34 vehicles of the type 14 Tr in six different production series changed between 1983 and 2018 on the streets of Opava. The first “Fourteen” was delivered already at the end of 1982, the last two vehicles came 15 years later – in 1997. The oldest vehicles have this year their 23rd birthday.
In contrast to other Czechoslovak cities, Opava did not think about shutting down its trolleybus network in the 1960s and 1970s. The importance of electric and ecological transport was always topical in the city. However, the development of the trolleybus network was very limited by then conditions and it wasn’t clear in the second half of the 1970s how to solve the change of the fleet. The view on trolleybuses in Czechoslovakia changed in the end and Opava was waiting that “the period of fast” will be replaced by a stormy development. Only a few of the proposed plans were realized, but Opava gained the new trolleybuses at least.
The first trolleybus Škoda 14 Tr was delivered at the end of 1982 and it was put into passenger service in January 1983. Unfortunately, the exact date was not found in the archives but thanks to the photographs we found we think that it was on 23rd January 1983 or close to this date.
The purchase of the new trolleybuses 14 Tr took place continuously until 1990 (with the exception of the years 1985 and 1987). Afterwards it was stopped for five years because of the political and economic changes in Czechoslovakia occurring after 1989 and because of the plan to establish a new city company as an operator (instead of the state). In 1995, the purchase of the next series of the “Fourteens” succeeded. These vehicles were already built in the modernized version with design by the Czech famous architect Patrik Kotas. Opava took over the last two vehicles in 1997. These trolleybuses were produced a year early and they were built for the capital city of Turkmenistan (Ashgabat). The customer didn’t take over the trolleybuses and Opava bought these as a bargain.
Out of the 34 Opava’s trolleybuses Škoda 14 Tr (numbers 49–82), 10 were built as a modernized version 14 TrM (numbers 73–82). Apart from these vehicles there were also a reconstructed version named 14 TrR. Only two trolleybuses (number 50 and 52) were modernized by the company Pars nova (nowadays a member of the Škoda Transportation Group) as the only ones in the world.
All “Fourteens” in Opava did not meet in traffic because the first vehicle from 1983 was removed already in 1996, i.e. before the last delivery of new vehicles. The bigger decommissioning of the trolleybuses 14 Tr began after 2003 when the purchase of new low floor vehicles started. Many of the Opava’s decommissioned trolleybuses 14 Tr headed to other operators. Six vehicles (numbers 53–56, 59 and 62) were delivered to Kazakhstan (Almaty), 4 to the Latvian capital Vilnius (numbers 65, 66, 68 and 69) and we can find some vehicles in the Ukrainian cities Rivne (numbers 64, 67 and 71) and Ternopil (numbers 60, 61 and 63).
One vehicle – numbers 58 from 1986 – was put aside after the end of operation in the depot and it should be the first historical trolleybus in Opava. Nowadays, the trolleybus is not able to ride and is waiting for its reconstruction. The other trolleybuses Škoda 14 Tr were removed from traffic after a big fire in the trolleybus depot in October 2013 (numbers 77 and 81). Some other trolleybuses Škoda 14 Tr were also damaged by this fire but they could be repaired.
Today 8 trolleybuses Škoda 14 TrM from 1995 and 1996 are still in traffic. All these vehicles will be removed from the traffic after the delivery of the new generation of trolleybuses Škoda 32 Tr with traction batteries. The symbolic farewell for the public with the program for the citizens of the city and the visitors will take place on 10th November 2011.