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Tallinn tram network celebrates its 135th anniversary with a grand public party

The Tallinn tram network, which opened in 1988 as a horsecar line between Viru Square and Kadriorg, is celebrating its 135th year of operation this month. On 26 August, AS Tallinna Linnatransport will celebrate this important milestone with a lively public party starting at 12pm at Kopli depot (Kopli 118), which will be preceded by a parade of old trams going through the city from Vana-Lõuna turning loop to Kopli.

According to TLT board member Kaido Padar, the tram is as significant a symbol for Tallinn as the city’s guard Old Thomas in the tower of Raekoja or the peak of St. Olav’s Church which adorns the skyline of the capital. “For the residents of the capital, riding the tram has been associated with safe arrival and the joy of transport for generations and it’s not a surprise that the tram has been awarded the title of people’s favourite in numerous opinion polls,” explains Padar regarding the importance of the tram’s anniversary for the capital and its residents.

The era of trams began in Tallinn on 24 August 1888, when the first horsecar line started running. For the next 30 years, the trams ran on Narva Street, Tartu Street and Pärnu Street, and the horses remained as the power source. In 1915, steam trams began to transport Baltic Shipyard workers to Kopli and a tram network to Kopli was born. The first electric trams appeared on the streets of Tallinn on 28 October 1925. By 1955, the current tram infrastructure was developed and has remained without major changes until today.

“This year, on the tram’s 135th anniversary, the Tallinn tram network has started a new vigorous renewal, which will add almost 2.5 kilometres of new tracks when the Old City Harbour tram line is completed and will connect all the main transport nodes in a single tram network – Baltic Station, Old City Harbour, Tallinn Bus Station, the prospective Rail Baltica terminal and the Tallinn Airport,” says Padar about perspectives of tram traffic. “We have a reason to celebrate the anniversary of the tram, because despite its advanced and dignified age, our tram is in excellent condition and we want to celebrate that with the people of Tallinn,” the TLT board member adds.

The Tallinn tram network 135 party on 26 August starts with a parade featuring such rarities as the T-11 special tram from 1936, followed by the horsecar tram carriage renovated in 1988 with the TLT’s own brass band. The parade also features the rail grinding and track cleaning tram, T-4, built in 1951 at the Ilmarine factory, the shunting tram from 1963, the rail grinding and track cleaning tram from 1965 and several other beautiful, rare trams. The parade starts at Vana-Lõuna turning loop at 10:30am and everyone is invited to explore the streets.

The Kopli depot opens its doors to city residents at 12pm and you can explore the old, dignified trams as well as the trams in use today, both inside and outside. A film will be shown inside the depot and you can go through the tram wash while riding the tram. Specially made vouchers will be distributed for this event, which can be marked in nostalgic composters, as well as Tram 135 anniversary print, with an overview of the impressive history of the Tallinn tram network.

The festive mood is maint by the concert programme, which is set up in the outdoor area of the depot, where several musicians perform, in whose honour the music trams serving the people of Tallinn are named.

At 12pm, the TLT brass band will kick off the concert

At 12:30pm, accordion maestro Heino Tartes will perform with his friends.

At 1:30pm, a children’s choir, Ellerhein, will sing.

At 2:30pm, the crowd’s favourite, Anne Veski, will take the stage.

At 3:15pm, Kaur-Erik Pääsuke. will perform Jaak Joala’s songs.

At 4pm, a surprise performer takes the stage, ending the day with a bang.

In addition to interesting activities at the depot and an enjoyable concert programme, historical tram tours depart from the final stop in Kopli, organised by TLT in cooperation with the Tallinn City Museum and can be registered to on the museum’s website

The entire programme is free for residents of Tallinn.