Riga multiple-unit trams & multiple-unit trolleybuses.

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These images come from a short trip I made to Riga, which is the capital city of Latvia, in a bitterly cold and cloudy April 1998.

Although the operation of multiple unit trains and trams (aka: light rail) where the trailing units are powered is a well-known aspect of steel wheel transports, it is much rarer with rubber-tyred transports.

However before the advent of articulated buses the use of coupled or multiple-unit trolleybuses was practised in many cities in what used to be known as the Soviet Union.

For multiple-unit operation the front vehicle does not use its trolleypoles and is both physically and electrically connected to the rear vehicle. The coupling between them works by means of a drawbar which is connected to the steering arm of the rear bus - so that it just follows the driving one. Effectively therefore the principle is very similar to a road vehicle pulling a trailer - except that here both vehicles are powered.

Once coupled the twin-set combinations would normally remain coupled (unless the workshops disconnected them). So the rear vehicle would not normally drive 'solo'. As is clearly seen in this film, for reasons of safety pedestrians are prevented from walking between the two vehicles by means of flexible gates.

Riga no longer uses multiple-unit trolleybuses as they now prefer articulated trolleybuses. As far as the former Soviet Union is concerned, it is believed that maybe just one or two cities in The Ukraine still use multiple-unit trolleybuses.

This film shows trams first and then trolleybuses. It comprises of both still images and video. Everything was hand held and is of the 'snapshot' variety, as I was not sure whether I should have been filming at all. At one time I had been stopped from filming the trams, so I had to be very careful. Nowadays I regret not having filmed more, but that is the way of life, I suppose. Im just thankful I went and saw / filmed anything at all.

More information and photographs of the trolleybuses can be found at this link...


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