Lodz tram depot farewell

by

On 28th of January, Lodz tram train buffs said goodbye to one of their most important landmarks – the tram depot on the corner of ul. Dabrowskiego and ul. Kilinskiego. The depot was constructed in 1928. There is some confusion regarding the actual opening date, some sources give 15 June, others 16th of December. It seems likely that the former date was when the depot, which was still being constructed, first went into operation, and the latter date was when it was officially opened.

The depot was designed to accommodate 100 four-wheel tram cars under its roof. In the 1950s, longer twin bogie trams were introduced and the depot and its tracks became seriously congested. In the 1960s, the tram depot was extended and modernised. This capacity was increased to 306 tram cars of which 154 could be kept under cover and 152 on the sidings outside. The tram depot reached the peak of its activity in the 1970s, when 300 drivers were based there supported by 181 technical staff.

Lodz MPK, the city municipal tram company, constantly hovers on the edge of bankruptcy. Two years ago, the tram depot was sold to a property developer with the stipulation that the tram company vacates the depot by mid-February 2011. There was talk of the tram depot being used to house new light rail rolling stock constructed in Israel, but the latest rumours refer to a new shopping centre.

Vintage 4 wheelers at Dabrowskiego depot. Photo ©Wojciech Dembski.

The depot’s Art Deco buildings, constructed in a style reminiscent of the station and engine shed at Krosniewice are listed and theoretically protected from demolition. But even if the buildings survive, without their historical technical context of tracks, junctions and machinery they will remain but a pale shadow of their former selves.

My thanks to Wojciech Dembski from whose website, Lodzkie tramwaje i autobusy, much of this article has been sourced.

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