[as of 10.2006]
Ulyanovsk is situated on the Volga River, to be exact, on the banks of an enormous reservoir that the Volga became after the rush of hydroelectric plant construction during the age of the Soviet industrialization. The city was formerly known as Simbirsk, and sometimes gets mentioned by that name. Despite the fact that other cities in Russia were renamed with their original names after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this city officially stuck with the name of Lenin who was born here and whose actual last name was Ulyanov.
The story behind the city name is also a give away on political environment that dominates Ulyanovsk. The city remains a communist stronghold, which is immediately evident due to lesser (yet imminent) commercialization in the streets and certain confidence displayed by predominantly working class population, which attitude is rooted out elsewhere in modern Russia. Leftist politics also translate into stronger emphasis by local authorities on reliable social services.
Lenin's legacy is well remembered and boosted as the city's main attraction. There is a portion of town that is maintained in the same general appearance as it was more than a century ago. A portion of the city is also closed for automobile traffic. All Ulyanov family houses have been preserved and opened to public as museums.
Even though, classic old architecture in the central area reveals a small-town origin of the city, since Ulyanovsk is a birthplace of Lenin, during the Soviet era the city was artificially expanded into an oversized poorly planned incoherent metropolis.
The city population was 670 000 people in 2002.
05.01.1954 - from Trampark (nowadays Severniy Venets) to Vokzal Ulyanovsk-I, via Radischeva Ul., Sovetskaya Ul., Lenina Ul., Armii Truda Ul., Kirova Ul.
1955 - from Armii Truda Ul. to Avtozavod UAZ, via Minaeva Ul., Moskovskoe Shosse.
01.06.1956 - from Avtozavod UAZ to Zasviyazhye (nowadays Oktyabrskaya Ul.), via Aerodromnaya Ul.
05.12.1957 - from Kirova Ul. to Kindyakovka (nowadays Kozhkombinat), via Locomtivenaya Ul., Gaya Pr.
10.12.1960 - from Trampark to Vystavka (nowadays Park Pobedy), via Timiryazeva Ul., Narimanova Ul.
1963 - between Lenina Ul. and Timiryazeva Ul., via Marata Ul., Mozhayskogo Ul., Verkhnyaya Polevaya Ul., with the new loop Damba.
1963 - from Avtozavod to UZTS (nowadays Depot 2) via Moskovskoe Shoesse.
1967 - from UZTS to Pos. Mirniy, via Stankostroiteley Ul., Depot 2 opens.
04.1969 - from Pushkareva Ul. to Zasviyazhye (nowadays Oktyabrskaya Ul.), via Oktyabrskaya Ul.
04.1970 - from Pos. Mirniy to Locomotivnaya Ul. via Kamyshinskaya Ul.
01.10.1970 - from Timiryazeva Ul. to Park Yunosti, via Rozy Lyuksemburg Ul.
Early 1970s - from Kozhkombinat to Fabrika Volzhanka, via Gaya Pr.
01.1975 - from Pushkareva Ul. to 19-y Mikrorayon, via Pushkareva Ul.
06.10.1975 - from 19-y Mikrorayon to Verkhnyaya Polevaya Ul., via Karla Marxa Ul.
Early 1980s - from Pos. Mirniy to UKSM, via Ryabikova Ul.
06.10.1983 - from Oktyabrskaya Ul. to Pos. Mirniy, via Ryabikova Ul.
13.06.1994 - from Depot 2 to Veschevoy Rynok, via Moskovskoe Shosse, single track.
09.05.1995 - from Park Pobedy to Severnaya AZS, single track.
05.2001 - the Veschevoy Rynok Line is double tracked.
20.09.2005 - from Park Pobedy to Poselok, via Repina Ul.
Please see maps for the history of routing development.
Ulyanovsk is distinctly separated into two parts, which are simply identified as Praviy Bereg (the Right Bank) and Leviy Bereg (the Left Bank). The tramway network is serving the larger Right Bank, which is regarded as the central area. The entire trolleybus network is situated on the Left Bank, which appears to be a development of modern apartment blocks along with massive industrial parks. Both parts of the city are connected with a single old steel bridge that accommodates one underused railroad track and one automobile traffic lane in each direction. The bridge generates huge traffic backups the city is infamous for, sometimes stretching for hours. The bridge is not served by any electric means of transport, as such operation would be considered unsafe due to excessive steel in bridge structure (one of locally generated explanations). Instead, the bridge is served by private carriers only.
