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The interior of a tram, with a happy passenger, photographed in Vienna, Austria, in the summer of 2002.

A tram (also known as a tramcar, streetcar, trolley, or trolley car) is a rail vehicle that runs on tracks, commonly along public urban streets (called street running), and sometimes on separate rights of way. Since about the turn of the twentieth century, the most common type of tram has been the electric tram, running on what were once called electric street railways. Previously, horse-drawn trams (horsecars), and, to a lesser extent, steam-powered trams, were widely used in urban areas.

Trams may also run between cities and/or towns (for example, as interurbans, tram-trains). Partially grade-separated tram services (often referred to as light rail) may be operated even in cities. Very occasionally, trams carry freight.

Tram vehicles are usually lighter and shorter than conventional trains and rapid transit trains. However, the differences between these modes of public transportation are often indistinct. For example, some trams (such as tram-trains) may also run on ordinary railway tracks, a tramway may be upgraded to a light rail or a rapid transit line, and two urban tramways may be united by an interurban line, etc.

Selected article

Tram at Carl Johans Gate and Egertorget in 1907, Oslo.

The history of the Oslo Tramway and Oslo Metro in Oslo (Kristiania until 1925), Norway, starts in 1875, when Kristiania Sporveisselskab (KSS) opened two horsecar lines through the city centre. In 1894, Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei (KES) built the first electric street tramways, which ran west from the city centre. Within six years, all tramways were electric. The city council established Kristiania Kommunale Sporveie (KKS) in 1899, which built three lines before it was sold to KSS six years later. Both KSS and KES were taken over by the municipality in 1924, becoming Oslo Sporveier. The company gradually expanded the city tram network, which reached its peak length in 1939.

The Holmenkollen Line was the first light rail line, which opened in 1898 and ran west of the city. Later light rail lines in the west were the Røa Line (opened in 1912), the Lilleaker Line (1919), the Sognsvann Line (1934) and the Kolsås Line (1942). From 1928, they ran to the city centre via the Common Tunnel. East of the city, the Ekeberg Line opened in 1917, followed by the Østensjø Line (opened in 1926) and the Lambertseter Line (1957). The light rail lines were built by three private companies, Holmenkolbanen, Ekebergbanen and Bærumsbanen. By 1975, all had been bought by Oslo Sporveier.

Selected biography

John George Brill (German: Johann Georg Brill) (Kassel, Germany, 1817 – 1888) was a co-founder of J. G. Brill and Company, which, at its height, was the largest manufacturer of streetcars and interurban cars in the United States.

In 1847, at the age of 30, he emigrated with his wife and two children from Germany to Philadelphia. For twenty years, he worked for Murphy and Allison. In 1868, with his son George Martin Brill, he founded the firm J. G. Brill & Son, which, in 1887, became J. G. Brill and Company.

Selected picture

A Toronto streetcar, 9 May 2009.
Credit: Wladislaw

A Toronto streetcar, 9 May 2009.

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Kristiania Sporveisselskab

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