Alexandria Tram Lines

From Schutz History
Jump to: navigation, search

The Alexandria Tramway network is the oldest city rail system in Africa. The Tram system began operation in 1863 with two lines, one running west, the other east, both following the coastline. The eastern line was called Ramleh. Today, the network consists of 20 lines operating on 32 kilometers of track, with 140 stops, serving the city of Alexandria in all directions. Alexandria's tramline is one of three cities in the world using double deck cars.

Today, Schutz is the 22nd stop going east from the Ramleh terminus, Route #1, the Ramleh line, transferring at Bulkely. The current names of stops on the ALexandria tram line #1 are slightly changed: Ramleh is El Ramlh; Bulkeley is Isis, or Bokla; Bacos is Bakus; Schutz is Shots. [1] [2]

In 1863, the cars were drawn by horse; steam engines soon replaced the horses, and in 1903 the system was upgraded to electricity. [3]

The existence of the electric tram line from Ramleh to Victoria, with its stop at Schutz Street from the opening of the line in 1863, made it reasonable for the Egypt Mission to purchase the Schutz property with its buildings for the Mission's Sanitarium, the term the Mission used to describe the place intended for members of the Mission live in residence for vacation rest during the hottest months of the year in Cairo and Upper Egypt. Prior to the advent of air travel, annual vacations out of country were prohibitively expensive in money and time. The Schutz property was about a mile west of the tract of sand which became the Mission's main summer retreat, known as Sidi Bishr. In 1919, when the Egypt Mission bought the Sidi Bishr property from the British Army, there was as yet no Sidi Bishr tram stop. Members of the Mission went out to Sidi Bishr camp from either the Alexandria railroad terminus or the Schutz campus, walking or going by donkey cart, and sometimes using camels to transport their baggage. Even in the 1930s, at the end of summer and the start of the school year, camels came to the Schutz campus from Sidi Bishr with boarders' trunks. From the earliest years, however, Schutz high school students (the girls always in groups, though high school boys could go alone), took the tram downtown to see movies, to go to the zoo and the Nouzha Gardens, to attend concerts, go to church, attend CSSM, visit the dentist, and now and then, to treat themselves at coffee shops found at various stops on the way into the city.