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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vienna's Underground Tram Sections


A good friend also gave me the links to these two videos dealing wth the underground sections of Vienna's tram network.  Unlike the Volgograd Tram Subway whose purpose is to relieve the pressure on a parallel commuter train route, the Vienna Tram subway, which appears to be in various underground sections, is to clear up congestion at various points in the city on the surface.  If New York City retained streetcars, and if some routes needed underground sections, such as the 4th Avenue -Madison Avenue Line at 34th Street (as originally constructed, please see comments), the subway would have looked like the underground sections of the Vienna's Tram System.  Incidentally, some of the newer but traditional styled streetcar equippment  built in the 1930's for New York's Third Avenue Railway System were sent after the war to Vienna.

Here are some of my thoughts after viewing the videos:

  • Unlike the Volgograd Tram Subway, construction in Vienna appears to be near the surface and cut and cover.  Notice that the two track tunnels, unlike New York, do not appear to have supporting vertical steel columns.
  • Some stations in the Vienna network have staggered side platforms.  This can be found in some of the New York Subway IRT stations south of Grand Central on the Lexington Avenue Line and in some Independent 8th Avenue Subway stations.  For Vienna, I do not know if the purpose of this was to extended the area of the mezzanine for street entranceways or because the street above the station was narrow.
  • You get to see the video that shows the station with a 90 degree two track crossing at grade.  This crossing is fascinating because it shows that the branchoff leads to an adjacent station at 90 degrees that is part of the station complex.  In modern New York track subway and elevated construction, this is very rare, but on some of the 19th Century Elevated track diagrams, this is not unusual where a branchoff is at 90 degrees with joining platforms.  I believe there was a location on the Lexington Avenue El in Brooklyn where such a configuration was found.
  • You get to see various equipment passing over or turning unto this branchoff.
  • You get to see an underground station that appears to be part of a mall.
  • Enjoy the videos.  The 90 degree branch off is very cool.


  1. The Vienna tram tunnel was mostly built in the 1960s, so is newer than most of the New York subway system. By contrast, 38 St station in New York's Murray Hill streetcar tunnel was built in 1870, making it older than any currently-open station in the city; the tunnel itself was even older. I have not been able to find any photos of the station from when it was open, but it must have looked rather different from the above videos.

  2. Hi Threestationsquare:

    Thanks for your input. You are right saying that if we had a photograph of the 38 Street Station built in 1870, we could have made a guess what it may have looked like today if streetcar service was retained. I took a leap and I thought that if the Murray Hill streetcar tunnel was built by the cut and cover method, it would look more like Vienna's tram subway rather than Volgograd's tram tunnel. As you heard, there are big plans for the former trolley tunnel \station at Delancey Steet; making it into an underground park. Due to an increase in population in Williamsburgh and surrounding areas and due to increase presure on the J, Z, M, and L lines, it is too bad the idea of reinstating streetcars across the Williamsburgh Bridge and rehabilitating the former Delancey Street Trolley Terminal is not considered an option. My Best, Tramway Null(0)