Hermes Groep NV, a Dutch transportation company, has signed a contract with Solaris Bus & Coach for the purchase of ten Trollino 18 trolley buses with the distinctive Metrostyle design, of which about 50 are already in operation in Salzburg and four in Esslingen. The ten examples will enter service in the first half of 2024 in Arnhem, currently the only city in the Netherlands with a trolleybus network and one that believes in trolleybuses, so much so that it is planning a force line conversion from automotive to full-electric.

The vehicles will be completely new: Solaris, for the first time present in the Netherlands, has in fact proposed to Hermes the evolution of the Metrostyle model based on the 24-meter prototype presented in 2019 as part of Busworld Europe in Brussels. The new trolleybuses will play a key role in the planned expansion of trolleybus operation. The network, operated by Breng, comprises six lines, and the current fleet has 43 articulated trolleybuses, 40 of which were supplied by Hess between 2009 and 2017 with electrical equipment from Wossloh Kiepe, and 3 Berkhof Premier 18s from 2002, kept as a reserve.

The new Metrostyles, like almost all new generation trolleybuses by now, are equipped with In Motion Charging technology, battery pack, and autonomous running capability. The special battery power of about 90 kWh, will enable the vehicles to travel more than 12 kilometers without the need for the contact line.

This is considered the ideal condition for the use of trolleybuses on force line 352, which is currently operated by buses and connects Arhnem central station with the Wageningen municipality bus station, passing through Oosterbeck, Heelsum and Renkum in the Arnhem conurbation. The line, which is about 17 kilometers long, runs in about 27 to 35 minutes, depending on the time slot. The trolleybus will work with the plug-in rods as far as Oosterbeck, which is 4.5 km from the terminus, and then continue in autonomous running to Wageningen, where a charging point will presumably be installed. The percentage of the route in autonomous running is calculated at 75 percent. In a second phase the line will be extended from Wageningen to Ede-Wageningen, at which point the trolleybus will travel as much as 82 % of the line in autonomous running.

Very interesting is the equipment for the new Metrostyles, which will be driven by a 240 kW motor. In particular, the interior layout includes two wheelchair stalls and state-of-the-art solutions such as Usb ports for mobile devices, video surveillance, air conditioning, and the Mobileye Shield+ system. The system uses audible and light alerts that warn the driver of blind spots in the vehicle or obstacles. The cameras will also replace the traditional rearview mirrors, with interior screens providing an excellent view of the driver in all situations.

«We are very proud that our Solaris Trollino 18 vehicles will soon arrive in Arnhem. This is the only Dutch city with an operational trolleybus system. We are therefore especially pleased that its residents will soon be able to travel on board the latest Solaris trolleybuses», said Wil Willems, Managing Director of Solaris Netherlands.

«We look forward to beginning the next chapter of our partnership with Solaris. Our goal is to provide the people of the Netherlands with the most comfortable, state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly solutions for public transportation. We are absolutely certain that the Solaris Trollino 18 trolleybuses represent such a choice», said finally Martijn Mentink, Hermes’ executive director for the southeastern region.

(by Stefano Alfano)

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