PAY YOUR FARE AND LOOK OUT THE WINDOW: THE COOLEST TRAM ROUTES IN THE WORLD
The beginning of the 21stcentury, with all its incredible technologies and innovations, among other things, will surely go down in history as an era of "tram renaissance". All because the oldest urban public transport, which attracted residents of all major cities worldwide about 150 years ago, nowadays is considered to be the most promising. So, on-street trams have been reintroduced in some places where they seemed to be abandoned forever (like in Paris),In recent decades, trams comes to places where they did not exist (Dublin, Israeli and American cities). It is impossible to ignore this trend, since a tram now feels more confident than subwaysystems and buses.
There are several reasons for this new-old boom on light rail public transport. First, in the Western countries, resurgence in electric tram systems began back in the 1980s, when after a couple of world energy crises fuel prices rocketed up, and personal cars became more expensive. Secondly, the subway, although it is very convenient sinceit does not create traffic chaos, does not consume fuel, is more environment-friendly and carries a large number of passengers, yet, subway pays off only in huge citieswith a large flow of people. For average European and American cities with a population of 300-500 thousand inhabitants, subway is unprofitable. Thirdly, we cannot ignore ecology, the preservation of which is the most important priority of humanity in the 21st century, and tram hardly has any competitors in mass urban transport systems with ratio of engine emissions-capacity of passengers. As statistics show, over past thirty years, extensive tram infrastructure has been constructed in North America (USA, Canada) and Western Europe (Spain, Italy, France). Some of these new and old, and therefore "surviving" lines are simply incredible thanks to intricate design, an exciting route or other factors, which means that we could not help writing about them. Read and ride this excellent transport along with OUTLOOK!
Hong Kong Tram
This light rail system is the only one in the world that uses double decker tramsonly(partially similar double carriages are operated in Egyptian Alexandria and English Blackpool), which are symbols of Hong Kong. Local residents and tourists have been traveling by them for more than hundred years since 1904. Every day,in a fussy Asian metropolitan citythis transport is a choice of more than 250 thousand people, because although it is not the fastest, but reliable and surely will take you to your destination. In addition to the views of the neon-clad perky neighbourhoods, hustle and bustle of busy city, between towering skyscrapers and smaller houses, passengers can notice the sea, as the rail line runs along the coast, connecting the main areas of the island. In any economic situation, fare is about half less than subway, and for tourists it is possible to use separate trams for sightseeing tours, but, of course, it is much more fun to ride a traditional local tram.
The longest tram route on the planet stretches along the Belgian coast of the North Sea for 67 kilometres. The trip covering 69 stations takes about 2 hours and 21 minutes, which allows you to sleep on the way, to admire lovely views from your chair, and even to do part of your home assignment. The fare varies depending on zones the route is divided, the daily unlimited ticket costs only 5 euros, so for tourists this is a great investment - they move on and hide from rain and wind inside comfortable tram carriages. The Belgians are eager to use the line since 1885, which did revive in the 1980s during the tram renaissance. Interestingly, both in the North and in South the line goes closely to the borders of the Netherlands and France, respectively. This does not prevent the municipalities of the local cities of all three countries from discussing options for its extension, since the tram in these parts is very important, therefore, it is quite possible that in the near future the coast tram line will become longer.
Another example of revival of light-rail public transport spirits is the futuristic tram operating in French city of Strasbourg, where you can get into the satellite city, the German Kehl. Closed because of monstrous debts and belief in another transport on April 30, 1962, the Strasbourg tram returned triumphantly in 1994. Now it is one of the busiest in the world (except for huge urban centres), carrying more than 300 thousand passengers a day. Its design is almost the best, because it displays the entire trend of the tramway renaissance, when vintage transport gets dressed in a new way and is sent to the future, which is trips along the hilly Rhine valley and the Franco-German border.
Santa Teresa Tram
Off we go to Brazil, namely, to the vibrant Rio de Janeiro, where we have opportunity to take a ride on the transport muchadmired by the locals. A part of its route passes along the Carioca Aqueduct, with fantastic views of the city. Thanks to its bright colours and unusual design with open-top tram carriages, the city's iconic tram is eye-catching, and its route passes through the historic centre of Rio. Operating since 1877, the Santa Teresa tram has become one of the landmarks of the city. The heritage tramway system is being modernized, and the carriages are becoming safer, but the main thing is there – the trip through aqueduct offers the best photos.
Now we are not going to Pakistan, as one might think, but to a completely different continent - to Australian Melbourne, which is rightfully considered the world's tram capital, because it has the most developed network of this transport. The length of all routes (there are 30 of them) is 254 kilometres, along which 498 trams run daily. One of them is called Karachi. A few years ago, representatives of the Pakistani diaspora were allowed to decorate the carriage with their flags, national attributes and even music –pop songs from their faraway country always play inside this showcase of Pakistani culture. The inspirer of the idea is Wajid Ali, who persuaded the municipality not to write off the old tram, whichrout runs along the ring line around Melbourne,so the tram was given to local Pakistanis who love Australia, but also miss their home. Tram is free for all passengers, at the entrance each receives a ticket from the driver with interesting Pakistani quotes like "Everyone has his own destiny" or "Respect the elders, travel in silence".
While Pakistani music is playing, we get to the American San Francisco, known for the most famous American tram, which is officially called the San Francisco cable car system, and is one of the city's attractions. This unique in its structure transport - a hybrid of a tram and funicular, is now used mainly by tourists, but it was the local residents who "defended" it during the years of tram decline after the Second World War. Today, as in 1873, when it was first launched, the cable car of San Francisco is famous not only for its design, but also for the fact that the cable rope itself allows it to easily overcome the hills and mountains,so typical for this land. The current system, consisting of three lines, has practically not changed during almost 150 years, having sustained not only economic problems, but also several earthquakes, therefore it is included in the US National Register of Historical Monuments, which is very honourable for transport.
Traditionally in Africa, the tram as a transport is not so popular - the maximum number of lines operating simultaneously across the continents is 19, and almost all of them go through the Northern part of the continent. One of such systems is in Egyptian Alexandria. Perhaps, Alexandria’s rumbling old tram is one of the most picturesque in the world, as it is the best transport for exploring this colourful and lively city. It is a fun to ride it as each stop is like a small train station with café and market. Fare is one of the cheapest in the world - about five cents per ticket. That is why many tourist itineraries include a trip on the rails through the heart of the second most important city of Egypt. By the way, do not forget that the first or the third carriage (often there are three of them) are reserved for women.
We finish our trip in Israel, where trams have just begun to fill local cities. One of the youngest and the most stylish light rail routes is certainly the Jerusalem tram. The masterpiece Chords Bridgesymbolising King David's harp, was built especially for it. Local tram has air conditioner, ads in three languages (Hebrew, Arabic, English), luxurious design, high speed, but the main feature of the Jerusalem tram is bulletproof carriages, so now you know which is the safest transport of the capital of Israel.
Main photo poznamka.ru,lookmytrips.com