Silesian Interurbans

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Alstom-Konstal 116Nd tram in Bytom
Konstal 105Na tram after rebuilding in Zakład Usług Remontowych (Tram Repair Facility)
Konstal 105N-2K tram rebuilt in MPK Łódź
Moderus Alfa tram rebuilt in Modertrans Poznań

Silesian Interurbans, one of the largest tram (streetcar) systems in the world, has been in existence since 1894. The system is spread over more than 50 kilometres (east-west axis) and covers thirteen towns in the Upper Silesia metropolitan area (Southern Poland) and their suburbs (Katowice, the capital town of the region, Będzin, Bytom, Chorzów, Czeladź, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Gliwice, Mysłowice, Ruda Śląska, Siemianowice Śląskie, Sosnowiec, Świętochłowice, and Zabrze), which is densely industrialised (coal, coke, steel and other industries; though decreasing since the 1990s) and inhabited by more than 2 million people.

Basic information[edit]

Silesian Tram network
  • Total system length: 200 km lines (342 km of single track)
  • Number of routes: 35[1]
  • Number of revenue vehicles: 336[2]
  • Number of vehicles on-duty daily (Mon-Fri): ca. 200
  • Number of depots: 5 (R-1 Będzin, R-2 Katowice-Zawodzie, R-3 Bytom-Stroszek, R-4 Gliwice, ZUR (Tram Repair Facility, ex. Chorzów-Batory Depot)
  • Longest route length: 22.45 km (Route 21)
  • Shortest route length: 1.34 km (Route 38)

History[edit]

The system was established in 1894 as a narrow gauge (unique 785 mm (2 ft 6 2932 in) gauge) steam interurban railway. The first line was 36.5 km long and connected Gliwice with Piekary Śląskie through Zabrze, Chebzie, Chorzów and Bytom, another connected Katowice and Siemianowice. After four years (in 1898) electrification started. In 1912 the first short 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge line was built in Katowice. In 1913 a separate standard gauge system connecting Bytom with suburbs and villages west of the town was opened. After World War I and the Silesian Uprisings the region (and the tram network) was divided between Poland and Germany, and international services appeared (the last one ran until 1937). In 1928 another standard gauge system was established in Sosnowiec, Będzin and Dąbrowa Górnicza (the so-called Dabrowa Coal Basin - a region adjoining the Upper Silesian Coal Basin). Between 1928 and 1936 most of the original narrow gauge network was regauged to standard gauge (although the last narrow gauge line, Siemianowice Śląskie-Chorzów, remained till 1952), which allowed a connection with the new system in Sosnowiec (a service between Chorzow and Sosnowiec through Katowice was established in 1931).

During World War II the German authorities decided to merge all the systems, and they have remained as one united network to the present day (though the old boundaries are still easily traceable). The new route numbering system introduced in 1940 to integrate the systems is still used. In 1951 the system was taken over by a state-owned company (WPK Katowice) and until the 1970s it was widely extended and partly modernised, reaching its maximum length at the end of the 1970s (ca. 235 km). Since the late 1960s the classic rolling stock has been replaced by modern cars based on American PCC technology. In the 1980s some of the non-modernised, rural lines were abandoned (the longest one from Bytom to Wieszowa with a branch to Stolarzowice).

The end of the 1980s brought changes in Poland (the Round Table talks and the fall of communism), but unfortunately that did not improve the tramway service in the region - on the contrary, the condition of the tram company (Tramwaje Śląskie S.A.) has been steadily deteriorating since the middle of the 1990s. The last new line was built in 1980–1982 (between Sosnowiec and Zagórze). At the end of the 1990s the Bytom - Chorzów - Katowice line was to be upgraded to light-rail (LRT) standards. Due to a lack of funds, the investment was carried out only partially (including the purchase of 17 Citadis Type new low-floor cars produced by Alstom) and the journey time on a highly overcrowded line did not change.

Present day[edit]

Today, Tramwaje Śląskie S.A. and KZK GOP are slowly repairing effects of long-period lack of funds. There are much renovations, and new rolling stocks are bought. In 2012 network operator bought 30 low-floor Pesa 2012N "Twist-Step", and 12 partially low-floor Moderus Beta trams from Modertrans Poznań. They are parts of European Union project, and were partially refunded from EU.

