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Helsinki’s transport service giving away antique trams for free

Those interested in owning a piece of city history need to demonstrate how the trams will be used and cared for.

Seiskan raitiovaunu Hakaniemessä.
Undated antique photo of Helsinki tram number 7 stop in Hakaniemi. Image: Helsingin kaupunginmuseo / Unto Laitila

Helsinki City Transport HKL is really spring cleaning this year and has decided to get rid of some of its antique trams that aren't museum-worthy but too valuable to send to the junkyard, either. The transport authority is looking for people with good ideas about how to use their antique trams and plans to give away the pieces of history - for free.

The agency has posted a webpage (in Finnish) on Thursday which explains a bit about the models up for adoption.

One of the models, built in Finland in 1959, measures some 13.5 meters long and 2.3 meters wide, has room for 57 passengers and weighs about 20 tonnes.

Another of the trams being offered is a two-axle model of roughly the same size as the '59 but was manufactured sometime in the mid 50's and clacked along Helsinki streets until 1985.

There is at least one model being offered which was built before Finland's independence.

Becoming a tram owner

Those interested in getting a tram for free will have to explain how it will be used and also prove that the streetcar will be preserved.

In its announcement, HKL said that it would not permit the trams to be used as a summer cottage or as a storage facility, and that their use needs to be appropriate.

The trams will be given away completely free of charge but the new owner or owners will need to organise and pay for moving the streetcars themselves.

The new owners are welcome to move the trams anywhere in the country, but they are not permitted to be taken out of the country, HKL said. The new owners will also be responsible for submitting annual reports to the transport authority about how the trams are being used.

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