PICRYL
PICRYLThe World's Largest Public Domain Source
  • homeHome
  • searchSearch
  • photo_albumStories
  • collectionsCollections
  • infoAbout
  • star_rateUpgrade
  • account_boxLogin

Trams

The history of trams, streetcars or trolleys began in the early nineteenth century. The world's first horse-drawn passenger tramway started operating in 1807, it was the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, in Wales, UK. It was switching to steam in 1877, and then, in 1929, by very large (106-seats) electric tramcars, until closure in 1961.

Horse Cars

The first streetcar in America, developed by John Stephenson, began service in the year 1832 in New York. Harlem Railroad's Fourth Avenue Line ran along the Bowery and Fourth Avenue in New York City. These trams were a horse- or mule-powered, usually two as a team. It was followed in 1835 by New Orleans, Louisiana, which is the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world, according to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Horsecars were largely replaced by electric-powered trams following the improvement of an overhead trolley system on trams for collecting electricity from overhead wires by Frank J. Sprague. Sprague spring-loaded trolley pole used a wheel to travel along the wire. In late 1887 and early 1888, using his trolley system, Sprague installed the first successful large electric street railway system in Richmond, Virginia. By 1889, 110 electric railways incorporating Sprague's equipment had been begun or planned on several continents.

Steam Cars

Trams were also powered by steam. The most common type had a small steam locomotive (called a tram engine in the UK) at the head of a line of one or more carriages, similar to a small train. Systems with such steam trams included Christchurch, New Zealand; Adelaide, South Australia; Sydney, Australia and other city systems in New South Wales; Munich, Germany (from August 1883 on), British India (Pakistan) (from 1885) and the Dublin & Blessington Steam Tramway (from 1888) in Ireland. Steam tramways also were used on the suburban tramway lines around Milan and Padua; the last Gamba de Legn ("Peg-Leg") tramway ran on the Milan-Magenta-Castano Primo route in late 1958.

The other style of steam tram had the steam engine in the body of the tram, referred to as a tram engine (UK) or steam dummy (US). The most notable system to adopt such trams was in Paris. French-designed steam trams also operated in Rockhampton, in the Australian state of Queensland between 1909 and 1939. Stockholm, Sweden, had a steam tram line at the island of Södermalm between 1887 and 1901. Steam tram engines faded out around 1890s to 1900s, being replaced by electric trams.

Cable Cars

Another system for trams was the cable car, which was pulled along a fixed track by a moving steel cable. The power to move the cable was normally provided at a "powerhouse" site a distance away from the actual vehicle. The London and Blackwall Railway, which opened for passengers in east London, England, in 1840 used such a system.

The first practical cable car line was tested in San Francisco, in 1873. Part of its success is attributed to the development of an effective and reliable cable grip mechanism, to grab and release the moving cable without damage. The second city to operate cable trams was Dunedin in New Zealand, from 1881 to 1957.

The San Francisco cable cars, though significantly reduced in number, continue to perform a regular transportation function, in addition to being a well-known tourist attraction. A single cable line also survives in Wellington, New Zealand (rebuilt in 1979 as a funicular but still called the "Wellington Cable Car"). Another system, actually two separate cable lines with a shared power station in the middle, operates from the Welsh town of Llandudno up to the top of the Great Orme hill in North Wales, UK.
Hong Kong Transport
1856
1856
slider-holder
2019
slider-holder
2019
547 Media in collectionpage 1 of 6
View along Adelaide Street with the buildings decorated for the Royal Visit, 1954

View along Adelaide Street with the buildings decorated for the Royal ...

Creator: Unidentified..Location: Brisbane, Queensland. .Description: View along Adelaide Street from George Street with the buildings decorated for the Royal Visit, 1954. Bunting and flags contribute to the ex... more

Kimball & Gorton Philadelphia R.R. Car Manufactory, 21st & Hamilton Streets Philadelphia / F. Moras fe.

Kimball & Gorton Philadelphia R.R. Car Manufactory, 21st & Hamilton St...

Print shows an advertisement for the Kimball & Gorton Philadelphia R.R. Car Manufactory, with side views of a railroad passenger car and a city street-railroad passenger car that is passing P.S. Duval's lithogr... more

Eyre Square, Galway

Eyre Square, Galway

Featuring the shyest tram passengers ever.....Date: 1880s?..NLI Ref.: L_ROY_00775 ( http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000325307 )

W.E. Gladstone at the Edinburgh Exhibition

W.E. Gladstone at the Edinburgh Exhibition

John Moffat..1884..Accession no. PGP EPS 136 .Medium Silver gelatine print .Size 18.20 x 24.00 cm .Credit Presented by the Edinburgh Photographic Society 1987..For more information please select here ( http://w... more

Double horse car used in Baltimore in 1885

Double horse car used in Baltimore in 1885

Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. Frank G. Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Street RR's; Geogr.

