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ISTANBUL – Exploring the Nostalgic Tramways

Exploring Istanbul’s Nostalgic Tramways

Istanbul boasts two nostalgic tramlines, the T2 line on the European side and the T3 line on the Asian side, offering a charming glimpse into the city’s rich transport history.

Historical Background

Once the capital of Turkey, Istanbul had an extensive tram network beginning with horse-drawn trams in 1871, and transitioning to electric by the early 20th century. At its peak in 1956, the network featured 270 cars on 56 lines, transporting 108 million passengers. However, like many cities, Istanbul’s trams were phased out by 1966 in favor of motor vehicles, increasing traffic congestion and pollution.

Revival of the Tramways

Recognizing the value of trams, Istanbul reintroduced them with the Taksim-Tünel Nostalgia Tramway (T2 line) in 1990, followed by the Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgia Tramway (T3 line) in 2003. The T2 line, a 1.64 km route with five stops, runs through the pedestrianized Istiklal Caddesi, becoming a tourist favorite. On the Asian side, the T3 line spans 2.6 km with ten stops, utilizing secondhand trams from Germany.

These heritage tramways serve as a nostalgic attraction and highlight the importance of sustainable urban transport in Istanbul’s modern landscape.

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