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Trams at Qianmen Street bring visitors back

A tram is begins trial operation in Qianmen Street, Beijing, Jan. 1, 2009. [Xinhua Photo]

A tram is begins trial operation in Qianmen Street, Beijing, Jan. 1, 2009. [Xinhua Photo]

Due to the advent of more modern transport options, trams have disappeared from Beijing more than forty years ago. So when two trams turned up at the renovated Qianmen Street, crowds of people arrived out of sheer curiosity. But this time around, the carriages have been put to use as sightseeing cars.

 

A passenger said, "I took the tram back in my childhood. It's fun, like going back in time. "

 

The two trams started their maiden journey at nine a.m. on January 1st. Nearby residents were the first passengers to ride on them.

Visitors pose with tickets on a tram beginning trial operation in Qianmen Street, Beijing, Jan. 1, 2009.(Xinhua Photo)

Visitors pose with tickets on a tram beginning trial operation in Qianmen Street, Beijing, Jan. 1, 2009.[Xinhua Photo]  

Trams were first introduced to Beijing in 1924, running from Qianmen in the city centre to Xizhimen, in the city's west. In 1966, they were officially abandoned as an outdated means of public transportation.

 

The two new trams have been designed and produced based on old pictures. From the exterior to the interior decoration, the trams have been strictly replicated. Mainly serving visitors along Qianmen's pedestrian street, each can accommodate up to eighty passengers.

 

For those not living nearby there are of course other options. And, elsewhere in Beijing, there's good news for senior citizens. From the start of the year, passengers over 65 years of age can take the bus for free.

 

(Xinhua News Agency January 4, 2009)