Second lease of life: Renovating old trams

Old trams bring added value to NRW: In Bonn, 15 new jobs have been created with the renovation of old tram carriages. The continued use of 25 trams has saved two million kilowatt hours of electricity and 750 tonnes of steel, which protects the climate and benefits the local coffers.

Some of the Bonn trams have become obsolete. Instead of simply replacing these, a community project by the Bonn public transport companies has renovated them itself. Four carriages are overhauled and improved in-house per year, making a total of 25 carriages. Before the conversion, the employees collected information on the wishes of the drivers' professional association and the city's disabled community, which consists of 30 associations...

Engine for progress:

  • life cycle extended by 25 years
  • 15 new jobs created
  • €47 million saved
  • 750 tonnes of steel saved
  • image enhancement for the city and municipal utilities

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Photo: Stadtwerke Bonn, Martin Magunia, Meike Böschemeyer

The city of Bonn acquired the trams in the 1970s from a German manufacturer. Since 2007, they have had to be replaced in part because of their age – so the Bonn municipal utilities had the idea of renovating the carriages.

Service life extended by 25 years, potential for expansion especially in NRW

Through renovation, the municipal utilities extend the life cycles of the carriages by around 25 years. The measure therefore saves up to 30 tonnes of steel per renovated carriage. A project with a lot of potential for imitation – especially for the metropolitan areas of North Rhine-Westphalia, because many vehicles of the same type are in use within the state. In Bonn alone, 35 more carriages are to be renovated.

€47 million saved, 15 new jobs created

In addition to the savings in resources and emissions, there are also financial effects for the city of Bonn: €47 million have been saved in comparison with new acquisitions and the personnel costs for 15 newly created jobs have already been included in the calculation. Two million kilowatt hours of electricity are saved per year by the 25 modernised Bonn carriages – through recovered braking energy.

The images of both the city and municipal utilities is enhanced

Stadtwerke Bonn municipal utilities are striving to ensure that the concept can be transferred to other cities. Therefore, they have exhibited the project at "InnoTrans", the world's largest trade fair for transport technology. Image enhancement for the city of Bonn too.

Photo: Martin Magunia/Stadtwerke Bonn

"By giving these old city tramways a second lease of life, we are pursuing new, innovative paths: Instead of new acquisitions, we are relying on a resource-saving idea with high saving potential and a good funding rate, which is being realised successfully by our own staff and in our own workshops for the benefit of our passengers."

Heinz Jürgen Reining, Geschäftsführer der SWB Bus und Bahn und der SWB Service Copyright

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  • SWB Bus und Bahn