Tramway service appears to be an important city entity and a primary beneficiary of pro-communist nature of local politics. For instance, competition from private minibus industry is limited. While it is a large-scale problem elsewhere in Russia, Ulyanovsk private transportation industry seems to be a subject of strong government scrutiny, with midibus numbers and routing controlled by local authorities. Many discounts that the public is entitled to, represent a notable nuisance cited by local electric transport management, but not to the same extent as elsewhere in Russia. Many operational decisions, such as hours of operation, headways and coupling strategies, are made to the benefit of riding public, which is dictated by both seemingly healthy transportation market environment that provokes coherent decision making, as well as strong social traditions in this city.
The important status tramways enjoy could be illustrated by the fact that a local city tourist map that is widely available throughout the city depicts tram routes with solid red lines as if they were heavy metro lines, but does not depict bus or trolleybus routes.
Ulyanovsk is one of the very few Russian cities that built tramway extensions during the 1990s. The new lines actually followed public demand in places where extra flow of passengers existed.
One extension was built along Moskovskoe Shosse (Moscow Highway) to the Veschevoy Rynok (Flea Market) Terminal. Flea Markets have become important for everyday commercial life of Russian cities, hence very popular destination-wise. Because of its filthy operating nature, such markets are not popular within city limits and are pushed to the outskirts, which creates somewhat irrationally located trip generator. In Ulyanovsk when such development occurred trams simply followed the passenger flow. The smart but unusual for Russia strategy included opening the single-track line first (1994), followed by the second track (2001) when the line proved successful.
Another extension was built from Park Pobedi to Severnaya AZS (1995), to summerhouse developments, a very popular seasonal destination. The line was also built with economical consideration in mind as a single-track extension with one passing.
Private carriers gained strength in the face of harsh economic reality, as despite seemingly pro-social government, the city remains considerably poor. The number of minibuses and midibuses seems to be out of control, but the industry is still strained due to such factors, as limited cash flows and inadequate old bus fleet, long travel distances within incoherently sprawled city combined with public inability to pay high fares, and unique traffic bottlenecking around the single low-capacity bridge connecting both banks of the Volga River, the source of unpredictable delays that strand buses for hours.
Private bus service over the bridge used to be sufficient due to notably autonomous life styles that were maintained in two separate parts of the city. With old Soviet-planned social and economic urban arrangements giving way to new economic reality, the pressure on the bridge and crowds bus operators are faced with became the major transportation dilemma for the city. The new bridge is under construction since the 1980s, and at the pace it is currently going, might take indefinite time to complete.
The iffy state of private transportation industry, citywide routing control policies, persistent social support of public transportation by the local government, and strong patronage of trams by traditional riders, resulted in remarkable division of the local transportation market. Private bus carriers and public electric transport each cater to its own geographic and social passenger bases. This in turn resulted in a parity between private bus and public electric carriers, somewhat unique for modern Russia.
The new Poselok line is built in 2005 to serve the new apartment block' development at the northern fringes of the city. At the time of the opening only a few buildings were actually built, thus trams were to stimulate the development of the new neighborhood.
1 Vokzal Ulyanovsk-I - Poselok
2 Severniy Venets - UKSM
4 Park Pobedy - Kozhkombinat
5 UKSM - Veschevoy Rynok
6 Konditerskay F-ka Volzhanka - 19-y Mikrorayon
7 Kozhkombinat - 19-y Mikrorayon
9 Damba - Oktyabrskaya Ul. - Damba (circles clockwise)
10 Damba - Oktyabrskaya Ul. - Damba (circles counterclockwise)
11 Damba - Park Unosti
14 UKSM - Konditerskaya F-ka Volzhanka
15 Park Pobedy - Oktyabrskaya Ul.
17 Damba - 19-y Mikrorayon - Damba (circles both ways)
18 Damba - Veschevoy Rynok
19 Kozhkombinat - Veschevoy Rynok
107 Park Pobedy - Severnaya AZS
Line 5 operates Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays during rush hours only; Wednesdays, Fridays all day until 17:30; Saturdays, Sundays all day until 16:00.