Steam tram in Stockholm in 1888

Steam tram in Stockholm in 1888

Ångspårvagn och vändskiva på Karl Johans torg, år 1888.Nr: 2019-1154.Photograph by: unknown.Date: 1888

Women and children on Strandvägen in Stockholm around 1890. Horse drawn tram in the background

Women and children on Strandvägen in Stockholm around 1890. Horse draw...

Strandvägen, 1890-tal...Photograph by: unknown..Date: 1890.Photo Nr: 2019-1142.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

[Patrick Street (i.e., St. Patrick Street), Cork. County Cork, Ireland]

[Patrick Street (i.e., St. Patrick Street), Cork. County Cork, Ireland...

Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., catalogue J foreign section. Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Photographic Company, 1905.. Print no. "12107". More information about the Photochrom Print Collection is available a... more

[Groudle Glen Hotel and tram station, Isle of Man]

[Groudle Glen Hotel and tram station, Isle of Man]

Title from the Detroit Publishing Co., Catalogue J foreign section, Detroit, Mich. : Detroit Publishing Company, 1905. Print no. "11142". More information about the Photochrom Print Collection is available at h... more

In the Streets of St. Louis, Mo.

In the Streets of St. Louis, Mo.

2 streetcars; sign above street reads "Headquarters Worlds Fair Committee". 10375Vp2s U.S. Copyright Office. Photo by Kilburn Brothers, Littleton, N.H. 5390. This record contains unverified, old data from capti... more

Street car, Washington, D.C.

Street car, Washington, D.C.

Title from caption card and item. LOT subdivision subject: Railroad & Street Railroad. Formerly in SSF Street railroads. Forms part of: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress). Published in: Vie... more

In the streets of St. Louis, Mo.

In the streets of St. Louis, Mo.

Photoprint by Kilburn. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.

Our first electric, Sept. 17th 1892, Holbrook, Mass.

Our first electric, Sept. 17th 1892, Holbrook, Mass.

Photograph shows a Brockton streetcar in the middle of the street; men standing in and next to streetcar. Title from item.

Street car
Horse Trams at corner of Bachelor's Walk and O'Connell Bridge

Horse Trams at corner of Bachelor's Walk and O'Connell Bridge

Date: ca. 1891-1897..NLI Ref.: L_ROY_03114 ( http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/L_ROY_03114 )

[Trolley cars near Boston Commons, Boston, Massachusetts]
[School children of the 6th Division on a Columbia Railway Company trolley car no. 20]

[School children of the 6th Division on a Columbia Railway Company tro...

Title and other information transcribed from caption card. Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection (Library of Congress). In album: "Public Schools - 6th Division."

Tram in Sheffield in 1899

Tram in Sheffield in 1899

Spårvagn i Sheffield..Photograph by: unknown..Date: 1899.Photo Nr: 1-3236.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

May Day celebrations in Helsinki

May Day celebrations in Helsinki

Första maj firas på Norra esplanaden. .Foto Gustaf Sandberg..sls1849_320..Ur boken Helsingfors i ord och bild..Utgiven av Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland, 2012..www.sls.fi ( http://www.sls.fi )

From the business section, Brownsville, Pa.

From the business section, Brownsville, Pa.

Photograph shows streetcar on street of business district; children and adults attempting to board; people standing on sidewalk outside of shops.

F Street about 1900 looking west

F Street about 1900 looking west

Photo shows the Washington Loan and Trust Co. (1891) at left, at corner of 9th Street. This south side of F Street N.W. at left includes 922 and 930 (with flag on top). At right is the Masonic temple.

First trolley car in Hamburg, N. Y.

First trolley car in Hamburg, N. Y.

Photograph shows two trolley employees standing next to the Buffalo, Hamburg & Aurora Railway Co. car. Title from item.

Horse drawn tram in Stockholm around 1900

Horse drawn tram in Stockholm around 1900

Hästspårvagn vid Berzelii park.Photograph by: unknown.Date: 1900.Photo Nr: 1-669.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

Streetcar and buildings in Ybor City, Florida

Streetcar and buildings in Ybor City, Florida

Persistent URL: floridamemory.com/items/show/117481 ( http://floridamemory.com/items/show/117481 ) ..Local call number: FPS1506..Title: Streetcar and buildings in Ybor City, Florida ..Date: ca. 1900..Physical d... more

Deseronto Archive Photos

Deseronto Archive Photos

A street railway car of the type built by the Rathbun Company in their car works in Deseronto, Ontario, c.1895.

