Sunday, 24 June 2012


Karrozzi tal-Linja - Malta - Buses



Fejn nara ritratti antiki ta Malta dejjem jinteressani kif il-bini jew xena inbidlet matul iz-zmien. Fir-ritratti li ngibdu dawn l-ahhar mitt sena jidhru, hafna drabi, karrozzi tal-linja f’xeni hdejn bieb il-belt u mkejjen ohra. Tant interessajt ruhi f’dawn, illi bdejt infittex fejn jidhru aktar qrib u malli sibt ftit, bdejt inpittirhom kif dehru jinbidlu matul is-snin. 

When I spot vintage photos of Malta, I’m always fascinated how a building or scene changes over the years.In the shots of the past 100 years, one can spot buses at the city gate terminus and at other locations. My interest in these led me to seek closeup shots of them and after acquiring a few, I ended up painting a series showing how the Maltese Bus developed over the years.

                 Fejn jieqfu l-Karrozzi tal-linja - circa 1950                         Bus Terminus circa 1950



Kien ghad ghandna l-ferrovija u t-tram meta l-ewwel karozzi tal-linja gew impurtati mill-Inghilterra. Dawn kienu tal-marka Thorneycroft ta fuq u isfel imma bla saqaf fil-livell ta fuq. Impurtaw xi tnejn ohra tal-istess marka b’livell wiehed. Kellhom rotta bejn il-belt Valletta u San Giljan biss. Dawn baqghu iservu sas-snin 30.

Trains and Trams were still running in Malta of the turn of the century. At this time some Thorneycroft double deckers were imported from the UK. They had the upper level open without a roof. A couple of regular single deckers of the same make were also imported. They ran on a single route between Valletta and St Julian’s. These were still in service well into the 30s.

Ta fuq u isfel - Thoneycroft - Double decker.

Kif pittirtha jien - My interpretation on Canvas.



Ftit wara t-tmiem tal-ewwel gwerra dinjija, il-Maltin bdew ihaddmu rashom u flok jimpurtaw karozzi lesti, jibnuhom huma. Dawn kienu izghar minn ta qabilhom u mahduma fuq bazi ta ambulanzi zejda li xtraw minghand l-Inglizi. Hekk inholoq xoghol gdid tal-karrozzerija li baqa jizviluppa sa zminijiet ricenti.

Right after WWI, some Maltese craftsmen started reasoning they could build buses themselves instead of importing ready made ones. These were somewhat smaller and built on surplus ambulance chasis bought from the British. Thus was born a new bus body building trade which was still developing until recent years.

Mibnija fuq bazi ta' ambulanza - Built on ambulance chasis.

Kif pittirtha jien - My interpretation in Acrylics



Ghadda z-zmien u baqghu jibnu tal-linja imma din id-darba fuq bazi ta trakkijiet uzati impurtati mir-Renju Unit. Il-karozzi issa kienu bejn wiehed u iehor tal-istess ghamla izda akbar minn ta qabilhom. Hawn beda diehel xoghol ta disinn mizbugh bhala ornament, imsejjah tberfil fuq il-genb tal-karozzi, quddiem u fuq il-magna. Dan iz-zmien ukoll, bdew ituhom ismijiet ta nies prominenti, atturi u vapuri ta zmienhom kollox impitter bit-tberfil. Illum-il gurnata jezistu kopji ta dawn li juzawhom ghat-turisti.

As time went by, buses continued to be built, but now on used lorry chasis imported from the UK. These buses were generally of the same shape as before but larger. Now they began to be finely decorated with intricate painted shapes on the sides, front and hood. At this stage, buses were given names of prominent people, actors and ships of the time, all done in the same intricate painting. Nowadays one can find replicas of these used for tourists.


Imsemmija ghal vapur li gharrqu l-Germanizi
Named after a ship sunk by the Germans

Il-pittura tieghi - My painting



Fil-bidu tas-snin tletin, id-daqs tal-karozzi tal-linja beda jikber u hadu sura bil-‘gallarija’ jew pizz quddiem iservi biex jilqa x-xemx. Hafna minn dawn baqghu jidhru sas-snin hamsin. Sa issa kollha kienu indipendenti jew parti minn kumpaniji zghar b’servizz mhux ta min jorbot fuqu, izda ghal dan iz-zmien gew organizzati u mizbugha bi lwien jghajtu kull lewn juri lejn liema rahal sejra l-karozza. Ftit wara dan organizzaw ruhhom f’zewg kumpaniji imma xorta wahda ghalkemm anqas, baqghu jigu mzejna b’ismijiet u tberfil. Billi kollha kienu jitilqu minn barra l-belt Valletta, minn quddiem Bieb il-Belt u ohrajn minn fuq Kastilja, fil-gnieb kellhom ukoll Valletta u r-rahal ta fejn ikunu sejrin fuq zewg pjanci twal.

