LAST TRAM TO HAKENFELDE: THE END OF WEST BERLIN´S NETWORK

KREUZBERGED BERLIN

Depending on the criteria and personal preferences, the history of the electric street-tram began either in Russia in a small seaside town of Sestroretsk near Sankt Petersburg in 1880 or in Berlin a year later. On May 16 1881 Werner Siemens, the vehicle´s German inventor who had previously contacted Fyodor Pirotsky, the Russian engineer, opened his first electricity-powered tram line near the Prussian Military College in Lichterfelde.

DEBUT OF THE FIRST ELECTRIC TRAM IN THE WORLD: BERLIN-LICHTERFELDE, MAY 1881 (image through siemens.de)

Even though the idea behind the project was brilliant, engineers involved in developing it still had a lot of work to do. The main problem were the rails, initially used as electricity conduits. They provided an invisible but very palpable power which not only propelled carriages along the 250-metre long line at an until then unknown speed but, on the downside, if you accidentally stepped on them, an…

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