Shanghai trams will return after 40 years

Trams are expected to return to Shanghai after an absence of more than 40 years, with plans for 13 kilometers of tram lines announced by the Shanghai government.

Tram car 'en fete' in Shanghai, 1908. Source: Wikipedia

Tram car ‘en fete’ in Shanghai, 1908. Source: Wikipedia

The first line shall run between Xupu and Nanpu bridges along the Huangpu River and is supposed to start in 2017, according to a three-year riverside public space construction plan.

The city government did not give a statement how long the work is expected to take. Under the plan, the line will mostly run in Xuhui district, which is a major district in downtown Shanghai. The new tram line shall help avoid traffic jams and provide a low-carbon transport option for residents and tourists, the city’s Huangpu Riverbanks development general office said.

Trams were first introduced in Shanghai early in the 20th century and at their peak more than 300 ran in the city. The network was closed in the early 1970s.

Today, the only tram route is a 9.8km line with 15 stops at Zhangjiang High Tech Park in the Pudong New Area. In downtown Shanghai are no tram lines.

Two tram routes are also planned for suburban Qingpu District. The northern line is set to stretch 5.15 kilometers and have 12 stops while the 9.15km southern line may have 18 stations. Under the long-term urban plan announced by the Shanghai Transport Commission in 2014, the city will have around 800 kilometers of tram tracks in the future.

Further green projects including bicycle lanes are planned along the river with rental stations linking hubs and subway stations, plus designated lanes for jogging.