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Description - Konstal 4N1 / Pług #ZT-K 126

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of the technical trams were purchased as new, others were constructed in carrier’s own plants, often by rebuilding from withdrawn passenger cars.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.

The history of the ZT-K 126 snow plough

Ploughs for clearing snow from tracks can be built as passive wagons, pushed by technical motor cars, or have their own drive. The presented technical tram, with the current designation ZT-K 126, represents the second type. Originally a passenger tramcar of the 4N type from 1961 with the rolling stock number 1434 was significantly rebuilt for this purpose in 1987 based on the technical documentation provided by MPK Poznań. One of the platform was then shortened so that a rotary plough was attached to its front wall. The equipment of the driver’s station with a controller, handbrake, a console and plough switches were installed there. From the side of the rotor, a split front window was introduced, and in place of one reflector placed in the middle, two symmetrically placed lights were introduced. In this way, a moor snow plough with the number G-059 was created, operated by the Municipal Transport Company in Wrocław for the winter maintenance of the tracks.

The tram was used regularly until the beginning of the 21st century, and in 2003 it was sold by the Municipal Transport Company in Wrocław to a separate company called Zakład Torowy (Track Works) and then its number was changed from G-059 to ZT-K 126. Both the above-mentioned companies were established as a result of the restructuring of the MPK Wrocław budgetary establishment in 1997. At that time, several separate entities responsible for infrastructure maintenance were established. In February 2017, the car was purchased by the Klub Sympatyków Transportu Miejskiego (KSTM, Urban Transport Enthusiasts Club). The tram is in fairly good condition, especially aesthetically. However, it is not fully technically functional, although until recently it was used for snow removal from tram tracks (e.g. in 2009). The paint is in fairly good condition, although corrosion is noticeable, more numerous near windows and doors and on the roof. The undercarriage is also affected by corrosion. The roof is not fully rain-tight, which resulted in slight damage of the ceiling.

Length10500 mm
Heigth3300 mm
Width2160 mm
Total weight14000 kg
Number of engines2
Engine power60kW