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Moscow's 'Trams Without Rails'

In central Moscow, the humble trolleybus is arriving at the end of the line. The lumbering electric buses, tethered to overhead cables, are a cheap and quiet way to get around the Russian capital. But now, as part of city renovations, Moscow authorities plan to phase out trolleybuses from many central streets this year. According to reports, 30 kilometers of trolleybus routes are due to be dismantled. A dip into the photo archives reveals the long relationship between Moscow and its "trams without rails."


Muscovites queuing to enter a trolley bus in 1947.
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Muscovites queuing to enter a trolley bus in 1947.

A trolleybus stop in Okhotny Ryad, near Red Square in 1957.
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A trolleybus stop in Okhotny Ryad, near Red Square in 1957.

But despite the disadvantages, there is a certain amount of affection for Moscow's trolleybuses and some locals are preparing a campaign to save the transport, ugly cables and all. This vintage model, photographed in 2013, was part of a parade marking 80 years of service. Officials have announced plans to phase out the trolleybus by 2020, but some central routes are reportedly set to disappear as early as this year. 
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But despite the disadvantages, there is a certain amount of affection for Moscow's trolleybuses and some locals are preparing a campaign to save the transport, ugly cables and all. This vintage model, photographed in 2013, was part of a parade marking 80 years of service. Officials have announced plans to phase out the trolleybus by 2020, but some central routes are reportedly set to disappear as early as this year. 

Inside one of Moscow's sleek modern trolleybuses, a driver walks up the aisle to check her vehicle. The picture was taken on April 13 when rumors abounded that some trolleybus routes would be finished overnight. So far, all of Moscow's trolleybus routes continue to run, but no one knows exactly when buses like this one might disappear from service. 
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Inside one of Moscow's sleek modern trolleybuses, a driver walks up the aisle to check her vehicle. The picture was taken on April 13 when rumors abounded that some trolleybus routes would be finished overnight. So far, all of Moscow's trolleybus routes continue to run, but no one knows exactly when buses like this one might disappear from service. 

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