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Lausanne starts double-articulated trolleybus operation

The first unit no. 701 on 25 June 2020 | © Jürgen Lehmann

24.7 meters long, two articulations, sufficient space for 225 passengers, and fully electric: That’s the concept of the “lighTram® 25 DC” – the double-articulated trolleybus built by Carosserie HESS AG in Bellach in Switzerland. Five Swiss cities have already chosen these impressive vehicles for their fleets – and now another one is joining this exclusive “club” of trolleybus operators: Lausanne.

Lausanne has always been a strong advocate of the trolleybus+passenger trailer operational model – actually, it is the last trolleybus system in the world which uses this model. However, the intention to standardize both the service concept and the fleet structure culminated in the decision many years ago to phase out the once very intense trailer operation in the city. Today, only 16 sets of 31-32 years old NAW 12-meter trolleybuses coupled with HESS low-floor passenger trailers (built between 1990 and 2007) are still in service compared with more than 60 sets some 15 years ago. Large orders of articulated trolleybuses made this conversion possible, 62 of them were added to the fleet since 2009.

Trolleybus+trailer. Trolleybus 754 is the oldest operating vehicle, built in 1986 | © Jürgen Lehmann
Low-floor trailer behind a high-floor trolleybus on route 9 | © Dirk Budach

On 3 August 2020, „Transports publics de la région lausannoise SA (TL)“ will take another step forward in its efforts to modernize and improve the public transport system in the city: The first of the 12 ordered double-articulated trolleybuses start its revenue service on route 9. This line is in the process of being upgraded to BHNS (Bus à haut niveau de service) standard with additional, separated bus lanes and it will be extended from current terminus Prilly, église to Bussigny in 2022. Two other BRT routes will be line 7 Pully Val-Vert to Prilly Galicien and line 21 Lausanne-Centre to Bellevaux.

Testing | © Jürgen Lehmann
In the old town center | © Jürgen Lehmann

All new “lighTram® 25 DC” are equipped with powerful traction batteries using the Dynamic-Charging-Technology for charging under overhead wires while the batteries are used on streches of the routes without overhead. The remaining 11 new vehicles will all be supplied until March 2021, with a total investment volume of EUR 16.5 CHF. Additional orders may follow in the future.

10 trolleybus lines serve the city at Lac Lemon today. For the year 2025, it is also planned to introduce a modern low-floor tramway on one of the trunk routes.

No. 701 on a test trip on 25 June 2020 | © Jürgen Lehmann
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Michael Piotrowski
Michael Piotrowski
3 years ago


As I just noted in the German version, the planned extension is from Prilly, église to Bussigny—Lutry is the *other* terminus of the line.

Also, the lake is called “lac Léman,” not “lac Lemon” 😉

Greetings from Lausanne