Danes on trams: The latest invasion in the Bulgarian capital

Written by on October 26, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Danes on trams: The latest invasion in the Bulgarian capital

Tram enthusiasts are addicted to trams. Trams are the first thing they think of when they wake up in the morning. A nice tram will be the last thing they imagine before they fall asleep at night.

In some Western European cities, trams have disappeared. On the other hand, in many Eastern European cities, trams are the backbone of public transport. Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, is such a spot.

Sofia has 308 kilometres of tram tracks with two different gauges. While the track width of tram lines 20, 22 and 23 is 1,435 millimetres, it is only 1,009mm on all other lines. There are 165 tram stops in Sofia. Not all of them are beautiful, but who cares? This is not a beauty contest.

Ambassador Søren Jacobsen and the Danish tram enthusiasts. Photo by Embassy of Denmark.

The first Sofia tram started moving 116 years ago, when dinosaurs were still eating each other in what is Borissov’s Garden today.

Trams in Sofia come in many colours, and from just as many sources. Most trams in Bulgaria are decades old, loud and slow. But Sofia just ordered thirteen modern Škoda trams for 23 million euro. There are new ones on line 7 as well. On line 5, refurbished trams ride back and forth, along Boulevard Boris III.

Three Sofia tram models in one shot. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

There are Czech Tatra trams, there are ‘Cucumbers’ from Switzerland. There are ugly trams and pretty trams. There are lots.

The 43 Danish tram enthusiasts, who just arrived in Sofia yesterday, are interested in the real thing. They want to see, hear and shoot those old rattletraps. They want to be shaken and stirred while riding them. And they want their eardrums to hurt, when those old tram doors close, with a loud bang.

The Danes, who are invading Sofia these days, are part of the Society for Tram History in their country. On Wednesday, they were invited to the Danish Embassy in Sofia. Ambassador Søren Jacobsen welcomed the guests. Mikael Lund, the Director of the Skjoldenæsholm Tram Museum, held a speech.

Inside a Sofia tram at 5:30am. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

Now they will visit every single part of Sofia, in order to look into all aspects having to do with trams. They will probably be mesmerised when they see those rusty ticket validators, which are installed in all Sofia trams.

Oh, did we mention the Danes will travel around in the city using trams only? Welcome to Sofia.


Sofia, Bulgaria: The new tourist magnet



About the Author