Portrait Basel
A trolleybus of the last series on the last trolleybus line next to the border crossing Hörnli
The first trolleybus ran in Basel on the 31st July 1941 on the line A from Claraplatz to Hörnli. The city decided to introduce the trolleybus hence fuel was rare during the Second World War and buses, which were converted to wood gas didn't work properly. In 1948 the Line A became the line 31 and was extended to Habermatten in the same year. The motor bus line 34 from Claraplatz to Käferholzstrasse, which was also opened in 1948, was converted into a trolleybus line in 1956. In 1968 the line 33 from Wanderstrasse to Badischer Bahnhof was electrified and so the trolleybus reached also the quarter of Grossbasel. This line replaced the tram line which was given up due to the construction of a new bridge across the Rhine two years before. The last expansion of Basel's trolleybus network was the extension of line 34 to Habermatten in 1973.

In September 2000 the deconstruction of Basel's trolleybus network started, when the line 34 was turned into a motor bus line again. In December 2004, the line 33 followed. The remaining 4.9 km long trolleybusline 31 stayed in service until the inhabitants of Basel decided to replace the trolleybus by gas buses. Therefore the line was closed down on the 30th June 2008.

Basel's trolleybus network had several specialities:
  • When the introduction of the trolleybus was decided, the first two vehicles were already in production as diesel-electric motor buses. So, they could also run on motor bus lines, which hardly happened.
  • The two trolleybuses, which were based on burned down motor buses, were the only normal-control trolleybuses in Switzerland. Especially because they looked exactly like normal-control motor buses of that time. (Only Lausanne had a series of trolleybuses with a short hood)
  • Between 1973 and 2000 the trolleybus lines 31 and 34 had the same destinations but different routes. This was unique in Switzerland.
  • At Hörnli Grenze the trolleybus wires ended directly next to the border crossing. A similar situation existed between 1938 and 1974 at the border of Italy and Switzerland on Como's trolleybus network.

Trolleybus fleet

Numbers Type In use Comments Preserved vehicles
350-351 Rigid trolleybus 1941-1975 dual-mode buses  
352-353 Rigid trolleybus 1941-1958 normal-control trolleybuses based on the burnt down motor buses No. 2 and 4.  
354-355 Rigid trolleybus 1948-1975    
356 Rigid trolleybus 1955-1976 Prototype; first trolleybus with light metall body in Switzerland  
357-368 Rigid trolleybus 1956-1995   358 (ARBL)
901-910 Articulated trolleybus 1968-1996 Two motors; APG-Trolleybus  
911-920 Articulated trolleybus 1975-2000 VST-Einheitstrolleybus  
921-922 Articulated trolleybus 1986-2000 Purchased from Kaiserslautern (built in 1982/83)  
923-934 Articulated trolleybus 1992-2008 No. 923 Prototype, Series from 1995; wheel hub motors  

Note: The trolleybuses of BVB were renumbered several times. The first trolleybuses No. 350-353 were put into service as vehicles No. 10-13. Later they were renumbered as vehicle No. 50-53. The numbers of the following trolleybuses were connected to this. In the beginning of the 1960s the rigid trolleybuses were then renumbered to the numbers above. Most of the articulated trolleybuses as well as some vehicles of the series No. 357-368 were sold to Bulgaria or Romania, where they were in service for several years. Some vehicles out of the series No. 923-934 are still in service in Ruse, Bulgaria.


The website shows a lot of information about the current and former public transportation in the area of Basel. They also have a big gallery of historic trolleybuses, which show all of the vehicles mentioned above.