History of trolleybus traffic in Tallinn
The plan to build trolleybus lines in Tallinn surfaced already in September 1946. There were several proposed routes, with the main candidates being Pirita – downtown – Baltic Station and Kopli – Baltic Station. On 25 May 1948, an outline plan was completed for the Baltic Station – Pirita – Merivälja trolleybus line. The plan, however, was not realised. In August 1954, an outline was completed for the route between Baltic Station – Stalin Square. This was not realised either.
The December 1959 Regulation of the council of ministers of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic managed to turn the realisation of the trolleybus lines into a more tangible plan. The trolleybus line was planned on the route Estonia Ave. – Toompuiestee – Paldiski Hwy. – Rocca al Mare. In 1962, construction works were started for the overhead network. In its final version, the line only extended to the Hippodrome. On 6 July 1965, service began on the first trolleybus line, starting from the square in front of the Estonia Theatre.
In the beginning days of trolleybus traffic, on the Tallinn – Hippodrome line in 1965 or the lines of Mustamäe and Väike-Õismäe, none of the end stations were finished. Temporary solutions were used everywhere. This meant that either there were trailers placed at the ends of the lines, or a toilet and phone available for use with the permission of charitable neighbours (Central Library of the Estonian Academy of Sciences near the Estonia Theatre or “Energia” Cafe near the Tallinn Department Store). The first end station, located at Paldiski Hwy. 50, near the Hippodrome area, was completed at the end of 1966. The end station in Mustamäe, at Akadeemia Road 29, was completed on 28 December 1967. Between 1977-1981, extensions were added to the end station. While several routes ended on the square in front of the Estonia Theatre or the Department Store, it was not possible to construct an end station there due to architectural limitations.
The Väike-Õismäe trolleybus line was constructed in such an unexpected and unplanned manner that the end station was built last. The Väike-Õismäe end station was not completed until 1 July 1987, which was 7 years after the line was opened. In the meantime, drivers had to make do with trailers and an apartment in a nearby building. Similarly, line No. 9 started its operation without an end station, which was not completed until July 1991.
It is difficult to organise traffic without a reliable communication system, but this is how it was in the early years of trolleybus traffic in Tallinn. The only possible means of talking to the operator was to use a public call point. While radio communication was adopted in the meantime, it could only be used between operators and technical repair vehicles.
In 1991, it became known that Helsinki planned to replace the radio system used in their public transport vehicles. An agreement was reached to buy the replaced communication system. Its reconstruction and paperwork, however, were so time-consuming that the installation of the equipment did not begin until July 1995. Presently, all operating end stations (Mustamäe, Õismäe and Keskuse Street), the main operator on Paldiski Highway, technical vehicles, and trolleybuses in traffic are connected with a radio communication system.
At the end of the socialist era, Škoda, the producer of trolleybuses and their parts, would only accept US dollars. The trolleybus company was not able to get them, meaning that both new trolleybuses and spare parts for old ones had become unavailable. As a result, when in the peak year of 1988 there were a total of 160 trolleybuses travelling the routes, then by 1991 the number dropped to 108, and by 1995 to 94. At the end of the 1990s, there was some thought put into the idea of constructing a new trolleybus line between Mustamäe and Õismäe. As good as the idea was, unfortunately it was not realised due to insufficient funds. While the development concept for city transport that was accepted by the council of Tallinn in 1993 foresaw favouring the development of electric transport, later voices started surfacing from amongst city officials about trolleybuses being expensive and trolleybus traffic inefficient and inconvenient. Fortunately, the only casualty was line No. 8, which was closed on 1 April 2000 and replaced by buses. Since then, no other city government official has expressed their doubt about the need for trolleybus transport.
Since December 2002, the most recent additions to the trolleybus park have been Solaris trolleybuses assembled in Poland. The plant, located near Poznan in Bolechowo, has become the largest producer of trolleybuses in Europe. As of the end of 2009, there were Solaris trolleybuses in 23 European towns and cities, with 44 of them in Tallinn. In the 2000s, there have been useful projects and investments in the area of the trolleybus park, overhead network, as well as traffic management. Support was received from the European Union and the SMILE project was carried out from 2006-2009, where information systems on trams, buses, and trolleybuses were renewed and a public transportation priority system was developed. Trolleybuses are fitted with GPS based electronic information signs with automatic stop announcements. There are 26 crossroads in Tallinn where traffic lights are fitted with auxiliary devices giving trolleybuses green wave priority. Since 30 October 1992, TTTK, a public limited company, officially belonged to the city of Tallinn. 6 July 2010 marked the festive anniversary of 45 years of trolleybus traffic in Tallinn. On the 46th anniversary of trolleybus traffic in Tallinn, 6 July 2011, there were 235 trolleybus drivers, 70 vehicle repair workers and 33 infrastructure workers (overhead network and substations) employed by the Tallinn Tram and Trolleybus Company.