Line 7 is the recently introduced short cut version of Line 6, and follows the same routing as the latter except for the industrial park section.
Line 14 operates on weekdays during morning rush hours only.
Line 17 operates until 18:00 only. The line does officially have the 17-right (counterclockwise) and the 17-left (clockwise) patterns, but no appropriate signage was ever observed in actual service (the same practice used to apply to Line 16 when it was operated in the late 1990s). Line 17 was a rush hour-only service in 2002, but the service was extended into midday by 2006. This was done, as due to economic changes the distinction between rush hour and non-rush hour services in the city has gradually faded away.
Line 18 operates on Saturdays and Sundays only, all day until 15:00.
Line 19 operates on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays all day until 15:30.
Line 107 is seasonal, operates from May 1st to October 15th only. It opened 05.09.1995 and was numbered as 7 first, which was the next consecutive number available at that time. The line number was changed to107 shortly thereafter. This was done to emphasize the suburban status of the line, which allowed for premium fare to be charged. Charging the premium fare, however, was quickly found illegal by the local district attorney's office, when the official city limits were clarified - the real boundary was found to be located just beyond the terminal. The fare was promptly reduced to a regular citywide level, but the unique line number 107, stuck.
The tramway network is run remarkably well and with great efficiency. Steady predictable convenient headways are maintained, and rarely interrupted.
Lines 2, 4, 6, 11, 15 form a skeleton of the city transportation network. Some loads carried by this lines resemble those of heavy-rail. Lines that have less frequent service such as 5, 14, 16, 17, 18, 107 run on schedules that are made public, with trams actually showing up on time. The service seems to be reduced, however, where it comes to serving traditional industrial areas, with more emphasis put on serving residential and non-industrial commercial areas, most recently introduced routes #5,17,19,107 being the best examples of that. Subsequently, the rush hour-only service 8 and the UAZ-factory oriented rush hour services 12, 13 were rooted out.
Lines 2, 4 have the heaviest ridership and boast most frequent service with daytime headways around 5-8 min. Lines 6 (together with supplemental Line 7), 11 and 15 are run relatively frequently with about 10 min. headways. Lines 1, 9, 10 have less frequent service, hovering around 15-20 min. headways, while Line 107 is run on a steady 20 min. headway schedule. Line 17 has occasional service only, with 1-2 cars assigned to each of its two counter-circular patterns. Services 5, 18, 19 serve the giant flea market at the outskirts of the city, their operational patterns are tied to popular demand. Line 14 is a peculiar morning rush hour only operation with just a few runs.
The main city tramway service, Line 2, has seen a brief period of decline after 2003, marked by the incoherent use of single cars and 2-car sets with same headways retained. By 2006, however, it was 'back', and was served with 2-car trains again, the headway was noticeably low.
In 2002 all trams serving Line 4 were 2-car trains. By 2006 they were uncoupled into single units, and the headway was subsequently reduced two-fold. According to "Ulyanovskelektrotrans", this was followed by a significant increase in ridership.
Lines 9, 10 used to boast 2-car trains as a rule, and Line 11 featured a few trains in 2002. By 2006 all trains were uncoupled with the same headways retained. Line 15 suffered the same fate, but the headway was somewhat reduced.
[09.1997, Aare Olander]
There are 296 trams on the property:
Tatra T-3, 231 cars:
1088-1092, 1095-1126, 1130, 1131, 1133-1142, 1144-1149, 1151-1195, 1216-1219, 1222-1234
2045, 2046, 2049, 2055, 2056, 2058-2061, 2063, 2065-2084, 2086-2088, 2090-2092, 2094, 2096, 2098-2107, 2109-2113, 2115-2125, 2127-2172, 2218, 2219-2231
Tatra T-3M, 45 cars: 2173-2217
KTM-5M3, 12 cars: 1198-1209
KTM-8, 4 cars: 1210-1213
KTM-8M, 2 cars: 1214, 1215
LM-93, 2 cars: 1220, 1221
Ulyanovsk rolling stock mainly consists Tatra T-3 cars. This Czech built trams were considered premier product in the Soviet Union, and were delivered to Ulyanovsk ever since the milestone 100th birthday of Lenin celebrations. More than half of all Tatra T-3 cars today are still older 2-door versions. The oldest surviving cars date back to 1974.
