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Europe, particularly Finlandmarker, Germanymarker, Croatiamarker, Russiamarker, Ukrainemarker, Polandmarker, Romaniamarker, Czech Republicmarker, Francemarker, Serbiamarker, Italymarker, Austriamarker, Switzerlandmarker, Swedenmarker and Spainmarker, has an extensive number of tramway networks. Some of these networks have been upgraded to light rail standards, called Stadtbahn in Germanymarker and Premetros in Belgiummarker.

Overview

All the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, excluding Lithuaniamarker, the Republic of Macedoniamarker, Montenegromarker, Moldovamarker and Sloveniamarker, have extensive tram infrastructure. Industrial freight use of city tram lines was a widespread practice until 1960s but has since mostly disappeared. Another factor is an increasing replacement of trams with trolleybuses as cities face a rapid increase in traffic and such replacement often allows to increase road size. One of the exceptions is Warsawmarker, Polandmarker, where the last trolleybus line was closed in the year 1995 due to high maintenance costs, and replaced with buses. Czech ČKD Tatra and the Hungarian Ganz factories were notable manufacturers of trams.

Austria

A modern low-floor tram in Vienna
In Austriamarker, Viennamarker, Linzmarker, Grazmarker, Innsbruckmarker and Gmundenmarker all have tramway systems. With 173.4 km of track, Vienna's network is one of the largest in the world. The cars have been constantly modernised over the years and many are now ultra low-floored. Many of the Austrian tramlines have been in constant operation since they were first opened. Vienna started with horse trams in 1865 with electrification in 1897. Graz had horse trams in 1878 and electric cars in 1898 while Linz goes back to 1880 with electrification in 1897. The Gmunden tram line, only 2.3 km long, is one of the shortest in the world. With gradients of up to 10%, it is also one of the steepest and has become a popular tourist attraction. Innsbruck, which traditionally used second-hand trams from other cities, has recently undertaken a comprehensive tram modernisation programme and has purchased state-of-the-art low-floor trams from Bombardier.

Belgium



In Belgiummarker an extensive system of tram-like local railways called Vicinal or Buurtspoor lines had a greater route kilometre length than the main-line railway system. The only survivors of the Vicinal system are the Kusttram (which almost reaches France at one end and the Netherlands at the other, making it the longest tram line in the world) - and two short lines that form part of the Charleroi Pre-metro. Urban tram networks exist in Antwerpmarker, Ghentmarker and Brussels, and are gradually being extended.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevomarker was the first city in Europe to have a full-time (from dawn to dusk) operational electric tram line, introduced shortly after the city became part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Since then, the trams have been important in the development and expansion of the city.

Many trams were badly damaged in the recent conflict in the mid 1990s - these are once again operational though the marks on the vehicles are plainly evident.

In recent years, the authorities have upgraded to more modern vehicles to expand the fleet.

Bulgaria

Sofiamarker had its first tram in operation in 1898. By 1901 Sofia had 25 cars and 10 carriages and the total length of the lines was 25 km. Nowadays Sofia's huge tram network consists of 17 lines with total length of 308 km single track. On an average day 176 cars are in operation.

Croatia



Zagrebmarker has had a tram service since September 5, 1891. Nowadays it is an extensive tram network with 15 daily-lines, and 4 night-lines covering over 50km of track. Services operate to high frequencies and are surprisingly efficient despite the high patronage numbers, and little priority on the streets for vehicles. ZET, the major transit authority in Zagrebmarker has ordered 140 new 100% low-floor trams from Croatian consortium Crotram. As of June 10th 2007, 70 of these locally-produced, low-floor Crotram trams have been delivered, with a mixture of vehicle types in operation (including Czech Tatra Cars, ex-Mannheim vehicles and various locally-produced trams). Zagreb is one of the few tram networks in the world where most of the operations run at the curb.

The only other Croatian city with trams still in operation is Osijekmarker. The first tram route commenced in 1884 (connecting the railway station and city square) and trams have been in constant existence since. Throughout 2006-07, rolling stock is progressively being refurbished and modernised. 2 lines presently exist, with another 2 extensions in planning, doubling the network length.

