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More modern trolleybuses from Solaris: Parma

Solaris Trollino 12 | © Budach

Italy is one of the countries where the trolleybus has been established as an electric, emission-free means of transport in various places, although the number of operations had also declined here. In addition, the trolleybus no longer plays the dominant role in many places that it did in the heyday of this mode of transport in the 1950s and 1960s. In Parma in northern Italy, however, one can experience today how well a modern trolleybus system can be integrated into the city landscape: Four of the main lines are served by electric trolleybuses – 1, 3, 4 and 5. Line 5 was newly built only a few years ago and is served by Van Hool/Kiepe ExquiCity articulated trolleybuses in BRT design. Line 1 was extended several kilometres northwards on 6 June 2021, but without new overhead lines being installed. Ten newly purchased Solaris Urbino 12 battery trolleybuses cover this part of the route in battermode. The batteries are recharged during subsequent part of the journey under existing overhead – In-Motion Charging technology at its best!

In-Motion-Charging (IMC): Change battery-/overhead mode:

The MAN-Gräf&Stift/Autodromo trolleys, which are now up to 26 years old, usually run on lines 3 and 4. They have a diesel auxiliary drive. All the older Menarini trolleybuses from the 1980s and 1990s are no longer in regular service.

The system has been in existence in Parma since 25 October 1953 and can thus celebrate its 70th birthday this year.

MAN-Gräf&Stift/Autodromo/Kiepe (1997) no. 041 in February 2023 | © Budach
MAN-Gräf&Stift/Autodromo/Kiepe (1997) no. 042 operating with its diesel auxiliar motor in February 2023 | © Budach
Van Hool ExquiCity in the city centre | © Budach
Solaris Trollino 12 | © Budach

The current fleet roster:

041-054 Gräf& Stift/Autodromo/Kiepe (1997/2000), some of them already out of service

5101-5110 VanHool/Kiepe (2012/14), articulated

5061-5070 Solaris/Kiepe (2020/21)

A further eight Solaris battery trolleybuses are currently being delivered with the aim to completely replace the Autodromo trolleybuses which bring the total number of Trollinos in Parma to 18. However, battery electric buses will be used for the electrification of the remaining city bus routes in the near future.

From the history of the trolleybus system:

Fiat/Cansa (1953) no. 003, summer 1981 | © Siegfried Wüst
Fiat/Cansa (1959) no. 018, summer 1981 | © Siegfried Wüst
Fiat/Cansa (1959) no. 017, here in summer 1981, is preserved today as part of the historical vehicle collection of the operator | © Siegfried Wüst
Menarini/TIBB (1981) no. 026 | © Jürgen Lehmann
Depot Parma – October 2010: No. 26 (Menarini/TIBB 1981), 39 and 33 (Menarini/TIBB 1986) | © Gunter Mackinger