Tram in Zagreb
At the end of 19th century rapid urbanization took place in Zagreb, turning it into a modern, Central European city with a 50 per cent increase of population in the last decade of the century. That is why in 1885, only six years after Siemens’ electric passenger train, city fathers started discussing the idea of installing tram system in Zagreb. The idea was implemented in 1887 when a French engineer Raoul Pierre Alexandre Gautier suggested city government to introduce a horse-car connecting Zagreb to Samobor. Since they quickly gave up the idea, due to the lack of finance, Gautier changed his plan and suggested they should build a rail in Zagreb. City district accepted his offer and gave him a permit and signed the contract with him on the 11th of July 1889. Construction plans were approved by the competent Ministry in Budapest by the end of the summer 1890 and he was not given construction permit until the 7th of March 1891, when the Ministry gave him concession on condition that he should have finished building the track in half a year time after approving detailed construction plans.
Sensation on the 5th of September
During this period, there were rumors in the town how Gautier does not have plans to build at all, since he did not have enough money to do so. These rumors turned out to be true, and the construction of one gauge tram track began on the 11th of May 1891 when Gautier, given permit from the city district, signed his rights and obligations by paying compensation of 4500 forints to Društvo zagrebačkih građana (Zagreb Citizens’ Association), preceded by a representative, doctor Ljudevit Schwarz. Construction work was given in hands of Gfrörer and Muskovics Enterprises from Budapest. Zagreb Citizens’ Association built tracks from Mitnica in Vlaška street(today Kvaternikov Square) throughout Vlaška, Draškovićeva and Jurišićeva street, accros Jelačić Square and Ilica to so called South (today West) station, with extension-Frankopanska and Savska Street to Savski Bridge.
Tram should have been put in service on the 15th of August 1891, on the opening day of the Jubilee Economic-Forestry Exhibition (in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Croatian-Slavonic Economic Society, which was the forerunner of the Zagreb International Fair). Due to vehicle delivery delay, the tram was put in service on the 5th of September 1891, during the Exhibition period. That day was officially taken as the beginning of organized public transit system in Zagreb. Although Zagreb was not the first city in Croatia who got public transport, the tram produced by Weizer factory from Graz which took its first official ride driven by a single-horsepower, caused such a sensation among citizens, that the day after, 10 closed and 6 opened (summer) tramcars carried more than 20.000 citizens, almost half the population Zagreb had those days (population of 42.000).The income was given to the city charity.
Tram storage with horse stable and administration was located in the area of today’s Technical Museum. There were twice as many horses as tramcars. One horse pulled trams by passing on average 26 or 28km a day at speed of 7.5km/h. Gauge was 0,76m and track length was approximately 8km.
Electric tram in the year 1910
Since the city started to grow faster, horse-drawn trams did not address the needs of people in Zagreb. In time when local government was building the first power plant in Zagreb, Belgium capital was holding the shares of horse-drawn trams. Wanting to have all the firms that serve public interest in their own hands, local authorities broke the contract with the Tram Union on the 11th of May 1906, and one year later they closed a new deal with the Zagreb Citizens’ Association for financial reasons, in which the Association accepted to build electric tram at their expense, with the right to manage it in a ten-year period. A new contract, signed on the 31st of May 1909, put off the old firm and all the rights were given to a newly established firm Zagrebački Električni Tramvaj (literary:Zagreb Electric Tram).
New tram tracks were built with 1m gauge. They used the same routs as horse-drawn trams, except the one that passes from today’s West station through Ilica, across Jelačić Square and Jurišićeva to Draškovićeva that had double-gauge. Rolling stock consisted of 28 motorcars made by Ganz&Co from Budapest and 14 horse tram trailers which were adapted for a new gauge. The first electric tram track was opened on the 18th of August 1910. The horse-drawn trams were kept until a tram electric network was finished and then they were moved to Velika Gorica where they said until the year 1937.
