On 16th of May 1881 the world’s first electric tram went into operation in the Lichterfelde neighbourhood of Berlin, Germany.
There had been an experimental electric tram in St Petersburg, Russia, invented by Fedir Pirotsky but this one in Germany was the first commercial version.
When it was first installed the Lichterfelde tram drew its electric energy through the rails. This was later changed to overhead wires in 1883. The tram was built by Werner von Siemens (see Berlin Straßenbahn).
Other countries soon followed with Brighton, England, opening its electric tramway in 1883. It is still operational today – the oldest operating electric tramway in the world.
It seems we have come full circle. For instance, it was in 1956 Edinburgh Corporation Transport stopped running trams. It had been 47 miles long. In 2014 after a scandal of over spending and delays, and with much disruption, Edinburgh opened a small section of new tramline on a single route from York Place in the city centre, west along Princes Street to the Airport. A transport system now being extended.
For more information click on this link: History of trams.