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Bern and Zurich: More trams from Switzerland go to Ukraine


The Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Vinnitsa need to replace parts of their tramway fleets. To this end, they have asked Switzerland for support. The cities of Berne and Zurich are providing 11 and probably 67 decommissioned but fully operational trams respectively. SECO, the State Secretariat for Economic Cooperation and Development, is organising and financing the transport to Ukraine and the training of employees of the Ukrainian transport companies.

BERNMOBIL is donating eleven “Vevey” trams to Lviv. These are the first low-floor trams to be built in Switzerland. The vehicles are in good condition and can be used in Ukraine for another 10 to 12 years. The first trams are expected to be delivered in late summer 2024.

Vevey-Tram still in service for Bernmobil, here in 2008 | © D. Budach

Due to the Russian war many displaced people have come to Lviv. Many companies have also relocated to the city. This has caused the population to grow significantly. Road traffic is increasing. Additional trams are more than welcome. SECO is also financing the construction of a new tram line to a hospital, which can be operated with Bern’s low-floor trams.

SECO is covering the costs of transport and comprehensive training for four employees of the Lviv transport company. They will complete a four-week internship in the BERNMOBIL workshop in spring 2024. They will then be able to operate and maintain the trams in Lviv independently.

TRAM 2000 on its way from Zurich to Ukraine | © VBZ
TRAM 2000 operating as coupled pairs in Zurich | © D. Budach

SECO had already reached an agreement with the Zurich public transport operator VBZ in 2021. SECO then organised the transport (including provsion of funding) of 28 Tram2000 vehicles to Vinnitsa. However, the war and its consequences meant that the actual loading could not begin as originally planned – the trams remained parked in an outdoor storage area of VBZ until they could finally be shipped in tranches since early 2023. The export of a further 8 vehicles is envisaged for the beginning of 2024. SECO and VBZ also decided at the end of 2023 to transfer a further 31 Tram2000 vehicles to Vinnitsa, i.e. a total of 67 vehicles. All vehicles are in operational condition and can continue to be used in Ukraine for another 12 to 15 years.

The export of Swiss trams to partner countries has a long tradition. Between 2003 and 2010, BERNMOBIL and SECO had already transferred 14 trams and 9 trailers to Romania. Between 2007 and 2011, 88 trams were delivered from Zurich to Vinnitsa. And finally, between 2001 and 2016, the Basel transport company, supported by SECO, exported 65 trams and 47 trailers to Belgrade in Serbia. Most of the trams are still in service today.