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Städtische Verkehrsbetriebe Bern: articulated trolleybus No. 38

Characteristics of articulated trolleybus series 30-55 (1974/75)

SVB 38
Chassis Franz Brozincevic & Cie., Wetzikon ZH (FBW)
Body work Ramseier + Jenzer, Biel BE (No. 35-45, 49, 53)
Carrosserie Hess AG, Bellach SO (8 buses)
Carrosserie Gangloff AG, Bern BE (5 buses)
Electrics S.A. des Ateliers de Sécheron, Geneva GE (SAAS)
Model 91 GTL
In use 1974-2006 (series)
Engine power 165 kW (225 hp)
Length / width 18.38 m / 2.5 m
Seats / standing places 44 / 110 people
Empty weight 15'890 kg
Preserved vehicles 38 (TVS), 55 Obus-Museum Solingen e.V.


Until the beginning of the 1970ies the trolleybus in Berne was quite unimportant. Even though the first line on the hilly streets to Schlosshalde was already opened in 1940 and extended in 1961 to Länggasse (line 12) the trolleybus couldn't establish itself against the tramway and motor buses. Only between 1941 and 1948 there was a second line in direction of Bümpliz.

This situation changed on the 24th September 1972, when the inhabitants of Bern in the course of a popular vote accepted the electrification of three motor bus lines. Therefore the articulated trolleybuses No. 30-55 were put in operation on the new electrified lines 14 to Gäbelbach (from 27th October 1974), 20 to Wyler (from 15th April 1975) and 13 to Bümpliz (from 28th July 1975) and covered the need for new trolleybuses. When the through route 11 from Güterbahnhof via Bern Bahnhof to Brückfeld was converted to a trolleybus line on 18th May 1977, the vehicles No. 56-61, which had slight differences to the first series, were purchased.

The trolleybuses of this series represented besides the tram the public transportation in Bern for many years. The first vehicles were put in service in the classic livery, whereas the buses from No. 46 were delivered in the orange livery, which was recommended by the "Verband schweizerischer Transportanstalten", the association of transportation operators. In the 1990ies the trolleybuses got the new green livery with white stripes. Not so No. 38, which was the only one to keep the old livery until its withdrawal in 1999. Eleven of those trolleybuses were even revarnished in the new red paint scheme of Bernmobil in 2004.

Some of the vehicles of this series were still in use, when the line 20 was extended to Wankdorf Bahnhof (2004) and the line 12 was extended to Zentrum Paul Klee (2005). Our trolleybus No. 38 left Bern already in 1999 though. Since 2008 it's in the property of TVS and was brought via different locations to its current place in the shed in Yvonand (VD).

The last trolleybuses of this series were dismissed in 2006/07, when the tramway project Tram Bern West was started and the lines 13 to Bümpliz and 14 to Gäbelbach were changed to motor bus lines for the construction time. Ten of these articulated trolleybuses were sold to Brașov (Romania) in 2006, where some vehicles are still in service.