The World’s Top 10 Tram Rides

Taken from the National Geographicai??i??s Journeyai??i??s of a Lifetime ai??i?? 500 of the Worldai??i??s Greatest Trips

Melbourne’s route 96 tram has been named in National Geographic’s “Journeys of a Lifetime” coffee table book as one of the planet’s top 10 “trolley car” rides.


Budapestai??i??s Tram Route No 2 is awarded 7th place, being the best European line on the list, beating Lisbon and Amsterdam tram lines:


Torontoai??i??s Route 501 is awarded


The full list is:

1.Ai??Ai?? Hong Kong

2.Ai??Ai?? Melbourne Tram No 96

3.Ai??Ai?? New Orleansai??i?? St. Charles streetcar tour

4.Ai??Ai?? Budapest Tram No 2

5.Ai??Ai?? Berlin Tram No 68

6.Ai??Ai?? Lisbon Tram No 28

7.Ai??Ai?? Toronto `Queenai??i?? Route 501

8.Ai??Ai?? Amsterdam Tram No 2

9.Ai??Ai?? San Franciscoai??i??s Streetcar F

10. Ai??Seattleai??i??s George Benson waterfront streetcar

Trams & Streetcars make city’s, this is what the National Geograhical magazine award is all about. I can’t quite see a future Surrey Skytrain making the same impact, can you?


4 Responses to “The World’s Top 10 Tram Rides”
  1. eric chris says:

    Being Australian and having ridden trams in Australia, the tram in Melbourne is a fantastic way to get around the city, as it is in Adelaide. When I moved to Vancouver in 1995, I took transit here for one year. It was the worst commuting experience of my life and after one short year, I dumped transit by TransLink (BC Transit until 1999). I never regretted it.

    Waiting in the rain for a crowded bus to sit next to some homeless individual who hasn’t taken a bath for months or a junkie strung out on whatever to then transfer to the sky train for more of the same was not for me. Driving or cycling is twice as fast here without the hassle of being exposed to transit users who the bus driver lets on because it isn’t his problem. Worse, there is no driver on the sky train to offer any sort of deterrent at all – riff raff board at will.

    With sky train, you have a slow network of buses transferring riders to the sky trains. To overcome this severe limitation, TransLink operates its frequent transit network (FTN) to avoid riders waiting the standard 20 minutes for a bus to take them to the sky train for a 10 minute ride on sky train.

    Really, FTN at a huge cost is a desperate move by TransLink to salvage its sky train debacle. You end up with a bunch of mostly empty FTN buses (99 B-Line) polluting and choking the roads. In Metro Vancouver, FTN buses are integral to the sky train but are not included in the operating cost of sky train. This is simply wrong.

    Sky train would crash and burn without the FTN buses superimposed on the sky train network. TransLink says that its sky train has low operating costs without a driver compared with trams having a driver. This is analogous to saying that a camper being towed by a SUV has low operating costs because the camper does not have a driver.

    It is so silly that it defies logic but nobody questions it here. What about the bus driver on the bus operating along the sky train line? How about the drivers driving the buses on the Canada Line route? They are not a cost says TransLink. Great, don’t pay them, then.

  2. Haveacow says:

    Sorry, FTN’s are an international thing that has caught on and TransLink is just the latest to get on the bandwagon. They are generally designed for people who do not know the surface transit sytem and do not want to wait for a transit vehicle more than they have to. Most transit maps can’t tell you if a bus is running every 5 minutes or every hour and if you have closely parallel bus lines or multiple ones that share part of an existing transit corridor infrequent users need to know the difference. Now I know Translink uses them to also show were possible future skytrains or other rapid transit may go and to feed the skytrain systyem but, it is not a conspiracy. Using surface routes to link or feed Rapid Transit Systems is a time honoured way of building ridership and is used in most cities with rail rapid transit systems around the world. Now, if the feeding of surface routes into rapid transit lines slows down the enitre surface network or makes transfers entirely too difficult than you have a problem. I agree the Sky Train tech is over sold and under performs in a major way. Keep in mind transfering is not a bad thing as long as the transfer is quick and easy. A good grid system (that by it’s nature encourages transfers) is often far faster than a radial system of multiple single routes going everywhere desperately trying to avoid a transfer because these types of route networks exist at the expense of any meaningful frequency. It is always a danger to sacrifice frequency with a transfer for what is perceived as a more direct route to somewhere.with no transfer because when actually measured, most often the more frequent routes that require a transfer are a faster trip than the so called direct ones when you coinsider door to door travel times as part of the trip.

    Getting to the point of the article, after finding out that I have ridden 5 of the top 10 on this list I really think that route number S4 of the Karleshrue Tram Train system should be included just for the sheer amount and varied scenery of the whole trip (not a cheap a trip either). I write this from my hotel here in Manhiem and have been told that some of the local tram lines here are pretty good too. As great as the transit here is boy, the Germans love to drive everywhere. They drive almost as much as we do in Canada, it’s quite scarry really, when you see what they pay for gas. There cars are not any more fuel efficient than ours. Took a white knuckle trip on a Autobahn in the fast lane at 195km/h for 12-14 minutes before I asked our driver to go to the slower lane. Worst part was that there were a few cars clearly going +210 km/h. Considering the amount of debris that the tires kick up on the road at 195 km/h, it was not the speed but the pieces of stuff that hit the car when traveling at those velocities that are a truly terrifing thing. Please leave the high speed to the trains and planes please. Anyway back to work!

  3. eric chris says:

    @Haveacow, I’ll concede that FTN is common. It does not make it right in all circumstances. TransLink is taking FTN to an extreme to make sky train limp along and you have to ride the 99 B-Line at any time other than at peak hours to see what I mean.

    In Vancouver, FTN creates road congestion on Broadway, noise for residents and toxic emissions for residents. There is a limit to what is acceptable and throwing the Motor Vehicle Act out the door to allow TransLink to operate with impunity is wrong. If TransLink has to cheat to make transit work, everyone at TransLink can start to look for a new job, now.

    We have articulated 99 B-Line buses operating every two to five minutes with only the driver on board for virtually all the return trips from UBC and almost nobody on board the 99 B-Line for 45% of the year, including the four months over the summer. Taxpayers are paying for this crap.

    Trams would negate the requirement for FTN and still be faster for the average commuter. In Vancouver, statistically, trams believe it or not are faster than sky train for most users. We design transit for the majority and not for TransLink planners who feel that 30 kilometre commutes are the norm.

  4. Justin says:

    The George Benson Streetcar has been closed for years now. That list needs some updating.