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Now totally barrier-free in Switzerland: Retirement of the last NAW trolleybuses in Neuchâtel

© Marc Germann

On 28 January 2024, the last high-floor trolleybuses in Switzerland were sent into retirement with an official farewell trip. These are NAW-HESS-ABB BGT 5-25 articulated trolleybuses from the transport company TransN, which operates public transport in Neuchâtel and the surrounding area. After almost 34 years of service, these vehicles are being replaced by new models. Neuchâtel had 21 vehicles of this type in service since 1991 – they could also be found in a similar design at other Swiss trolleybus operators. Towards the end, 11 of these vehicles were still operational and in use until they were gradually phased out in spring 2023.

2009 imn the city centre: Trolleybus 105 and 108 | © Dirk Budach
Farewell trip on 28 January 2024 | © Marc Germann
Farewell trip with no. 116 | © Marc Germann

They will be replaced by new LighTram 19 BGT-N2D articulated trolleybuses from HESS, which have powerful traction batteries for longer journeys off the existing overhead network. This should enable the extension of trolleybus line 107 without new overhead lines, which will be extended via Avenue des Champs-Montants to the shopping centre in Marin.

The 30 new vehicles ordered are intended for both the cantonal capital of Neuchâtel and the neighbouring town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. In La Chaux-de-Fonds, the new trolleybuses will resume trolley operation on lines 301, 302 and 304 after an interruption of around 10 years and will gradually replace the diesel and hybrid diesel buses currently in use. The overhead line, power supply and depot equipment will be renewed at the same time.

Brandnew HESS LighTram 19 in Neuchâtel | © Marc Germann