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“Elephants” turn 65 – legendary trams LM-49 celebrate a jubilee

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Today the legendary tramway LM-49 went on a short ride – the same tram which was used in Leningrad after the war. This model turns 65. To mark the jubilee, the “veteran” made a guard of honor around the museum. Older generation have a lot of memories regarding LM-49 – how hot bricks were brought inside the tram to keep warm and how the floors helped to fall in love. Nikolay Rastvortsev with more.

It’s only a short ride along the grounds of the tram park, but driver Lidiya Belokrivets is preparing herself like its full ride. She had operated this model for almost 10 years. The post-war tram was dubbed “elephant” – because of its ivory color. But Lidiya Ivanovna has a version of her own.

Lidiya Belokrivets, tram driver: “I don’t know about the color, but look at the back of it – its big and looks like an elephant. Although I’ve never called it that”

Nowadays the museum pair of “elephants” goes out of the park only 4 or 5 times a month. Slowly speeds up, smoothly stops – the driver says with a smile “my hands still remember it all”. Struggling to keep her tears, she recalls trips along her favorite route 18. That’s despite crammed carriages at rush hours.

Lidiya Belokrivets, tram driver: “We went out and closed doors manually – just to keep those closed. Because there had been cases when people fell off”

Trams with LM-49 on board cruised along St. Petersburg for more than 30 years. There were a lot of novelties inside – cross sectional seats and the first ever under-ceiling rail. The floor had troughs – to keep the melted water during winters. But it also involuntarily became the cause for acquaintances – between young men and fashionable girls.

Kirill Nuquist, director of the city’s electric transport museum: “They made it look as if their heels stuck in those troughs. The man had to take a gracious foot out of the shoe and de-attach it from the floor”

The 65-year-old pair of elephants is not looking to retire. Although, those are being taken out only on special occasions

Nikolay Rastvortsev, reporter: “In the 21st century, the color still reminds of the legendary “elephants”. The trams used nowadays have retained the cherry-ivory hue. One of those dropped by the tram park today – to congratulate the jubilee with the birthday”

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