100 year old local transport company, Hiroden, continues its rolling upgrade of Hiroshima’s streetcars with the introduction of two new trams; improving both connectivity and accessibility.
The two new “low-floor” trams have been dubbed the Piccola and the Piccolo, and in a nod to the 1000 Series trams which first ran between Hiroshima and Miyajima-guchi early in the last century, they are the first of the 2nd generation 1000 Series.
Although they have been making some test runs recently in quite striking Andersen wrapping, the Piccola and Piccolo were painted dark red at their official unveiling yesterday. The color is another reference to the Taisho era begins of the company, and appropriate for a Valentine’s Day debut.
The new trams are a kind of truncated version of the “Green mover max” (5100 Series) introduced in 2004. Like its longer, big brothers the new 1000 series was developed by the domestic JTRAM consortium. Their addition means that low-floor barrier free trams now run on all of Hiroshima’s lines.
From today, the Piccola and Piccolo will be running between Yokogawa and Hiroden-honsha-mae (Line 7), Yokogawa and Eba (Line 8) and on the Eba-Hacchobori-Hakushima route (Line 9). Tourists will now be able to get from A-bomb Dome to Shukkei-en Garden direct, albeit only 4 times a day.
Hiroden’s tram network, for so many years a collection of trams from different eras and cities in Japan and around the world, is often described as a “moving museum”. The replacement of these cars with state of the art, domestically developed carriages, however, may consign the vintage trams to the Transport Museum. It will be a shame to see these moving antiques go, but, at least for now, we can see the Piccola and the Piccolo sharing the line between Hacchobori and Hakushima with the stately (and cute) 900 and 1900s from Osaka and Kyoto.