Istanbul Tünel Heritage Tram

After closing the tram network in the mid-1960s, the people of Istanbul thought that transport within the city would move faster than before, but this proved false some years later. The uncontrolled increase of petrol vehicles such as buses, taxis, and private cars started choking the streets of Istanbul.

Turkey suffered many of the problems of developing countries, including pollution, traffic jams, migration, and rapid population increase. A growing population increased the urbanization of Istanbul, and with it more motor vehicles which increased air and noise pollution, traffic jams and smog.

Looking at examples in other cities around the world, the authorities planned to bring trams back to Istanbul. By then, the number of cars and buses had increased so much that starting a completely new tramway was not possible at that time.

Instead they planned an experimental heritage tramway, mindful of the lower installation cost, mainly as tourist attraction, and as a test system to see how trams would be accepted by the younger generations in Istanbul.

The original Istanbul tram network was almost completely destroyed, including depots, termini, electric power stations, etc., except for some of the rolling stock which had been preserved in transport museums. The Authority wished to re-introduce heritage trams in Istanbul using the same type of rolling stock which was running in the European part until 1962, and in the Asian part until 1966. Using old photographs, people’s memories, and other sources, some rolling stock was built for the European side resembling pre-1962 European-side tram stock, including the size, shape, interior, color scheme etc. The prototypes had originally been built in 1915.

Around 1990, the Istiklal Caddesi became a pedestrian zone, and the tram was restored and revived in 1990, in the form of the Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia Tramway. After a 24-year absence, trams returned to Istanbul. The length of the line is 1.64 kilometers (1.02 mi) and there are 5 stops.

Read more: History of railways with Alex Meltos ...