In the early thirties, the size of buses increased and they started being built with a protrusion or brim in front as protection from the sun. Many of these were still running well into the fifties. Up to now they were still individually run or in very small groups with erratic service rendered, but at this point they were organized and painted in bright colours, each colour indicating the village of destination. A while later they were organized into two large groups but owners were still decorating them as before with intricate motifs and names. Since there were only two termini, one just outside Valletta Kingsgate and another at Castille, the buses were equipped with long plates on each side with Valletta and the destination village printed on them. 



Tal-'Gallarija' - With a brim up front.

Il-pittura li ghamilt jiena - My interpretation on canvas.




                                                            ----------------------


                                           Terminus: (A=Kingsgate; C=Castille)
                              Colours                                                              destinations:
                       Red =                                                             Birkirkara --- A
                       Red + Green stripe =                                      Zejtun --- C
                       Red + Blue stripe =                                        Zabbar  --- A
                       Red + white / red stripes =                             Lija/Attard --- C
                       Blue =                                                            Rabat / Dingli --- A
                       Blue + Cream stripe =                                    Gudja / Ghaxaq --- C
                       Light Blue + white / red stripes =                   Kalafrana --- C
                       White + blue stripe =                                      Mellieha --- C
                       Light Green =                                                 Cospicua (Cottonera) --- A
                       Yellow =                                                         Zebbug --- A
                       Yellow + orange stripe =                                Siggiewi --- A
                       Orange =                                                        Zurrieq --- A
                       Brown =                                                         Mosta --- C
                       Brown + dark brown stripe =                         Naxxar --- C
                       Dark Green =                                                 Sliema / St Julian’s --- A
                       Dark Green + red stripe =                              San Gwann
                       Grey + red stripe =                                         Gozo
                       Cream =                                                         Private hire
                       All Red + white stripe+                                  Gozo Mail Bus



Fejn kienu jiqfu fuq Kastilja - The Castille Terminus.

Quddiem Putirjal - The Kingsgate Terminus.


                                                             -------------------------


Fis-snin 50 bdew jinbnew aktar fit-tond u l-gallerija jew pizz ma baqghux jibnuh. It-twieqi bdew jaghmluhom jigru fil-gnub biex wiehed seta jiftaghhom ghall-frisk u hargu ligijiet fejn ghalkemm ghebu l-ismijiet minn barra, baqa xi ftit tberfil moderat.

Around the fifties, buses became more streamlined and lost the front brim or protrusion. Now one could slide the windows open sideways for some fresh air. New laws were enacted banning names painted on the outside though a little intricate decoration was still allowed.
Ittundjati - Streamlined.


Il-pittura tieghi - My painting.



Il-magna tidher fuq barra wara ftit zmien iehor ghebet u b’hekk gi akkwistat naqra spazju iehor ghall-passiggieri hdejn is-sewwieq. Imma dan il-pass zied fil-hsejjes u shana li bdiet tarmi l-magna li issa sabet ruhha hdejn is-sewwieq. Ghaz-zmien 70 – 80, tnaqqas in-numru ta kuluri u fl-ahhar dahlet is-sistema tal-karozzi kollha hodor cari imbaghad orangjo b’faxx ahmar aktar tard. Biex tingharaf fejn sejra kull karrozza, dahlet sistema gdida ta numri jidhru fuq il-hgiega ta quddiem. Ftit wara bdew ukoll jigu mpurtati karozzi lesti imma uzati.

The engine found its way inside the main body of the bus after a while making space for a few more passengers near the driver. But this increased the levels of noise and heat emanated by the engine which was now squarely near the driver. In the 70s – 80s, the colours were unified first to a light green then to an orange with a red stripe. A new system of numbers on the windshield indicated each destination. A little while later one could spot ready built buses imported as second-hand.

Magna fuq gewwa - Engine incorporated inside.

L-interpretazzjoni tieghi - My Interpretation.




Wara riorganizzazzjoni shiha tat-trasport pubbliku, l-awtoritajiet xtraw il-karozzi kollha qodma u dahhlu kumpanija privata Arriva b’karozzi godda maghmula c-Cina u ohrajn uzati imma rrangati skond il-ligijiet tal-Ewropa. Ir-rotot inbidlu jew gew adattati u sa ftit zmien iehor tidhol sistema kompletament elettronika ta fejn sejrin, fejn jieqfu u u l-hin.

After a total reorganization of public transport, the authorities bought out the owners and put aside the old buses. A new private company Arriva came in with a set of new buses manufactured in China supplemented by used ones upgraded to European standards. The routes were changed or revised and in a short while a completely electronic system will be implemented indicating destinations, stops and times.

ARRIVA

Kif pittirt karrozza tal-Arriva - How I painted an Arriva Bus on canvas. 









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