Berlin Tramways (BVB) No. 223 006-4
Most of the trams in the museum’s collection were built at a time when access to public transport was for the most part restricted to the ‘hale and hearty’ and thus pre-date more recent attempts to ensure that public service vehicles are both buggy and wheelchair friendly. This posed a serious challenge for the museum, which wanted to enable all its visitors to experience and enjoy its facilities, including tramcar rides, without having to damage its authentic historical vehicles by adapting them to meet current design specifications.
The solution was to acquire an access tram that could be adapted to meet the needs of wheelchair users and others with restricted mobility but which would not look out of place in the tramway village. The tram in question is Berlin 3006, which came to Crich for use as a wheelchair access car. It was adapted for this duty by removing a number of seats and installing a wheelchair lift together with a flat floor at one end. This enabled the tramcar to accommodate up to four wheelchairs and it entered service in this form in 1997.
The vehicle itself is not without historical interest, however. It is of a type known as a Rekowagen which was built in 1969 for operation on the then extensive East Berlin tramway, where it was designed to pull two trailers, though other trams in this class are also known to have ferried goods traffic to and from factory sidings.
Following the reunification of West and East Berlin after the collapse of the German Democratic Republic in October 1990, Berlin’s extensive tramway entered a state of flux while the necessary steps were taken to amalgamate its transport undertakings.
By this stage the former West Berlin had gradually replaced its tramway network with bus routes and underground rail services while the eastern part of the city had retained much of its tramway network that included many traditional and, by Western standards, old-fashioned tramcars.
These were retained in operation for longer than might otherwise have been expected following the decision to retain the tramway network and, indeed, to reintroduce trams to many other parts of the city. Thus, the old tramcars were needed while waiting for the large numbers of modern tramcars that would be required for the newly enlarged undertaking.
The timing of these developments was very fortuitous for the museum as it ensured that a suitable tramcar for conversion into an access vehicle was available to be purchased for the princely sum of one Deutsche mark and handed over in June 1996. Some 48 hours after it departed on a low-loader, 3006 arrived in Crich and embarked on its test operations. It officially entered service as the Museum’s access tram at Easter in 1997, following its conversion for wheelchair operation..
Since arriving in Crich the tram has been in almost constant use, not only as an access vehicle, but also during themed events such as the museum’s ‘Red Oktober’ day, which features vehicles from former Soviet bloc tramways. It has even been pressed into service on ‘Santa specials’ in the past, as a more contemporary alternative to the traditional sleigh!
Apart from being overhauled, the only other significant change the tramcar has experienced since entering into service has been a change of livery (completed in May 2012) from a somewhat garish orange and white to its original rather more restrained cream and black colour scheme. The tramcar also reverted to its former number (223 006-4) at the same time
Its important role as the Museum’s access tram means that it puts in more appearances on the tramway each year than any other tramcar in the collection. On 30th September 2019 the tramcar celebrated its fiftieth birthday with a full day in service alongside two regular service cars.
- Type of tram
- Single deck; four wheel all-enclosed access electric tramcar of type TZ69
- Cream and black; formerly orange and white
- Seating capacity
- Originally 22, plus 52 standing passengers. Following adaptation for service at Crich, it now has 16 seats with additional space for four wheelchairs
- Date built
- Manufacturer of body
- Raw (Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk), Berlin, Schöneweide
- Manufacturer of truck
- 4’ 8½”
- 2x 60kW (80 hp). Manufacturer unknown.
- LEW Hennigsdorf (18 driving and 13 brake notches)
- Current collector
Originally numbered 5131 when manufactured for Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVB).
Renumbered as 223 006-4 in 1970
Renumbered as 3006 in 1990 upon re-unification of west and east Berlin following the collapse of the German Democratic Republic
- Withdrawn from service
- Subsequent history
Acquired by the TMS for use as an access tram. Arrived at Crich in June 1996
- Restoration history
August – November 1996: adapted for use as an access tram by removing a number of seats and installing wheelchair lift and flat interior floor space.
Launch of access tram service at Crich Easter 1997.
Overhauled in 2002/3. Restored to current original livery and number (223 006-4) after appearing in orange and white for a number of years.
- Current status
- Converted to serve as access tram; operational. Commissioned for service as part of the operational fleet during the current season.
- Date started operating at Crich
- 1997. Has operated during 23 seasons up to and including 2019
- Total mileage covered at Crich
- Current location
- 1969 – 1996Operational on original tramway
- 1996 – 1997Converted for use as access tram
- 1997 –Operational at Crich