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Tramways in Saint Petersburg
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The city of Saint Petersburg, Russia once was boasting the largest tramway network in the world, consisting of about 340 kilometres of unduplicated track in late 1980s.
Since 1995, the tramway network has seen a sharp decline in size due to the removal of major portions of track, particularly in the city centre; so St. Petersburg lost its record in favour of Milan, Italy and Melbourne, Australia.
While it still had 285 km in 2001, the track extent in early 2007 was just over 220 km. It is operated by Gorelektrotrans, a municipal organization that runs trams daily on 39 routes and also owns the trolleybus network.

Early days
Saint Petersburg saw the arrival of street rail transportation during the 1860s in form of horse-drawn rail carriages.
The first, freight-only street railway track was opened in 1854 to serve one of the industrial city suburbs.
In 1863 three passenger lines in the city centre came into operation.
Several private companies were formed, and the horsecar network eventually expanded to 25 routes covering over 100 kilometres of track.
Carrying over two million passengers a year, the street rail network in Saint Petersburg proved a successful commercial venture.

The first demonstration of an electric tram in Saint Petersburg occurred on August 22, 1880.
Fyodor Pirotsky, an engineer who demonstrated the tram to the public, hoped that the Horsecar Stock Company, which possessed a monopoly on all rail transportation in the city, would consider replacing traditional horse-drawn rail carriages with electric-powered ones.
Despite the fact that all tests were successful, Pirotsky's proposal was dismissed on the grounds that equipping existing tram tracks for electric traction and purchasing or building compatible tram vehicles would be too expensive.

In the winter of 1894, electric tramways came back to Saint Petersburg; this time, however, they ran on tracks over ice (during winter season) covering the Neva river.
An electric public transit company was formed, and several routes crossing the river in various places began regular operation.
Even though the Horsecar Stock Company still possessed absolute rights on city street railways, and hence filed a lawsuit against the electric tram operators, it eventually lost the case because the judge claimed that the horsecar company's monopolizing agreement with the city did not cover laying tracks on ice.

Beginning of service
On September 3, 1902, the contract between the city administration and the horsecar company has expired, and the entire horsecar street rail system, including track, carriages, horses, maintenance buildings and other equipment, became property of the city of Saint Petersburg, on the condition that the city would pay for the takeover over the period of 12 years.
Immediately following this, Saint Petersburg began planning out the future electric tramway network, which was due to replace the aging horsecar one.
A number of issues had to be resolved; in particular, the narrow-gauge horsecar tracks were to be replaced by the heavy rail-grade ones; the network had to be electrified, and new depots suitable for electric trams had to be constructed.

Post-Soviet Era
Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the public transportation in Saint Petersburg has been continuously underfunded, resulting in poor maintenance and unreliable service.
A lot of existing tramway track has been demolished, and the trend continues up until today, which upsets many passengers and public transit enthusiasts.
There are currently no officially proclaimed plans to abandon the network completely, although mass track withdrawals had started in 2001 and running until nowadays.
Two last new branch lines have been opened in 1999 to connect recent residential developments in the northwest (Dolgoe Ozero, Komendantsky Aerodrom, Lakhtinsky Razliv) to the newly opened Staraya Derevnya station on the Saint Petersburg Metro.
During 2005 and 2006, since last change of the 'Gorelectrotrans' management in September 2005, more than 20 additional km of unduplicated tracks had been withdrawn, including not only central part ones, but even a 3-km section in outskirt residential area, which seriously affected system's logistical capability.
New withdrawals are being lobbied by road constructing administration, believing that decreasing tram traffic gives more freedom to motorcar one.

Current State
There are currently 39 operating tramway routes in Saint Petersburg, 32 of which operate on a daily basis, while others operate on business days only.
About one third of the track extent is operated on regular basis, having frequencies of 10 minutes and lower.
Other sections are operated with frequencies up to 30 minutes, and retaining central lines are almost abandoned, artificially having no passenger-carrying value at all.
Fleet decreasing trend retains; at Fall 2006 there had been about 950 cars operated by 5 depots, most of them are old-fashioned four-axle ones.
About half of the fleet is quite ancient, new cars' purchases are being done not more than 30 per annum.

Most of the tramway vehicles currently in use on the network were built locally by the Saint-Petersburg Tramway-Mechanical Plant, or PTMZ, with the exception of the KTM-5M3 series, which was produced in the town of Ust-Katav in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia.

Tram vehicles of the following series are currently in operation:
LM-68M - four-axle, three-door single cars, manufactured 1973 through 1978 by PTMZ.
KTM-5M3, model 71-605 - four-axle, three door single cars manufactured in Ust-Katav in 1982-1983.
LVS-86 and LVS-86M - six-axle, four-door articulated cars, manufactured 1987-1997 by PTMZ. M designates the refurbished, modernized LVS-86 cars in use since 2003.
LVS-97 - six-axle articulated cars, manufactured by PTMZ since 1997.
LM-99 - four-axle single cars, manufactured by PTMZ since 1999.

Between in 1907 and late 1960s, the Saint Petersburg tramway network used to operate British-built Brush tram engines.
Several cars of this series, as well as other model types built by PTMZ but no longer in operation, are kept in working condition and can be rented for special occasions, such as weddings, birthday parties, and other celebrations.
All types of cars ever operated in Saint Petersburg were demonstrated during the 90-year tramway network anniversary parade in 1997.
All historical cars are stored in former Depot No. 2 at Vasilyevsky island, which will be closed for passenger services on January, 2007.
The enthusiasts working in the depot and museum are in great doubt that the unique collection, considered being one of the best in Europe, will not suffer due to that change.

For a more information about Saint Petersburg see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Petersburg) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, January 2008.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
About Wikipedia

This information was correct in January 2008. E. & O.E.


You can click on these photos for an enlargement

Saint Petersburg Tram Saint Petersburg Tram Saint Petersburg Tram
Saint Petersburg Tram Saint Petersburg Tram Saint Petersburg Tram

Tram in St Petersburg, Russia (YouTube.com)

Trams and Trainsin St Petersburg, Russia (YouTube.com)

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