Things about the tram (2)

Sri Lanka Colombo

‘North, East and Southeast Asian trams’

For many the other side of the world, the Far East but these days not as far as thought. Yuăn Dōng – Verre Oosten – Estremo Oriente – Ferner Osten – Extrême-Orient – Daleki Wschód, to name it in a few languages although the definition isn’t always correct e.g. Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka could also be situated in South-west Asia as well.
Considered from a Western standpoint – The Occident – from all three East’s (near, middle, far) – The Orient – Far East by far is the farthest. A geographical fuss or just a linguistic problem.

A streetcar named desire to paraphrase a famous playwright, a streetcar normally known as a tramcar or just tram, a vehicle bound to rails running in the street and by the times the automobile was a ultimate luxury the mode of transportation for the common people.
It all started with the horse tram but during the end of the nineteen century many stallions were replaced by electric powered vehicles. Trams with a tramway typical steam locomotive in front would endure their existence far beyond the noble four-footer.
Many cities abandoned their tramways especially in the second half of the last century. Others survived till today or even new systems were opened or will be open in the near future. This story does not differ in Asia though the number of cities with a tramway system is less than in America or Europe.

A list of the countries and tramway systems present and past (as far as known) under this banner. The names in Italic are former names or also known as. The year between brackets is the year of closure and full date; day of opening. Light rail is a mix between tram and train, in Japan many systems can be found with or without partly street running like a tram. Translohr is a French invention, a guided tram on rubber tires. A tram-bus or bus-tram, like the trolleybus is guided by a double overhead wire the Translohr system is guided by a single rail. Any supplementation of the list is most welcome. The picture above is Colombo, for more pictures coming with the feature click the Flickr photos site.


Beijing – Peking (1968) ~ Anshan (1990) ~ Changchun ~ Dalian – Dairen / Dalny ~ Fushun Harbin – Pinkiang (1987) Hong Kong ~ Shanghai (1975) ‘Zhangjiang tram’ (Translohr) (31.12.2009)  ~ Shenyang – Mukden (1973)  ~ Tianjin – Tientsin (1972) Translohr (10.05.2007)


Cawnpore (1933) ~ Dehli (circa 1963) ~ Kolkata – Calcutta ~Madras (1963) ~ Mumbai –Bombay (1964)


Jakarta – Batavia (1962) ~ Semarang (1940) ~ Surabaya (1968) Note: some interurban steam trams operated till the beginning of 1980.


Gifu (2005) ~ Hakadota ~ Hiroshima ~ Imizu ~ Kagoshima ~ Kobe (1971) ~ Kochi Kumamoto ~ Kyoto (1978) light rail ~ Matsuyama ~ Nagasaki ~ Okoyama ~ Osaka ~ Sapporo ~ Takkaoka ~ Tokyo ~ Toyama ~ Toyohasi ~ Yokohama (1972)

Korea (North)

Chongjin ~ Pyongyang

Korea (South)

Busan – Pusan (1968) light rail ~ Seoul (1968) light rail


Georgetown – Pulau Pinang (1963)

Myanmar – Burma

Mandalay (circa 1945) ~ Yangon – Rangoon (circa 1945)


Karachi (1975)


Corregidor [US military service] ~ Manila (1944) light rail

Russia (Northeast)

Aniva [horse only] (?) ~ Khabarovsk (11.11.1956) ~ Khavomai [horse only] (?) Komsomolsk-na-Amure (06.11.1957) ~ Vladivostok (22.10.1912)


Singapore (1927) light rail (people mover)

Sri Lanka – Ceylon

Colombo (1960)


Bangkok – Krung Thep (1968) ~ Lop Buri (1962)


Hanoi (1990) ~ Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon (circa 1935)




About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
This entry was posted in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Things about the tram, Viet Nam. Bookmark the permalink.

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