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January 2003
Vienna Trams
Depending on who you ask, Vienna is either the centre of a vanished empire, the home of the great composers, or a good place to drink coffee and eat cakes.   While all of this is true, it also happens to be home to one of the world's most interesting tram systems.   Although the Viennese themselves will complain that today's network is a mere shadow of its former self, it is still, by any standards, an extensive and impressive operation.
An E1-class tram waits at Schottentor (Scots Gate), a busy interchange point on Vienna's famous Ringstraße, named after a group of Scottish monks who once founded a monastery in this area. Routes 1 and 2 (seen here) travel right round the horseshoe-shaped Ring, completing the circuit on Franz-Josefs Kai.
Above left: Another E1 car (4833) with C-class trailer is seen travelling the other way round the Ring on Route 1, against a backdrop of trees in the Volksgarten.   Above middle: The Wiener Lokalbahn (WLB) provides an interurban express service to the nearby spa resort of Baden.   Street running is a feature at both ends of the route.   Traditional and low-floor trams are seen waiting at the Baden terminus before making the return journey to the Opera House in Vienna.   Above right: An E1 tram (4438) without trailer has just set out on route 62, running against the general flow of traffic on a slightly raised trackbed.    The impressive bulk of Vienna's State Opera House can be seen in the background.
The familiar E1/C combination enters its terminal loop at Schottentor on service 43.   Directly below, adjacent to the U-Bahn station, a second loop serves as the terminus for another group of routes.   The recently cleaned twin spires of the Votivkirche form the backdrop to 4865. Vienna's new ULF (Ultra Low Floor) trams are aptly named : they have the very lowest of low floors, extending the full length of the vehicle, apart from the driving cabs.   The motors are vertically mounted in the walls of the articulated sections, each supplying power to a single "axle-less" wheel below.   644 passes the Opera House on driver training duties.
Vienna Trams
Vienna's tramway history is well preserved at the excellent Straßenbahnmuseum, situated near the Schlachthausgasse U-Bahn station and tram stop in Erdberg, which opens its doors to visitors at weekends.   The museum also provides preserved vehicles for so-called "old timer" tours on the city's network. 734 is an F class tram.   The wraparound front windows present a very different aspect compared to the anti-glare, steeply angled windscreens of the E types.
Vienna Trams
All photos taken in September 2002 by Gerry Cushley.   Click to enlarge.
Official Links
Vienna Trams (official site)
Vienna Tramway museum
WLB official site, German only
Enthusiast Links
Vienna trams photos at night
Vienna trams in Rotterdam
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