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Old February 1st, 2009, 09:59 PM   #1
X38
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MISC | Belgian trams all over the world

Belgian trams in the whole world

In this thread, I’m going to tell you some things about our great (former) Belgian tramway system. In Belgium, we have actually 4 tram cities, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels and Charleroi and our great Coastal Tramway, tat crossas all places on the Belgian Coast, from Knokke to De Panne.

But now, I’m going to tell about the Belgian trams that have been distributed to all sides of the world. Maybe the even ride/rode some Belgian trams in your city!
Too bad, from this glorious export history remains nothing at all nowadays.

The last real Belgian trams (Bombardier in Bruges still assemblages trams, but no real Belgian designs anymore) were sold to The Hague and Amsterdam, Holland.
Now, the Belgian companies can’t get rid of the cur material that becomes discarded by one of them, unlike par example Düwagtrams.
This is just reality, one Brussels PCC ended up in San Francisco or some Danish tram museum, but there it ends.

But there enough stuff to create a thread about it, because there’s still enough Belgian tramware in the world, maybe in a museum of maybe still rolling.

First, I’m going to tell about Valancia, Spain. Once upon a time this city had a languid city tramway system with very old-fascioned material and a quite extensive suburban rail system.
The city tram was abolished but it came back with modern material. The suburban system was modernised hardly in the eighties and nineties, new lanes, catenaries, tunnels under/through the city, new rolling stock,…

The present being rolling stock in the sixties and seventies needed replacement, and the NMVB (=formerly Belgian Transport Authority) had more than enough material due to many abolitions in Belgium. These tams were not really new, but it was sure they cound waork some years – and they did! They have rode in Spain for more years than in their Belgian time!

First picture shows a few trams ready for overload in the harbour of Antwerp, 28 december 1971.

[IMG]http://i41.************/f4qk4k.jpg[/IMG]

After arrival in Spain, the trams were based in hangar for a while, waiting for repainting.

[IMG]http://i44.************/2rpbrww.jpg[/IMG]

At first they were painted blue and the front was updated, eg. by the placement of double headlights and the removal of the film cabinets. The tram in 1979 in the (urban) station Pont de Fusta.

[IMG]http://i39.************/10e0w86.jpg[/IMG]



The trams were modernised one time and that was in the eighties. Following postcard was made 15/02/1988 at the same place (Pont de Fusta).

[IMG]http://i40.************/28jw1dz.jpg[/IMG]

And what remains from all that nice stuff nowadays? Not much. The lines became Stadtbahn-like suburban lines and exept the rail wideness remains nothing at all on the history of the former interlocal tram, or not? Due to the commissioning of the tram tunnels had the station Pont de Fusta lost it’s function. Many years later gives the city tram the station the function that it deserves again – 4 rails for 1 line isn’t bad! Nowadays crosses the city tram itself in front of the original station building, that thank God still exists, but no function has anymore.
For all clearness: this terrain has fallowed for years until the re-activating of the city tram!
Photo made 25 september 2008.

[IMG]http://i44.************/24eno9e.jpg[/IMG]

And how was the destiny of the Belgian trams themselves? Not so well. There are no more in Valencia and in that other Spanish city (Gyon) eighter. But one copy is preserved in the railway museum of Azpeitia. They have sought to bring the tram back to it’s original sight, but the tram didn’t ride eighter in Belgium or Spain in this livery, but it still exists, as a withness of the former Belgian know-how.

[IMG]http://i41.************/2uhqo0o.jpg[/IMG]

Original text and images were done and written by member focus1965, but I translated it, with his permission ©.
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Last edited by X38; February 2nd, 2009 at 09:55 PM. Reason: extra picture
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 05:52 PM   #2
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Interesting thread, thanks. Do you think in posting more on this issue ? Some Belgian trams went to Asunción (Paraguay) and a 2 axle one is in Buenos Aires´historic tram fleet, operated by the Asociación Amigos del Tranvía.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 09:46 PM   #3
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Yes, of course, but member focus1965 had posted quite much infromation and it takes much time to translate it all.
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 10:19 PM   #4
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Brussels trams in Asunción

Brussels trams in Asunción

There also went some Brussels PCC-cars to the capital of Paraguay.
When the Belgiann trams went there, there was not much left of the tramway company. Line 5 was still less or more frequent, but line 9 had an official frequency of 2 trams a day (!), but when Belgian tram lovers went there, line 9 hasn’t rode out for months.
The entire (…) tram company was abolished.

