PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 May, 2009, 12:00am

On rails

Trams are a familiar sight in Hong Kong - on the island that is. A tram is a vehicle that travels on rails. The first one was made in Wales more than 200 years ago. The first trams were not electric. They were pulled by horses, or sometimes mules.

In the beginning, trams were created because roads in the old days were not very good. Horses had to work very hard to pull a vehicle along a street with holes in it and sometimes snow and rubbish. People realised that if you put metal tracks on the road, metal wheels could roll along them easily. This made it easier for horses to pull them.

Horses to electric

In 1917, New York replaced its last horse-drawn tram line with an electric one. But Hong Kong was ahead of New York. Hong Kong started using electric trams in 1904. The other special thing about Hong Kong's trams is they are double-deckers. Only two other places in the world have them - Blackpool in Britain and Alexandria in Egypt.

Hong Kong was not the first place in the world to have electric trams. Probably the first one was made in Germany about 10 years earlier. Melbourne, in Australia, had its first trams in 1885. They are still running and Melbourne has the biggest tram network in the world. It has 245km of tracks and about 500 trams.

In Hong Kong

The first tram in Hong Kong ran on July 30, 1904. The track was 15km long, 2km more than today. In 1984, the government nearly got rid of the trams. But it did a survey and found out that the public wanted to keep them.

As everybody knows, Hong Kong's trams run from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan. Or do you? If you don't, take a ride on one of Hong Kong's most famous tourist attractions.

now do this

1 The first electric tram was run in ...

a. New York

b. Germany

c. Hong Kong

2 Hong Kong's trams started running in ...

a. 1904

b. 1897

c. 1885

3. The world's most extensive tram network is in ...

a. Berlin

b. New York

c. Melbourne


May 22

1. a, 2. c, 3. b