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The Kabul trolleybus system was a public transport service in Kabul, the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. The system was built by the Czechoslovak Elektrizace železnic Praha [cz] (Electrification of railways, Prague) from 1976. The service launched on February 9, 1979 with 25 Škoda 9TrH23 trolleybuses, eventually rising to 86 vehicles by 1988, of which 80 were in operation. Operated by the state-owned Millie Bus, it used the same branding and a light-blue and white livery. Most of the trolleybuses were driven by women.[1]

Kabul trolleybus system
Operation
LocaleKabul, Afghanistan
OpenFebruary 9, 1979 (1979-02-09)
Close1992
StatusClosed
Routes3
Operator(s)Millie Bus
Infrastructure
Electrification
Depot(s)Silo
Stock86 Škoda 9Tr
Statistics
Route length12.5 km (7.8 mi)

The initial line built by the Czechoslovak company (under manager Jan Zrzavý) ran between Pamir Cinema in downtown Kabul to Silo Road (Kote Sangi) in western Kabul, via Kabul Zoo, Karte Char and Kabul University. Afterwards the Afghans themselves extended the line from Silo Road northwards back to downtown at Spinzar Hotel in Deh Afghanan. At the other direction it was also extended via Jadayi Maiwand to a textile factory to the north-east. The total length of the system was 12.5 km (7.8 mi). The line was intentionally split into three routes with transfer points. The routes were distinguished by destinations rather than numbers.[2]

The trolleybus service was highly popular due to its low price compared to the regular bus service of Millie Bus. It carried about 21 million passengers per year.[3] However its overhead line and electric contact network was reportedly in bad condition by the late 1980s with poor maintenance. Following the outbreak of civil war, the last trolleybus came to a halt in late 1992. The copper overhead wires were subsequently looted and sold to scrap dealers. The steel poles and some of the overhead can still be seen in Kabul today.[4]

In 2003 and 2004, there were plans for a resurrected trolleybus service to ease congestion.[5] Its revival was discussed with Czech officials in 2011[6] and again with an Indian delegation in 2017.[7] The Kabul Times reported in 2013 that the government was committed to renovating the system to tackle air pollution and deal with the busy traffic and increasing population in the city.[8] In 2017 a new bus rapid transit system was revealed, which would be Kabul's first public transport system since the trolleybuses and which will run on much of the roads that were once served by trolleybuses.[9]

Rolling stockEdit

 
A Skoda 9Tr in Czechoslovakia, the same type that was used in Kabul

The Škoda 9TrH23 is a variant of the 9Tr, produced from 1961 to 1982. It was one of the most popular models used in the former Soviet Union. The model in Kabul had three doors and ran between 550 and 600 volts.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.rt.com/news/kabul-women-drivers-emancipation/
  2. ^ http://www.spvd.cz/index.php/component/content/article/181-clanky/svet/af/217-afghanistan-en
  3. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141219174524/https://www.trade.gov/static/afghanistan_transpriorities.pdf
  4. ^ "Catherine Lytle: From Gerbils to Trolleybus".
  5. ^ Saded, Lailuma; Tarakhel, Shahbuddin; Amani, Wahidullah (March 1, 2004). "Trolley Buses to Ease Kabul's Tangled Traffic". Environment News Service. Retrieved 2018-01-15.
  6. ^ http://www.csok.cz/article/the-delegation-of-czech-businessmen-in-afganistan
  7. ^ http://commerce.gov.in/writereaddata/UploadedFile/MOC_636268215123005686_India-Afghanistan_2nd_JWG%20_minutes_29-30th_2017.pdf
  8. ^ http://www.afghandata.org:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/azu/15599/azu_acku_np50_k22_v50_2013_n000233_w.pdf?sequence=220&isAllowed=y
  9. ^ http://www.1tvnews.af/en/news/afghanistan/29784-kabul-metro-bus-project-to-be-launched-today