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Weimar: Hydrogen bus(es) from Solaris

Köln RVK 441: this 2022 Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen is a „brother“ of coach 467, seen here in August 2022 at the station in Meckenheim (near Bonn) | © Christian Marquordt

Weimar, the fourth largest city in German federal state Thuringia, is located in the “Thuringian Basin” and has about 65,000 inhabitants. It is best known for the two “poet princes” Goethe and Schiller and as the eponym of the first German republic (“Weimar Republic”). The famous “Bauhaus” school of architecture and art was also founded in Weimar, although it moved to Dessau after only a relatively short time.

Urban transport in the city is run by the Weimar public utility company (Stadtwerke Weimar). Today it is a bus-only operation, but the author – who comes from the “West” – still drove (or was driven) articulated trolley buses of the type “Ikarus 280 T” here at Whitsun 1990. The trolleybus system disappeared very quickly, until 2 april 2023 – the first western diesel buses had already arrived before, second-hand from Weimar’s Western German twin city Trier.

Weimar Stadtwerke 149, a 1973 Mercedes-Benz O 305, is seen here on 17 August 1991 at the terminus “Schöndorf Siedlung” in Weimar. It still wears its advertising from Trier, and the catenary of Weimar’s trolleybus service is still in place | © Christian Marquordt

Recently, Weimar’s city parliament decided to convert the transport company’s bus fleet to buses powered by hydrogen via fuel cells. The first of these buses have been ordered, they are to be delivered in September 2023.

But Weimar did not want to wait that long. On 01 March 2023, the brand-new coach 467 of Regionalverkehr Köln (RVK), a Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen, was on its way on the A 4 from the manufacturing plant in Bolechowo, Poland, to its new owner in the Rhineland. Weimar is located on the A 4 motorway, so there is nothing easier than taking a short trip off the motorway and to the depot of the Weimar public utility company. So that one could have a look at a Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen.

The Weimar public utility company took the opportunity for a test drive, albeit a short one. The Solaris was a hit. And even MDR television was there. In the evening, the Solaris continued its journey to the Rhine.

From left to right: Marcin Szczesny (Regional Representative Solaris Deutschland GmbH), Bernd Wagner (Technical Managing Director Stadtwirtschaft Weimar GmbH), Dr. Claudia Kolb (Councillor of the City of Weimar), Prof. Dr. Mark Jentsch (Bauhaus University Weimar) | © Stadtwirtschaft Weimar GmbH Press
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