Paris Accumulator Tram

Paris Accumulator Tram, École Militaire

This postcard shows a tram on route 11 from Vanves to St. Philippe du Roule, via Issy, Porte de Versailles, École Militaire and Champs-Elysée. It was taken at École Militaire by the Champ de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

It is a tram of the Compagnie Général Parisienne de Tramways (C.G.P.T) and the view dates from 1910. Our actual card was posted in England on 27th August 1912 and is number 4012 in the "N.D.Phot" series of Neurdein et Cie of Paris. The translated caption says "The Transport of Paris - Electric tramway using trolley and accumulators".

The C.G.P.T. came into existence in 1890, taking over the former system of the Tramways Sud, who had operated horse trams since 1875. From 1901 they set about electrifying the routes. In the suburbs overhead wire was used, but in the central area they first chose to use accumulators, hence these trams could run on both systems. On route 11, the section from École Militaire to St. Philippe du Roule used the accumulators and our postcard view is close to the changeover point.

In Paris, accumulator trams were first tested in 1888 between Porte Maillot and l'Etoile by the Tramways Nord, with their successors (the Tramways de Paris et du Departément de la Seine) electrifying many of their routes by this means. From around 1910 use of accumulators ceased and the inner city tracks were re-laid with conduit. Paris used both the side and centre conduit methods.

The tram in our postcard is one of sixty numbered in the range 201 to 260 that was constructed in 1901, (known as type 200). They used Thomson-Houston electrical equipment with TH 2 type motors giving 43 horsepower. They were mounted on reversed maximum traction bogies. As originally built they had both accumulators and a trolley pole, but after 1910 the accumulators were removed and conduit current collection equipment was fitted in the same location between the bogies. In 1911 most of the class were fitted on new bogies and had their upper decks improved. As built, the trams weighed 15.6 tons (without accumulators) and carried 60 passengers, 28 seated on the lower deck, 26 upstairs and 6 standing.

The last traditional electric tram ran in Paris in 1938, but a new generation of tramways commenced operation in 1992.

Also see Postcard of Paris Compressed Air Trams

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Postcard of the Month is created by John R. Prentice © Copyright 2001