2012: ‘year of the tram’ in Vienna

31 October 2012  •  Author(s): Günter Steinbauer, CEO, Wiener Linien

Public transport in Vienna is highly popular and is well known on an international level. However, the fact that Vienna has declared 2012 as the ‘year of the tram’ is a real rarity. While the popularity of trams seems to be fading in many countries around the world, Wiener Linien has made a clear commitment to its trams, together with the City of Vienna, and is expanding their use.

For more than 150 years, trams have been a fixed part of Vienna’s image, just like the famous Fiaker carriages belong to Vienna’s city centre. Vienna’s trams began life with a horse-drawn tram line in 1865. The Vienna Tramway Company was founded in 1872, from which time the New Vienna Tramway Company also became a direct competitor. Just a few years later in 1883, the first steam-powered tramway was travelling around Vienna. In 1897, a new era was ushered in when the first tram line powered by electricity was opened. Then, just two years later in 1899, the City of Vienna assumed control of the licence for building and running the ‘Electrics’, as trams were affectionately known in Vienna at that time. Work to expand the network of tram lines in the Austrian capital reached its peak during the interwar years.

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