Trolleybuses in La Chaux-de-Fonds
Articulated trolleybus in La Chaux-de-Fonds, 2007.
|Locale||La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland|
|Status||All service suspended, possibly to become a permanent closure|
|Operator(s)||Transports régionaux neuchâtelois (TRN)|
|Electrification||600 V DC|
|Website||Transports régionaux neuchâtelois (TRN) (in French)|
Opened in 1949, the system gradually replaced the La Chaux-de-Fonds tramway network. Since 2005, it has been operated by Transports régionaux neuchâtelois (TRN, written "trn" in the authority's own marketing materials). It is supplemented by several bus lines operated by the same authority.
In April 2011, TRN announced that it wanted to replace the trolleybuses in La Chaux-de-Fonds by 2014 with hybrid buses, sparking vigorous protests. All trolleybus service has been suspended since May 2014 for a major project to rebuild the square in front of the railway station, including relocation of the bus terminal.
The system was opened on 23 December 1949. Its initial operating company was the Compagnie des Transports en commun, La Chaux-de-Fonds (TN). The system's first trolleybus line was the 3.54 km (2.20 mi) long Centenaire–Hôpital route, which had previously been served by trams. On 16 June 1950, the last remaining tram line was replaced by trolleybuses.
On 13 November 1954, La Chaux-de-Fonds' only conventional bus line, which had been operating since 1948, was converted into a trolleybus line. That left the trolleybus system as the town's only form of public transport.
In 1960, the system was transformed into a network of three cross-city lines. These were designated as 1-2, 4-5 and 6-7, to reflect the names of their termini. Each line was operated at 12-minute intervals, with services being at 6-minute intervals during peak times. In 1975, diesel bus route 9, which had been opened in 1966, was converted to trolleybus operation, and the following year the line to terminal 6 was extended.
On 28 May 1990, the line to terminus 7 was converted to diesel operation, and simultaneously a new line numbering scheme was introduced. The remaining trolleybus lines were renumbered as lines 1 and 4. In 1995, following the construction of a new depot, line 2 reverted to a trolleybus line. Two years later, on 1 November 1997, trolleybuses were reintroduced to line 4, after that line had been operated by diesel buses for several years. Line 4 was also given a short extension, to Eplatures.
Following a merger in 2005, Transports régionaux neuchâtelois (TRN) assumed responsibility for trolleybus operations.
In April 2011, TRN announced that it wanted to replace the trolleybuses in La Chaux-de-Fonds by 2014 with hybrid buses, sparking vigorous protests. Two main reasons were given for TRN's decision: the many road work sites in the city hinder the circulation of trolleybuses, and the forthcoming redevelopment of the Place de la Gare would require an investment of 2.5 million Swiss francs just to move the overhead wires as part of the relocation of the bus terminal. Additionally, new trolleybuses, at 1.3 million francs per vehicle, were said to be much more costly to acquire than new hybrid buses, at 800,000 francs each.
Effective 21 May 2014, all trolleybus service was suspended for the start of work on demolition and relocation of the bus terminal in front of the railway station, with removal of the trolleybus wiring there. At that time, TRN had not yet decided whether the wiring would be reinstated after completion of the work on the bus terminal, leaving open the possibility that the current suspension might eventually be made a permanent closure.
The present system is made up of the following cross-city routes, all operated at 10-minute intervals:
|2||Combe à l'Ours–Charrière||Rigid bus|
In the evenings, and on Sundays and public holidays, lines 1 and 4 are replaced by diesel bus lines 52 and 54, so that during these off peak times only line 1 operates.
Initially, the La Chaux-de-Fonds trolleybus system had a fleet of 10 short two-axle vehicles. Six additional new trolleybuses later joined the fleet as three sets of twins, delivered in 1954, 1961 and 1965, respectively. Another 13 vehicles were acquired secondhand.
In 1990, three new rigid trolleybuses were introduced to the fleet. They were NAW / Hess BT 5-25 type vehicles, and were given the fleet numbers 111 to 113. The last three high-floor vehicles in the fleet, they were withdrawn from service between the end of 2007 and the end of 2010. Their replacements, diesel-powered buses, have been used alternately with trolleybuses on the trolleybus lines.
A total of 12 vehicles is currently available to operate trolleybus services in La Chaux-de-Fonds, all of them low-floor buses:
|121–125||5||NAW / Hess||Siemens||BGT-N||Articulated||1996|
|131–133||3||Solaris||Cegelec||Trollino 12 AC||Rigid||2005|
|141–144||4||Solaris||Cegelec||Trollino 18 AC||Articulated||2005|
The La Chaux-de-Fonds system is, along with the Lausanne system and the Lucerne system, one of only three Swiss trolleybus systems still using rigid (two-axle) trolleybuses.
- Trolleybus Magazine No. 316 (July–August 2014), p. 108. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
- "Trolleybus city: La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland)". TrolleyMotion. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "Les trolleybus pourraient disparaître de La Chaux-de-Fonds" [The trolleybuses could disappear from La Chaux-de-Fonds] (in French). 24heures. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "Trolleybusstadt : La-Chaux-de-Fonds (Schweiz)" [Trolleybus city: La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland)] (in German). TrolleyMotion. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
- "Mort annoncée des trolleybus à La Chaux-de-Fonds" [The death of the trolleybus in La Chaux-de-Fonds is announced] (in French). RTN (Switzerland). Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Trolleybus Magazine No. 174 (November–December 1990), p. 146. National Trolleybus Association (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
- Schwandl, Robert (2010). Schwandl's Tram Atlas Schweiz & Österreich. Berlin: Robert Schwandl Verlag. ISBN 978 3 936573 27 5. (in German and English)
Media related to Trolleybuses in La Chaux-de-Fonds at Wikimedia Commons
- "Trolleybus city: La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland)". Trolleymotion.
- La Chaux-de-Fonds database / photo gallery and La Chaux-de-Fonds trolleybus list at Urban Electric Transit – in various languages, including English.