Today in Transportation History – March 3, 1894: The First Electric Tram in Scandanavia

A day after it was officially opened, the first electric tram (streetcar) line in all of Scandinavia began regular operations in Norway’s capital city of Kristiania. (In 1924, the city formally readopted its original name of Oslo.) This tram line was run by the company Kristiana Elektriske Sporvei (KES) as a part of the Oslo Tramway, which had been established in 1875 as a horsecar system.

The idea of an electric tram line within the system was met with resistance from a number of city residents. Many of them worried that horses used for other tram lines in the city would react negatively to seeing electrified vehicles move along without any equine-based power. As it turned out, the city’s horses did not suffer any ill effects from seeing trams get around on electricity alone.

The pioneering electric line of KES, which became known as the Blue Tramway (Blåtrikken) due to the blue design on its trams, initially ran along a mostly single-track route between the neighborhoods of Briskeby and Majorstuen in the western section of the city. When the line began regular operations, its trams ran every six minutes.

Along with initiating the first electric tram service in Scandinavia, the line made the Oslo Tramway only the seventh public transportation network of its kind in Europe to be at least partially electrified. By 1900, the Oslo Tramway had phased out all of its horse-drawn trams in favor of electric vehicles.

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