The Renovation of Tram 233
The Renovation of Tram 339
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The Renovation of Tram 233

The predecessor to the Helsinki City Transport authorities (HCT), the Helsinki Tram and Omnibus Company, ordered twelve open trailers from the Hietalahti shipyard in Helsinki in 1919. These trams were the first ones ever to be built in Finland, and are identical with the open trailers from 1916 manufactured by Swedish ASEA. Old correspondence reveals that the tram company simply asked the shipyard to copy another manufacturer’s trams!

The open summer trailer soon became the favourite among the residents of Helsinki. During hot summer days a ride in an open trailer was especially popular. Passengers enjoyed travelling as standees on the running boards, and many chose to alight while the tram was still moving. During the war, a severe shortage of trams forced the company to use the open cars in the winter as well. Tarpaulins and plywood sheets offered some protection from the cold.

When automobiles became more and more abundant after the war, HCT decided it was no longer safe to operate the open trailers. The summer of 1950 was to be the last one for the summer trailers, but to the joy of many passengers, the Olympic Games in 1952 brought the open trailers to the streets one last time.

Trailer 233 in Lohja, autumn 2006.

One trailer was preserved in the city museum’s collections, but in 2006 it came to our knowledge that another open trailer had survived as well. Tram 233 had been used by a private person as a gazebo in Hevossalmi, eastern Helsinki. In the 1970’s, the gazebo changed owners and was transported to Lohja, some 55 kilometres west of the capital. Now the owner was willing to sell the tram.

Negotiations commenced with HCT about the conditions and restrictions under which the open summer trailer could once again be used in urban traffic. An assessment of risks was carried out and a modern brake system was planned along with several traffic safety improvements. After this, the two-year renovation project started in Estonia. Terg OÜ carried out the metalwork and Olke DK OÜ was responsible for the carpentry. The finishing touches of the restoration were carried out by the HCT Vallila Depot. After the final inspection on 30 July 2009, the open trailer could once again be accepted for traffic.



Now trailer 233 has returned to the city streets. Both residents and tourists alike can take a ride on the vintage tram and enjoy the tour that takes them past all the major sights in the heart of Helsinki!