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Trolleybus system with optical guidance finally opened in Bologna

New route 15 | © Comune di Bologna

After an offical press launch the day before, the first line with partially optical guidance system of the long-awaited trolleybus network expansion started operating on 1 July 2020. The new line 15 connects San Lazzaro di Savena (via Pertini) with Bologna Central Station and the Bus Terminal at Piazza XX September. 49 Iveco Crealis articulated trolleybuses with optical guidance equipment delivered since 2015 to replace previously supplied Irisbus CIVIS articulated vehicles.

Optical lane guidance on new route 15 | © Comune di Bologna

The Iveco Crealis are being used on line 15 as well as on existing lines 13 and 14. The new 15 is the first part of the trolleybus extension project with optical guidance, which has been planned for almost 20 years but has been on hold due to technical problems and a lack of approval by the Italian authorities. The configuration of the previously delivered Irisbus CIVIS has never been approved by the Italian authorities, in spite of various testing cricles and the fact that the same guidance system is used elsewhere, e.g. in Castellón in Spain. The original CIVIS vehicles are still in as-new condition parked at the premises of a commercial vehicle dealer in Northern Italy awaiting their fate.

Irisbus CIVIS originally delivered for the new system in Bologna, here on the test track at Heuliez premises in June 2008 | © Stefan von Mach
The CIVIS are all stored at a commercial vehcle dealer, togeteher with the PHILEAS trolleybus protoype for Pescara | © Gunter Mackinger

The new Crealis use the lane guidance on line 15 only to arrive at stops, so that the distance between the bus and the edge of the road is reduced to a maximum of 6 cm.

The new line 15 operated during July only at a 24 minutes headway and ceased service inAugust due to the Italian holiday season, therefore some technicals considered the service a kind of „operational testing with passengers“. Full service resumes on 31 August 2020. Other branches of route 15 are expected to open over the next 1 to 2 years.

Test run of a Crealis | © Jürgen Lehmann
On existing route 14 | © Jürgen Lehmann
Crealis 1112 on a test run | © Jürgen Lehmann
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