Routes[edit]

List of tram routes operated by Tramwaje Śląskie S.A. as of June 2012:

Peak frequencies and hours of service are for Mon-Fri only

No.
Route
Length [km]
Freq. [min]
Hours of service
1
Gliwice Zajezdnia - Zabrze - Zaborze - Ruda Południowa - Chebzie
n/a
15
24h
3
Mikulczyce - Zabrze - Makoszowy
8.7
20
24h
4
Gliwice Zajezdnia - Zabrze - Zaborze
n/a
15-30
5:00–23:00
5
Zaborze - Zabrze - Biskupice - Bobrek - Bytom
16.3
15
24h
6
Bytom - Pogoda - Łagiewniki - Chorzów - Dąb - Katowice - Brynów
18.4
15
5:00 - 0:00
7
Łagiewniki - Piaśniki - Świętochłowice - Chorzów Batory - Załęże - Katowice - Zawodzie - Szopienice
n/a
15
24h
9
Bytom - Szombierki - Godula - Chebzie - Wirek - Świętochłowice - Chorzów
17.9
20
24h
11
Katowice - Dąb - Chorzów - Piaśniki - Lipiny - Chebzie
14.2
15
24h
14
Katowice - Zawodzie - Szopienice - Mysłowice
15.2
15
3:30 - 1:00
15
Katowice - Zawodzie - Szopienice - Sosnowiec - Zagórze
15.4
15
24h
16
Katowice (Słoneczna) - Park Kościuszki - Brynów
5.9
7-8
24h
17
Chorzów - Świętochłowice - Piaśniki - Łagiewniki - Lipiny - Chebzie
11.6
15
5:00–1:00
18
Chebzie - Ruda Południowa - Ruda - Bobrek - Bytom
12.5
30
4:00–23:30
19
Stroszek - Bytom - Łagiewniki - Chorzów - Dąb - Katowice (Miarki Square)
n/a
15
4:00-1:00
20
Wełnowiec - Katowice - Załęże - Chorzów
n/a
15
24h
21
Milowice - Sosnowiec - Pogoń - Będzin - Kopalnia 'Paryż' - Dąbrowa Górnicza - Gołonóg - Huta 'Katowice'
22.4
20
3:30 - 1:00
22
Czeladź - Będzin - Kopalnia 'Paryż' - Dąbrowa Górnicza - Gołonog - Huta 'Katowice'
15.6
20
4:00 - 0:30
24
Okrzei - Sosnowiec - Pogoń - Będzin - Osiedle Zamkowe
13.9
20
4:00–23:00
26
Milowice - Sosnowiec - Dańdówka - Niwka - Modrzejów - Mysłowice
13.6
12
4:00 - 0:00
27
Pogoń - Sosnowiec - Dańdówka - Klimontów - Kazimierz Górniczy
n/a
20
24h
28
Będzin (depot) - Kopalnia 'Paryż' - Dąbrowa Górnicza - Gołonóg
10.8
20
5:00–20:00
31
Bytom - Dąbrowa Miejska - Stroszek
n/a
30–60
23:00 - 5:00
33
Koszutka - Katowice - Dąb - Chorzów
n/a
30
6:00 - 21:00
37
Szopienice - Zaborze
n/a
15
4:00–0:00
38
Bytom (Piekarska Street)
1.3
20
5:30–20:00
40
Katowice - Zawodzie
n/a
5
24h

Rolling stock[edit]

Revenue cars (brackets: number of units in working order (April 2008) / dates of production):

  • N Type - classic four-wheel car (2 / 1949, 1951)
  • 102Na Type - articulated car, body based on Polish PCC - 13N Type (3 / 1970–1973)
  • 105N/Na Type - short car, with electrical system based on PCC technology (314 / 1973–1992)
  • 111N Type - bi-directional version of 105Na Type (6 / 1993)
  • 116Nd Type - low-floor articulated Citadis LRT car (17 / 2000–2001)
N-type-based snow plough

Non-revenue cars: ca. 50 cars, mostly of N and 4N Types, though many other interesting units are in the working order (including driver education cars, general works cars, overhead wires maintenance cars, snow ploughs, platform trailers and one tamping machine).

Museum cars: a set of classic N type motor car with a 4ND Type passive trailer produced in the 1950s, renovated in 2000–2001.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  • [kzkgop.com.pl] (Polish)
  • [1] (Polish)

References[edit]

  1. ^ 27.09.2015, according to kzkgop.com.pl
  2. ^ according to http://www.forum.tramwaje.slask.pl/1772.htm