All Tatra T-3M cars are coupled into trains.
All KTM-8 and LM-93 trams are running as single units only, and the only two KTM-8M cars are coupled into a 2-car set.
LM-93 cars could rarely be seen in service due to constant breakdowns. These cars generate many complaints, but it should also be noted that such cars stand alone from the rest of the fleet due to their technical peculiarities, namely the use of pneumatics.
All vehicles inconsistent with predominantly Tatra fleet are stationed at the Depot 1. All KTM cars of various modifications are used exclusively on Line 11. All LM-93 cars, when operable, are used on Line 17.
The car assignments are as follows: Lines 1, 8, 17, 18 are served with single Tatra T-3 cars. Lines 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 15 are served with 2-car sets of Tatra T-3 cars, also Line 6 is predominantly served with 2-car sets of Tatra-T-3M cars, while Line 2 and 4 boast only a few Tatra T-3Ms. Line 11 is served with an inconsistent assortment of 2-car KTM sets and single KTM cars, with a few very occasional single T-3 cars. Lines 5 and 19 serving the flea market are served with single or coupled T-3 cars depending on the time of the day and demand variations. The interurban Line 107 is served with two single T-3 cars during weekdays, with only one car left late at night, and with two very overloaded 2-car sets of T-3 cars during weekends.
All cars observed appeared to be in excellent working order, most of them looking neat on the outside. Upon closer examination, however, minor details reveal that car bodies are actually rather deteriorated, with rusty spots at the edges, with holes alongside window frames. Cars mostly receive cosmetic repairs, but not a single one had gotten a serious overhaul. It seems that the authorities rather worry about daily operation and presentability, but, being blinded by the apparent success, overlook the details. This takes its toll on the system's image, as despite comparably excellent performance by Russian standards, local public regards the city's trams as old an unattractive.
The system is subjected to sporadic uncoupling of 2-car consists. Lines formerly served with 2-car trains now boast a fair number of single cars. For instance, Lines 2, 4, 6 are now served with inconsistent assortment of single cars and 2-car sets of Tatra T-3 and Tatra T-3M cars, with no headway differentiation between trains and single cars. Lines 9, 10 are served predominantly with single Tatra T-3 and T-3M cars, the latter ones being new for these lines. Line 15 only feature single T-3s now.
Most Tatra T-3 and Tatra T-3M cars are uncoupled into single units. All KTM cars are uncoupled.
LM-93 cars could rarely be seen in service due to constant breakdowns.
All vehicles inconsistent with predominantly Tatra fleet are stationed at the Depot 1. All KTM cars of various modifications are used exclusively on Line 11. All LM-93 cars, when operable, are used on Line 17.
The car assignments are as follows: All lines are served with single cars only, except for three lines. Line 2 is fully staffed with 2-car sets, Line 6 has 50% of 2-car sets, and Line 107 boasts 2-car sets on weekends only during the summer. All lines see Tatra T-3 cars in operation. Tatra T-3M cars appear on Lines 2, 6 as 2-car consists, and on Lines 9, 10 as single cars. Line 11 is served exclusively with single KTM cars of all modifications, but also with surprisingly high number of Tatra T-3 cars. Since 18 KTM cars that company possesses are more than enough to provide service on Line 11, the latter fact hints low reliability of non-Tatra equipment.
All cars observed appeared to be in excellent working order, most of them looking acceptable on the outside. The rusty spots and gapping holes in car bodies seem to be less visible than before, but there are no signs of significant rehabs being done either.
Unsystematic coupling and uncoupling of cars creating odd car set combinations seems to be a common practice in Ulyanovsk.
Nowadays the network consists of about 125 km of track.
Trams mostly operate on shared right-of-way in the older central part of town, but run via exclusively reserved corridors outside of city center. Surprisingly, trams do not get delayed in the city center as tracks avoid congested areas, with the exception of a single-block stretch of Zheleznoy Divizii Ul., coincidently the busiest tramway section in the city. A sizable area of the city center around the preserved Ulyanov-family era sanctuary is closed for motor vehicles completely.
