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Old October 10th, 2012, 06:35 PM   #1
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SARAJEVO | Public Transport

Sarajevo, the capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is located in the southeast of Europe, in the region of Balkan. The city has today about 300,000–400,000 inhabitants and is the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated 518 meters (1,699 ft) above sea level and lies in the Sarajevo valley, in the mountains named Dinaric Alps. Sarajevo was founded in the 15th century by the Turks on the site of the previous Slavic settlements, as Bosnia and Herzegovina became the part of the Ottoman empire.

In 1878, Austria-Hungary occupied the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the decline of the Ottoman empire´s power, and later the country became the part of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. This period can be characterized by a strong modernization and development. The medical and educational facilities of the European type were founded, the infrastructure was upgraded and developed, the railway lines connected the most important towns of this country with Europe.

The first steam train arrived to Sarajevo on October 5th, 1882. As the railway station was situated in the outskirts of the town (in the today´s city district of Dolac Malta), the question of the transportation of passengers as well as baggage and goods from the railway station directly to the city center had to be solved. Therefore, the city council decided to introduce the most modern mean of transportation at that time – the horse-powered tramway. The first horse tram run in the streets of Sarajevo on January 1st, 1885 at 10,00 AM from the city center to the railway station. The tramway line had the same narrow rail gauge as the most steam railways in Bosnia, 760 mm. The tramcars were painted with the green color and because of their “dizzying” speed, compared with the ox carts, they got the nickname “green dragon” from the inhabitants and passengers. In the initial phase, there served totally 4 tramcars to the passengers. Besides of the passenger transportation, the tramway lines served also for the distribution of goods on the railway carriages from the railway station, also pulled by the horses. The introduction of the horse tramway in Sarajevo was an extraordinary event, for which a music composition was composed. The polka named “Sarajevski tramvaj” (Tramway of Sarajevo) was printed and then sold in many shops in Austria-Hungary and was very popular.

On May 1st 1895, the first electric tramway run on the streets of Sarajevo. The electric current has been delivered from a small coal power plant newly built in the city, and supplied also the newly introduced street lightning. The voltage was probably 300 V DC. In the goods transportation, the horses have been replaced by the electrical locomotives. The first electrical locomotive was introduced on September 1st 1895, later the second locomotive followed. At the beginning of the electrical tram service, there served 5 motor cars, 8 trailers for passenger transportation and 1 electrical locomotive for goods transportation. The network length was 5,1 km of single tracks with switches and double tracks on the important stations, which allowed the passing the tramways running in the opposite direction. The trams run each 10–15 minutes.

In 1922, the tramway network was 8 km long, and served by 13 motor cars, 8 trailers and 3 electrical locomotives.

In 1939, the first trolleybus appeared on the streets of Sarajevo. As the reconstruction of tramway tracks was very expensive, an alternative type of transportation has been searched, which would use the electric current but would not need the tramway tracks. In this time, in many European cities the first trolleybus systems were introduced. The specialists from the tramway company decided to build a trolleybus car on their own, as the import of a new vehicle would be too expensive. An older motor car bogie was equipped with the electrical motors, new body with the convenient seats was constructed and the trolley poles installed. The experimental trolleybus line led from the railway station to the centre of the Dolac Malta district. Anyway, this trolleybus system never started its regular passenger service. The reasons were probably the badly mounted overhead wires, as well as the political changes in the local authorities, which stopped the support of this modern mean of transportation.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the tramway tracks were largely reconstructed and the single tracks replaced by double tracks to achieve a higher capacity of the tramway system.

After the World War 2, Bosnia and Herzegovina became the part of Socialist Federal republic of Yugoslavia under the reign of president Josip Broz Tito. A rapid development and industrialization of the entire country started, in Sarajevo new factories, industrial and residential districts were built, and the population of the city grew rapidly. Before WW2, Sarajevo had some 60,000 inhabitants, in the 1950s the population exceeded 200,000 people. In 1948, the first bus line started its operation, later the used Routemaster doubledecker buses from London were purchased and were very popular at the passengers.

Anyway, the old, slow and small narrow-gauge tramways were no more able to provide the needed capacity and speed in the modern public transportation.

