Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dalian Notes III - A Centenary of Trams

Dalian’s tram system is a delight – and it’s 100 years old this year as the first trams ran through the city in 1909. In fact Dalian feels like a modern American city as it is actually one of China’s youngest cities and of course bears the hallmarks of the various Russian and Japanese occupiers and their building sprees. The trams still run – old style and new and a journey is a very reasonable RMB1 anywhere.

A friend’s flat that I stayed in happens to overlook one of the tram sheds where the trams terminate and sleep for the night (left). In 1909, the Dalian (formerly Darien) tramway was opened, now one of just three tramway systems left in China (not including Hong Kong of course which still has trams) – all the others are in Manchuria. In total Dalian has about 15km of tram line.

The city’s ‘Modern Museum’ also contains a genuine original tram and one of the excellent – but now all gone – watchtowers that were sprinkled along the city’s tramlines to control the trams and other traffic (left). The good news is that Dalian sees a future for its trams - after scrapping plans for a subway due to cost, Dalian now plans to reconstruct the three original trolley routes and build five new light-rail routes with a total mileage of 500 km to form a radial city transport network. And they still make them too – the Dalian Tramway Works is still in operation and turning out trams for Dalian and other Chinese cities.

Cities that have trams always seem more liveable to me than cities without and the public seem to like them – Amsterdam, Croydon, Vienna, Manchester etc. Viva trams.

Dalian Notes I - China's Best Letter Boxes

Dalian Notes II – Coming Down Alert

Dalian Notes IV - The Yamato Hotel Centenary


Anonymous said...

Great postings about trams. I did not realize that there was still a city in China (apart from HK) with trams running.
There is a tram line under construction in Shanghai, in Zhang Jiang high tech park... though very far from the old tram network.

Cities with trams are nicer than cities without I fully agree. Among them Budapest, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna and most cities in Central Europe where the tram networks were kept during commmunism and still running.


Paul French said...

thanks for that

You might like these two posts too:



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