Blue replaces yellow
In the middle of the First Word War ZET was controlled by the Zagreb City Savings which bought almost all the shares of Belgium Society. After the war, tram traffic maintained only thanks to considerable effort, because the army took components and copper wires for military purposes. ZET’s renewal and rise start with the arrival of an engineer Dragutin Mandl in 1920. New, domestic M-22 tramcars were made in ZET’s workshops under his guidance and sketches, and they were put in service on the 2nd of July 1922. They were 9.14m long, 2,10m wide and weighted 9.5 tons. They were wood-framed with doors adapted for driving on the left side since left-hand traffic was on in Zagreb. Tram color was yellow but it was replaced by blue, the color of Zagreb. Meanwhile, steel frame construction sketches were being finished and only these types of trams (M-24) were built since 1924. They were adapted to right-hand traffic which was introduced in Zagreb on the 1st of January 1926. That same year the new reparation of the whole rail network begins by using embedded system patented by an engineer Adolf Košak (so called ‘coffer’) which had new and stronger groove rails. Very extensive work lasted until 1931. Until then a substantial part of the network was single-track which did not satisfy the needs.
Contribution to city development
ZET, aside from its primary function-passenger transportation, greatly influenced the city development. The appearance of some city districts was changed with the construction and renewal of tram tracks. On ZET’s initiative the railway overpass on Savska Street next to Crnatkova street was built and ZET puts an overpass across Medveščak brook at its own expense. In 1931 tram track from Ribnjak and Medveščak to Mirogoj (partially along Medveščak overpass) was finished and put in service that same year. The track across Kaptol and Nova ves was no longer in use. In order to build the track to Ljubljanica (on Tratinska and Ozaljska streets), in the year 1935, ZET built a railway overpass on Tratinska at its own expense. Great amount of work had to be done in Ozaljska before doing this. ZET put in sewers, brought water supply and bought off several buildings that had to go down. That same year an overpass on Savska, next to Koturaška, was built. Meanwhile, a new depot in Ljubljanica, which was opened on the 11th of February 1936, was being built.
Making the prototype of 101 tram
An engineer Mandl and his team of constructors in ZET’s workshops finished constructing the prototype of ZET’s new tram-101, on the 4th of April 1951. Its continuous output power was 2x60 kW, passenger capacity 95 and its maximum speed was 60km/h. Tram 101 was the first modern type of trams produced in Croatia with automatic door openers, driver’s and conductor’s seat, electrical brakes, mechanical brakes, air-operated brakes and protective shield in front of the tram. Since 3 prototypes were made in ZET’s workshops, Đuro Đaković factory from Slavonski Brod, based on ZET’s technical data, took over the production of these types of trams.
In the middle of 1971 ZET started to prepare for the arrival of new tram types TMK 201 which were 1.5 m longer than TMK 101 and had more input power. In order to provide new trams bypassing one another, in October and November gauge curves were spaced on important junctions: Frankopanska-Ilica, Jurišićeva-Draškovićeva and Draškovićeva-Vlaška. The first four-axle tram TMK 201 arrived from Đuro Đaković factory in ZET on the 31st of December 1973, and the last, 30ieth in the role, was delivered in June 1974. The new tram was put in service on the 22nd of January 1974, it was a domestic production although majority of its components were imported.
Tram across Sava
After years-long discussion how to modernize and expand the rolling stock, the price and economic conditions made ZET break off a deal with Đuro Đaković factory from Slavonski Brod. Signing a new deal with ČKD Tatra from Prague denoted the end of years-long domestic production of trams. By releasing the first group of 30 Czech vehicles on the 31st of January 1977, tram M-24, which was in traffic from 1924, was gone for good. In the same year, by the end of September, ZET signed a deal with ČKD about buying 55 new vehicles needed for a new line to Novi Zagreb, actually for the tram crossing the river Sava. The construction of track extension along Držićeva Avenue across the Youth Bridge (Most mladosti) to Sopot in Novi Zagreb starts on the 8th of May 1978 and it is opened on the 25th of November 1979. That same year starts the construction of the Jadranski Bridge across Sava on which tram traffic should also take place. In the beginning of 1980 a new tram storage in Dubrava was finished. By building a tram track from Savska Street, along a new Horvaćanska, across Jadranski Bridge and a new rotary to Sopot, on the 29th of November 1985, a circle through Novi Zagreb was closed. By building the new Horvaćanska Street, all the conditions for building a tram track on this route were fulfilled, especially in the first stage to Čankovićeva Street on Jarun. This route was opened to traffic on May the 4th, 1987, right before a big international sporting event, the World University Games, which was held that year in Zagreb. Traffic increased by building new tracks and therefore new trams were purchased: four-axle KT-4 from the Czech ČKD factory which was put in service in 1985.