The wasn’t any real turning rail installation, the trams runned in one street and turned back in a parallel street.
Followin picture shows 2-axis wagon 9001 in the Calle M. Estigarribia in October 1984, or how wretched rails can look… could it be any worse?!

[IMG]http://i39.************/24cieqw.jpg[/IMG]

Well, yes. Here the runout of the hangar. Finally, the wagon has derailed, but that wasn’t exceptional!

[IMG]http://i42.************/semxpg.jpg[/IMG]

The tram has apparently reached the route –or what was left of it- from line 9.
Asunción is a typical tramway company that they have letten bleed to dead.

[IMG]http://i44.************/2mgutk8.jpg[/IMG]

Don’t there exist any orderly pictures? Of course they do!

[IMG]http://i42.************/1ykab8.jpg[/IMG]


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Old February 3rd, 2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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I want to highlight you the fact that there are still Belgian designers designing trams made in Belgium. It is the case of Axel Enthoven in Antwerp who worked for Bombardier, Alstom, Siemens. He designed the beautiful Art Nouveau tram of Brussels. He also designed the trams of Jerusalem, Porto, Ranstad (NL and more Metro), Genève. But part of the engineering is outside Belgium owned by those groups... Another Design office in Belgium, INOV has designed the X40 of Sweden (train) and took aprt in the design process of the Singapore automatic underground. We have also to say that Johan Neerman is a famous Belgian designer who is the father of the modern tram and metro. He created the metro of Brussels, the Automatic Metro of Lyon and specially the revolutionary tram of Strasbourg that opened the renewal to the tram in the cities.

For this, we really have to thank this (now) old man Johan Neerman, he is really a special person for the transport industry in the world.

I would add also that Belgian trams have been sold to Manilla, Philipines.
They were sold as second hand, refurbished. In Manilla, it is now the Metro.
But honestly, I hope they have more modern material since that time in the 80s.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 09:58 PM   #6
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Of course we have more modern material nowadays. This is our "HermeLijn".
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Old February 4th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X38 View Post
Of course we have more modern material nowadays. This is our "HermeLijn".
Designed by Axel Enthoven from Antwerp too.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Very interesting, I know the coastal line up from the seventies when I was a child.
We used it between Westende and Oostende very often.
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Old February 4th, 2009, 10:22 PM   #9
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Belgrade

Only pictures, films and literature can remind us nowadays at the fact that there ever rolld Belgian tram in the capital of the former Jugoslavia. From that all is –over there- nothing left nowadays.
BN delivered in 1952 five PCC’s from the Brussels type 7000 to Belgrade, where they runned under the service numbers 112-116 to +/- 1980. A continue order never came.

I can only tell about the following picture is that it’s the 116 on the picture and it was probably shot around 1980.

[IMG]http://i41.************/29cvz9s.jpg[/IMG]

The trams have runned it 2 color scheme’s during there career. First green (like the bus) and red. This is a rare colour picture from 1962 of that colour scheme.

[IMG]http://i40.************/2ivmd8o.jpg[/IMG]

Further on, the Belgrade tramway company had took over the new NMVB (=vinical) PCC-cars. The city had already some less or more similar American cars and because of that, the NMVB cars had a longer career than the Brussels ones, who formed eventually a mini sery in this big tram city.
The Walloon heritage tramway company ASVI has eventually bought one of them and it’s now the showpiece of their collection.

Following picture was made by a Yugoslavian tram lover on Trg. Dimitro Street in July 1964.

[IMG]http://i39.************/11sjmme.jpg[/IMG]

Just like the Brussels PCC’s, the NMVB cars have runned in the same 2 livery’s.
Following picture was made at the terminus of line 3 in Novo Groblje on 14/07/1976.