Generally speaking, most tracks in the city are in a fair condition. Tracks seem to be in poorer condition in the city center along the mixed right-of-way sections, but it is mostly the road itself that is not looked after properly, with smooth-surfaced tracks running within cracked pavement, still allowing for speedy operation. In many areas trams maintain remarkable speeds, sometimes beating the legal speed limit of 60 km/h and bypassing automobiles along sections of segregated right-of-way.
The Severnaya AZS extension remains a single-track line with one passing point. The line operates from May 1st to October 15th only, tracks are not cleaned of snow in winter.
The public electric transport positioning in the city of Ulyanovsk seems to be remarkably strong and secure. This is due to special role that those means of transportation play in the city infrastructure, which status is further maintained by local authorities. The greatest problem that this undertaking has, is the absence of any plans for fleet modernization or rehabilitation whatsoever.
The above described market parity between private bus carriers and public electric transport spells relative stability for the latter. Ulyanovsk continues to fulfill its unprecedented by modern Russian standards legacy of having the most tramway extensions after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the last extension as recent as 09.2005, completed in the new era of flourishing private transportation interests, that blocked public transport development in most other Russian cities. There are, however, no acquisitions of new rolling stock, or plans for any new deliveries. There is no strategy on consistent rehabs of existing equipment either, as the enterprise seems to rely on mediocre rehab practices and strong potential reliability of the Czech equipment.
There is an unrealistic 20-year old plan to send light rail over the new bridge across the Volga River, which is itself under construction since the 1980s.
05.01.1974 - from Stadion Zarya (Depot) to Vokzal Verkhnyaya Terrasa, via Solnechnaya Ul., Deeva Ul., Zhukovskogo Ul., Dmitrovgradskoe Shosse.
16.07.1976 - from Vokzal Verkhnyaya Terrasa to Nizhnyaya Terrasa, Krasnoproletarskaya Ul., via Dmitrovgradskoe Shosse, Shoferov Ul.
08.1981 - from Deeva Ul. to Kinoteatr Ruslan, via Deeva Ul., Leninskogo Komsomola Pr., Ulyanovskiy Pr.
01.05.1982 - from Deeva Ul. to Stadion Zarya, via Vracha Mikhaylova Ul., Orenburgskaya Ul., one-way loop, clockwise.
13.11.1986 - a one-way loop in Noviy Gorod, clockwise, via Tupoleva Pr., Aviastroiteley Pr., Generala Tyuleneva Pr., Sozidateley Pr., Tupoleva Pr. with the Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) Terminal; the old line via Leninskogo Komsomola Pr., Ulyanovskiy Pr. and the Kinoteatr Ruslan Loop dismantled.
12.07.1988 - a counterclockwise loop in Noviy Gorod opens.
02.01.1989 - from Sozidateley Pr. to 2-ya Prokhodnaya, via Generala Tyuleneva Pr. and Antonova Pr.
1990 - from 2-ya Prokhodnaya to 4-ya Prokhodnaya via Antonova Pr., Druzhby Narodov Pr.; from Generala Tyuleneva Pr. to 4-ya Prokhodnaya, via Sozidateley Pr., Druzhby Narodov Pr.
27.11.1994 - the new access line to Noviy Gorod from Solnechnaya Ul, to Tupoleva Pr., via Sozidateley Pr.; the old access line via Deeva Ul. closes.
Please see maps for the history of routing development.
The trolleybus network on the Left Bank of the Volga River purposelessly terminates not far from the bridge leading to the Right Bank without actually serving it, hence caters to the local Left Bank demand only. According to a poular stereotype, the system has a distinction of being one of the dullest trolleybus systems in Russia, as it mostly covers the area of new apartment block developments and some industrial sites. As the trolleybus line climbs up the hill and eastward in the direction of the newly built Noviy Gorod area (The New Town), however, it does cover some great distance on an intercity highway, thus boasting all classic characteristics of an interurban trolleybus line.