After the establishment of independent and democratic Republic of Croatia, the city of Zagreb became once again the owner of ZET and it took over the obligation to finance the reconstruction and development of transit system and also the obligation to subsidize passengers’ expenses in order to popularize the use of public transport. Since the rolling stock had to be modernized urgently and there was no money for buying new trams, as a temporary solution used trams, type GT-6, were bought from Germany in 1994. After long 105 years ZET was left with no conductors. The last 45 conductors went to be ticket controllers. This profession, a conductor, gradually fades away.
Končar’s two-axle 2100 tram
Production of trams in Zagreb sees the light once again in the 90s. During the war there was no chance to modernize the rolling stock due to the lack of funds, but an engineer Franjo Đureta, convinced that ZET could provide a basic foundation for modernization, decided to find solutions in modernizing available rolling stock. After half a year of work and lots of options, a concept design of two-axle TMK 2100 was selected and its documentation ZET passed to Končar-Power Plant and Electric Traction Engineering Inc. Končar and TŽV Gredelj started producing the new TMK 2100 in 1993. ĐĐ, TP-4, TP 1-Z trailers and ĐĐ motor cars type 201 were used for the construction-power transmitters and traction motors, among others, whose input power Končar managed to increase by 20 percent, based on testing and technical solutions. The prototype of this tram was presented on the 5th of September 1994 and afterwards there were another 3 series of 5 revitalized and modern TMK 201 trams. Construction and technological work made TMK 2100 look the way it looks today. ZET’s, Končar’s and TŽV Gredelj’s experts were given awards for the construction of TMK 2100, and in 1998 The Golden Plaque of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Zagreb for their contribution in realization of the reconstruction and modernization of TMK 2101. The value of this project, which is an obvious proof of power and knowledge of the companies in Zagreb, is multiple: from employing domestic industry to modernization of the rolling stock and reconstruction of available vehicles.
Tram to Dubec and Prečko
In 1998, after 11 years started the tram network extension in the eastern part of the city to Dubec. In July, in the Dubrava Street, construction of the new tram track which connected terminal in Dubrava and terminal in Dubec started. In the end of 1999, on December the 23rd, the work on extending the track to Prečko started. Terminal in Dubec was opened on the 11th of October 2000 after the city government had settled property rights with its land owners. The arrival of the tram in the western part, in Prečko, was also celebrated in 11 o’clock on the 20th of November, shortly after the tram had arrived in the eastern party of the city. .
On the occasion of the 110 years of public transport and tram in Zagreb workers in ZET’s workshop constructed, according to sketches and under the guidance of an engineer Franjo Đureta, a replica of an open horse-drawn tram from 1891. Technological documentation was made by Gabrijel Miholić, the main technologist of ZET’s traffic and technical service. Experts from the Croatian State Archives, Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments, Croatian Railroad Museum, Zagreb City Museum, Museum of Art and Crafts, National and University Library, Technical Museum, and an engineer Ivan Pelz, together with the experts from ZET, took part on consultations and gathering basic data. TŽV Gredelj and a pharmacy magister Mladen Kenfelj and the engineer Ivan Pelz made a donation.
Vehicle testing preceded the first tour after which the tram was given a use permit from a city office. ZET gave the replica to the Technical Museum after the reconstruction of bogies to 760 mm.