Czech Republic

Cities of Czech Repuplic have extensive tram infrastructure. Largest is Prague Tram System with 141 kilometres of track and 35 lines (9 of them night-lines). Other cities with tram system are Brnomarker, Ostravamarker, Plzeňmarker, Olomoucmarker, Mostmarker and Litvínovmarker (common network), Liberecmarker (including intercity line to Jablonecmarker). Tram networks in other nine cities were closed mainly in 1960s and replaced with trolleybuses or buses.

Before changes in 1989 ČKD Tatra in Praguemarker was largest tram producer in whole world, exporting its trams mainly to Soviet Bloc countries. Production was definitely stopped in 2001 after its sold to Siemens AG. Tradition of tram producing is continuing in Škoda Holding, Inekon and PRAGOIMEX.

Estonia



In Estonia trams are used only in the capital, Tallinnmarker. There has been a growing tram network in Tallinn since 1888, when traffic was started by horse-powered trams. The first line was electrified on October 28, 1925. Up to 1950s Estonian-built electric trams were also used, with some gas-powered trams also used in the 1920s and 1930s. Since 1955 to 1988 Germanmarker-built trams were used. The first Czechoslovakianmarker-built tram arrived in 1973. In 2007, 56 Tatra KT4SUs, 12 KTNF6 (rebuilt KT4SUs) and 23 KT4Ds (used trams bought from Germanymarker) are in use. There are four lines, with total length of tramlines 39 km. Plans have been in the works since the late 1970s to open a light rail line from one of the suburbs, Lasnamäemarker, to the city centre. According to current plans, the line is set to be opened in 2010 at the earliest.

Finland



In Finlandmarker, there have been three cities with trams: Helsinkimarker, Turkumarker and Viipurimarker. Only Helsinki still has retained a tram network. The system operated continuously since 1891 and it was fully changed to electric drive by 1901. Currently there are 12 tram lines on 89.5 kilometers of track. Around 200,000 passengers use the tram network each weekday and within the inner city of Helsinki, trams have established a position as the main form of public transport. The network is being actively developed, with a new line opened in 2008 and more lines planned to connect new residential areas to be built in 2009-2015. In 2009, the city called for bids on 40 new trams with an option for another 50.

France

Despite the closure of most of France's tram systems in previous decades, a rapidly growing number of France's major cities boast new tram or light rail networks, including Parismarker, Lyonmarker, Marseillemarker, Nantesmarker, Grenoblemarker, Montpelliermarker, St Etiennemarker and Strasbourgmarker (Strasbourg has the largest French network). Recently the tram has seen a huge revival with many experiments such as ground level power supply in Bordeauxmarker (to avoid the need for overhead catenary) or trolleybuses masquerading as trams in Nancymarker (to provide a quick fix for traffic congestion).

Germany, Austria, Switzerland



The German-speaking countries, Germanymarker, Austriamarker, and Switzerland (where the word for tramway is "Straßenbahn", although "Tram" is also used) are notable for their large numbers of extensive tram systems, although even in these countries, many systems were closed after the Second World War, such as the Hamburgmarker tramway, which last ran in 1978.

Light rail in Germany

Stadtbahn, meaning city railway in the German language, is the term for light rail in Germany. Most German light rail systems were started in the 1960s and 1970s with the intention of establishing full-scale underground, or U-Bahn, systems. By the 1980s virtually all cities had abandoned these plans due to the high costs of converting tramways, and the most common systems now are a mixture of tramway-like operations in suburban areas, and a U-Bahn like mode of operation, featuring underground stations, in the city centres.

Greece

Tram used to be the main mean of massive transport in Athens and Thessaloniki before World War II.

The first trams in Athens begun operating in 1882. They were light vehicles drawn by 3 horses moving on an extensive network throughout the city center and a line reaching the suburb of Faliro. After the German Occupation the tram started to decline. Lines were gradually abandoned and later dismantled. Gradually, the tram network was completely dismantled and replaced with trolleybuses, which were considered more appropriate and agile for the urban environment at that time. It is frequently mentioned somehow poetically that "The last bell of the Athens Tram rang on the midnight of October 16, 1960". The tram had been a trademark of Athens until that date, and it is still viewed nostalgically in present times. However, there was one tram line left in Perama, which remained in operation until April 1977.

