Vienna has one of the best public transport systems in the world. I live in one of the outer districts, and yet I can make it into downtown in under half an hour, including walking time. Yesterday I got to find out more about the long history of trams and public buses in Vienna during an #instawalk with @igersvienna. We were invited by Wiener Linien to visit the Traffic Museum Remise (Verkehrsmuseum Remise).
Among other things, we saw the first horse-drawn tram from 1868 (!), the so-called “American” tram from the post-World War II years, and even a very infamous bus that had fallen into the Danube when the Reichsbrücke collapsed in 1976, was lifted out and then continued to be used for quite a number of years! The first buses began transporting people through Vienna in 1907, by the way.
In addition to original vehicles (in mint condition) from various eras, numerous themed interactive displays provide interesting information about the Viennese public transport system, from trams and buses to the U-Bahn (underground). One can walk into some of the original vehicles on display.
Today´s modern trams feature low floors (for easy stroller and wheelchair access), panoramic windows, electronic controls, automatic door control, signal registration, and remote voice transmission to the control center. Things were a bit less direct in the early days, but there was communication and control nevertheless.
Gone are the days of hard wooden benches, conductor booths, and wood-framed windows, at least on regular routes. (You can rent an old-fashioned tram for special events though.)
There are several interesting buses too, including one of my favourites, the double-decker buses I remember from my childhood (I used to ride the line 13a sometimes, which then was a double-decker bus, and I loved sitting on top). Double-decker buses were discontinued after 1991.
Too bad they don´t have those anymore, but of course they were not wheelchair accessible and not nearly as spacious as today´s fleet.
The tram museum, Ottakring edition
A tram museum has existed in Vienna since the 1970s. The collection “Viennese Tramwaymuseum” opened in 1972 and was housed in two halls of the operating station Ottakring until 1986. It contained a nearly complete collection of all important types Viennese means of transport, from sedan chair to horse-drawn tram, from steam-powered trams from the early 19th century, to the first Viennese articulated tramcar from 1957, and urban light rail (Stadtbahn) vehicles from 1925 and 1954, etc. The museum quickly ran out of space though, and eventually moved to its current location in Erdberg.
Visiting the Vienna transport museum
You can visit the Verkehrsmuseum in the historic tram parking in the Erdberg region (reachable of course by public transport) on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Vienna Transport Museum Remise is located at Ludwig-Koessler-Platz, 1030 Vienna.
Thank you for the special tour, Igersvienna!
(I have to say it, apparently: This blog post contains unpaid brand mentions.)