Semi-Trailer busses

In 1898 De Dion-Bouton already build semi trailer busses, but the concept of the fifth wheel was only standarised and widely used after the 2nd world war. The closer you sit near the truck, the more uncomfortable, because of the direct connection to the truck chassis. (The where extensively used around the DAF factory in Holland for transporting their workers, and they where not very popular)
Circa 1930 the call for larger busses and the tax-law's that where on the weight of the tractor where a starting point for ever bigger busses based on it. In the 1920-1930 era there where many companies that build combination car's and truck's to convert between passengers and cargo. Besides taxes, it is a logical development to use semi-trailers. A truck can usually pull twice what it can carry. The truck needs more service and is the more likely component to break down. One spare truck can replace the truck part of many busses.

In building semi-trailer busses Kässbohrer of Ulm was the leading company. At the model change of 1937, Opel tractors where also used for semi-trailer busses. Leipzig and Dresden used them, Replacement of the heavy Berlin doubledeckers was attempted after the war. The roof lay-out of the Dessauer Mercedes bus is very revealing of the construction of all.

The pioneer situation seems to be Leipzig community transport. Speed of the combination is limited to 45 km/h.

Early Blitz

1933 truck with Kiel(germany) city transportation - source unknown 1935 25-35 - source unknown 1933 travel bus - source unknown 1934 25-35 - source unknown 1934 truck with grafschafter on the trailer - source unknown 1933 travel bus - source unknown
A 1933 2 ton Blitz truck operated by the Kiel public transport Same picture but with more building. Probably from the coachbuilder(Kässbohrer?) A 1933 2 ton Blitz with a travel bus Same picture but with more building. Probably from the coachbuilder(Kässbohrer?) A 1934 Blitz with "Grafschafter"(?) as the company on the trailer A 1933 Blitz travel bus

1937 onward

1939 3ton probably dresden - source unknown 1939 Leibzig - source factory 1939 Leipzig - source factory blitzbus74_rf_hist-opel.jpg - source unknown 1952 ifa z6 'dobus'  7 build - source unknown 1955 ifa es6d 'dobus' electro proto - source unknown
This must be from the Schumann company and by the logo on the trailer and the layout of both also from Leipzig. In replacing streetcars and much heavier busses it seems an adequat solution. Double decker's where also on buschassis, as the where operated in Berlin, but on much heavier chassis. Same picture, but reworked. (background cut out) but with more details In 1952 reportetly 7 new combinations are build. They show remarkable simularity with the post war trailers. In 1955 a prototype is made for a electrically driven tractor unit.

Leizig Doubledecker trailerinfo:
CoachbuilderFahrzeugbau Schumann, Werdau
Seats18 (belowdeck) + 28 (upperdeck)
Stand places54
Standing height1.82 1.86 lower floor, 1.72 upper floor
Lenght13 800 (with tractor)
Width2 500 mm
Height3930 mm (total)
Own weight6 160 kg
Total weight11 960 kg

The trailer information is reportetly the 1939 version. Trailers ares seen with and without the "radverkleiding", the wheelcover. Compare the post war pictures. In day to day maintainance the probably where trouble.


Internal drawing rightside drawing

A big Mercedes Benz tractor pulls a giant semitrailer bus revealing the roof layout. A side not often seen. This layout with a part roof opening with a sliding motion to the rear is seen on many period busses.
The lettering says Dessauer Strassenbahn. (Cable car company of Dessau)

Mercedes Benz pulling a giant semitrailer bus revealing the roof layout. The lettering says Dessauer Strassenbahn. Cablecar company of Dessau

index | | last revised: June 24 2013