• de
  • en

Krakow and Nuremberg: Two historic “Zeppelin” tramways have been created

© VAG – Andreas Neuer

Just in time for the 45th anniversary of the city partnership between Krakow and Nuremberg, the Friends of the Nuremberg-Fürth Tramway e.V. and the Krakow transport company MPK Krakow have presented another Nuremberg zeppelin Tramcar, freshly restored, to the public – together. During a tour of Krakow, Krakow’s Mayor Jacek Majchrowski, the Chairman of the Board of MPK Krakow Rafał Świerczyński and his deputy Marius Szalkowski and their Nuremberg counterparts Mayor Christian Vogel and VAG Board Spokesman Tim Dahlmann-Resing were able to see the result of the restoration for themselves.

What happened before

The “new” Zeppelin Tramcars tell the story of a decades-long connection between two cities and their people: Back in 1976, the year the Friends of the Nuremberg-Fürth Tramway Association was founded, a member of the association discovered the Tramcar built by MAN in Nuremberg in Krakow in 1909 – in the meantime converted into a working vehicle. The car had been sold to Krakow during the Second World War as part of the Reichsleistungsgesetz (Reich Performance Act), when relations between the two nations were not exactly characterised by friendship. This made the association’s endeavours to restore the zeppelin Tramcar and return it to Nuremberg all the more daring – despite the Iron Curtain and the difficult conditions associated with it. It so happened that Nuremberg and Krakow became twin cities in 1979, and the courting of the Zeppelin Tramcar was probably not entirely innocent. In 1984, a zeppelin Tramcar restored in Krakow returned to Nuremberg. Although it did not receive a licence for historical operation, it became the central exhibit of the St. Peter historical tram depot of VAG Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft Nürnberg, which opened in 1985.

On the one hand, the Zeppelin car was the trigger for intensive relations between the association and the VAG with the Krakow transport companies; on the other hand, it was the initial spark for collecting historical railway vehicles in Krakow. This gave rise to the idea of rebuilding a zeppelin Tramcar for Krakow. However, the Friends of the Nuremberg-Fürth Tramway e.V. had also long harboured the desire to turn the vehicle, which had previously not been approved for operation with passengers, into a fully operational historic tramcar. In November 2020, the Zeppelin tram left Nuremberg on a heavy goods low-loader. In Krakow, the original historical substance was divided and two almost identical vehicles were built on top of it.

“Duplicated”: Bothe trams together | © VAG – Andreas Neuer

The work in Krakow is now complete. However, according to current plans, it will take until autumn before the Zeppelin tramcar returns to Nuremberg: Before that, the old traction motors from 1913 still have to be converted to the future 750-volt voltage in the Nuremberg network.

The costs for the Nuremberg tram was approximately 260,000 euros. These were being financed by the Nuremberg-Fürth Tramway Friends’ Association purely on the basis of donations. All information on the financing, the project status, the special history of the Tramcar and the friendship between the two cities can be found at tw144.sfnbg.de.