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Trams portal selected articles


Article 1

Pacific Electric Railway streetcars stacked at a junkyard on Terminal Island, Los Angeles County, California, March 1956.

The General Motors streetcar conspiracy (also known as the Great American streetcar scandal) refers to allegations and convictions in relation to a program by General Motors (GM) and other companies who purchased and then dismantled streetcar and electric train systems in many cities in the United States.

Between 1936 and 1950, National City Lines and Pacific City Lines—with investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Mack Trucks, and the Federal Engineering Corporation—purchased over 100 electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities including Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakland and San Diego and converted them into bus operation. Several of the companies involved were convicted in 1949 of conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the ownership of these companies.

Some suggest that this program played a key role in the decline of public transit in cities across the United States. Others say that independent economic factors brought about changes in the transit system, including the Great Depression, the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, labor unrest, market forces, rapidly increasing traffic congestion, urban sprawl, taxation policies that favored private vehicle ownership, and general enthusiasm for the automobile.


Article 2

Trams operating services on lines 25 (left) and 24 (right) at the Damrak, Amsterdam, 2011.

The Amsterdam tramway network (Dutch: Amsterdamse tramweg netwerk) is a network of tramways forming part of the public transport system in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Opened in 1875, the network has been operated since 1943 by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB), which also runs a large fleet of urban buses.

The trams on the network run on 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge track. Since 1900, they have been powered by electricity, at 600 V DC. At each terminus of almost every tram line there is a suitable turning loop, so that the line can be operated by unidirectional trams. The only exception is Amstelveen Binnenhof, one of the termini of line 5, which must therefore be served by bidirectional vehicles.


Article 3

The tram from the film Malcolm, at the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria's site (Melbourne Tramway Museum) in Bylands, Victoria.

Malcolm is a 1986 Australian cult film comedy, written by the husband-and-wife team of David Parker and Nadia Tass, and directed by Nadia Tass (who made her debut as a feature director on this film). The film stars Colin Friels as the titular tram enthusiast who becomes involved with a pair of would-be bank robbers. It won the 1986 Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film.

The tram depot featured at the start of the film is the former South Melbourne depot, which was located on Kingsway at the corner of Dorcas Street (and is now a BMW dealer). Kew depot features briefly in a dawn scene of a tram depot, prior to Malcolm taking his own tram for a test run. The Foreman's office in which Malcolm is sacked is located in the body shop at Preston Workshops. The scene in which Malcolm, Frank and Judith switch from a getaway van to Malcolm's tram was filmed near the Workshops in Miller Street, Thornbury.

The model tram that Malcolm "built" ran on a motorbike engine, the rest having been put together with spare parts by workers at Preston Workshops. After the film was completed, the tram was donated to the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria.


Article 4

A Škoda 03T operating line 12 in Ostrava, December 2011.jpg.

The Škoda 03 T (sold as Škoda Astra, later Škoda Anitra (Asynchronní zkopodlažní tramvaj; Asynchronous Low-floor Tram)) is a three-carbody-section low-floor tram developed by Škoda and Inekon Group. The design was introduced in 1996, and the first car was completed in 1998.

The joint venture between Škoda and Inekon was dissolved in 2001, after which Škoda continued to sell the 03 T, while Inekon formed a new partnership with DPO (Dopravní podnik Ostrava, the city transport company of Ostrava), known as DPO Inekon, and in 2002 began selling a nearly identical version of the Astra, under the name Trio.

The 03 T is uni-directional and has a low floor over half of its length. The front and rear sections, under which the wheels are placed, have a high floor; the middle section, between these, has a low floor.


Article 5

Rusting survivor as used in Cincinnati, London and Saskatoon.

Cincinnati Car Company or Cincinnati Car Corporation was a subsidiary of Ohio Traction Company. It designed and constructed interurban cars, streetcars (trams) and (in smaller scale) buses. It was founded in 1902 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1928, it bought the Versare Car Company.

The company was among the first to make lightweight cars. Its chief engineer Thomas Elliot designed the curved-side car, a lightweight model that used curved steel plates (not conventional flat steel plates) in body construction. Instead of the floor, the side plates and side sills bore the bulk of the weight load. Longitudinal floor supports were no longer needed, which made the cars lighter than conventional cars. The first cars of this type were sold in 1922. For instance, the Red Devil weighted only 22 tons. Curved-side cars were also called "Balanced Lightweight Cars".

Cincinnati Car Company ceased operations in 1938, but several of its original streetcars are preserved, for instance at the Saskatchewan Railway Museum, Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal and the Seashore Trolley Museum.


Article 6

Trams undergoing testing at West End - Princes Street tram stop in Shandwick Place, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Trams is a tramway in Edinburgh, Scotland. It consists of a 14-kilometre (8.7 mi) route between York Place in New Town and Edinburgh Airport, has sixteen stops, and is operated by Transport for Edinburgh.

Construction began in June 2008, however delays and contractual disputes delayed its opening by over three years, until May 2014. The scheme was costed at £375 million in 2003. By May 2008, when contracts were signed, this had ballooned to £521 million. However, once extra interest payments are factored in, the final cost is expected to top £1 billion. It opened in May 2014.


Article 7

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.


Article 8

The streetcar took its name from Desire Street in the 9th Ward of New Orleans.

A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

The leading character in the play, Blanche DuBois, is a fading, though still attractive Southern belle who clings to high-toned Southern customs of decorum. Her pretensions to virtue and culture thinly mask her alcoholism and delusions of grandeur. Her poise is part of a persona she presents to shield others (but most of all herself) from her reality, and also makes her still attractive to men. At the start of the play, Blanche arrives at the apartment of her sister, Stella Kowalski, on Elysian Fields Avenue in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans; one of the streetcars she takes to get there is named "Desire."

The Desire streetcar line was in service from 1920 to 1948, at the height of streetcar use in New Orleans. The line ran down Bourbon, through the Quarter, to Desire Street in the Bywater district, and back up to Canal. Blanche's route in the play—"They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at—Elysian Fields!"—is allegorical, taking advantage of New Orleans' colorful street names.


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