The Wonderful

of Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá trolleybus 2088 rescued and restored by
Nelson Herrera

Photographs by Nelson Herrera, Henry Peraza, César González, Mauricio Farieta and Carlos José Peñaloza Ospina.


The Bogotá trolleybus system closed in August 1991 [see The Trolleybuses of Bogotá]. The vehicles were collected in the trolleybus yards on Av. Chile and in a field near Parque Jaime Duque in Briceño, a town 30 km north of the capital. All had been sold to a scrap dealer, but remained untouched, unprotected and exposed to the elements for the next two decades.

In 2009 Bogotá resident Nelson Herrera visited Briceño and learned that the vehicles were finally to be destroyed. He returned several times, acquired permission to enter the grounds and took the following photographs in July and August 2010. [Nelson Herrera]




The last photograph shows trolleybus 2088, which Sr. Herrera purchased from the scrap dealer, along with spare parts and other pieces that he needed. He decided to rebuild the vehicle as a café. [Nelson Herrera]



He took this picture inside the trolleybus. [Nelson Herrera]



Sr. Herrera had the vehicle transferred to a vacant lot in Bogotá, where he began its restoration. [Nelson Herrera]



The first coat of paint. [Nelson Herrera]



The windows, wheels and trolley poles were covered, but everything else got sprayed. [Nelson Herrera]



The first stage of applying the stripes. [Nelson Herrera]



The colors were matched exactly to the colors that appeared on the vehicles during operation. [Nelson Herrera]



The coat of arms of The City of Bogotá and the "ZiU" logo (Cyrillic lettering) of the Uritsky company in the Soviet Union, which built the trolleybuses in the 1970s. [Henry Peraza]



Finally, with restoration complete, Bogotá trolleybus 2088 was placed on display in the Parqueadero Milenio (parking lot) on Calle 28 near the city center [see map below]. Sr. Herrera says that it took eight months of negotiations with municipal authorities to obtain permission to place the vehicle in this location and convert it to a café. [Henry Peraza]



The vehicle's new logo! [Henry Peraza]



Instead of debris, 2088 is now surrounded by a manicured lawn, shrubs and flowers. Sr. Peraza's photographs were taken in September 2011. [Henry Peraza]



What a contrast with the vehicle's scrap yard location only a few months before! Number 2088 is now believed to be the only trolleybus in existence in Colombia. All the other trolleybuses in the two scrap yards were destroyed. [Henry Peraza]



Because of an iron fence, the vehicle's door side is difficult to photograph. [Henry Peraza]



The slogan "Bogotá For Everybody" appeared on all trolleybuses when they were in service. [Henry Peraza]



The logo of the Empresa Distrital de Transportes Urbanos, which ran the city's trolleybus system from 1959 until 1991. [Henry Peraza]



Nelson Herrera: trolleybus 2088's hero, savior, restorer, new owner and – now – chef. The café finally opened for business in June 2011 and currently operates 7 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. It is closed Sundays. [Henry Peraza]



2088's new interior – looking toward the kitchen in the rear. [Henry Peraza]



The kitchen – with vintage refrigerator, television, cakes and pies. [Henry Peraza]



Lunch menu (which has recently expanded). Smoked ham and lasagna – with both beef and chicken!



The customer entrance at the front – driver's – end of the vehicle. Note old trolleybus photographs. [Henry Peraza]



An original turnstile. [Henry Peraza]



The driver's compartment, impeccably restored. [Henry Peraza]



The view of trolleybus 2088 from Calle 28. [Henry Peraza]



The Trolley Café was located on the south side of Calle 28, between Carreras 13A and 14. The word Carrera (boulevard) is sometimes abbreviated "K". Carrera 14 is also known as Avenida Caracas, was once the path of a steam railroad, and today is traversed by the city's Transmilenio bus rapid transit. Trams ran on Carrera 13 (but not on 13A) until 1951. Trolleybuses ran on Carrera 14 until 1991. Both trams and trolleybuses ran on Calle 26. [Google Maps]




In 2012, unfortunately, trolleybus 2088 was forced to move from its location on Calle 28. The Trolley Café reopened for business that year at the autódromo (automobile racetrack) at Tocancipá, on highway 55 just beyond Briceño, 30 km north of Bogotá. Briceño was where Sr. Herrera had rescued trolleybus 2088 two years before – see photographs at the top of this page. [Nelson Herrera]



After the autodrome, trolleybus 2088 disappeared again. But in November 2014 César González, a university student in Bogotá, learned of a trolleybus in Chocontá, a town 30 km northeast of Tocancipá. He and a friend traveled there and were told, alas, that it was gone – that it had been moved to Machetá, another town nearby. In Machetá they finally found it – and sent the picture above! This photograph is also reproduced on the Transphoto (Russian) website. [César González]



In February 2015 another young Colombian, Mauricio Farieta, who remembers riding Bogotá trolleybuses as a student, found 2088 in the same spot and sent this second picture. [Mauricio Farieta]



But the story doesn't end there! Only a month later, in March 2015, a Colombian named Carlos José Peñaloza Ospina sent this picture that he took in an industrial area just outside Bogotá – not far from El Dorado International Airport and a considerable distance from Machetá. The district is called Siberia... [Carlos José Peñaloza Ospina]



Webpage by Allen Morrison
with assistance from Señores
Nelson Herrera, Henry Peraza, Juan Pablo Cutiva, César González, Mauricio Farieta and Carlos José Peñaloza Ospina.

Also see
The Trolleybuses of Bogotá

Mike's Bogota Blog about the Trolley Café


If you have comments, criticism or suggestions,
please e-mail me! Leo y escribo español.

This site was placed online on
7 October 2011

Copyright © 2011-2111 Allen Morrison