Athensmarker reinstated a modern tramline for the 2004 Summer Olympics with vehicles designed by the famous Ferrari designer Sergio Pininfarina. A total of 3 paths and 24km of tramlines, which run from Syntagma Square to Eden Station (the seaside junction), and from Peace & Friendship Stadium in Piraeusmarker to Glyfadamarker along the coast. The tram lines were expanded by 0,7km from Glyfada to Voula (completed November 2007), and will expand 2,5km further from Peace & Friendship Stadium to Pireaus center by 2009. There are projects for further expansion, to be completed around or after 2012.

Hungary



The busiest traditional city tram line in the world is still route 4-6 in Budapestmarker, Hungarymarker, where 50-meter long trains run at 60 to 90 second intervals at peak time and are usually packed with people. A part of this route is the same as where electric trams made their first Hungarian run in 1887 (narrow gauge, normal service was inaugurated in 1889). Budapest has recently ordered 40 Siemens Combino Supra low floor trams. Trams began carrying the passengers on the 1 July 2006 but during the first weeks there were many technical difficulties. The extensive tram network of Budapest was gradually reduced during the second half of the 20th century but the trend reversed in the 1990s. Other Hungarian cities with operating tramway lines are Szegedmarker, Debrecenmarker and Miskolcmarker. Tram usage ceased to exist in Pécsmarker in 1960, Nyíregyházamarker in 1969 and Szombathelymarker in 1974.

Republic of Ireland

Replacing a once-extensive network of Dublin tramways, in 2004, the Irishmarker capital Dublinmarker opened the first two lines of a new light-rail system known as Luas, the Irish word for "speed". It features on-street running in the city centre, but is considered a light-rail system because it runs along a dedicated right-of-way for much of its suburban route. There are seven more Luas projects planned, all of which are to be complete by 2015 . Two light-metro lines fully segregated from traffic are also to be built by 2014.

Plans also exist for light-rail systems in the cities of Corkmarker (which had a modest system up to the early 20th century) and Galwaymarker , both of which have strong support from the city councils and city residents alike. In January 2007, the Green Party promised that, if it formed part of the next government in 2007, they would have light rail systems built in these cities. [283954] In addition, there is also a smaller campaign for a light-rail system in Limerickmarker.[283955]

See also


Italy

In Italymarker electric trams have run from the last years of 19th century (the first horse-drawn line opened in Turinmarker in 1871). The first electric line was opened in Milanmarker in 1893. Today Milanmarker has 21 tramlines totalling 286.8 km, Turinmarker (8 lines), Romemarker (6 lines), Naplesmarker (4 lines), Bergamomarker (1 line), Messinamarker (1 line), Sassarimarker (1 line), Triestemarker (1 line), Cagliarimarker (1 line), Genovamarker (1 line) and Padovamarker (1 line).Other cities are building new tramlines: Florencemarker (3 lines), Palermomarker (3 lines), Mestremarker/Venicemarker (2 lines) and L'Aquilamarker (1 line).

Latvia

There are 3 tram systems in Latviamarker currently: Rigamarker, Liepājamarker and Daugavpilsmarker.

Netherlands

In the Netherlandsmarker many local light railways were referred to as trams, even where the steam locomotives did not have enclosed motion. Today, extensive tram networks exist in:

Norway

There are two tramways ( ) in Norwaymarker; the Oslo Tramway that operates as a hybrid between a light rail and a street tram with six lines, and the suburban line of Trondheim Tramway, the Gråkall Line. The Bergen Tramway was closed in 1963, but the new Bergen Light Rail will open in 2010.