On 18 July 2012, an amendment to the commercial register merged Tallinn Bus Company (TAK) and Tallinn Tram and Trolleybus Company (TTTK). This was the final legal step in the concentration of the two companies, where TAK was the acquiring company and TTTK the company being acquired. A new city transport company, Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS started its operations.
In 2015 the city of Tallinn celebrates the 50th anniversary of trolleybus traffic.
Development of trolleybus network
|Start of traffic||End of traffic||Line No.||Line name||Route|
|6 July 1965||
3 Februar 1975
|1||Estonia — Hipodroom||Estonia pst. — Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt.|
|31 October 1967||25 June 1969||2||Estonia — Mustamäe||Estonia pst. — Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Tulika t. — Sõpruse pst. — Vilde tee — Akadeemia tee lõppjaam|
|26 June 1969||—||2||Estonia — Mustamäe||Estonia pst. — Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Endla tn. — Sõpruse pst. — Vilde tee — Akadeemia tee lõppjaam|
|11 July 1969||31 October 1977||3||Estonia — Mustamäe||Estonia pst. — Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Endla tn. — Sõpruse pst. — Akadeemia tee lõppjaam|
|15 December 1970||24 March 1971||4||Estonia — Balti jaam||Estonia pst. — Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Gagarini pst. — Balti jaam|
|25 March 1971||14 November 1987||4||Balti jaam — Mustamäe||Balti jaam — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Tulika t. — Sõpruse pst. — Akadeemia tee lõppjaam|
|25 August 1971||—||5||Balti jaam — Mustamäe||Balti jaam — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Mustamäe tee — Vilde tee — Akadeemia tee lõppjaam|
|4 February 1975¹||31 October 1977||1||Estonia — Mustamäe||Liin pikeneb Hipodroomilt edasi Mustamäe ja Vilde teed mööda Akadeemia tee lõppjaama|
|1 November 1977||—||1 ja 3||Kaubamaja – Mustamäe||Liinide lõpppeatus viidi Estonia teatri vastast Kaubamaja kõrvale. Uus liin kulgeb ümber Kaubamaja|
|4 July 1980||9 December 1980||6||Estonia — Väike-Õismäe||Estonia pst. — Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Õismae tee («väike ring») — Järveotsa tee lõppjaam|
|10 December 1980||30 June 1981||6||Estonia — Väike-Õismäe||Trollibussid hakkasid Õismael sõitma mööda «suurt ringi»|
|10 December 1980||December 1980||7||Balti jaam — Väike-Õismäe||Balti jaam — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Õismae tee («väike ring») — Järveotsa tee lõppjaam|
|11 May 1981²||—||7||Balti jaam — Väike-Õismäe||Balti jaam — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Õismae tee («suur ring») — Järveotsa tee lõppjaam|
|1 July 1981||30 September 1983||6||Estonia — Väike-Õismäe||Trollibussid hakkasid Tõnismäe ja Hipodroomi vahel sõitma mööda Endla tänavat|
|30 June 1982||1 April 2000||8||Võidu väljak — Väike-Õismäe||Võidu väljak — Suvorovi pst. — Gagarini pst. — Tehnika t. — Paldiski mnt. — Õismäe tee («väike ring») — Järveotsa tee lõppjaam|
|1 October 1983||—||6||Kaubamaja — Väike-Õismäe||Trollibussid hakkasid sõitma ümber Kaubamaja peatusega Ametiühingute maja juures|
|15 November 1987||6 October 1991||4||Balti jaam — Mustamäe||Trollibussid hakkasid Mustamäele sõitma Tehnika t. — Endla t. kaudu. Balti jaama suunal jäi marsruut samaks.|
|18 December 1987||27 November 1992||9||Kopli — Keskuse||Kopli lõppjaam — Kalinini t. — K.Marksi pst. — Tulika t. — Sõpruse pst. — Keskuse lõppjaam|
|7 October 1991||27 November 1992||4||Balti jaam — Keskuse||Trollibussid sõidavad Mustamäe lõppjaama asemel Keskuse lõppjaama|
|28 November 1992||—||4 ja 9||
Balti jaam — Keskuse
Kopli — Keskuse
|Mõlemad liinid kulgevad mööda Ehitajate ja Keskuse teed Keskuse lõppjaama|
¹ Liini pikendati Mustamäele ainult tööpäevadel. Alates
² Trollid sõitsid liinil ainult tipptundidel. Alates
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