Trolleybuses in Lucerne

The Lucerne trolleybus system (Alemannic German: Trolleybussystem Luzern) forms part of the public transport network of Lucerne, capital city of the canton of Lucerne, Switzerland. Opened in 1941, the system had replaced the Lucerne tramway network by 1961.[1]

Lucerne trolleybus system
Luzern Swisstrolley.jpg
A Hess Swisstrolley crossing the Reuss, 2005.
LocaleLucerne, Switzerland
Open7 December 1941 (1941-12-07)
Operator(s)Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern (VBL)
Electrification600 V DC parallel overhead lines
Route length37.634 km (23.385 mi)
The Lucerne trolleybus system, 2017.
WebsiteVerkehrsbetriebe Luzern (VBL) (in German)

As of the end of 2013, the system consists of six lines, one of which leads across the city boundary into the neighbouring towns of Emmen, Horw and Kriens. It is currently operated by Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern (VBL), has a total route length of 37.634 km (23.385 mi),[2] and as of about 2011 was carrying 27 million passengers annually.[3] The system is supplemented by various motor bus lines operated by the same transport company.


The system's individual trolleybus line sections went into service as follows:[1]

7 December 1941 Bahnhof Luzern–Allmend (2.59 km) Bahnhof Luzern–Breitenlachen:
now line 4
decommissioned since 2005
New connection
25 January 1942 Bahnhof Luzern–Dietschiberg now lines 6 and 8 New connection
20 May 1951 Luzernerhof–Wesemlinrain now line 1 Motor bus replacement
15 November 1959 Dietschiberg–Würzenbach (1.05 km)
Bundesplatz–Emmenbrücke (4.38 km)
now lines 6 and 8
now line 2
Motor bus replacement
Tramway replacement
11 November 1961 Pilatusplatz–Kriens Busschleife
now line 1 Tramway replacement
11 November 1962 Breitenlachen–Hubelmatt now line 4 New connection
10 April 1966 Bundesplatz–Matthof
now line 6
now line 7
New connection
2 July 1986 Schönbühl–Hirtenhof now line 8 New connection
5 November 1990 Kriens Busschleife–Obernau Dorf
now line 1
now line 2
Motor bus replacement
New connection
23 August 2004 Wesemlinrain–Unterlöchli now line 7 New connection
15 December 2013 Brüelstrasse–Büttenenhalde now line 6 Motor bus replacement
12 December 2016 Kriens-Emmenbruecke now line 5 New connection (75th anniversary)


The present system is made up of the following lines:

1 Obernau Dorf–Maihof cross-city route 27 stops rush hour every 5 minutes / off-peak every 7.5 minutes Bi-articulated buses and rigid buses + trailers
2 SprengiBahnhof Luzern radial route 18 stops every 7.5 minutes Articulated buses (motor buses)
4 Hubelmatt–Bahnhof Luzern radial route 09 stops every 10 minutes Articulated buses
5 Kriens-Emmenbruecke cross-city route 21 stops peak times every 7.5 minutes / off peak every 15 minutes Articulated buses
6 Matthof–Büttenenhalde cross-city route 23/24 stops rush hour every 10 minutes / off-peak every 15 minutes Articulated buses
7 Biregghof–Unterlöchli cross-city route 23/24 stops every 7.5 minutes Articulated buses
8 Hirtenhof–Würzenbach cross-city route 19/20 stops rush hour every 10 minutes / off-peak every 15 minutes Rigid buses + trailers and articulated buses

Lines 6 and 8 operate on the same overhead wires between Brüelstrasse and Schönbühl, so that on this section there are trolleybuses at 5-minute intervals during rush hour, and at 7.5-minute intervals at off-peak times. This combined section is described as double-line 6/8.


As of 31 December 2013, the VBL trolleybus fleet has 20 rigid, 26 articulated, and three bi-articulated vehicles There are also 16 trailers that can be used in combination with the rigid buses.[2]

Along with the Lausanne trolleybus system, the Lucerne system is one of only two trolleybus systems worldwide that still utilise the rigid concave bus and the trailer consortium form of operation. In addition, the Lucerne system is, along with the Le-Fond-De-L'eau and Lausanne systems, one of only three trolleybus systems in Switzerland still using rigid vehicles. An ongoing process called 'Operation Dismantle' projects re-use parts of the long-serving buses as gifts to the Cuban transportation system.

Image Fleet nos. Quantity Manufacturer Electrics Type Configuration Low-floor Built
  201–226 26 Hess Kiepe BGT-N2C Articulated yes 2004–2009
  231–233 03 Hess Kiepe BGGT-N2C Bi-articulated yes 2006
  234–242 09 Hess Kiepe BGGT-N2D Bi-articulated yes 2014
27 NAW / Hess Siemens BT 5-25 Rigid no 1989 (no. 251 built 1987–88)
  301–316 16 Lanz + Marti / Hess none APM 5.6-13 Trailer yes 1998–2005

Type BGT 5-25 originally comprised 20 vehicles, nos. 181–200.

Of the 30 rigid versions of that type, the BT 5-25, to be acquired by the VBL, three vehicles had been retired by 2012: nos. 251, 255 and 256.[citation needed] In 2014, ten vehicles from that series were sold to the Valparaíso trolleybus system, in Chile: Nos. 265, 266, 268–270, 272, 273, 275, 276, 278.[4]


The Weinbergli depot is located on the route of lines 6, 7 and 8.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b "Trolleybusstadt: Luzern (Schweiz) - Geschichte History" [Trolleybus city: Lucerne (Switzerland) - History] (in German). TrolleyMotion. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Die Fakten" [The facts] (in German). Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  3. ^ Brugger Kalfidis, Pia Maria. "Luzern setzt auf Trolleybusse" [Lucerne relies on trolleybuses] (PDF) (in German). Regionale Schienen. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  4. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 320 (March–April 2015), p. 54. ISSN 0266-7452.

Further readingEdit

  • Schwandl, Robert (2010). Schwandl's Tram Atlas Schweiz & Österreich. Berlin: Robert Schwandl Verlag. ISBN 978 3 936573 27 5. (in German and English)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Trolleybuses in Lucerne at Wikimedia Commons