The electric tram in Saint Petersburg

A brief history


In the year 1880, on the corner of Degtjarnaja and Bolotnaja Streets in Saint Petersburg, the engineer F.A. Pirockij tested the first electric tramcar in Russia. The first electric tramline in Saint Petersburg was put into use in the winter of 1895 on the ice of the frozen Neva-river from the Dvorcovaja Nabereznaja (Palace Embankment near the Winter Palace, today's Hermitage)
to the Strelka on Vasili Island.
The first real electric tramline was opened only on September 16, 1907 and ran from the Admirality to the 8th Linia on Vasili Island. From October-December 1907 the line was extended from Sadovaja Street (Garden Street) to the famous Nevsky Prospekt.
In 1909 there were already 13 tramlines in Saint Petersburg, running 190 tramcars from the English Bruch-factory and 235 Russian built cars (including 50 cars built at the famous
Putilov-factory in Saint Petersburg).

The year 1914 saw the start of transport of goods through the streets of Petrograd (as the city was called as a result of World War I). In 1917 the first suburban tramline was opened, connecting Petrograd with Oranienbaum (Lomonosov, about 20 km to the West).
The years 1918-23 saw a decline in the development of tramways. Trams were only running on working-days, and on these days there were 150-200 tramcars on the rails.
From the end of the 1920s there was an intensification of constructing new tramlines and parts of Leningrad (the name of the city since 1924) like Ochta, Rzevka and Ozerki were connected to the tramway system. At the beginning of 1941 the total length of tramlines in Leningrad was 700 kilometers, there were about 1900 tramcars.
In June 1941 the traffic of tramways was changed as a result of the outbreak of World War II and the German invasion in the Soviet-Union. On the 8th of December, 1941 the tramway-traffic was completely stopped because of a lack of electricity, but already on April 15, 1942 traffic was resumed. In 1943 13 tramlines were running.

In the beginning of 1947 the tramway system of Leningrad was completely restored and functioning.
In 1958 the first tramcars without a conductor were introduced, they were only reintroduced in 1997.
Since 1947 there was the construction of special tracks for the tramways, among others on Prospekt Stacek in the southwest, Nevsky Prospekt in the center and Kirovsky Prospekt (now Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt) in Petrogradskaja. The expansion of the tramway network also continued. At the end of the 1970s 20 more lines were in use compared with the first postwar years.
In the beginning of the1990s the Saint Petersburg City Council (from 1991 the old name Saint Petersburg was again in use officially) concluded that the tramway system in the city was not efficient, not profitable and paying and a reconstruction began. Lines were shortened, running less frequent and some lines were even closed. Unfortunately this trend is continuing up to this day and due to the huge increase in motor traffic (congestion of traffic is a daily common sight in Saint Petersburg) the tramways have a hard time in parts of the city, while in other parts
tramway traffic continues and improves.