In 1910 Neurdein et Cie of Paris ("N.D.Phot") produced a series of postcards showing transport systems used in Paris. This is card 4008 in the series and shows a horse tram of the Compagnie Générale des Omnibus (CGO).
Other postcards from this N.D.Phot series are:
Lamm & Francq Fireless Steam Tram
Est-Parisien Electric Tram
CGPT Electric Tram
Purrey Steam Trams (the small views).
Compressed Air Tram (the small view).
The first trams in Europe were in Paris. Frenchman Alphonse Loubat had seen the Stevenson cars in the United States, where he is credited by D.Kinnear Clarke in 1894 (possibly erroneously) with laying the first grooved rail tracks in 1852 in New York . He was granted permission to build a line from Place de la Concorde to Pont de Sèvres and to the village of Boulogne on the outskirts of south-west Paris. It began a trial operation on 21st November 1853 as far as Passy, being extended and officially opened to Sèvres by October 1854. The two original cars were built by Stevenson in the States and the trams became known as the Chemin de fer Americain. To enable his vehicles to continue from Cours la Reine to the Louvre, they were provided with a device to change the wheels from flanged ones to flat tyres, so that the car could proceed as a bus over the cobbled streets. The CGO came into existence in 1855 as a bus operator and in September of the following year took over the Loubat lines and proceeded to build their own tramways.
The tram in our view was one of a series of eight-window cars built in 1874 carrying 47 people. They were single ended and resembled the horse buses of the day. They had a spiral staircase at the rear giving access to the upper deck which had "knifeboard" seats. They were 7.72 metres long, 2.1 metres wide and 3.7 metres overall height. They weighed 3.3 tonnes unladen. In 1884 the trams were slightly rebuilt to the form shown and capacity was increased to 51, 21 inside, 24 on top and 6 on the platform.
The tram in our postcard is on route TAH which ran from the Boulevard de Vaugirard to the Gare du Nord, a service which commenced operation on 15th December 1897. The last CGO horse tram in Paris ran on 20th April 1913 on route 21 (previously known as TV), Pantin to Opéra, being replaced by electric trams. This incidentally was the first CGO electric route to include a section of conduit operation. Not all horse routes were initially replaced by electric trams, as steam and compressed air was also used at first for many. At this period CGO were also operating Brillié Schneider P2 buses as in the small view (left) which is also from an N.D.Phot postcard in this series.
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