I love trams. When traveling abroad, I never miss the chance of riding one. The trams in London, San Francisco, Brussels, Prague… they add a special flavour to those cities. I ride the trams of the cities of the world with a sense of a bitter enjoyment, a sense of loss, a sense of revenge, from understanding, that Armenia will never have trams again…
The trams stopped running in Yerevan on January 20, 2004. The authorities said the trams are unprofitable, the rails need urgent reconstruction, the carriages need to be replaced and the country simply cannot afford to keep them.
Riding to work today, I noticed how some of the last remaining tram-rails are being removed from Erebuni district in Yerevan. Large metal rails, wooden railway-sleepers dug out of asphalt and waiting for their turn to be taken away and become history.
A very long history.
On September 29, 1906 the Erivanian municipal horse-rail of entrepreneur Mirzoyan started running. It remained operational till August 1918, when the tram was destroyed as a result of the war.
Since 1932 the electric-powered broad-track trams started running in Yerevan. The number of carriages increased to 16 in 1933, 77 in 1945, 222 in 1965. Two types of trams were running in Yerevan till its closure – 71-605 and РВЗ-6М2.
The trams covered 12 routes, connected all major residential areas of Yerevan with the centre. This massive engineering feat was only made possible due to huge investments of the centralized Soviet economy.
Destroying the rails took 7 years – from 2004 to 2011. The carriages, the rails were cut and sold as scrap-metal, the stations and the tram depot rented out to businesses.
The 98-year-old history was sold for a song…
Photos of trams are from here.