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Tallinn tests double-bellows trolleybus

Tallinn tests double-bellows trolleybus

The extra-long vehicle can run both on catenary and battery power and is a key player in the proposed metro bus system for the city

Throughout November, a new double-bellows trolleybus will be doing test runs in Tallinn. The Trollino 24 MetroStyle, manufactured at the Solaris plant, can accommodate up to 200 passengers, four times the capacity of a regular bus. The 24 m long trolley with two bellows has a total of five doors and rides on eight axles with eight wheels.

Flexible charging 

The fully electric vehicle charges its batteries via the catenary.  In this way, it can automatically disconnect its horns from the overhead wires and drive approximately 10 kilometres on battery power. This flexibility allows it to be used on routes that are partly outside the catenary system, as well as its horns to be temporarily lowered at more demanding traffic junctions to ensure faster passage. 

Tallinn leaders are betting on double-bellows trolleybuses for the so-called metro bus system of cross-town lines and high-capacity vehicles operating in sync so that red lights or traffic jams can be avoided. The system will include high-speed corridors on the highways connecting the city centre with the outer districts which will be separated from the rest of the traffic and reserved for such vehicles during peak hours. 

"Building a metro bus system would be several times cheaper than building tram lines, and a metro bus can have similar carrying capacity and be as environmentally friendly. However, this does not mean that we are giving up on new tram or bus lines,” said Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, as quoted by the municipal website. 

Cheaper than the tram or bus

According to Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov, the carrying capacity of the double-bellows trolleybus is comparable to the tram but can do without the latter’s expensive infrastructure and is also cheaper as rolling stock. 

"The advantage of such a public transport vehicle over a conventional electric bus is that it can be loaded dynamically via a trolleybus catenary and does not necessarily require the construction of a large charging infrastructure at the terminals. Nevertheless, the electricity used in the trolley network is already 100 percent green," said Novikov. 

The Trollino 24 MetroStyle will run on all Tallinn trolley lines until the beginning of December. Initially, it will serve line 1 between Mustamäe and the city centre from Monday. Being a test vehicle, the new trolleybus does not have ticket validators and passengers can ride free of charge.

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