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An outline of the history of technical tramcars in Wrocław

Before World War II, there were three tram companies in Wrocław: Breslauer Straßen-Eisenbahn- Gesellschaft (BSEG, private, founded in 1876, operating horse-drawn and later electric trams), Elektrische Straßenbahn Breslau (ESB, also private, founded in 1892, from the beginning dealing only with electric trams) and the Städtische Straßenbahn Breslau (SSB, municipal, founded in 1901, also using only electric cars, later it took over both private carriers). After World War II, the achievements of the SSB were continued by the Zakłady Komunikacyjne miasta Wrocławia (ZKmW, Transport Works of the city of Wrocław), which in 1951 were renamed the Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne (MPK, Municipal Transport Company) in Wrocław. Each of the carriers had a technical fleet for their needs, with some of the vehicles being transferred from one owner to the other (BSEG and ESB vehicles were taken over by SSB, and then by ZKmW and MPK).

These vehicles were and are used for various purposes, most often for the transportation of parts or for shifting wagons, as well as for retrieving damaged trams from the city to the depot. Immediately after World War II, trams with trailers were used to remove rubble from the city. Before the restructuring of MPK in 1997 (transformation from a budgetary enterprise into a limited liability company), all carriers apart from owning and taking care of the rolling stock also had to deal with the road infrastructure – tracks and traction network. As a result, the need for technical cars was much greater. Lorries for transporting tracks and underlay, tower-wagons for the installation and maintenance of the traction network, trams grinding the rail head, snow ploughs, watering machines and sprayers, whose task was to counteract the growth of weeds on the underlay – all were quite often used. Some of the technical trams were purchased as new, others were constructed in carrier’s own plants, often by rebuilding from withdrawn passenger cars.

At the end of the 20th century, the use of this type of rolling stock was significantly limited due to the development of new technologies and the appearance on the market of specialist companies involved in the construction and renovation of tracks. Currently, each depot usually has only one tramcar for transport purposes. Several of the technical vehicles were restored in the 1st half of the 1990s as part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of electric trams in Wrocław.

There is quite limited information on the number of technical rolling stock owned by individual carriers. At the end of the 19th century, ESB had a snow plough, two wagons spraying saline solution (to counteract the growth of weeds), two assembly wagons and two tool wagons. In 1900, the company already had 22 technical wagons: four salt-spreaders, four assembly wagons, eight open, large freight wagons, four track wagons and two snow ploughs built in its own workshops in 1900. In 1901, among the ESB technical rolling stock was also a crane wagon. In 1928, the SSB had 66 technical (special) wagons, and in 1939 – as many as 97. In 1940, 31 technical motor vehicles were used, also one training car and a tram with a library inside. In 1945, Poles took over 55 technical motor cars and 33 transport trailers (so-called lorries) or technical trailers, of which only one motor car and one trailer were immediately available for use (others were demolished after the war). In 1985, 15 old Linke-Hofmann Standard trams (or similar) were used for technical purposes, including three trams grinding the rail head. Usually, utility vehicles had a different colour scheme to distinguish them from passenger trams. Although in the 1920s they were painted similarly to passenger cars, on the sides there were warning signs or educational paintings, e.g. teaching not to jump into the tram while it is moving or not to run out into the street from behind a standing tram. After the Second World War, the painting of the technical rolling stock was quite varied, it largely depended on the paint available. The most common colours were grey, green and brown. Currently, green is used and more bright colours: yellow, orange and red.

Characteristics of the lorry #G-5487

The lorry #G-5487 is a steel platform supported on two wheel sets. The transported materials are protected against slipping by the removable wooden side walls attached to the platform. The lorry’s chassis dates from 1907, but the body, currently painted green, was built in the 2 nd half of the 20 th century. The wagon has no brakes, it has to be pulled and stopped by separate motor tramcar. The lorry is equipped with the currently used external lights (position, brake and turn signals).

Length3680 mm
Width1810 mm