Łodz got Poland’s first electric trams 118 years ago

On December 23, 1898 the city of Łodz put the first trams in Poland into service, and they were not pulled by horses. The 350 electric trams operating each day transported people, coal and other goods from train stations to factories, as well as around the city, according to a historical report from the publication Rozwój – dziennik polityczny, przemysłowy, ekonomiczny ilustrowany (in English this means Development: Daily Politics, Industry, Economics Illustrated).

The idea had, of course, been to build tram platorms (and the trams themselves) that would be equipped for horses, but in the end it was decided that the horse tramway would have been too noisy and unhygienic, and so the city announced a tender for the construction of an electric tram system. Łodz, at the time, was part of the Russian Empire, and the trams became the third to to be electrically-operated in the entire Empire. Łodz Electric Railway, a consortium of city industrialists, won the tender and signed an agreement to begin building the system in February of 1897. Apparently, Czar Nicholas II signed the deal himself.

The construction began in July, 1897, with several wagons produced by Herbrand Company, from Cologne, and powered by AEG, the first power company in Łodz, according to the report.
Second-class ticket cost 5 kopecks, and the conductor earned 30 rubles per month, the old report states.

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