The network consists of many circular routes, with directional patterns capable of making a newcomer dizzy, but it seems to be well known by regular users who had gotten used to it as a matter of habit. Route number assignments seem to be consistent with the policy of designating numbered lines to run clockwise in Noviy Gorod, while numbered lines with letter 'A' added to it run counterclockwise.
Trolleybuses dominate the niche of the transportation market based on local trips within the Left Bank. This is due to the fact that the entire private bus industry serving the left side of the Volga River is concentrated on carrying passengers over the bridge to the central city, which task stretched private carriers to the limits. As city center-bound private buses run full, local trolleybuses provide a much-needed relief.
1 Stadion Zarya (Depot) - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles clockwise in Verkhnyaya Terrasa, circles clockwise in Noviy Gorod)
1A Stadion Zarya (Depot) - 4-ya Prokhodnaya (circles clockwise in Verkhnyaya Terrasa, circles counterclockwise in Noviy Gorod)
2 Stadion Zarya (Depot) - Krasnoproletarskaya Ul. (Nizhnyaya Terrasa) (currently not operated)
2A Stadion Zarya (Depot) - Krasnoproletarskaya Ul. (Nizhnyaya Terrasa) (circles clockwise in Verkhnyaya Terrasa)
3 Aviastroiteley - 4-ya Prokhodnaya
4 Krasnoproletarskaya Ul. (Nizhnyaya Terrasa) - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles clockwise in Noviy Gorod)
4A Krasnoproletarskaya Ul. (Nizhnyaya Terrasa) - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles counterclockwise in Noviy Gorod)
5 Stadion Zarya (Depot) - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles clockwise in Noviy Gorod) (currently not operated)
5A Stadion Zarya (Depot) - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles counterclockwise in Noviy Gorod) (currently not operated)
6 Vokzal Verkhnyaya Terrasa - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles clockwise in Noviy Gorod) (currently not operated)
6A Vokzal Verkhnyaya Terrasa - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles counterclockwise in Noviy Gorod) (currently not operated)
7 Aviastroiteley - 4-ya Prokhodnaya (circles clockwise in Noviy Gorod)
8 Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) - Torgoviy Tsentr (Noviy Gorod) (circles clockwise in Noviy Gorod)
The Ulyanovsk trolleybus undertaking has recently established a culture of maintaining homogeneous routing under specific line numbers, allowing to provide the relatively time-insensitive route list above.
Lines 3, 7 operate on weekdays during rush hours only.
Similarly to the tramway network, the trolleybus system is very well run, with short headways, high speeds, and a great degree of reliability. Service is visibly cut where it comes to serving industrial sites, with additional service added within residential areas.
[1998, Aare Olander]
The network is served with some 50 ZIU-682V trolleybuses, fleet numbers fall within 57-114.
The fleet condition is similar to that of tram rolling stock across the river. Trolleybuses might be running well, and many of them are freshly painted, but smaller details reveal older age and poor cosmetic maintenance. There is no coherent rehab program for older vehicles. There are no new deliveries.
First vehicles completely rebuilt through the local rehab program are observed in service.
More rehabbed vehicles are observed. The overall fleet appearance seems to be turning for the better.
The network consists of 53.9 km of wire.
The wirework is maintained in fair condition.
Trolleybuses have strong market based on local trips within the Left Bank. A consistent vehicle rehab program provides reliable rolling stock source.
There will never be a trolleybus line connecting both sides of the river, as this is prevented by the structural peculiarities of the old bridge, while the new bridge currently under construction is to carry light rail line, not trolleybuses. There are no other plans to extend the network within the Left Bank, moreover, with the exception of a few city blocks within the satellite city of Noviy Gorod, the possibilities for such expansion are exhausted as the existing network covers all possible destinations.
There were plans for isolated trolleybus development on the Right Bank, with depot construction initiated in mid-1980s. The first trolleybus line was supposed to connect the city center with the UAZ automobile production plant via the new bridge over the Sviyaga River. This plan has never materialized, and the depot construction ceased. With trams covering an entire Right Bank, further trolleybus development here is unlikely.
© 2002 Author: Yury Maller
Content: Yury Maller
Presentation: Stefan Mashkevich
Usage of material found herein is permitted provided the source is mentioned. Usage for public display is possible with authors' permission only.