Friday, 10 June 2016
From York to Strasbourg
A Blog from 1993!
This man is the unofficial chairman of the little model railway club that fbb attends most Wednesday afternoons.
23 years ago he was involved with railways at York. He has not changed a bit, of course.
Bobby (for that is the handle by which he is known) has shared some piccies with fbb of the formal launch of some trams for Strasbourg, built at York. They were built by ABB.
ABB resulted from the 1988 merger of the Swedish corporation Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget (ASEA) and the Swiss company Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC); the latter had absorbed the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon in 1967.
ABB's history goes back to the late 19th century. Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC) was formed in 1891 in Baden, Switzerland, by Charles Eugene Lancelot Brown and Walter Boveri as a Swiss group of electrical companies producing AC and DC motors, generators, steam turbines and transformers.
With rail privatisation, ABB had set up production in the former Holgate Lane Carriage works operated by Britsh Railways, and, before that, by the London and North Eastern Railway.
ABB closed the site in 1996 but this main block still exists and, well refurbished, part is still in use today.
Anyway, ABB had built a wooden mock-up of the front end of the seven segment trams and the Mayor of Strasbourg had come to give the project her blessing. Here it is, under wraps ...
... (the tram, not the mayor) and here she is chatting to production staff.
The then mayor (Catherine Trautmann) had led a strong campaign in favour of an extensive tramway network rather than a more limited metro.
The mock-up was made of wood with plastic panels stuck on (so says Bobby) with industrial velcro. The design was (and still is, 23 years later) stunning.
The son of the Neerman designer (from Belgium) was also present; he with the red beard.
Outside in the yard a pre-production unit was on display. Note also another Eurotram (centre) under construction and ...
... a Networker unit for Network Southeast (far left).
But ABB did have one little problem. How do you get a seven-segment Eurotram from York UK to Strasbourg (eastern extremity of France, map lower right)?
Answer; pop it onto a lorry and drive there.
The heavy haul haulier had a special trailer made onto which a complete tram could be winched. Then off it set for Strasbourg. The tarpaulins covering the trams were removed as the ensemble approached the city, so that the public could see what their taxes had bought.
fbb could not find anything on-line showing the actual load, but it must have looked something like this.
Convoi Exceptionel - veritablement!
And here is tram 1001, as displayed in the yard at York, trundling happily through the streets of Strasbourg.
Tomorrow, we will take a look at the Strasbourg network and how it has developed.
Thanks, Bobby for the prints. And apologies for the poor quality of the reproduction here; they are mostly pictures of pictures.
No 3 son tells fbb he needs to buy a phone with the better camera.
Next Strasbourg blog : Saturday 11th June