We have written a lot about trams and light rail systems worldwide. But there is one solution that I think is the next best thing and that is trolleybuses. These are ordinary buses that run like trams sort of but use the same roads as the cars. They have connectors like the trams connecting to power lines above the road.
In Scandinavia however, the trolleybus systems have never been loved as much though. In Oslo where Distrita is located and Stavanger, these two Norwegian towns had trial systems but they got shut down in 1960 according to Wikipedia. Bergen is the only city in Norway that have had trolleybuses without any closure since 1950 in Norway. As of 2007, it had six trolleybuses and two dual-mode buses. The trolleybus line runs as Line 2 in Bergen.
Sweden got the world’s smallest systems since September 2013 in Landskrona. The system opened in 2003 and initially employed just three trolleybuses but now there should be 5 running of the small an quite dizzy town where it always rains in winter. I have never witnessed snow there in December. And Denmark got no cities with them at all.
Minsk got 66 trolleybus lines that cover the entire city
This trolleybus system in Minsk, Belarus was opened on the 19th of September 1952. Nowadays it has more than 66 lines. The system is operated by the “Minsktrans” state enterprise.
Together with the 11 line tram network and their single Metro line the public transportation network in Minsk is extensive and helps people move around in the city. All of the systems are connected to each other which makes Minsk to one of the nicer cities to live in.
First trolleybus line opened in 1952
The construction of the Minsk trolleybus system started after a decree of the Council of Ministers of the BSSR (November 1949). The first line opened on the 19th of September 1952 when it connected Train Passenger Station and the Round Square (now — Victory Square, total 6 km). 5 trolleybuses served the system on the official opening day. The system was developing fast and by the year 1956, 39 trolleybuses were serving 16 km of lines.
Currently, the ticket costs 60 kopecks ($0.31) which is pretty cheap. Trolleybuses in Belarus can also be found in Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Mogilev and Babruysk since 1978. Trolleybus seems to be something that that country loves a lot and that is good I think.
Trolleybuses are a very good alternative to trams because they share the road with cars. But trams can be more effective if they are built on avenues in the middle of roads too. So, that’s why I state that this is the next best thing to trams and light rail routes built. These buses are totally silent and they are much more reliable than the new battery-driven buses.
Variation of trolleybus fleets running on the streets of Minsk in Belarus
OJSC “Holding Management Company “Belkommunmash” (Belarusian: ААТ “Кіруючая кампанія холдынгу «Белкамунмаш»), is a Belarusian manufacturer of electric public transport vehicles such as the AKSM-213 model in the picture above which is a very stylish trolleybus I think. Big doors and it also got a great sound when driving.
The space inside these is also very good. You can stand without problems too. But the bus fleet doesn’t only consist of long trolleybuses on the streets of Minsk. Also smaller routes have them.
Above here you can see a Minsk trolleybus that is one of the very first low floor trolleybuses that were made. Belkommunmash is doing well.
Belkommunmash trolley buses is running in over 40 cities around the world
The very same enterprise that repaired tram and trolleybus in Belarus opened in 1973. Today it is the leading industrial enterprise in Belarus. The company is today responsible for the manufacture and do a major overhaul of rolling stock for electric transportation in various cities around the world. All of them are in the eastern part of Europe.
Trolleybuses manufactured by Belkommunmash are operated in 7 cities in Belarus and over 40 cities in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Moldova, Argentina, and Serbia. They produce and repair old and newer trolleybuses. Their buses also seems to be in very good condition and they last for long times between repairs.
So, when you plan to visit Minsk in Belarus. Now you know a little bit more about the network and its history.