[IMG]http://i42.************/27xp7ph.jpg[/IMG]

And finally, the return of PCC-car 131 on 12/03/1986. The picture was shot between Piéton and Anderlues.

[IMG]http://i44.************/2j1aae9.jpg[/IMG]


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Old February 5th, 2009, 11:43 AM   #10
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MetroManila's Line 1's original trains were Belgian.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #11
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coming soon

City's who will appear in this thread soon:
  • Buenos Aires
  • Caïro & Heliopolis
  • Manila
  • Marseille
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Old February 5th, 2009, 09:06 PM   #12
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Buenos Aires

It’s a fact there has ever ended up a Brussels tram in Buenos Aires.
The enormous tramway system of Buenos Aires was totally abolished for the auto bus: the subway was already there. In a hangar of the subway, that’s connected to the tunnels by an over ground connection, tram lovers succeeded to start up a mini museum tramway with foreign material because there was nothing left of the original rolling stock. The only place where an Argentinian tram was left, was in the hangar of Asunción, but the relationship between both countries was “quite” disturbed at that time.
Whatever, the museum tramway company became a bid success. Imagine that many people had never seen a tram car in their life!
We cannot fade in many pictures, because only a small few Belgian tram lovers reached Buenos Aires.

But we have found following picture, made on 25/05/1988. The Brussels tram is riding with film number 35 and the tram is followed by a Porto one.

[IMG]http://i43.************/dgjlv9.jpg[/IMG]

As extra, the same 9069 rolling through the Waversesteenweg in Brussels, unther the same 35-flag during the summer of 1971. For all clearness: line 35 never rode by a pantograph, at least not in Brussels…

[IMG]http://i39.************/107wbif.jpg[/IMG]


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Old February 5th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #13
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Cairo and Heliopolis

Writing the entire history of both cities would take an entire book. Also the history of Heliopolis is interesting enough to spend an article about it. But that is fortunately already done.
Heliopolis was a Belgian city, founded by Baron Empain, in Egypt, of course. The city layed in the desert, close to Cairo. Nowadays, both city’s are grown into each other and nobody still speaks about a border.
In fact, there are still 2 tram companies active in this area, but a quick look on a city map learns us that the last 20 years all tramlines and –tracks have been abolished in Cairo, except for a piece of 500 meters… So all de rest is in Heliopolis and both tram companies are managing the tramway, but only in and around Heliopolis.
Not necessary to say there has rolled much Belgian material. It’s sure there’s still 1 Belgian wagon active in the hangar for the transportation of the bogies for the Japanese tram cars (and possibly other manoeuvres). Entering the hangar is however impossible and security with armed fire guns are convincing enough not to insist… Pity, because you can see the Belgian tram inside but… no picture.

What do we have? Well, the last commercial postcard with a tram on it is not especially sharp, dates from the sixties but it’s sure there are Belgian trams visible on the picture. On the backside stands only “Cleopatra Hotel”.

[IMG]http://i42.************/30ijiaq.jpg[/IMG]

There have been many types of material and there isn’t an index of all kinds of rolling stock, but it’s sure this is a BN tram build in 1939 and still rolling as service wagon in 1971.

[IMG]http://i44.************/sza328.jpg[/IMG]

We have also found a colour picture –with a bit of backlight- from 1988 of the same tram type. Nowadays, all tram infrastructure has disappeared out of the streets…

[IMG]http://i43.************/1zn6j46.jpg[/IMG]

And finally the “Charleroi”-type, that also has been delivered to Cairo and later on has been renovated, rebuild and copied over there. To make it more compicated: following picture shows us a motor wagon (with trolley bar) and a wheel vehicle (with pantograph) from 1979.
The wheel vehicle is a copy of the Charleroi example, but of course it’s not known which ore none parts they have used…
It’s clear he haven’t got much information about this tram company, But Belgium has written history over there…

[IMG]http://i43.************/2h4aonr.jpg[/IMG]
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Old February 21st, 2009, 04:50 PM   #14
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Here are more pictures of the ex-Brussels trams in Asunción:
http://www.tramz.com/py/as.html

The city of São Carlos, Brazil, had a tramway system operated entirely by cars that it purchased from Société Franco-Belge in La Croyère, Belgium:
http://www.tramz.com/br/sc/sc.html

Curitiba, Brazil, had a fleet of trams built by La Brugeoise et Nivelles:
http://www.tramz.com/br/ct/ct.html
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 12:08 AM   #15
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Thanks Almo, here are the pictures you were talking about.

