|About 1900, horse-drawn tranvias cross Plaza Bolivar.|
|An electric tranvia.|
If the plan is realized - a big IF - it'll harken back to a legendary mode of transport from the last century - and a system which also marked Bogotá's social and political history.
Bogotá's first rail system - the U.S.-owned Bogotá City Railway Company - used horse and mule-drawn vehicles which ran on wooden rail along Ave. Septima and other routes, north to Chapinero, then a rural area outside the city. The animal-powered system operated from 1884 to 1910, expanding west to the Estacion de la Sabana. In 1910, the system's elecrification was begun.
|Tranvias burn on Plaza Bolivar during the Bogotazo.|
|A tranvia at the Gaitan Museum.|
The city continued expanding the system. Meanwhile, however, new competition appeared in the form of private buses. The buses charged more, but had more flexible routes and weren't dependent on electricity from overhead cables.
|An electric trolley.|
After that, the city created a trolley system which functioned until the early 1990s.
Today, the city plans to brick rail transport back. Streetcars, also known as light rail, have lots of advantages: quietness, efficiency, non-polluting and visually attractive- but let's hope that this version is more practical and less politicized.
For more history, see: The Tramways of Bogotá.
or, Del Tranvia al TransMilenio.
|Not a bad ride. One of the old horse-drawn streetcars preserved in the Archivo de Bogotá.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours