The BKV - Ikarus trolleybuses

The BKV - Ikarus trolleybuses
IK-200 series prototype trolleybuses
GVM - IK-280 trolleybuses
Obus - IK-280 trolleybuses
Foreign IK-280 trolleybuses

The Budapest trolleybus service had its ups and downs through the decades of the 20th century. After the campaign of construction of the '50s, the expansion of the network stopped in the '60s. In the end of this decade, parallel to the worldwide decay of the trolleybus operation, the council of Budapest decided to eliminate the trolleybus lines. Fortunately, only the Baross utca line was closed (in 1973). It is interesting, that the new ZIU-5 trolleybuses were supllied in this period, although at the time it was meant to be the last newly bought series.

The 1973. oil-crisis (which unleashed in 1973.) terminated the era of cheap fuel. In the beginning the socialist coutries did not feel the change of the global economy, but soon the prices penetrated through the iron curtain. In the September of 1974 the BKV (Budapest Transportation Company) and the City Council aggreed to keep the trolleybus service. This brought a second flourishing to the network in the late '70s: new lines were constructed and the fleet was exchanged to "relatively" modern. This was the time of the birth of the first IK-280 trolleybus series: the IK-280.91, which were called commonly in the company as the "100-ers", after their fleet numbers. The Ikarus factory also launched an experimental program to produce a modern trolleybus. The following page contains description of the various prototypes.

In the '80s, there was no more important new line extensions, but the standard of the fleet was improved by the second IK-280 series of trolleybuses. This was the IK-280.93 series, which everybody calls at the Budapest Transportation Company "GVM", by the initials of the producing company Ganz. Further informations about the GVMs are in this page.

The IK-260.T1 trolleybus: the 600

The 1974 decision of the City Council gave the first impulse to design a new trolleybus vehicle, which would make possible to scrap the overrun IK-60s. In this year, the BKV bought an empty body of a solo and an articulated Ikarus bus, which were mounted with the equippment of ithe ZIU-5s. These were the firs two prototype trolleybuses: the articulated obtained the number 100, and the solo 600.

So, the 600 was built in an IK-260 body, which was originally meant to be a diesel-bus (that is why it was painted yellow, as most of the buses in Hungary). Its main electric equippment was the same as the ZIU-5s, but the secondary circuit parts changed (e.g. with pneumatic doors or steering servo supplied from 600 V). The latter 100 series was also equipped similarly.

Some technical data:
length: 11000 mm number of seats: 22
width: 2500 mm standing places (5 pers./m2): 53
height: 3040 mm motortype: DK-207 G
axle distance: 5400 mm output: 110 kW
The trolleybus was actually taken in the fleet on 5th February, 1976. Originally there supposed to be a series of solo trolleybuses following this prototype. The reason why it did not happen so, was because by this time the Sowiet Union was able to mass-produce the type ZIU-9, which were substantially cheaper than the home made Ikaruses (also the electrical equippment would have to come from abroad). Although the 600 was better in some attributes: it had more comfortable room, its air-suspension was much softer, which meant better contact of the trolleys to the poles. Furthermore since the axle distance was smaller, it was easier to maneuvre through the narrow streets of the inner city. Also the cabin of the driver was more quiet, since the kontactor-table was moved under the floor (the ZIUs have extremely noisy cabin, because the contactors there). Also there was no problem of the supply of the spare parts (on the ZIUs, the original parts were changed step-by-step to Ikarus parts in many places).

Because of these advantages, the drivers liked the 600, so it runned regularly for 19 years. It was stalled on 11th August, 1995, together with the last specimens of the 100s.

600 (Pongrác depot)
600 (driver's cabin)
The Budapest trolleybus 600 - still without number - at Pongrác depot.
The original dashboard of the 600 can be seen in this bad quality picture.
It is peculiar the left side array of switches like on ZIU-5s. The door operation is under the steering wheel horizontally, above the empty board. Those with good eyes might spot a scheme of the gear lever, which is a little bit strange on a trolleybus...
600 (Erzsébet királyné útja)
600 (Százados utca)
The original liveries of the 600 is visible on this photo taken at the corssing of Erzsébet királyné útja (street) and Hungária körút (boulevard).
The trolleybus 600 - though it ran everywhere, where the ZIUs went - in the beginning of the '80s was assigned to line 79. But this photo was not taken there, but at the service line at Százados utca (street), at the crossing of Sport utca (street).
Observe the red trilex type body of the wheels. At times it was regular to paint it like this, it was long after visible worn down on the trolleybuses.
600 (Bethlen Gábor utca)
600 (Pongrác depot)
The 600-as in the summer of 1994, at the terminus of line 76 at Bethlen Gábor utca (street).
The trolleybus 600 exists also today, though its state is quite depressing.
From the aspect of museal value it has a strange status, because it was a special unique trolleybus. On the other hand, it has an interest as the first trolleybus in the broad scale of IK-200 series.

