Streetcars around the world

November 22nd, 2013


Last year we published not one but two lists of our favourite subway stations from all around the world. In light of all the recent discussion that’s been going on in Toronto about LRT and subways, we decided to took a look at streetcars and trams around the world.

San Francisco

501397410_9d562c2daf_bImage courtesy of Thomas Hawk

San Francisco is home to the iconic cable cars (cue Full House theme song) but it also operates a heritage streetcar service using historic equipment from retired streetcars from San Francisco and other cities from all around the world. Even though it’s deemed a “heritage” service, it operates 20 hours a day, seven days a week. San Francisco’s main boulevard, Market Street has had almost continuous rail transit service since the late 1800s!


large_5015902646Image courtesy of thangeo

Lisbon, Portugal has a fleet of small vintage trams fit for the movies. Lisbon is a beautiful city to visit or live in, and the streetcars fully complement this charming city’s old European backdrop. Lisbon does have it’s share of more modern transit, including a fast running subway system, but tourists and residents alike love the vintage trams!

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Tram

Image courtesy of

The trams of Hong Kong serve one of the busiest cities in the world, and they do it in double-decker style. Hong Kong’s historic trams have been around since 1904 and they run from early morning until midnight. Even though Hong Kong has one of the best metro systems in the world, people are still loyal to the tram system and continue to use it regularly. In fact, the trams complement the subway system and act as pedestrian facilitators.


Amsterdam Tram

Image courtesy of  angheloflores

Amsterdam is one of our favourite international cities because their streets are just incredibly pedestrian-friendly. The Amsterdam tram is the main form of public transportation in the city center and is one of the easiest systems to navigate. Similar to other streetcars across the world, the first tram was horse-drawn; it was introduced to the people of Amsterdam in 1875.


Toronto streetcar after the rain.

And of course, Toronto! Did you know that Toronto’s 501 Queen St. route boasts one of the longest streetcar routes in North America? It goes from Long Branch all the way through the core of downtown and into the Beaches. Toronto’s first streetcar started operating in 1861 and continues to be a major mode of transportation for many every day.

Have you ever taken the streetcar outside of Toronto? Where? We’d love to know!