Trams in Belgrade

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Belgrade tram network
CAF & KT4 Tram Belgrade.jpg
Station "Block 45"
Overview
OwnerGSP Belgrade
LocaleSerbia Belgrade, Serbia
Transit typeTram
Number of lines11 (daytime)
WebsiteGSP (in Serbian)
Operation
Began operation1892 (horse tram)
1894 (first electric tram)
1904 fully electric tram grid
Operator(s)GSP Belgrade
Technical
System lengthRoute length: 43.5 km (27.0 mi)
Line length: 127.3 km (79.1 mi)
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge
Electrification600 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 on 14 October 1892.[3] In the late 2000s, complete reconstruction of the system commenced.[4]

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. Throughout the night there were three tram lines: 7N, 9N and 11N (they are all abolished).

  • 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 – Slavija Square – Railway Station – Novi BeogradBlok 45
  • Line 10: Kalemegdan – Dorćol – Slavija Square – Banjica
  • Line 11: KalemegdanNovi BeogradBlok 45
  • Line 12: Banovo Brdo – Railway Station – Tašmajdan – Omladinski Stadion
  • Line 13: Banovo Brdo – Railway Station – Novi Beograd - Blok 45
  • Line 14: Ustanička – Vukov spomenik – Slavija Square – 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: TašmajdanNew Belgrade Block 45

Another 2 lines were discontinued in 2006 after moving on night buses:

  • Line 7N: Blok 45Novi Beograd – Railway Station – Slavija Square – Vukov spomenik – Ustanička (discontinued 1 January 2017)
  • Line 9N: Blok 45Novi Beograd – Railway Station – Slavija Square – Banjica (discontinued 1 July 2009)

History[edit]

From 1892 to World War I[edit]

Trams at Knez Mihailova Street in 1906

On 14 October 1892, the first tram line in Belgrade was opened. It went from Kalemegdan to Slavija and was horse-powered.[3] The first electric line was introduced in 1894.[5] The first electric line connected Terazije, the very downtown of Belgrade, with Topčider, at the time a suburban forest and an excursion area. By the second half of the 1890s, the city already had 10 km (6.2 mi) of tracks.[3] 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 – Električna centrala routes and in 1905 the last ones were replaced at Terazije - New Cemetery 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.

As the development of the grid became a serious and expensive task, the construction of the tram infrastructure was assigned to the privately owned company "Belgian Anonymous Society".[3] Twenty years after the introduction of tram transport and 7 years after the electrification of the last line, in 1912 there were 8[3] 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]

Trams at Republic Square in 1934

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. By this time the crumbling electricity poles which formed the grid were replaced, the tracks were either repaired or replaced, modern trams were purchased and the grid was extended. By the 1920s, the buses were introduced into the urban transportation system.[3]

At the end of 1932, Belgrade had 65.5 km (40.7 mi) 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 spomenikDedinje, Slavija – Dušanovac, Terazije – Pašino Brdo and Smederevski drum – Cvetkova mehana – Prištinska Street (today Cara Nikolaja II street).

After the opening of the King Alexander Bridge on 16 December 1934, which had two tram lanes, a tram connection between Belgrade and Zemun was established on 5 November 1935. The line had number 14 and connected Hotel Moskva on Terazije to Hotel Central in Zemun.[6]

In 1940, there were ten lines, and there were 104 trams all together. The system and city sustained heavy damage during World War II.[3] Bombing in 1941 destroyed 38 trams.

Post-World War II[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.

21st century[edit]

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.

In July 2015, city administration announced an ambitions plan of the tram grid expansion. The planned phased development includes restoration of the line No. 11, establishment of the line No. 4 from Tašmajdan to Banjica, renumeration of all tram lines which would then be numbered in one sequence from 1 to 12, several new lines (Mirijevo-Vidikovac, Bežanijska Kosa-Vidikovac, Kalemegdan-Studentski Grad, Kalemegdan-Republic Square-Ustanička), shortening of the Circle of the deuce, revitalization of the stock and introduction of the free internet, air conditioning and commuter counters, etc.[7] The massive changes in public transportation were announced for 1 January 2016.[8]

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). The troubled reconstruction was finished by November 2017, at least when it comes to the traffic (Slavija Square 2016-2018 reconstruction).[9]