(Scheme of narrow-gauge tramway system in Sarajevo, suspended 1960)

Therefore, a new investment and development program was created, which proposed the construction of a suburban electrical railway line, from the suburbs called Ilidža to the old railway station at Dolac Malta, where the interchange to the trains and the narrow-gauge tramways would be possible. On the suburban railway line, the 3-car-trains (1 motor car with 2 trailers) were supposed to operate, produced by the yugoslavian company Duro Dakovic. Meantime, the transportation company in the yugoslavian capital of Belgrade received an offer from a businessman in Vienna, who offered the cheap used tramcars from the currently canceled tramway systems in the USA. In this case, the used PCC tramways from Washington D.C. were offered. As these tramways were not suitable for Belgrade because of their different track gauge and body width, the technicians from Belgrade contacted their colleagues in Sarajevo. Immediately the transportation plan was modified and based on the PCC tramcars. In 1958–1961, more than 70 PCC tramcars from Washington D.C. were purchased – some of them served later only as the source of spare parts and did not transport the passengers. In Sarajevo, they were modified for the future service (e. g. the trolley pole on the roof was replaced by the pantograph).
In 1958, the construction of the normal gauge tramway line from Ilidža to the city center started.

October 9th 1960 was the last day of the narrow-gauge tramways in Sarajevo. Many thousands of inhabitants watched the ceremonial farewell to the old good tramways with live music, traditional horse ride etc. Just a few hours after the end of the narrow-gauge service, the works on rebuilding of the narrow-gauge tracks to the normal gauge started. In the next weeks, the passengers were transported only by buses, and finally, on November 28th 1960, the first PCC tramcar on normal gauge appeared in the streets of Sarajevo. The voltage was 600 V DC, and the electricity was supplied by the water power plant ad the dam in Jablanica.

In the initial phase however, the new tramway system suffered by many technical and logistic problems, so that the full operation started yet in February 1961. In the next years, the PCC tramways provided a very reliable service and the passengers were very satisfied. In the 1960s, the foreign visitors were fascinated by the extremely dense service (1–2 minutes during the rush hours) and the extraordinary speed up to 50 km per hour even in the city center.

In the next years, the passenger numbers grew more and more, so that the PCC tramways did not provide the needed capacity anymore. The specialists in the transportation company in Sarajevo decided to rebuild the existing PCC cars to articulated vehicles. The first articulated tramway, which was build from 2 disused PCC tramways, run on November 29th 1964. In the next years, another 7 tramways of the same type were built and were used especially in the rush hours. Some of them served to the passengers till the end of 1970s.

In the 1960s, also the minibus lines were introduced, predominantly in the hilly residential districts around the center of Sarajevo, as only minibuses were able to operate in the steep and narrow streets.

In 1967-1969, 20 brand new tramcars of the type T3 from the czechoslovak producer ČKD Tatra were delivered. These tramcars were the only ones of this type equipped with the current collector (pantograph) on the rear part of the car, as this was the special wish of the ordering party.

In 1973, 10 articulated tramcars of the type K2 from the czechoslovak producer ČKD Tatra were delivered. These articulated tramcars provided a much higher capacity than the previous type T3, and till 1984 totally 90 tramcars of this type were purchased. The most T3 tramcars were meanwhile taken out of service and scrapped, only few of them were later used as service tramways.

In 1984, the XIV Winter Olympic Games took place in Sarajevo and in its neighborhoods. At that time, the Sarajevo tramway system offered a giant capacity – up to 65 articulated tramcars operated in the rush hours in the relatively small network with total length of about 12 km.

Already before XIV Winter Olympic Games, the decision was made to introduce a new mean of transport in Sarajevo - the trolleybus. The trolleybuses were seen as an environment-friendly type of transportation without air pollution in the streets, and they also shall have helped the overloaded tramway system, as the most trolleybus lines were built in the parallel direction. The technical project was prepared in cooperation with the specialists from Czechoslovakia, the czechoslovak company Škoda also delivered the first trolleybuses. Because of many delays, the trolleybus system was opened yet on September 16th1984, when 14 trolleybuses Škoda 14Tr run on the line No.101 from Hrasno to Trg 6. aprila (today Austrijski trg) in the center. On the same day, also the line No. 102 Hrasno-Pionirska Dolina was opened. On November 23rd, the trolleybus line No. 103 from the city centre to the large residential district of Dobrinja (near the airport) was opened. And on July 23rd, the trolleybus line to the suburbs of Vogošća, in the north of Sarajevo, was opened.