On the 17th of December 2001 the Corporation Assembly ZET Ltd. accepted 5 ZET’s projects, first of which was putting low-floor trams in Zagreb’s public transport. International award procedure was released on the 27th of December 2001 in order to get 70 low-floor, 160,000.000 euros worth trams. Offers from Končar-KET, leader of Crotram consortium from Zagreb, Austrian Siemens and Italian Ansaldo-Breda arrived until the 23rd of May 2002. Končar-KET’s 111,930.000 euros worth of offer was considered as the best one.
Historical turning point
That same year, on the 20th of April, ZET presented a new designing project, a low-floor tram, to the Croatian Government in the TŽV Gredelj’s premises. The author of NT 2200 low-floor tram was an engineer Franjo Đureta who had presented the same project to ZET two years earlier. International contract award procedure was released on the 27th of December 2001 in order to get 70 low-floor, 160,000.000 euros worth of trams. ZET did not want the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to be the only financier, but also wanted Croatian manufacturers to tender. According to EBDR criteria each tender had to have references, this means at least 50 already made trams. In order to tender, TŽV Gredelj, Končar-Power Plant and Electric Traction Engineering Inc. and Đuro Đaković set up a Crotram consortium. Since the Croatian consortium had no references, international community representatives pressured the City and Croatian government to give the job to a foreign tender and to make the consortium only a partial supplier. Meanwhile, Croatian Government and Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development found a way to finance this project to keep it in Croatia. Shortly after the tenders had been invited, European bank for Reconstruction and Development gave up the idea of financing the project.
The deadline for submission of tenders was the 23rd of May 2002. Offers from Končar-KET, the leader of Crotram consortium from Zagreb, Austrian Siemens and Italian Ansaldo-Breda arrived. Končar-KET’s 111,930.000 euros worth of offer was considered as the best one. On Monday, February 24th, 2003, the contract for the city of Zagreb on manufacturing 70 low-floor trams NT 2200 was signed. The contract was signed by Darinko Bago, the Head of Directors of Končar-Electroindustry, on behalf of Crotram consortium and Julius Pevalek, the director of ZET. Delivery term was 25 months. The major of Zagreb, Vlasta Pavić, on behalf of the city of Zagreb signed a guarantee to Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development for capital redemption. By signing these contracts, ZET and the city of Zagreb turned a new leaf in the history of public transit system in Zagreb, and after a long period tram manufacturing started again in Zagreb.
The first out of 70 low-floor trams TMK 2200 was delivered to ZET on Wednesday, 27th of April 2005, in production plants Končar-Electric Vehicles Inc. Tram was dragged up to ZET on the 3rd of May 2005 and after successful testing the Office for Environmental Design, Construction, Housing and Utilities and Traffic issued a use permit. A new tram was put in service on the 13th of July with a priest’s blessing and it was put on the line 12.
Seventy in a row
Complying with deadlines, TŽV Gredelj and Končar delivered the last low-floor tram NT 2200 from the first series to the city and ZET on the 28th of May, which was put in service on the feast of Corpus Christi on the 7th of June. On that occasion all 70 low-floor trams were lined up in 2,5 kilometers long line along Horvaćanska from Rudeška to Savska. This magnificent event will be remembered as a unique project of an industry developed in a small country like Croatia, in time when the whole country was recovering from the consequences of war but was still willing to succeed.
Tram manufacturing did not go down with the delivery of the last tram. According to the contract signed by Darinko Bago, the Head of Crotram Consortium, Slobodan Ljubičić, the Head of Directors of Zagreb Holding and Ivan Tolić, the Director of ZET, on the 18th of July in Dverce, Crotram consortium will deliver another 70 low-floor trams by the middle of 2010.
Signing this contract means that this sky blue tram should replace the old and plain ones in the next couple of years. If ZET’s plans come through, 16 double-axle TMK 2100 and 51 modern 301 (KT4) trams together with the low-floor ones should be used only. Other trams which are used today will be visible in the Technical Museum only.