In December 2018, Ministry of construction, transportation and infrastructure instigated changes in the Law on Communal Activity, which would allow for private companies to operate trams and trolleybuses, as the present law allows them only to operate city transportation's bus lines.[10] Also by December 2018, nothing has been done from the 2015-2016 plans, except for the restoration of the line No. 11. At that point, city administration announced further plans: restoration of the line between downtown Belgrade and Zemun and establishment of the line to Višnjičko Polje.[7]

Ada Bridge[edit]

When a new bridge across the Sava was planned, it was planned to have both the auto carriageways and tram tracks. The bridge was built from 2008 to 2011 and was open for the car transport on 1 January 2012, but the tram tracks were not placed across it. Only in 2016, city officials announced that the first trams will cross over the bridge in 2017.[11] But a request for tender, concerning the construction of the tram tracks over the bridge, was distributed by the city government only in December 2016, and it failed. It was repeated in December 2017. The project includes 2.7 km (1.7 mi) of a new, dual gauge tracks, with connections to the existing routes in New Belgrade and Banovo Brdo. If the tender is successful (deadline is January 2018), the trams may become operational in 2019.[12]

From the New Belgrade side, the connection will be at the Đorđa Stanojevića Street, continuing over the embankment and the northern access road to the center of the bridge. On Čukarica side, it will connect to the existing route at the border of Banovo Brdo and Rakovica. Places for the future additional tram stations, right at the ending points of the bridge, are already allocated. Among the other additional works, the already existing elevated track across the Topčiderka river, will be removed but the pillars will be preserved and used for the new track bridge.[11] Some preparatory works began in March 2018 and later that month city signed a contract with "Energoprojekt holding", which won the bidding. Construction should last for 420 days.[13] Some citizens' associations suggested that the new tram lines from the new bridge should extend to Zemun, reestablishing the tram connection with Belgrade which was severed in 1941. That way, Zemun would be directly connected by tram to New Belgrade and the southern parts of Belgrade across the Sava.[14]

Restoration of Line No. 1[edit]

After new city government took over in 2013, they announced the creation of a pedestrian zone in the entire central section of Belgrade. City manager Goran Vesić announced that one single tram line, using the original number 1, will replace all four trolleybus lines (19, 21, 22 and 29) and the only bus line (31), which traverse through the city’s main street Kralja Milana. Regarding reasons, Vesić stated that the overhead lines look ugly in downtown and that citizen complained about the noise made by the trolleybuses. The immediate reaction of the citizens was mostly negative.[15][16]

However, some of the advantages of the trolleybuses are their minimal noise pollution. Also, there is a matter of price of digging up the entire center of the city so that at least 6 km (3.7 mi) of tram tracks can be placed, and the cost of buying the new trams which will supposedly be operated on capacitors, without the grid. At the moment, five lines pass through the main street 47 times per hour.[17] On average, that is one vehicle on every 77 seconds, which is virtually impossible with only one line.

In May 2017, Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, even though the Belgrade's city transportation is completely outside of his jurisdiction, stated that he wants to abolish the trolleybus network completely and replace it with the electric buses. As a reason, he said that the trolleybuses are causing problems and that when one stops due to the malfunction, it stops the entire traffic behind it.[18] Though electric buses may be a better solution than the trams, the reasoning is dubious. Trolleybus has the same traffic avoidance as an electric bus and much easier than a tram. Contrary to the trams, which indeed stop all the trams behind when one malfunction because they all use the same tracks, when a trolleybus is broken, it is simply unhooked from the grid and is easily bypassed by the trolleybus behind it.

In November 2018, Vesić, now a deputy mayor, confirmed that the tram line No. 1 will be conducted through downtown instead of electric buses. He announced that the laying of tracks will began soon and that the entire work, which would include the narrowing of the central city street, Kralja Milana, will be finished in two years.[19]

Circle of the deuce[edit]

Tram No. 2 has no termini, instead it circles around the majority of the city's center. As the route has remained unchanged since 1924,[20] the tram, colloquially named Dvojka ('deuce') in Serbian, and its circle (Krug Dvojke) became one of the symbols of Belgrade and,[21] in the local folklore, marks who the "real" (inside the circle) and who the "peripheral" (outside the circle) Belgraders are. Living inside the circle indeed grants the higher prices of the real estates and higher rent.[22]

