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A Brief History of New York City Transportation

New York City is a glorious, sprawling metropolis, and it blazed new trails in city planning and mass transit. Inventive solutions allowed NYC to grow and thrive, creating a flow of traffic that pumped through the city like lifeblood. Today, the old bones and paths of early omnibuses, trolleys, and trains still mark the streets and skies of the five boroughs. They have a long and storied history as essential elements in one of the greatest cities on Earth.

Recommended by Tyler Thomas U.S.A.

Transportation History: The Trolley, Tram and Streetcar

Thomas Davenport debuted his model train in 1830 and inspired engineers to work on developing electric trains devoted to transporting passengers. Trams, trolleys, and streetcars emerged from this inspiration, and electric driven trains were one of the first significant uses of electricity (outside of electric light).  


Recommended by Hannah Hayes.
Hannah discovered this as part of a school social studies project carried out as part of her home schooling.  Her school has been closed because of the Covid 19 problems.  

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Thomas Davenport - 1834 Invented the "first" electric motor:

By now, you may be wondering what this has to do with electric streetcars. Thomas Davenport used Ányos Jedlik’s design to build a similar contraption, that followed a short rail among his other endeavors. This inspired others to start developing the first electrified public transport. This would evolve into electric cars fifty years later.
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The Gross Lichterfelde Tramway was the world's first electric tramway. It was built by the Siemens & Halske company in Lichterfelde, a suburb of Berlin, and went in service on
16 May 1881.

The first commercial installation of an electric streetcar in the United States was built in 1884 in Cleveland, Ohio and operated for a period of one year by the East Cleveland Street Railway Company. Trams were operated in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888, on the Richmond Union Passenger Railway built by Frank J. Sprague.