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New battery trolleybuses for the expansion plan in St. Gallen

Hess Lightram 25 on loan from Bernmobil on a test ride in St. Gallen | © HESS

The city council of St. Gallen, Switzerland, decided on 11 October 2019 to award the contract for the 11 bi-articulated trolleybuses and 6 articulated trolleybuses to Carosserie Hess AG in Bellach. These vehicles will be hybrid battery trolleybuses, i.e. all have a powerful battery pack on board to allow for extensive off-wire operation. “In-Motion Charging”(IMC) means that the batteries are to be recharged as long as the buses run under overhead line sections, without any time-loss during charging at termini.

Hess will deliver its already proven Lightram® 19 DC and Lightram® 25 DCmodels between November 2020 and February 2021. For testing purposes, a bi-articulated battery trolleybus on loan from Bern has already been in St.Gallen since last September.

In future, the vehicles will operate in full-electric mode on lines 3, 4 and 6, using approximately 7 km of new overhead to be installed and parts of the existing catenary of the existing network. On the remaining sections of the route, the vehicles run in battery mode.

The costs of vehicle acquisition and the network expansion, worth a total of CHF 37.5 million, had previously been approved by the public in a referendum. St. Gallen wants to gradually replace all diesel buses with electric vehicles from 2021.

Verkehrsbetriebe St. Gallen (VBSG) currently operate 17 articulated and 7 bi-articulated trolleybuses, all built by Hess/Vossloh-Kiepe in 2008/2009.

One of the 7 bi-aerticulated trolleybusse in service at Verkehrsbetriebe St. Gallen | © Press VBSG
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