Following the counting of the commuters in October and November 2014, in July 2015[22] 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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[22]

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,[20] 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".[22]

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.[21][23] 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.[22][23]

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 traffic congestion on the tram lines from the Faculty of Law to the Gazela Bridge. They also disputed the cost benefits, noting that lesser electricity consumption for only several stops would yield minimal cost savings, and calling the entire idea illogical both in terms of traffic and economy.[21] 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.[23]

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.[23] Amidst the public debate, the historic route remained intact.[7]

Models[edit]

Duewag Be4/6[edit]

Schindler[edit]

Tatra T4[edit]

Tatra KT4[edit]

CAF Urbos 3[edit]

Museum[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. ^ a b c d e f g Dejan Aleksić (13 October 2018). "Gradski prevoz - 126 godina: Beograđane vozili konji, "lejlandi", "mercedesi"..." [Urban transportation - 126 years: Belgraders were transported by horses, Leylands, Mercedeses...]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 13.
  4. ^ Beobuild (29 July 2006). "Tracks to be purchased for reconstruction of tram system". Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  5. ^ "Important Years in City History". City of Belgrade. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
  6. ^ Zoran Nikolić (15 December 2016). "Kako smo se oprostili od Aleksandrovog mosta" [How we said goodbye to Alexander's bridge] (in Serbian). Večernje Novosti.
  7. ^ a b c Dejan Aleksić (24 December 2018). "Kragujevačkim tramvajem u prestoničku tramvajsku prošlost" [By the Kragujevac tram into the capital's tram past]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.
  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. ^ Dejan Aleksić (16 November 2017), "Beograd opet prohodan" [Belgrade passable again], Politika (in Serbian), p. 17
  10. ^ S.B. Milošević (2 December 2018). "Po hitnom postupku: Šine u BG i privatnicima, trolejbusi u istoriju" [Accelerated procedure: tram tracks in Belgrade go to private companies, trolleybuses go to history] (in Serbian). Večernje Novosti, B92.
  11. ^ a b Dejan Aleksić (20 January 2018). "Za pun život Mosta na Adi još tri velika koraka" [Three more big steps for the full life of the Ada Bridge]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.
  12. ^ Dejan Aleksić (8 December 2017), "Tramvajem od Banovog brdo do Novog Beograda" [By tram from Banovo Brdo to New Belgrade], Politika (in Serbian), p. 17
  13. ^ Dejan Aleksić (21 March 2018). "Potpisan ugovor sa "Energoprojektom"" [Contract with "Energoprojekt" is signed]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.
  14. ^ Dejan Aleksić (28 March 2018). "Tramvaj bi opet mogao da ide ka Zemunu" [The tram could go to Zemun again]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.
  15. ^ FoNet (26 November 2016), "Ponovo tramvaj od Slavije preko Terazija do Kalemegdana" [Trams again from Slavija via Terazije to Kalemegdan], N1 (in Serbian)
  16. ^ Dejan Aleksić (4 December 2016), "I „za" i „protiv" vraćanja „jedinice" u centar" [Pros and cons against the return of "One" to downtown], Politika (in Serbian)
  17. ^ Dejan Aleksić (20 December 2016), "Širenje tramvajske mreže ne ometa gradnju metroa" [Expansion of the tram grid is not obstruction the construction of a subway], Politika (in Serbian)
  18. ^ Tanjug (14 May 2017), "Vučić: Da ukinemo trolejbuse, prave nam problem" [Vučić: Abolish trolleybuses, they are causing us problems], B92 (in Serbian)
  19. ^ Milan Janković (12 November 2018). ""Кецом" преко Теразије" [With No. 1 over Terazije]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 15.
  20. ^ a b c d "Posle 91 godine: Skraćuju čuveni krug dvojke" (in Serbian). Telegraf. 10 September 2015.
  21. ^ a b c Dejan Aleksić (18 July 2015), "Niko meni ne može da ukine pravo da živim u „krugu dvojke"", Politika (in Serbian)
  22. ^ a b c d e Dejan Aleksić (14 July 2015), "Ko ostaje izvan „kruga dvojke"", Politika (in Serbian)
  23. ^ a b c d Dejan Aleksić (11 July 2017), "Prilika za sužavanje kruga "dvojke"", Politika (in Serbian), p. 17

External links[edit]