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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
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2019
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2019
835 Media in collectionpage 2 of 9
Prince Henry and party, on rear platform of the Prince's car "Columbia"--en route to South and West

Prince Henry and party, on rear platform of the Prince's car "Columbia...

Prince Henry of Prussia and five other men on back of train car.

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

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.

[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.

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.

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.

Police guarding strike breakers at tram depot in 1909

Police guarding strike breakers at tram depot in 1909

Polis bevakar spårvägshallarna vid Birger Jarlsgatan under storstrejken år 1909. .Nr: 2019-1147.Photograph by: unknown.Date: 1909.sparvagsmuseet.sl.se ( http://sparvagsmuseet.sl.se )

Street car
Gathering apples on the interurban

Gathering apples on the interurban

Photograph shows men picking apples near interurban railroad car in Grand Junction, Colorado; two men standing inside railroad car at the front.

The Depot, Weaverville, N.C.

The Depot, Weaverville, N.C.

Streetcar and group of people at depot.

Intersection of Franklin and Lafayette Streets in Tampa, Florida

Intersection of Franklin and Lafayette Streets in Tampa, Florida

Persistent URL: floridamemory.com/items/show/30001 ( http://floridamemory.com/items/show/30001 ) ..Local call number: RC06804..Title: Intersection of Franklin and Lafayette Streets in Tampa, Florida..Date: 1911... more

Post No Bills

Post No Bills

Wondering if this is the earliest sighting of a "Post No Bills" warning in our photos (in the archway at the right - no. 18). This is Shop Street, Galway obviously bathed in glorious sunshine, with a horse-draw... more

One-step car, N.Y.

One-step car, N.Y.

Photograph shows a trolley in New York City. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2013)

Escolta, Manila, P. I.

Escolta, Manila, P. I.

Photograph shows a slightly elevated view of streetcars running pass local businesses in Manila.

Storage battery street car, Concord, N. C.

Storage battery street car, Concord, N. C.

Photograph shows streetcar near drugstore.

One-step car, N.Y.

One-step car, N.Y.

Photograph shows a trolley in New York City. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2013)

[Trolley]
Motor car Roslyn, Al

Motor car Roslyn, Al

Railroad motor car "Roslyn" of the Northern Pacific Railroad Co., Alberta(?), Canada.

Main Street palms, Jacksonville, Fla.

Main Street palms, Jacksonville, Fla.

Photograph shows streetcar running along grassy palm tree lined street.

Chambers St. Car with storage battery

Chambers St. Car with storage battery

Photograph shows Manhattan Municipal Building, New York City. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2011)

A street scene in Cork with tram and passengers!

A street scene in Cork with tram and passengers!

This is a street scene from Cork with an electric tram and would be passengers. This is from the Fergus O'Connor collection...The Location was correctly Identified as Douglas village in Cork in very quick time... more

Yong [i.e. Yonge] St., Toronto, Canada

Yong [i.e. Yonge] St., Toronto, Canada

People walking, on bicycle, and streetcar.

View of 5 Street South

View of 5 Street South

1912.Black and white photograph..View of 5 Street South looking north from the Dallas (Coalbanks) Hotel. The man on the horse-drawn dray is Charles W. Tillack, who operated a dray business in Lethbridge from ab... more

Theodore Roosevelt address to his fellow Germans

Theodore Roosevelt address to his fellow Germans

Photograph showing Theodore Roosevelt speaking from the back of a railroad car.

Strikes - Street Cars, Cincinnati O. May 20, 1913

Strikes - Street Cars, Cincinnati O. May 20, 1913

Derailed and stripped street car in front of L&N dept. store.

New York. Hornell, Broad street and Opera house

New York. Hornell, Broad street and Opera house

Photograph shows a streetcar passing by Shattuck opera house and other local businesses in downtown area.

High Street, Belfast

High Street, Belfast

Creator: R. Welch (Photographer)..Date: c.1888..Original Format: Photographic Print..Description: High Street, Belfast..PRONI Ref: D1403_1~005~A..Copying and copyright:.Please see www.proni.gov.uk/index/researc... more

"Clean Up" day -- street car -- 4th and Madison Ave.

"Clean Up" day -- street car -- 4th and Madison Ave.

Photograph shows a street car with sign "This is fire prevention day, clean up rubbish" in New York City. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2011)

Granby Street from the corner of City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, Va.

Granby Street from the corner of City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, Va.

Photograph shows a busy street scene with automobiles and streetcars running pass local businesses downtown; city sidewalks crowded with people.

Postcard: Le Havre. L'Hotel de Ville et le Boulevard de Strasbourg, sent 3 May 1915

Postcard: Le Havre. L'Hotel de Ville et le Boulevard de Strasbourg, se...

For more details of the story behind this album see www.flickr.com/photos/whatsthatpicture/sets/7215762769463... ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatsthatpicture/sets/72157627694631371/with/6223708310/ )