Looking for a different type of museum to visit in Germany? Why not take a trip to Tram World in Stuttgart. It is truly intriguing.
Tram World (Strassenbahnwelt) in Stuttgart is a museum documenting over 140 years of streetcar history with over 60 restored trams. It seems a bit out of place considering that Stuttgart is home to two rather large automobile companies. Namely Daimler Mercedes and Porsche. The Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart offers a much slicker experience than Tram World to be sure. But once I became aware that Stuttgart was the first city in Germany to provide mass transit in 1868, it made more sense.
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What to Expect at Tram World
I really didn’t know what to expect from Tram World, but when the opportunity came up for a guided tour in English with the Met Club (an international club based in Stuttgart) I figured why not? Our volunteer guide was wonderful and enthusiastic as he explained that the first trams were pulled with horses and that the drivers sat outside for 12-hour shifts, often in freezing temperatures. You can imagine what that may have been like. It was fascinating in some ways though, before now I never considered what trams may have been like before they were electrical.
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You will learn a lot
Unlike today, riding the trams in the early days was a status symbol, something only the upper-middle class and the rich could afford. The poor couldn’t afford the price of a ticket and were stuck walking. This does make you consider how lucky we are to be able to use these amenities.
Horses were used to pull the trams until 1884 when they were replaced by cogwheels, which involved the driver having to change every time he reached the end of the line. This enabled the tram to go back in the opposite direction. By 1891 the Stuttgart trams were all running on electric wires, much to the great relief of the tram drivers I’m sure. This would result in much less work as you can imagine.
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Trams come at a price as you can imagine. That is why when the trams in Stuttgart need to be replaced, the city will sell their trams to other countries. One of those countries is the Czech Republic. If you are were wondering why there is German writing in the tram care in the Czech Republic, now you know.
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What I Liked Best about Tram World
One of my favourite parts of visiting Stuttgart Tram World was seeing the party tram. It used to be available for rent by large groups, who could often be seen dancing in the tram as it worked its way through the streets of Stuttgart. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available for rent.
However, it is possible to take a vintage ride on Sundays in Stuttgart or host your own celebration at Tram World. It used to be a former tram depot, complete with tracks and markings on the floor. It’s the perfect ambience for a tram museum, but a wedding or other formal event?
I’m not so sure. I enjoyed my visit much more than I thought I would. It’s worth noting that this was in large part to our volunteer guide who was passionate about keeping the history of trams alive. Had I just gone on my own, I wouldn’t have gotten as much from it.
What to Know Before you Go
- You can purchase tickets online or on-site.
- Tickets will cost you around €5.00 for adults and €1.00 for children under 6 years of age.
- Family tickets are also available for €12.00
- For more information, you can visit the website which is in German
Stuttgart Tram World is definitely not as slick as the Mercedes-Benz Museum, but the museum has character and I didn’t realize how little I knew or had admittedly thought about trams until my visit.