Sunday, December 20, 2009

Streetcar Sundays - Caracas, Venezuela 1925

This is the 11th installment of Streetcar Sunday, and we're headed off to Caracas, Venezuela, the country's largest city and it capital. In 1900, the population of Caracas was only 100,000, but by 2008 it had grown to over 3 million.

Trams started service in Caracas in 1882 on 29.5 inch gauge tracks. Caracas, like many other places, started out with horse-drawn trams. What differentiates Caracas from other cities is that it didn't initiate the move to electrical trams by replacing the horse-drawn ones. Instead, it started by electrifying its steam railroads, and horse trams provided connections between the various railroad stations.

The first electric trams began service in 1906. In 1907, thirty additional electric trams were ordered from England. The cars were only 24 feet long and just over 5 feet wide; they had to be small to make the turns on the narrow streets of the old town. The car shown above was ordered from J.G. Brill Co. in Philadelphia in 1909, but it had the same dimensions as the earlier cars.

By the early 1920s, gasoline-powered buses arrived on the scene. Even so, additional trams continued to be purchased and tram service continued until 1947.

If you want to read more about the history of trams in Caracas and look at lots of wonderful historic pictures, check out Allen Morrison's website. For information on the current Caracas Metro system, click here. If you want to look at all of the previous posts for Streetcar Sunday, click here.

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