January 27, 2023

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This is where the last journey of the Oslo tram goes

– For 40 years, the traditional Oslo trams have warmed the hearts of Oslo citizens. Now they will heat houses and rooms all over Norway, says Sporveen.

Like a funeral procession, the trailer with 104 is taken towards Friedrichstadt on the E6.

The smell of fresh trams hangs in the air. The year is 1982, and 22-year-old Pia Langhoff sits behind the levers of tram 104 of the SL-79 type.

Passengers in baggy pants and big curls pour in the door. Mostly the same faces she sees.

They chat about the weather as Langhof accepts the fare and puts it in a brown leather bag.

Outside the window, the city passes kilometer by kilometer.

Today, Langhoff turns 62. It’s been years since she drove the tram. When she got a job elsewhere, the faithful tram continued to run. Until last fall.

Sporveien then set about replacing the old trams with new, shiny carriages from Spain. 71 old tram coaches are to be replaced. Among them are the last trams built in Norway.

First 104. On Tuesday, it makes its last trip.

But that’s not the end of 104’s story.

New tracks for an old tram

A large group of men in signal yellow jackets stand and watch, while another group places large, blue rails on the tarmac. A small engineering part is manufactured at Holdet in Oslo.

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The 33-tonne, 22-metre-long tram will be transported on a trailer from Sporvi’s tram stables. From Oslo, the trip goes to Fredrikstad – Metalco’s workshop. Here it must be separated.

But first it has to go to the loading platform. A special trailer has been brought for this work. It consists of rails leading from the loading platform into rails on the asphalt.

The journey from Oslo to Fredrikstad will be the 104’s last.

22 ton trams are pulled on a trailer via a cable attached to the front.

A variety of trams

The sun was shining when 104 entered service in July 1982.

The first ten of the SL79 family, 101-110, came to Norway from the Düwag factory in Düsseldorf, Germany. All subsequent ones were built at the Strömmen Warkstead AS in Lilleström.

The first of the new trams, tram 101 of the SL79 type, arrived in Oslo in 1982 with pomp and circumstance.

The young German had his regular route on the old line 9 between Czar and Ljabru – in parts of today’s line 13. You can still see the tracks of the 9 laps below Oslo Gate and Swiegards Gate.

– They were very modern, Langhoff recalled.

He became a tram driver in 104 and siblings were inducted into the service.

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– They drove slowly and comfortably even if you brake suddenly. And it was nice to be seated facing the passengers.

Then Prime Minister Kåre Willoch would take his tram. He went to Montebello and always kept up the conversation.

Langhoff looks back fondly on his time as a tram driver. It is a pleasant, intimate and diverse environment. Many of the tram drivers are Pakistanis who have recently moved to Norway.

Longhaf and trams have been around for 40 years since then. After 2.1 million kilometers, it was over. They correspond to 50 times around the Earth at the equator – or three times around the Moon.

Warms hearts and homes

Even if the tram stops running, the faithful trotter will be given a new lease of life. At Metalco, the tram is disassembled and reused.

The wheels are re-melted and converted into jotul stoves.

For Torgeir Kristiansen, it is important that the trams get a more circuitous route. He is Director of Communications and Community at Sporveien.

– We are aware of a social responsibility. We are going to remove several thousand tons of trams and we are concerned that it should be managed sustainably and provide as much benefit as possible.

Christiansen was delighted that parts of the tram would become ovens.

– It’s great to know that this tram, which has warmed the hearts of Oslo residents for years, can now heat homes and rooms across Norway.

According to Jøtul’s marketing director René Christensen, steel cannot be traced back to a specific tram. But if you buy a brand new Jøtul stove in a couple of months, there’s a high probability that it will have some dram history.

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– Do you get a tram discount on used trams and new fireplaces?

– They can call us and see what we can do, says Christensen.

Not everyone was equally happy with the old trams. Wheelchair users, people with pushchairs and the elderly have difficulty with the tram’s steep stairs.

– Good old friend

Outside the tram shed, sadness hangs heavy over the assembly. Many workers in the workshop are about to say goodbye.

Since the trams were so old, the workshop had to make its own spare parts. It gave them a close relationship.

– A coach who is there says that I know at least one person who is sitting at home and crying right now.

– Many at Sporveien would describe the SL79 as a good old retired friend, says Christiansen.

According to a survey conducted by Sporveien, almost everyone is happy with the Oslo tram.

– The old tram probably owes a lot to that, he says.

In the first version of the case, the SL-79 was said to weigh 88 tons. Correct 33 tons. The case was updated on January 17 at 17:57 with a correction.