Say it aloud: "Pause." The spots when trams have a choice of 2-3 directions are referred to as facing points. All facing points are required to come to a halt (Rule 86). Some of the points of contact are automated. The majority of points have double blades, while few have single blades. The term "point" does not include gates or crossings where only one route branch is shown by an arrow.
Tram lines usually run for several miles along a route. The first mile or so is called the trackway; the rest of the line is called the street. The trackway may have many stops, more than half of which are marked by signs indicating who goes next. These stops are known as track changes or transfer stations because passengers changing trams go through a security check before entering the next trambay.
The street may have more stops, some of which may be marked and some unmarkeds. These stops are called termini because they end the line. In cities with heavy traffic, several different companies may operate trams, but they all use the same trackway and street to avoid conflicts between cars running on different routes. Trams move along tracks that are either above or below ground. Above-ground trams run in parks and on rooftops, while underground trams run in closed-off sections of streets.
In most cities with trams, there are also buses serving similar routes.
When you board a tram, be sure the driver turns a knob on the dashboard. That is the method for shifting the points. When the switch is pressed, a tiny electrical circuit in the track detects the change and resets the points. The result is that the next stop is automatically made at the other end of the line.
There are actually three switches on a tram, one for each track. They are almost identical, with the exception of their positions on the floor. The driver presses down on either one to shift into another point.
The switches are connected to an electric motor which drives a shaft that operates the switches. When a tram enters a new section of track, the driver must return all the way across town before the next passenger can get on. This allows time for the electrical circuits in the tracks to reset themselves for the next stop.
Trams were first built in Vienna in 1872. By 1880, they were in use in Berlin, Hamburg, and Prague. By 1900, they had spread to Paris, Brussels, and several other European cities. In America, they have been used in San Francisco since 1901 and in New York City since 1909.
Today, trams continue to be used in various parts of the world including Melbourne, Australia; Christchurch, New Zealand; and Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland.
A tram (or streetcar or trolley in North America) is a railcar that operates on tramway track on public metropolitan streets; some have segregated right-of-way parts. Tramways, or simply tram/streetcar, are the lines or networks on which tramcars run as public transportation. Today's trams are based on technology developed during the twentieth century, but they use components and designs dating back much further than that. The first electric streetcars ran in Philadelphia in 1892.
Trams were originally called "troops" of horses drawing small carts or carriages for passengers. The term "tram" was adopted by British manufacturers of steam trams from 1878. It may be used as a general term for any type of railway vehicle with separate compartments for passengers, but it usually refers to a passenger tramway vehicle.
In Europe, modern trams generally use electricity as their primary source of power, although some cities with heavy traffic loads also operate a few hybrid trams that combine electricity and diesel fuel. In most cities with a significant number of tram routes, buses are used instead. However, there are several cities around the world where trams still play an important role, including Oslo, Norway; Bern, Switzerland; La Habra, California, United States; and Zürich, Switzerland.
The oldest operating tram system is in Washington D.C., which began operation in 1870.
A tram (or streetcar or trolley in North America) is a rail vehicle that operates on tramway rails along public metropolitan streets; some have segregated right-of-way parts. In Europe, trams tend to have longer vehicles than buses, and often run on fixed routes instead of being assigned stops.
In North America, streetcars and trams usually run on tracks separate from other traffic, but they can also share the road with cars or other types of transit. The term "tram" can be used for both types of vehicles although typically only streetcars have seats for passengers.
The word "tram" comes from the French meaning "withdrawn". This is because early trams were powered by steam engines which needed to be moved away from urban centers to allow traffic to pass. However, this technology has been largely replaced by diesel and electric motors which can remain in operation while passengers get on and off at different locations.
Trams were first introduced into cities across Europe in the 19th century, and are still prevalent in many large cities today. They can be seen in most major world capitals, in many smaller towns, and even in some rural areas. There are currently about 7,000 trams operating in more than 70 countries around the world.