Multiple-unit Trolleybuses

These images come from a trip I made to Riga, which is the capital city of Latvia.

Since its liberation from the Germans in WW2 Latvia was (an unwilling) part of the Soviet Union. I visited Riga in April 1998, which was just a few years after Latvia had become free again, but before it had replaced / modernised all its transports.

At one time this style of multiple-unit trolleybus operation was practised in many cities in what used to be known as the Soviet Union. In Riga they used on two of their busiest routes, Nos. 17 and 23. Mostly they used triple door Škoda 9TrH trolleybuses, although a few of their multiple-unit sets used twin door vehicles instead. Riga's vehicles had fleet numbers within the 2-800 - 2-900 range, with the first number (2) showing the number of which bus garage to which they had been allocated.

For multiple-unit operation the front vehicle did not use its trolleypoles and was both physically and electrically connected to the rear vehicle. The coupling between them worked by means of a drawbar which was connected to the steering arm of the rear trolleybus - so that it just followed the driving one. Effectively therefore the principle is very similar to a road vehicle pulling a trailer - except that here both vehicles were powered. Once coupled the twin-set combinations would normally remain coupled - unless the workshops disconnected them. So the rear vehicle would not normally drive 'solo'. For safety pedestrians were prevented from walking between the two vehicles by means of flexible 'gates' - as seen in some of the images, below.

When working in multiple-unit formation these trolleybuses were designed to carry 139 passengers. Two door vehicles offered 81 seats with space for 58 standing passengers whilst triple door vehicles offered 55 seats with space for 84 standing passengers.

Multiple-unit trolleybuses are no longer used - the last city to use them was Krasnador, Russia. They were withdrawn on 31st December 2013.

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A closer view of the inter-bus connection and flexible barrier which is there to stop pedestrians from walking between the two buses (for their safety)

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Above is a "youtube" video showing some multiple-unit trolleybuses in action (as well as some trams and some still images taken from this webpage). Everything was filmed 'hand held' and is of the 'snapshot' variety, as I was not sure whether I should have been filming at all. At one time I had been stopped from filming the trams, so I had to be very careful. Click the image to see the video, clicking the symbol to the right of the speaker icon will show the video in 'full screen' mode.
The video can also be seen on the "youtube" website - the url is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGiVhbPAgnE . by following this link it will also be possible to find links to several other people's videos from Riga.

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Even in 1988 Riga had some more modern trolleybuses, such as this example.


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This page last updated 31st December 2016.
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