Being a lover of transport museums around the world, I couldn’t resist a visit to the Helsinki Tram Museum which is located in the Töölö district of the city in a former tram depot. Admission to the museum is free and it is open each day between 11.00 am and 5.00 pm.
Wandering around the museum hall we were able to clamber on board the lovely old wooden trams, sit in the driver’s cab and pretend we were driving along the city centre cobbled streets feeling we had been transported back to bygone days of the city.
An interesting section of the museum related to payment systems. The first tickets were re-useable tokens before paper and cardboard tickets came into use. Tickets were either punched or stamped by the conductors but since 1987 tram drivers have taken sole control of the trams, driving and collecting fares as passengers board from those who do not have pre-paid travel cards. Children and (big children like me) loved stamping our tickets in the same way it was done in the olden days – so very different from the electronic card readers we use today. I have kept my old fashioned, stamped ticket and I will use it as a souvenir bookmark to remind me of my visit.
So, if you are like me and have an interest in historic public transport, do call into Helsinki’s Tram Museum for a step back in time – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it and return with a feeling of nostalgia as you board one of the city’s modern trams back to the centre of town.
To ride a vintage tram just go to the market square at weekends during the summer months. Tickets cost €5 and the tour takes around 20 minutes. If you might wish to take a ride on the beer tram you also need to obtain a ticket. The beer tram route is 40 minutes so you will have plenty of time to enjoy your glass of Finnish beer whilst rattling around the city streets. The pub tram can also be booked for private parties, a stag party with a difference, perhaps!
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