ⓘ Trams in Dresden

Trams in Dresden

ⓘ Trams in Dresden

The Dresden tramway network is a network of tramways forming the backbone of the public transport system in Dresden, a city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. Opened in 1872, it has been operated since 1993 by Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe.

As of 2008, the network comprised 12 tram lines, with a total line length of approximately 210 kilometres 130 mi and a total route length of 132.7 kilometres 82.5 mi. There was 291.6 kilometres 181.2 mi of track, which translated into 132.7 kilometres 82.5 mi of actual tram line, serving 154 tram stops.


1. History

The origins of the Dresden tramway network can be traced back to the year 1872, when the first horse-drawn line opened between the city centre and the former village of Blasewitz, now a borough of Dresden.


2. Lines

The Dresden tramway network is a mixed system of traditional street running, especially in the inner city boroughs close to the city centre, and modern light rail. The network uses the unusual gauge of 1.450 mm 4 ft 9 3 ⁄ 32 in, which is just 15 mm or 19 ⁄ 32 inch wider than 1.435 mm 4 ft 8 1 ⁄ 2 in standard gauge.

In recent years, street running has been replaced by independent right-of-way arrangements wherever possible, and new extensions created in the same form. In November 2008, a 2.8-kilometre 1.7 mi extension of line 7 was opened from Gorbitz to Pennrich, in Dresdens south eastern suburbs. In May 2011, a 1.6-kilometre 0.99 mi extension of line 10 opened from Friedrichstrasse to the citys Messe or exhibition centre, involving construction of a 315-metre 1.033 ft long, 15-metre 49 ft wide and 5.4-metre 18 ft high bridge across the floodplain of the River Elbe. In July 2019, routes 9 and 13 were realigned along a 1.1-kilometre 0.68 mi section to provide better connections with regional trains at Dresden-Strehlen station.

Unlike many other German cities of comparable size, no stadtbahn style tunnel sections or high platform stops have been created. However many tram stops have been rebuilt so as to be fully accessible to physically disabled persons, and to allow level boarding to the low floor trams that now operate most services.

Different lines can be identified by a line number and a colour code. The current lines are:

Future plans, as part of the Stadtbahnprogrammn 2020, include 14.9 kilometres 9.3 mi of new tram line, with work starting in 2014. Some 10.5 kilometres 6.5 mi would be on reserved track, and the new lines would replace bus lines 61 and 62, some of the citys busiest, with an estimated cost of 223 million euros. The new lines comprise:

  • Sachsenallee to Max-Planck-Institute via Johannstadt
  • Grosser Garten to Lobtau via Technische Universitat
  • Prager Str to Plauen Bhf via Budapester Str and Chemnitzer Str
  • City Center to Fetscherplatz via Pillnitzer Str and Striesener Str
  • Buhlau to Weissig

On all tram lines except line 4, a general 10-minute headway is offered on weekdays, extending to 15 minutes on Saturday, Sunday and in the evening. On the main routes through the inner city, where different lines intertwine, vehicles run up to every two minutes. Line 4, which extends a considerable distance beyond the city boundary to the towns of Radebeul, Coswig and Weinbohla, operates the standard 10 or 15 minute interval service as far as Radebeul West, and a 30-minute service beyond that to Coswig and Weinbohla.


3. Fleet

As of 2008, Dresdens tram fleet was made up of 166 modern tramsets with 31 older trams. Most of the trams operating in Dresden are articulated low floor cars, of two different basic designs, each of which has several variants.

The first generation of low floor cars was built by Deutsche Waggonbau DWA in Bautzen between 1995 and 2002; both 6 and 8 axle variants exist. The second generation of low floor cars have been built since 2003 by Bombardier Transportation, also in Bautzen, and are of that manufacturers Flexity Classic design; both 8 and 12 axle variants exist. The articulated cars vary in length from 30 to 45 metres 98 to 148 ft long; all run as single car sets.

The fleet used to be composed of ČKD Tatra trams that provided service towards the end of the GDR era. At present some Tatra T4 cars built between 1968 and 1984 are still in service, but it is intended that they will all be replaced by 2010. The Tatra cars are all high floor, precluding level boarding from tram stops, and run in two car sets with a set length of some 30 metres 98 ft.

The DVB tram fleet operates out of three depots; at Gorbitz on routes 2.6 and 7 in south west Dresden, at Trachenberge on route 3 in the north-west, and Reick on routes 1, 9 and 13 in the south-east. Gorbitz is new facility opened in 1996 and includes a new central workshops. Trachenberge and Reick are older facilities that have both been heavily rebuilt to similar standards, whilst several other older depots have been closed. The former central workshops at Trachenberge, adjacent to the current depot, now house the Dresden Tram Museum, which has a collection including examples of many former Dresden trams.


4. CarGoTram

The CarGoTram is a freight carrying tram that supplies Volkswagens Transparent Factory, crossing the city. The two trams, up to 60 metres 200 ft long, are the longest vehicles allowed to use roads in Dresden. The connection by tram was established to reduce the number of trucks used. The factory is located to the east of the city centre, next to the GroSer Garten, whilst the distribution depot that loads the parts is to the west of the city centre.