In 1985, the following trolleybus lines were in service:
101 Hrasno – Trg 6. aprila
102 Hrasno – Pionirska dolina
103 Dobrinja – Trg 6. aprila
104 Alipašino polje – Trg 6. aprila
105 Vogošća – Trg 6. aprila

The trolleybus fleet consisted of:
76 trolleybuses Škoda 14Tr (number 551-626)
1 trolleybus Škoda-Sanos 115Tr (prototype, number 627)
21 articulated trolleybuses Škoda-Sanos 200Tr (number 500-520)
1 trolleybus ŠEAL 100 (prototype, number 628)

New trolleybus lines were planned, but never built because of the upcoming economical crisis.

In the late 1980s, the following tramway lines operated in Sarajevo:
1 Baščaršija (Turkish market) – Railway station
2 Baščaršija – Čengić Vila
3 Baščaršija – Ilidža
4 Railway station – Ilidža
5 Baščaršija – Nedžarići
6 Skenderija – Ilidža
7 Skenderija – Nedžarići

The tramcar fleet consisted of 90 articulated czechoslovak tramways K2.
Also the tramway system shall have been developed, new lines were planned, but never built.

In 1990, the first new tramcar type arrived to Sarajevo – 1 piece of tram KT8D5 from the company ČKD Tatra in Czechoslovakia, which shall have replaced the old K2 type.

In that time, there were 66 tramways, 68 trolleybuses, 144 buses and 63 minibuses in daily operation, carrying more than 800 000 passengers each day.

In the late 1980s, the economical crisis in Yugoslavia broke out. The country had serious financial problems which can be compared to the today´s situation in Greece, the economy and industry collapsed, the unemployment and astronomical inflation followed. These factors brought also political and ethnic conflicts which lead to the collapse of Yugoslavia as its republics decided to leave the Federation and become independent. These events made the war to break out, as the ethnicities were mixed especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 1992, after the most citizens vote for independence in the referendum, the republic proclaimed its independence. This referendum way boycotted by the strongest bosnian-serbian party SDS whose leader was Radovan Karadžić. His paramilitary units, together with the regular Yugoslavian (now predominantly serbian) army controlled by Belgrade, started an aggression in order to keep as much territory of Bosnia as possible under Belgrade´s control and clean it from all non-serbian inhabitants. The capital of Sarajevo was surrounded by Yugoslav army together with Karadžić´s paramilitary units and the longest siege of a big city in the modern history began, lasting more than 1,400 days.

On April 6th 1992, the first carriages and infrastructure of Sarajevo public transportation were damaged and destroyed by the artillery shelling, but in the next days the public transportation started to work normally, however with less carriages in service. Some lines had to be shortened or suspended because of military activities, mostly in the outer parts of the city.
On April 14th, there were 46 tramcars, 40-50 buses and 26 trolleybuses in service. At 1,00 PM the trolleybus service was suspended, as the overhead catenary in the district of Grbavica was destroyed after a missile explosion. Because of lasting fights, the service teams were not able to reach the site and repair the damaged overhead catenary. At 6,00 PM of the same day, 10 artillery missiles hit the tramcar depot and bus garage in Alipašin most, destroying or damaging 30 trams and 40 buses.
On April 18th, about 10 artillery missiles were fired on the tramcar depot again. One driver and one cleaning women were killed. At 11,00 PM of the same day, the trolleybus depot was hit by many artillery missiles. 17 trolleybuses were destroyed, another trolleybuses seriously damaged and the overhead catenary within the depot was damaged so badly, that the trolleybuses were not able to leave the depot anymore. On that day, the trolleybus service in Sarajevo was stopped for the next years.
The tramways and buses worked irregularly up to May 2nd 1992, when the enemy units surrounding the city started a heavy attack in the city center in order to divide and besiege Sarajevo. Two tramways were totally destroyed on the street crossing at Skenderija and the tramway service was stopped for an unknown period, for the first time in the history of Sarajevo.
The war continued.

The next tramway run through the streets of Sarajevo in March 1994. The specialists from the transportation company successfully repaired the rails, the overhead catenary, high voltage cables and other necessary technology, and they did that all in extremely dangerous conditions (sniper shooting, artillery attacks...).
The tramways operated in a limited number and for few hours a day only, but they gave the inhabitants of the city a hope, that sometimes the life could be normal again.

