Sunday, October 25, 2009

Streetcar Sundays - Stockholm, Sweden

Every Sunday I'm posting a card featuring a streetcar, tram or trolley. This is the third one, but there are lots more to come.

The most striking thing about this picture is not the streetcar or tram, it's the fact that the cars are driving on the wrong side of the street. Sweden had a long history of driving on the left, even in carts and buggies and on horseback, and all the way back to the 1700s.  In the 1920s, serious discussion began about changing to right-hand drive, but attempts to change the status quo were repeatedly voted down. Finally, in 1963 the move to right-hand drive was approved, but it required so many changes to intersections, bus stops, signage, and signals, that it wasn't implemented until 1967.

September 3, 1967 was designated as Dagen H or H Day (which is short for Högertrafikomläggningen), the day for the switch to right-hand traffic. At 4:50 AM, all traffic was stopped and had to move to the opposite side of the street. Then, at 5:00 AM, traffic was allowed to proceed again.

The trams in Stockholm were unfortunate victims of the change to right-hand drive, as they were all replaced with buses. Old buses were retro-fitted to include doors on both sides and new buses were bought with doors on the right-hand side. In recent years, the Swedish Tramway Society has worked valiantly to re-introduce trams to downtown Stockholm, although they are mostly operated by dedicated volunteers.

Click here if you want to find out more about the Swedish Tramway Society or become a member.



  1. Also unusual are all the bikes parked along the curb,not apparently on the sidewalk.

  2. Love your postcard, and so informative.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I also wondered about the bicycle parking. I can only assume that there is no car parking allowed there.

  4. Look at the light-colored car on the left, seemingly parallel parked next to the bike.

  5. You're absolutely right. Wow, people must have been very careful.



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