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Born on this day
Marguerite Bourgeoys
Marguerite Bourgeoys, C.N.D., was the French foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal in the colony of New France, now part of Canada. She lived in Fort Ville-Marie (now Montreal) as of 1653, educating young girls, the poor, and nati
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17 April 2019

Important eventsBack

Municipally owned streetcars take to the streets of San Francisco, California.28.1.1917

Wikipedia (24 Mar 2013, 20:14)
Municipally owned streetcars take to the streets of San Francisco, California.

A tram (also known as a tramcar; a streetcar or street car; and a trolley, trolleycar, or trolley car) is a rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets (called street running), and also sometimes on separate rights of way. Trams powered by electricity, which were the most common type historically, were once called electric street railways. Trams also included horsecar railways which were widely used in urban areas before electrification.

Trams may also run between cities and/or towns (for example, interurbans, tram-train), and/or partially grade separated even in the cities (light rail). Trams very occasionally also carry freight.

Tram vehicles are usually lighter and shorter than conventional trains and rapid transit trains. However, the differences between these modes of public transportation are often indistinct. Some trams (for instance tram-trains) may also run on ordinary railway tracks, a tramway may be upgraded to a light rail or a rapid transit line, two urban tramways may be united to an interurban, etc.

Most trams today use electrical power, usually fed by an overhead pantograph; in some cases by a sliding shoe on a third rail or trolley pole. If necessary, they may have several power systems. Another power source is diesel oil; a few trams use electricity in urban streets, and diesel in more rural environments. Steam, petrol (gasoline), gas and draft animals have historically been used as power sources. Horse and mule driven trams do still occur, mostly for the tourist trade. Certain types of cable car are also known as trams.

Tramways are now included in the wider term "light rail", which also includes segregated systems. Some systems have both segregated and street running sections, but are usually then referred to as trams, because it is the equipment for street running which tends to be the decisive factor. Vehicles on wholly segregated light rail systems are generally called "trains", although cases have been known of train equipment built for a segregated system being sold to new owners and becoming "trams".

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