Warsaw tram primer

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These trams were snapped just before noon yesterday. Most of the shots were taken at or near the tram stop opposite Warsaw’s main railway station, Warszawa Centralna.

13N driving and trailer units (the former in
advertiser’s livery) head down ul. Chalubinskiego.

The first 13N prototype was delivered from Konstal’s Chorzow Works to Warsaw in September 1959. A further 837 were delivered to the city during the next ten years. Their first passengers nicknamed them trumny, because of their coffin shape and their habit of trapping passengers when they broke down. They were a direct replacement for the two axle trams that had served Warsaw through two World Wars. The rounded ends were to suggest high speed and modernity, and they did succeed in speeding up services on Warsaw’s uncluttered roads in the 60’s. The public never took to them in the way they had regarded with affection the 4 wheelers that they replaced. Partly because it was a steep climb to get inside. They had high floors were to give adequate clearance between their framing and the power bogies. In the 60s trams were intended to get the fit and able bodied to the factories. If you were elderly or disabled you weren’t fit for work and you were supposed to stay at home.

Two 105N sets wait for the tram stop to clear.

The 105Ns were introduced in October 1975 and, with various variants, the design remained in production until the 1990s. Curves were no longer fashionable. They had extremely high floors to accommodate a main girder that ran down the middle of the tram above the bogies.

The dreaded 105N2k

Curves are back in fashion. 122 105N2ks were built by Alstom Konstal for Warsaw in the period 1995 to 2001. Power supply is thyristor controlled. Electronic indicator boards announce the next stop. But the floor is 890 mm above rail height!

An almost decent tram! A PESA 120N, pulls away from
Jerzego Waszyngtona (George Washington) roundabout

In July 2007, the first of 15 PESA 120N low-floor articulated trams arrived in Warsaw. A metre gauge variant (the 122N) has also been supplied to the so called ‘Lodz Regional Tramway’. The 5 segment articulated trams give a good quality ride, although it’s not as smooth as that offered by air suspension trams operating elsewhere in Europe. The low floor (and slightly increased platform heights) do facilitate access for those in wheelchairs, but the 6 inch horizontal gap and 9 inch vertical gap cannot easily be traversed without assistance. The assumption still seems to be that if you are disabled you stay at home. If you do venture out further afield you go with a ‘minder’. I thought that the EU had Directives about equal access to buildings and transportation!

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