Street in Dresden, Germany 1901

Street in Dresden, Germany 1901

Gata i Dresden 1901 med spårvagnar..Photograph by: unknown..Date: 1901.Photo Nr: 2178-44.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

Steam tram with passengers in Stockholm 1901

Steam tram with passengers in Stockholm 1901

Ångspårvagn på Ringvägen med trafikanter år 1901..SSB nr 1-10 (Borsig/Atlas 1886-88)...Photograph by: unknown..Photo Nr: 22-260.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

O. Street, Lincoln, Neb.

O. Street, Lincoln, Neb.

Street scene in Lincoln with streetcars, horses & wagons.

Square in Copenhagen, Denmark

Square in Copenhagen, Denmark

Spårvagn i Köpenhamn..Kongens Nytorv i Köpenhamn..Photograph by: unknown..Date: 1902.Photo Nr: 2178-45.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

Tram in Copenhagen in 1902

Tram in Copenhagen in 1902

Spårvagn i Köpenhamn..Photograph by: unknown..Date: 1902.Photo Nr: 2178-43.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

Broadway & Union Square, New York /

Broadway & Union Square, New York /

A horse-drawn street car with a sign for Broadway pulls away from the camera with a full compliment of passengers. Another approaches the camera position and they pass. The first car stops to pick up and drop o... more

No. 32 Fourth Street north from Market Street, St. Louis, Missouri
[New York City. View along waterfront on West Street; many freight wagons; street car]

[New York City. View along waterfront on West Street; many freight wag...

Photo copyrighted by A. Loeffler. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Shelf.

The story of the trolley car. July Century

The story of the trolley car. July Century

Title from item. Forms part of the Artist poster filing series (Library of Congress) Promotional goal: U.S. D41. 1905

Pennsylvania Ave, ca. 1905

Pennsylvania Ave, ca. 1905

Pennsylvania Avenue near 15th Street looking east towards the Capitol, at the time of Teddy Roosevelt’s inauguration, ca. 1905. ..The Willard Hotel stands on the north side of the Avenue

Central Railway Station (Old) [including Exhibition Building], before August 1906

Central Railway Station (Old) [including Exhibition Building], before ...

Format: Photograph..Find more detailed information about this photograph: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=413410 ( http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=413410 ) ..Searc... more

Maryland. Williamsport. Streetcar passing Potomac House

Maryland. Williamsport. Streetcar passing Potomac House

Photograph shows a streetcar passing through town. No. 912. Title from item.

Second Avenue, Seattle's principal thoroughfare

Second Avenue, Seattle's principal thoroughfare

H 103659 U.S. Copyright Office This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Geogr; Street R.R.

[The Huguenot and Rockrimmon, first electric cars through Brimfield to Worcester, July 1, 1907]

[The Huguenot and Rockrimmon, first electric cars through Brimfield to...

Group of men posed in front of two railroad cars. By(?) F. Edgar Brown, Brimfield, Mass.

[4 street railroad cars at intersection, Coffeyville(?), Kansas]

[4 street railroad cars at intersection, Coffeyville(?), Kansas]

Photoprint copyrighted by W.E. McKinney, Coffeyville, Kansas. This record contains unverified data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Geogr.; Street RR; Ph. Ind.

Auto stage, St. Helena to Lake Co. Points. 1st trip 5-19-08. Electric cars from San Francisco 7 times daily

Auto stage, St. Helena to Lake Co. Points. 1st trip 5-19-08. Electric ...

Photograph shows conductor standing at the front of the interurban railcar No. 8 of the Vallejo, Benicia and Napa Valley Railroad Company; car with six men parked next to railcar. Copyright 1908 by Porter Phot... more

Tram at Danviksgatan in Stockholm 1908

Tram at Danviksgatan in Stockholm 1908

Spårvagn på Danviksgatan 1908..Photograph by: unknown..Date: 1908.Photo Nr: 2060-1.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

Interurban car on Onondago Street, Ames, Iowa

Interurban car on Onondago Street, Ames, Iowa

Photograph shows passengers aboard streetcar, labeled "Ft. Dodge Des Moines & Southern R. R., no. 80" parked on street in front of businesses. Published by L.M. Bosworth. Title from item.