Fond farewell to Vienna’s Type E Straßenbahn

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Fond farewell to Vienna’s Type E Straßenbahn

On July 25, 2016, Posted by , in Life, tags , , With No Comments

As Wiener Linien transitions their fleet over to fully accessible transit vehicles, the Type E’s are making their last journeys. To the scrap yard.  {Edit! Some of the Type E’s have been renovated to a low floor design and are rumbling around Krakow. Railway Gazette article HERE. }


Of course, the change is a good thing to keep the transit system fully functional for the people who rely on it. These were not the easiest things for elderly folks to navigate and impossible for anyone using a wheelchair. Type Es ride high off the ground and the steps are narrow and steep. Not easy when loaded down with heavy shopping bags or using a rolling shopping bag. And getting a stroller in and out takes two people. It is a common courtesy to help a mom or dad wrangling a stroller by themselves by grabbing the front of the stroller to help lift it up or down the steps. (Taking care to keep it level and not disturb the little one!)

And those accordian doors could be tricky. I recall riding a straßenbahn on New Year’s Eve that was so stuffed with partiers, that the doors got out of alignment and wouldn’t close. We all had to walk  home.

But there are nice things about this design too. The ends of the trailer cars have curved windows that offer great views and there are little decks you can perch on up there.  I think the windows make for better ventilation. The total door openings are narrower, which might slow down alighting/boarding, but also makes it less drafty in the winter than the modern, low floors design. And they are red and white, like the Austrian flag (the new vehicles are red and grey–probably more practical).

The very best thing about the old E is the seats. Curved wood. Handsome. Old school. Shaped for people. And on a snowy day,  if you snagged a seat with a heater underneath it, you never wanted to get off.

Yeah, we’ll miss these old guys.

Auf Wiedersehn.


Read more about the history of the streetcar in Vienna, including the Amerikaners–streetcars from New York that were sent to Vienna as part of the Marshall Plan:

The Austrian Press and Information Service

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