What is a Tramway?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 June 2019
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A tramway is a small train system that is designed to transport people or material in a local region. These trains are most often seen in airports, amusement parks, and mining facilities. They are typically powered by manual cranks or electricity and move slower then a normal train.

An aerial tramway is a large, elevated train car designed to move up a mountainside or across a skyline. These cars are driven with a heavy-duty cable-and-pulley systems, which move the car up and across the mountainside. Most aerial tramways are used in ski resorts and are designed to transport people over rough terrain.

Many streetcar systems are also considered a tramway. This is a train that is designed to run on electrical lines connected at the top of the tram. Tramways are used in many European cities and provide a clean, energy-efficient means of transportation.

Disney World™ amusement park has an extensive tramway system that provides transportation for park patrons throughout the theme park. This train system runs on electric rails and can move large numbers of people throughout the park. The parking lot also has electric-powered tram cars to move people from the parking area to the park entrance.


A logging tram is another version of a tramway. This is a small, flat train system that is designed to assist in hauling logs out of deep woods. The logging tram has been in use for many years and is a small train system that typically cascades through mountain areas and forests.

Tramways have been used in mining facilities for many years. These small railroads enable the hauling of extracted material out of mine shaft. Older mining trams were powered by manual cranks that used a gear system to pull the trains from a mine.

Coal mines also use vast tramway systems to unload coal from mountains. These coal carts are small rail cargo systems that enable the quick removal of large amounts of coal from a mine shaft. Coal tramways are typically powered by either electric or small diesel engines.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway is an elaborate skyline tram in New York City. This tram transports riders across the beautiful skyline of the city and has been used for many decades. The tram system was modernized in 2010.


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