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A chartered ride in Szeged... part I.
... with a view onto current matters, 13. August 2005.

Friends have invited me to visit Szeged with them, with programmes like a peek into the depot and a chartered ride with heritage trams. Who can resist something like that? Well, not me!

Our main carrier was ex-Budapest twin set number 313+314. A "twin set" is a bidirectional unit consisting of two streetcars sharing the electric and brake circuits, so that they can only be used together.

This old beauty was nicely renovated last year, turning it into a "brand new old tram". It looks new, but of course its riding is the classic bumpy 2-axle feeling I love so much! The photo was taken at the junction Annakút, where all three tram lines meet.

A "Bengali" articulated tram following us in the twin set on the one-track section of route 4.

Terminus Kecskés, located south-west from the inner city.

If everything goes well, a reversing triangle will be built here, so that unidirectional trams (mainly the Tatra KT4's bought from Potsdam) can also use the terminus.

We rode to the other end of route 4...

... then headed to the remise (tram depot). On this picture you can see the next vehicle with which we took a ride: this is works car SZ5 (pronounce: "ess" five), of course of Budapest origin. This car was the prototype of the series F1A in 1938, then it was rebuilt a few times until it became a "workshop car" in Szeged.

The driver's cab...

... and the interior room. This is in fact a small workshop...

... and resting/dining place (for the workers during track construction works) on wheels. The car is also used for towing away broke-down trams.

The twin set 313+314 next to an ex-Potsdam KT4D...

... and the SZ5 at Rókus station.

You can observe, that these trams look very alike. They both feature the steel-frame car body of the "Füzesi" tram workshop of Budapest, which was retrofitted onto all kinds of old 2-axle streetcars in the late 50's and early 60's.

I think SZ5 looks more elegant, because it's bigger: it's 11 meter long, and features a rather large wheel base of 4500 millimeters. Its riding comfort is better than the qualities of the twin set (which is shorter), but on the other hand it creaks louder in tight curves.

Here the old guys wait for clearance for the one-track section of route 3. The surroundings look almost mediterranean :)

The one-track section in Kálvária sugárút. I always liked this part - I found it peculiar that the single track runs in the middle of the street and not on the side.

The terminus of route "3F" (an insection service of route 3 servicing the outer section) in Fonógyári út, with a Bengali between the too old trams. Interestingly, the Bengali was designed in the same tram workshop as the steel-frame car body of the old trams.

Standing side-by-side at the passing loop near the Inner-city Cemetary (Belvárosi temető).

The outer section of route 3F is very badly utilised. A large shopping mall will be built on the empty parcel in the background, and that might change this. If the mall won't be built, the tram line is likely to be abandoned.

Another passing loop. The old streetcars are waiting for the tram coming from the opposite direction - and it's overdue.

A Bengali arrives behind us...

... turning the waiting queue into a heritage tram parade :-)

At last, the tram from the other direction!

After this excursion...

.. we went back into the depot, where the number of used tramcars bought from Germany increases day by day. On this picture however you can only see the classic Szeged trams: two Bengalis, a T6A2H bought newly in the 90's, and of course our faithful SZ5. But if you take a look at the yard of the depot, you'll see...

... lots of ex-german Tatras! (Next page)

© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.

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