The IK-280.T1 articulated trolleybus: the 100

Almost in the same time with the building of the solo car 600, the articulated version was also ready, that obtained the fleet number 100. Similarly thei motor and the electric equippment was supplied form a scrapped ZIU-5. Its trial runs were during 1975, mainly on line 75. Officially it was in the BKV's fleet on 2nd January, 1976. The trolleybus was in service until 20th June, 1991, then it was put to side in Pongrác depot, intending to exhibit later. Since there was no money for restore, in the meantime - becauese of the lack of spare parts - many of its components were dismounted for everyday use on other trolleybuses. This was the reason, why this trolley's condition became extremly grievous, then in 2000 it was cut to pieces, and scrapped.
100 (Pongrác depot)
100 (Angyalföldi út)
The BKV's trolleybus 100 in experimental service at Pongrác depot.
The 100 originally - as the 600 - had yellow liveries in its new state, until 1976.
100 (Ajtósi Dürer sor)
Gábor Kelecsényi
100 (Pongrác depot)
The 100 at Ajtósi Dürer sor (avenue), in the end of the '70s. This was the sole trolleybus in the 100ers' series, that had side windows with only a small upper sliding part.
The 100 was scrapped in 1991, but until 2000 it was stored as a future museum car. Then suddenly the space was not enough in the garage, because a bunch of diesel-buses were moved from Récsei garage to the trolley depot. The direction decided - since it was in better condition - that the 156 will be the museum car, and the 100 was cut to pieces.

The articulated trolleybus series "100ers" (IK-280.91)

The prototype trolleybus 100 was soon followed by a series of 78 cars. The reason was, that at this time neither the Sowiet Union, nor the COMECON coutries were not able to produce articulated trolleybuses for a decade more.
The 100ers were nought in two bunches:
new trolleybuses (pieces)
fleet numbers
The producing of the series was in the usual way: the body was supplied by the Ikarus factory, the electrical equippment was installed by the BKV from scrapped ZIU-5 parts. A description over the ZIU-5's electric outfit can be found here, the main electric circuit of the 100ers functioned similarly.
Some thechnical data of the type 100ers:
length: 16500 mm weight: 12200 kg
width: 2500 mm passenger capacity (seat/stand): 35/78
height: 3347 mm height of the floor: 920 mm
axle distance: 5400 mm
6200 mm
motor: DK-207 G
(110 kW)
smallest radius of turn: 10,7 m driven axle: middle (B)
In around 1978, the Ikarus factory started to produce experimental articulated trolleybuses, for both the eastern and western market. Such a production of special trolleybuses was without precedent earlier. With launching this programme, some 100ers were used as a testcars for new techonlogies: These equippments were added posteriorly, only for trola runs without passengers. The uniqe pieces were later dismounted, though those trolleybuses, that had a petrol-motor aggregate, a throat behind the C-axle to ventilate the motor was visible later. The refueling of these motors was not possible inside the trolleybus garage, so these trolleybuses had to use exterior petrol stations, making the attendant and the general public stunned...
102 (Pongrác depot)
104 (Pongrác depot)
The trolleybus 102 in new state at Pongrác depot.
The 104, also as a brand new trolleybus.
120 (Leipzig)
R-R. Scholze
155 (Népliget)
R-R. Scholze
The 120 on the International Fair of Leipzig (East-Germany).
The 155 was officially not the property of BKV until 1989: this was suppesed to be the demonstrator of the Ikarus factory. But - as it is shown on this photo from 1977 - still it was used by the transportation company in everyday service.

The series of 100ers' trolleybuses appeared first on line 75. The second bunch form 1978 was a preparation step for the line extensions in Zugló, for the line 80, and soon for the 81. The remaining articulated trolleybuses ran mixed with solo cars on line 79.

The scrapping of the series was started in the end of the '80s, with the acquisition of the new GVMs (200ers). The last trolleybuses were in service until 1995, before the articulated lines had mixed stock with 100ers and 200ers. This was unpleasant for the drivers, mainly because the brake pedal was still on the left (as on the ZIUs, but not as on the GVMs). Sometimes the driver had to change during his charge the car, and if his leg did not "switch", he could have nasty situation (though there is no reported accident from misbrake).

The cycle of their scrapping went the following way:
number of scrapped vehicles
Detailed fleet data
118 (Hungária körút)
144 (Népliget)
The trolleybus 118 at Hungária körút (boulevard) in the '70s.
In the '70s the trolleybuses had only one mirror on the right side. In the '80s, it was supplemented with a small round one aimed on the space in front of the first door - which was invisible through the large mirror.
The 144 at the terminus of line 75 at Népliget.
The 100 trolleys had such an allocation of side windows, which was impossible to see in the '90s anymore with the newer versions of the IK-280 autobuses.
153 (Fogarasi út)
170 (passanger room)
The trolleybus 153 in the '80s on Fogarasi út (street).
On part of the trolleybuses the place of the licence number and the step on the bumper was covered. This was not done cosequently, on 153 the step is there (though there was never a ladder in the rear, as the ZIUs had).
The room of the 170, in the summer of 1994.
The white gripping bars, the white boxes above the doors and the swaying driver-cabin doors practically died out by the '90s. Though in the middle of the '80s the black bars and boxes, and the telescopic cabin door was the novelty, and this composition was common on the Ikarus buses.
167 (Hungária körút)
Gábor Kelecsényi
156 (Pongrác depot)
In the middle of the '90s the trolleybus 167-es, serving the line 75/A, turning into the Szörény utca (street).
In the '90s comparing to the other kind of BKV vehicles, there were extra amount of trolleybuses with side advertisments. This brought an early aging of the paintwork. At these times the fleet number was moved above the first door on the trolleybuses.
The trolleybus 156 as a wreck in the trolleybus depot in 2000.
The advertisment remained also on this vehicle. The condition of this trolleybus is also declining continuously.

There was still one more Ikarus - BKV (- VKI) type trolleybus: the 300. More about this trolleybus here.

Later the BKV's Experimental Works (later became Obus Ltd.) constructed further trolleybuses. About these IK-280 trolleybuses one can read following this link.

Every comment, observation and revision is welcomed!
Written by: Zoltán Ádám Németh
The author would like to thank László Jakab and Mattis Schindler for the help.

Fleet data from Bálint Hajtó