Asuncion







Sadly, no more trams in Asuncion???

Sao Carlos


Hard to be a tram in Sao Carlos (steep hills)


Curitiba



For the history, this company in Nivelles who made trams for Curitiba, merged after with another company in Bruges, and renamed "La Brugeoise et Nivelles". Then they closed the Nivelles site. "Bombardier" bought the company. Still operating but only in Flanders...
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:50 AM   #16
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The Asunción tram system finally died in November 1997. Most of the tracks have been paved over now. There are a lot more pictures of Belgian trams on my pages linked above.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 09:38 AM   #17
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Yes, thank you and also, there is a lot of information. Here it is just pictures, better go on the websites your refer for full information and pics in context.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 09:49 AM   #18
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Tram for Jerusalem designed by Belgian Designer Axel Enthoven:
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 12:18 PM   #19
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There is one in Vancouver that is being restored:

(trams.bc.ca)
Probably will be part of the historic tram line, that runs on the weekends, once restored.
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Old March 9th, 2009, 10:35 PM   #20
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Manila

It already has been said in this threat, and indeed, Belgian LightRail-vehicles from BN have been delivered tot the capital of the Philippines.
Manila has never signed any order, but the country was (is?) signed as developing country and, because of that, some developing aid was possible, by the way, the Philippines were still under Marcos’ dictatorial command. Of course there was a reason behind: BN and ACEC were shouting for orders and there new product didn’t estimate abroad. BN couldn’t compete against Siemens, times can change…
However, the Belgian government made an entire promotion of it… The Lightrail-tram was only ‘sold’ to the Coastal Tramway en donated to Manila.

The first postcard was publiched by the “Belgian Maximafiles” and shows a portrait picture of an unnumbered tram vehicle on the test track from BN in Bruges. The stamp of 11 Belgian Francs shows the Belgian industries from the eighties where my country was proud of: Shipyards, bus construction and railway/trambuilding. The stamp was stamped on the 28th of January 1984.

[IMG]http://i40.************/4jx6vm.jpg[/IMG]

This –becomen yellow- postcard was made on the BN-terrain in Bruges in the summer of 1983 and shows a Manila tram ready for transport (by train), you can also see a Hague tram in the background.

[IMG]http://i41.************/13zy347.jpg[/IMG]

A photo from the same time from the tram, ready to be shipped.

[IMG]http://i41.************/2a6oyvc.jpg[/IMG]

These trams eventually ended up on a fantasyless lightrail/metro line and probably because of tat there circulate not many pictures of it, there circulate more pics of these trams in Belgium then in the Philippines!
However, there exists one postcard with such a coach on it, It’s a pity, but the front side is blurry. The text on the backside says: Metrorail Manila, Philippines, has 15 lines and 3 terminals with an average distance of 825 meters from one station tot the next. 22 trains run every 3 minutes on peak hours and 14 trains every 5 minutes on regular hours. Each train has 2 coaches with a seating capacity of 160 fore ach coach. It can really accommodate as many as 750. Door opens for a duration of 30 seconds. Trip from north to south terminals, a distance of 15 kms, takes only 30 minutes.

[IMG]http://i43.************/egcmx5.jpg[/IMG]

Any pictures from Belgian or any other tramway lovers aren’t known, or at least never come to me. Sending somebody on the road who’s there accidental delivers almost never any good stuff. I’ve got a few pictures with halve and curved trams, but no usable stuff.
The less bad one is the following, made on the 20th of February 1995.

[IMG]http://i40.************/2d1214.jpg[/IMG]

Well, what happened to these tram? They still exist, switched to another line and got the for that country indispensable airco. Following picture comes from Wikipedia, but I don’t have anything else or better.

[IMG]http://i40.************/zjdq85.jpg[/IMG]
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