Although the tramcars were often closely followed by the UN peace troops, especially the enemy snipers “loved” them as a target for their guns. In dozens of attacks, many passengers and drivers of the Sarajevo tramways were injured or killed. The enemy also repeatedly succeeded to cut off Sarajevo from the electricity, so that the tramways stood too.

The war ended in autumn of 1995. On October 28th 1995, the tramways started their operation between Baščaršija (the Turkish market in the old center) and the suburbs of Nedžarići. On November 26th, the first 2 trolleybuses started to carry their passengers on a short improvised line between Otoka and Alipašino polje. Unfortunately, the enemy did not want to give up, and even after the peace officially returned, the attacks happened. On January 9th 1996, a tramway full of passengers was hit by an artillery missile in the front of the hotel Holiday Inn. The driver was very quick-witted and able to continue the ride even with the heavily damaged tramway, so that “only 1” passenger died in this attack.

The consequences of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the public transportation of Sarajevo:
From more than 2,000 employees, 970 became members of the Bosnian army. 117 employees were killed, 83 seriously injured and 4 were reported missing.
From more than 90 tramcars, 30 were destroyed, 56 damaged and only 5 survived without notable damages.
From about 90 trolleybuses, 67 were destroyed.
The war caused damages in value of more than 150 millions of former German marks (77,000,000 €).

(Schema of the tramway and trolleybus lines cut by the siege of Sarajevo)

In 1996, the reconstruction of the city transportation system started. Already during the war many cities around the world collected financial aid in the action “One round for Sarajevo”. Now, many countries, municipal authorities and transportation companies donated older buses, tramways, the technology parts, etc. The tramways started their regular service on the entire network to Ilidža on October 15th 1996, after the tramway line and infrastructure was repaired, and the enemy landmines removed. From that day, also the tramway line No. 3 started to work, which carries about 67 % of all passengers with the interval of 3–4 minutes.

In 1997, 13 tramway trains of type c1/C1 (motor car + trailer) arrived from Vienna. In the same year, the trolleybuses started to run again to the city center (Trg Austrije) and to Dobrinja.

In 1999, the project SATRA was started, which shall have provided Sarajevo with 25 articulated tramways Satra 2 and 12 bi-articulated tramways Satra 3 bult from old K2 tramways. This project, however, was temporarily stopped because of lack of funds and its future is uncertain.
In the late 1990s were delivered also 4 used trams KT8D5 produced by ČKD Tatra from slovak city of Košice.

In 2002, the first 2 used articulated trolleybuses MAN SG200 from Solingen (Germany) arrived.

In 2003, the deliveries of the trolleybuses MAN SL172 from Solingen (Germany) started, the most vehicles from the Solingen trolleybus fleet were consequently sold to Sarajevo.

In 2004, a project of a new trolleybus line from Dobrinja to “Eastern Sarajevo” in serbian territory was announced. Because of lack of funds and zero cooperation between “serbian” and “muslim” authorities, this project remained only on paper.

In 2005, the first 6 used articulated trams Lohner E from Vienna (Austria) were purchased.

In 2006, the “muslim” and “serbian” authorities signed a preliminary agreement about the project for the construction of a new tramway line through the serbian territories in order to create a good transportation connection between them and the city of Sarajevo. The project was later also proclaimed “dead” because of no political and financial support.

In 2005/2006, the economical situation of the transportation company rapidly got worse and worse. The unsatisfied employees started to strike and the company director Ibrahim Jusufranić was forced to leave his post. Later the police interrogation was started, because Jusufranić together with another top managers was suspect of many criminal activities – fraud, embezzlement etc. The interrogation was not finished until 2012 and it is not clear at all, if it will be ever completed and forwarded to the court. From this time, the public transportation company GRAS´s debts are bigger and bigger, and the economical situation in the company as well as its ability to provide regular passenger services is being reduced drastically.

In 2009, 16 used bi-articulated tramcars of type LHB 9G/10G arrived from Amsterdam.