Poland

There are 14 tram systems in Poland currently: Bydgoszczmarker, Częstochowamarker, Elblągmarker, Gdańskmarker, Gorzów Wielkopolskimarker, Upper Silesian Industrial Regionmarker, Grudziądzmarker, Krakówmarker, Łódźmarker, Poznańmarker, Szczecinmarker, Toruńmarker, Warsawmarker and Wrocławmarker. The largest systems are in Upper Silesia (Silesian Interurbans connecting 13 cities) with 317 km of tracks and 35 lines, Warsaw with 280 km of tracks and 34 lines and Lodz with 217 km of tracks and 28 lines. New lines are currently under construction in several cities, including Warsaw, Lodz, Poznań and Kraków.

Portugal



In Portugalmarker, Lisbonmarker tram services have been supplied by the Companhia de Carris de Ferro de Lisboa (Carris), for over a century. In Portomarker a tram network, with three tram lines 8number 1, 18 and 22), saw its construction begin in 12 September 1895, therefore being the first in the Iberian Peninsulamarker.Almadamarker, has other tram network, growing fast, Metro Sul do Tejo.

Romania



There are, currently, 13 tram systems in Romania: Aradmarker, Botoşanimarker, Brăilamarker, Bucharestmarker, Cluj-Napocamarker, Craiovamarker, Galaţimarker, Iaşimarker, Oradeamarker, Ploieştimarker, Reşiţamarker, Sibiumarker, Timişoaramarker.

Serbia

Belgrademarker has a large tram-network with 12 lines on 127.3 km of track. The system is operated with around 250 units and with ČKD Tatra KT4 and DUEWAG Be 4/6 trams. The first horse drawn tram line was introduced in October 1892 and the first electric one in 1894.

Previously the cities of Nišmarker, Novi Sadmarker, and Suboticamarker had tram networks too, but those were discontinued in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Spain



In Spainmarker modern tram networks have been opened in Barcelonamarker (Trambaix and Trambesòs), Valenciamarker, Bilbaomarker, Alicantemarker, Madridmarker (Metro Ligero ML1, ML2 and ML3) and Parlamarker.

Sweden

The most extensive network in Sweden is in Gothenburgmarker (190 km line length on a total track length of 80 km, with 101 million rides in 2008. See further in Gothenburg tram).

Stockholmmarker has four lines on three non-connected systems owned by Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (slightly less than 30 km of track and line length in total): Djurgården line; Lidingöbanan; Nockebybanan and Tvärbanan. There are many plans for future extensions and two projects are in active development.

Norrköpingmarker has a rather small tram network consisting of two radial lines, with extension to a southern suburb in progess.

There is a single track heritage line in Malmömarker since 1987, the last "real" tram line was closed in 1973. Malmö city officials decided in October 2008 that the city should have at least one light rail line up and running before 2020, and up to six lines after that.

A combined tramway museum and heritage tramway is located in the rural village Malmköpingmarker, maintained by Svenska Spårvägssällskapet (English:Swedish Tramway Society).

United Kingdom



In the UK, tram systems were mainly dismantled between 1920 and 1960, and after the closure of Glasgowmarker's once extensive network in 1962 only Blackpool's survived (see Blackpool tramway), although a funicular line continued to operate up the Great Ormemarker in Llandudnomarker. However in recent years new lines have been opened in:



Several others are under consideration, and extensions are authorised or under construction in Manchester, Nottingham and the West Midlands. New tram lines currently under construction in the United Kingdom include the Edinburgh tram network which is expected to be open by 2011.

Former USSR/Russia and CIS



In many cities of Russiamarker, Ukrainemarker, in Armeniamarker, Georgiamarker and Azerbaijanmarker tramways have been facing difficulties since the disintegration of the USSR. Tramways of Shakhtymarker, Arkhangelskmarker, Astrakhanmarker, Groznymarker, Tbilisimarker, Bakumarker and Yerevanmarker have been abandoned. Some tramway systems have suffered extensive closures of vital parts of network (including Saint Petersburgmarker, Moscowmarker, Kiev) and some are facing threats of closures (Nizhniy Novgorodmarker, Tvermarker) or even total abandonment (Voronezhmarker). Saint Petersburg's tramway network, once the largest in the world, yielded its position to Melbournemarker, Milanomarker and Leipzigmarker.

See also



References


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