[as of 10.2007]
Chita, population 306 200, is located 6074 km. east of Moscow, in the Zabaykalskiy Region of Russia.
Considering its truly desolate location, it happens to be a surprisingly impressive city with many notable buildings dating to the times of the Imperial Russia and reinforced with grand Soviet architectural ensembles of the Stalin era.
Chita is also blessed with exceptionally well-run trolleybus network. Trolleybuses constitute an important part of the city image and are the source of certain local pride. Consequently, the system is looked after rather meticulously.
Trolleybuses are operated under most extreme weather conditions in Russia (and one has to assume in the world), as temperatures fluctuate between +40C during summers and -40C during winters. Local undertaking employs certain winter-proof maintenance techniques, such as expensive heavy duty lubricants.
The undertaking published a book on the history of local trolleybuses, titled "Zdravstvuy Trolleybus".
There is an impressive trolleybus museum at the depot (no historic vehicles).
HISTORY OF NETWORK DEVELOPMENT
30 Dec1970 - From Trolleybus Depot to Vokzal Chita-II via Krasnoy Zvezdy Ul., Novobulvarnaya Ul., Butina Ul. (originally planned to go further via Petrovskaya Ul. to Ozero Bannoe); Line 1 opened.
08.1971 - From Vokzal Chita-II to Gor. Bolnitsa via Leningradskaya Ul. and Lenina Ul.; Line 1 extended.
10.1971 - From Lenina Pl. to PVRZ (nowadays TRZ) via Lenina Ul. and Komsomolskaya Ul.; Line 2 Trolleybus Depot - PVRZ introduced.
09.1972 - From Butina Ul. to Stadion ZabVO via Novobulvarnaya Ul.; Line 2 rerouted Stadion ZabVO - PVRZ.
02.1973 - From Lenina Ul. to DK Ulitsy Kirova via Barguzinskaya Ul. and Babushkina Ul.; Line 3 DK Ulitsy Kirova - PVRZ introduced.
01.1975 - From DK Ulitsy Kirova to Sosnoviy Bor via Belorusskaya Ul. and Alexandro-Zavodskaya Ul.; Line 3 extended; Line 4 Vokzal Chita-II - Sosonoviy Bor introduced.
12.1975 - Line 5 Vokzal Chita-II - Trolleybus Depot introduced.
12.1989 - From Lenina Ul. to Novobulvarnaya Ul. via Bogomyagkova Ul., Babushkina Ul. and Shilova Ul.; Line 6 Vokzal Chita-II - Rynok - Trolleybus Depot introduced.
12.1989 - Via Amurskaya Ul. between Butina Ul. and Leningradskaya Ul.; Line 3 rerouted via Amurskaya Ul. in the vicinity of Vokzal Chita-II.
11.1997 - Line 4 suspended.
1998 - Line 4 reintroduced and extended Sosnoviy Bor - Amurskaya Ul. - Rynok; Line 7 introduced via one-way loop Stadion ZabVO - Vokzal Chita-II - Rynok - Stadion ZabVO.
01 Aug 2001 - Lines 4 and 7 suspended.
15 Aug 2007 - Line 6 extended to Sosnoviy Bor.
The first trolleybus line in the city was opened in 1970 and went to the Chita-II Station. It was supposed to continue further down to Bannoe Ozero (Bannoe Lake) just beyond the Station. The poles were installed on adjacent Petrovskaya Ul., but the project was scaled back at the last moment.
1 Trolleybus Depot - Vokzal Chita-II - Gor. Bolnitsa
2 Stadion ZabVO - TRZ - Vokzal Chita-II - Stadion ZabVO
3 TRZ - Vokzal Chita-II - Sosnoviy Bor
5 Trolleybus Depot - Vokzal Chita-II
6 Trolleybus Depot - Rynok - Vokzal Chita-II - Sosnoviy Bor
Line 5 operates during rush hours only.
Line 2 is routed rather peculiarly, as Stadion ZabVO-bound trolleybuses visit the Chita-II Station, while TRZ-bound trolleybuses do not.
All trolleybuses in the city pass near the Chita-II Station one way or another. Trolleybuses serving Lines 1, 3 and 2 (ZabVO-bound only) stray off their direct routings and circle around a few extra city blocks in order to reach the Station.
Trolleybuses serving Line 3 follow Amurskaya Ul., one block short of making it to the Chita-II Station. Line 4 used a similar reroute in the past, when it was extended to Rynok between 1998 and 2001. This was done in order to alleviate trolleybus traffic at the Main Railroad Station Square. During rush hours as many as 65 trolleybuses pass through the square. The power station is simply unable to handle any additional traffic.
Each line is operated on the 3-4 min. headway throughout the day (which makes combined headways on some extensions as low as 1.5-2 min), except during the day-time lunch between 10:00 and 12:00, when the headway is 6-8 min. After 19:00 the headway goes up to 6-8 min. again, during the evening lunch, and after that, during late evening, when only half of the fleet remains in service. A sustainable late night operation is highly uncommon for modern Russia.
The schedule is eagerly maintained. Trolleybus service is fast, reliable, passenger loads are consistently high.
Unlike in other Russian cities, gypsy minibuses have a negligible share in local transportation market, and constitute minimal competition to well established trolleybuses services. All minibuses are of cheap domestic Russian-built models, a highly unusual fact, considering relative proximity of East Asian manufacturers that supply most gypsy minibus services in the Russian Far East.
A total of 93 trolleybuses.
ZIU-682V - 41 vehicles:
138, 149, 153, 156, 161-165, 167-198
ZIU-682G - 42 vehicles:
199-242 (incl. 229 of "southern" modification, see comments below)
VMZ-5298 - 10 vehicles:
243-252 (all delivered 11.2003)
71 trolleybuses operate during the morning rush hour, and 62 trolleybuses operate during the evening rush hour.
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chita used to get 1 or 2 new vehicles a year. On 11.2003, however, the city acquired as many as 10 new Vologda-built VMZ-5298 trolleybuses in one shot, numbered 243-252. All these vehicles were sent to St. Petersburg at first, but never made it. Upon spending some time in storage at the suburban parking lot in Metallostroy, they were readdressed to Chita. VMZ trolleybuses are generally considered cheap and of low quality.
Trolleybus 229 is of so-called "southern" design based on a standard ZIU-682G (modified for export to foreign cities with warm climates). This is the only trolleybus of "southern" design based on a standard ZIU-682G in Siberia or the Russian Far-East. The vehicle incidentally ended up in Chita on 03.1998 due to a mishap with export arrangements at the Uritskogo Factory (nowadays TROLZA). It was most probably on track to be exported to Bulgaria, as upon delivery to Chita it was equipped with the Bulgarian rear axle. The axle was later replaced with the Hungarian one, a ZIU standard. 229 feels fine in Chita despite extreme operating conditions. Some of the unusual windows of "southern" design were replaced with ZIU's domestic standard windows.
Between 1984 and 1988 (with the exception of one year) four 2-car trolleybus trains operated in city, the fact little known to trolleybus historians. The one-year break in service was due to certification process hassles, as these trolleybus trains were of local design.
All trolleybuses are in perfect state of repair both mechanically and cosmetically. A rehab is scheduled for each vehicle after 10-11 years in continuous service.
A total of 93 trolleybuses.
Total length of the overhead (one-way) is 38 km. All wirework is maintained in good working order.
Such punctuality and popularity of trolleybus service is not to be found elsewhere in modern Russia. As per authors' observations, the Chita trolleybus undertaking happens to be the best trolleybus operation in the country.
Usage of material found herein is permitted provided the source is mentioned. Usage for public display is possible with authors' permission only.