(Overview of tramway and trolleybus lines in Sarajevo, with line numbers)

(Schema of tramway and trolleybus lines in Sarajevo)

In 2012, the tramway tracks in the city center, from Baščaršija to Marin Dvor, were reconstructed. Anyway, the lack of finances is visible on each particular point of the public transportation in Sarajevo. As result of the extremely disadvantageous business agreements signed by the former top managers, the company has debts at many suppliers in total amount of more than 60,000,000 €. The local authorities do not provide sufficient financial subsidies to cover the losses from the passenger transportation, and each political proclamation about solving the critical situation remains only on paper. The inhabitants of Sarajevo meantime have a very bad attitude to their transportation company, because the fares are fairly high compared to the bosnian salaries, and the passenger service is unreliable and dilapidated, provided often by a very unkind personell. The most critical situation is in the bus and minibus transportation, and the only “still functioning” segment is the tramway system. According to studies made up by specialists, the public transportation in Sarajevo would require the investments of 200–300,000,000 € in the next years. The responsible authorities and politicians remain silent or publish political proclamations not related to the reality.

Currently the public transportation in Sarajevo is in serious danger of the total collapse, suspending the tramways and trolleybuses and degeneration of the transportation system to a sort of small private minibus companies, competing to each other and without any civilized organization.
Daily 35–40 tramways operate in the network of about 12 km of tracks, 25-30 trolleybuses operate in the network of about 14 km and also about 40 buses are in service. In the tramway system, ČKD K2 and KT8D5 trams, Lohner E trams, and LHB 9G/10G trams run. In the trolleybus system, the vehicles puchased from Solingen are running, 2 low-floor trolleybuses Škoda 21Tr are out of service and all other vehicles were disused and scrapped.

(Preserved oldtimer PCC tramway on a promotive ride.

(Tramway T3 from Czechoslovakia)

(Articulated PCC tramway built in own workshop)

(Tramway K2, city centre - loop Skenderija)

[IMG]http://i34.************/29a4qh.jpg http://[/IMG]
(Trolleybus Škoda-Sanos 200Tr, 1990-1991)

(Trolleybus MAN SG200 originally from Solingen, Germany)

(Tramcar KT8D5 from Czechoslovakia)

(Februar 2012 - after the heaviest snow falls in the last 130 years, the entire transportation in Sarajevo collapsed for more days)

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Old January 15th, 2013, 04:43 AM   #2
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I'd read that construction of a metro briefly began around 1984. Is there any truth to this?
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Old January 15th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dwdwone View Post
I'd read that construction of a metro briefly began around 1984. Is there any truth to this?
Actually it was only an idea, which the local people talked a lot about. There were problems with the overcrowded tramway system, which actually reached the frequency and capacity of the metro - in peak hours, the articulated trams with the capacity up to 200 passengers each, run each 1-2 minutes till the breakout of the war 1992. They used up to 65 tramways in the peak hours on a small network of only 12 km in total.

There were also plans to dig a long tramway tunnel under the district of Vraca, in order to create a fast and short tramway connection from the downtown to the Dobrinja district and to the airport. But in the reality, no excavation or construction of an underground rail system has ever started. At this time, the economy of the entire country is so devastated (40 % of unemployed people), that there is no chance to find money for the construction of the metro or a similar system in the next decades.
Anyway, in spite of the bad economy, the general security is very good, and it is more safe to be there than in many "civilised" parts of the worlds, like cities of Paris, London, or many U. S. cities. I can only recommend this beautiful but unlucky country to visit.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 05:33 PM   #4
ode of bund
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Pity! There is no "Bridge" that can be blown out to stop enermy aggression, and no "Walter" to "Defend Sarajevo". Anyway, in WWII, German tanks cannot march into Sarajevo, now German trolley-buses have marched into Sarajevo.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 05:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ode of bund View Post
Pity! There is no "Bridge" that can be blown out to stop enermy aggression, and no "Walter" to "Defend Sarajevo". Anyway, in WWII, German tanks cannot march into Sarajevo, now German trolley-buses have marched into Sarajevo.
they are very grateful for the trolleybusses from Germany (Solingen) and from Switzerland (St. Gallen). Currently they are the only available ones in the car fleet. Unfortunately, there is a one but big disadvantage in the hot summer months - the trolleybuses have very few windows with parts which can be opened, and they turn to sauna from June to September... usually you leave the trolleybus totally sweated. And there are no funds to change the windows.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 04:29 PM   #6
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Are there any serious plans to extend tram network? Serious, I mean, financial and technical constructions are closed.
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