legion, "experts" have no better things to do but the shorten the oldest line for one block and that they "probably don't have the clue". Those involved into the shortening of the line were labeled as "idle", "those who never commute" and "upstarts and philistines who decided to pose as the planners". Commentators also said that Mayor Siniša Mali and city manager Goran Vesić should be "discgraced and ashamed" for their, ironically labeled "revolutionary move".[7]

After it was announced that citizens allegedly voted for the route to be shortened, debate developed between the Belgraders themselves. The "inners" mostly accused the "peripherals" of being jealous and how nice it is in Belgrade when the holiday season comes and all the "village people" travel to where they came from, while they responded how the "inners" are spoiled and that a bit of walking will do them good.[6][9] Though being one of the symbols of the city and enjoying the cult status among Belgraders, such a long and heated debate wasn't expected as it extended until 2017.[7][9]

Further analysis, however, by experts who didn't participate in this project, showed that shortening the line for 7-10 minutes won't help the commuters. Those commuting to Vukov Spomenik would have to change trams or buses, while rerouting Dvojka and making it faster will create a traffic congestion on the tram lines from the Faculty of Law to the Gazela Bridge. They also disputed the cost benefits as the savings due to the lesser electricity consumption, for only several stops, are minimal, calling the entire idea illogical both in terms of traffic and economy.[6] Tica, however, maintains that Dvojka is degraded by the bus lines, that it obstructs the traffic, affects the flow on the crossroads and that making it shorter will save money for GSP.[9]

The massive changes in public transportation were announced for 1 January 2016,[8] but not much changed. As for the trams, except for the return of the tram No 11, as of July 2017 nothing else changed. In the summer of 2017 a reconstruction of the Ruzveltova street began. As it is the street where Dvojka reaches Vukov Spomenik and turns, it is expected that when the reconstruction of that section starts, Dvojka will be temporarily shortened to the proposed route from 2015. Suspicions already appeared that the change will actually be final.[9]

Photos[edit]

Duewag Be4/6[edit]

Tatra T4[edit]

Tatra KT4[edit]

CAF Urbos 3[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Urbanrail.net, updated 2011, accessed 2015-11-30
  2. ^ "Beograd to buy 30 CAF trams". Railway Gazette International. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  3. ^ Beobuild (29 July 2006). "Tracks to be purchased for reconstruction of tram system". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  4. ^ "Important Years in City History". City of Belgrade. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Posle 91 godine: Skraćuju čuveni krug dvojke" (in Serbian). Telegraf. 10 September 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Dejan Aleksić (18 July 2015), "Niko meni ne može da ukine pravo da živim u „krugu dvojke”", Politika (in Serbian) 
  7. ^ a b c d e Dejan Aleksić (14 July 2015), "Ko ostaje izvan „kruga dvojke”", Politika (in Serbian) 
  8. ^ a b M.Beljan (9 September 2015), "Brojanje putnika suzilo krug "dvojke": Evo zbog čega je izmenjena trasa najpoznatije gradske linije", Blic (in Serbian) 
  9. ^ a b c d Dejan Aleksić (11 July 2017), "Prilika za sužavanje kruga "dvojke"", Politika (in Serbian), p. 17 

External links[edit]