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  EUROPEAN SYSTEMS

INCLUSIONS FROM THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS ARE STILL TO APPEAR HERE AS ARE A GOOD MANY ADDITIONS TO SOME OF THOSE PLACES ALREADY FEATURED -  PLEASE BEAR WITH ME UNTIL I CAN GET THEM ALL UPLOADED

 

THE NETHERLANDS - Den Haag (1981) Rotterdam (1981)

AUSTRIA - Innsbruck (1965) Graz (1973) Vienna (1973)

                                     

                                       

 

 

 

 

                                      

 

A Lisbon Bogie car seen in 1984 by which time it and quite a few of its still operational sisters were at least seventy-five years old. They had, of course, been subjected to much rebuilding over the years, some having their bodies virtually replaced in the old style but often losing their distinctive clerestory roofs in the process - it was a remarkable record nevertheless. Most were by then disfigured by prominenent commercial advertising  though not this one. No.342 was in fact a JG Brill of Philadelphia product, the last of a batch of twenty supplied in 1906 and appeared to be in virtually original condition. I remember the JG Brill name being ornately cast into the metal seat frames.Between 1906 and about 1909 others came from John Stephenson of New York (which supplied horse-trams to London) and was later taken over by the Brill company. There's a full paragraph for Lisbon installed further down the page and I still have some views to add here.

 Thanks indeed to Rob who has made a Guestbook entry all the way from Australia to say that 342 and sister 343 are safe and now reside at Mar del Plata, Argentina. 

 

 

I had a fascination with foreign trams after  sampling one or two on a school continental visit in 1960. Some four years later, in the company of a wiser and  slightly older friend I went on a European tram bash to France, Belgium and just into Germany. Less than a year on from that and I was participating in the LRTL Convention & Tour to Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and subsequent visits down the decades have taken me to several more countries to see small parts of their tramway and other transport systems. Naturally their trolleybuses and buses  also came to my attention and these are recorded in separate paragraphs following this starting selection of trams.

 

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FRANCE

 

As in the UK there is a resurgence in France and operations have returned to the capital Paris, as well as Nice and Valenciennes. Construction work was well under way at Rheims when I was briefly ther in 2009  and this has now been fully operational since 2011. At Caen, Nancy and Claremont Ferrand they have opted for the unusual and different (typically French!) Its 'trams' are 'trackless' running on rubber tyres (shades of the Paris Metro!) and they are guided by a central slot rail in the roadway - perhaps that really defines them as guided trolleybuses. Quite fascinating I'm sure.  

 

LILLE - MUNICIPAL SYSTEM- SEPTEMBER 1964

 

This system was being run down in 1964 - All trams that we saw appeared to be more or less identical

 

 

 

Our 1960 school party was about sixty strong and my request to be allowed to take a ride on one of these was strongly refused - you did what your teacher told you in those days for fear of a clip round the ear, so I waited patiently for another four years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The town trams of Lille ceased operating  on 29th January 1966

 

 

ELRT - ELECTRIQUES LILLE ROUBAIX TOURCOING - 1964

 

 

This was then a semi-fast interurban style line operating from the centre of Lille on a roughly 'Y' shaped route with trams serving either Roubaix or Tourcoing

 

 

 

Away from the centre there were some reserved track open sections where a good turn of speed could be achieved.

 

I returned there for a marathon one-day trip in May 1983 which  involved using the 02.00 Sealink ferry departure from Dover. It was the French boat returning to Calais and I was just about the only passenger aboard  as it chugged, lights out through the night. The main purpose of this trip was to see and ride on the new VAL fully automated railway but I took the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with the ELRT operation which had, with modern marketing techniques taken the strange name of 'MONGY' .This was actually the name of the original promotor of the line at the turn of the century.

 

 

 

This central area subway was definitely a new feature in 1983. The station itself was very modernistic displaying sculptures and other works of art. There were a number of cars like this which look like second-hand acquisitions.

 

A close look at this car will confirm that it and many of its stablemates were the same ones that had operated the line in 1964 but they had since been fitted with modern style pantographs. Nowadays there's a new fleet of low-floor light rail sets and the line has been extended beyond its original boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VALENCIENNES - 1964

 

Situated in north-eastern France right on the Belgian border in the shadow of areas whose place in history was assured by the first world war, this industrial town's tramway was notable for its extremely run-down state. All cars we saw were seemingly identical and operated with two trailers although loadings did not seem to justify this.

In 1964 my recollection is that trams served places called Hergnies, Blanc Misseron, Lourches and Bonsecours. Only the second named of these was on the current map so perhaps these areas are swallowed up in a no doubt now much expanded connurbation.         I have never been there again but understand that the wheel has turned full circle and the town now enjoys the beginnings of a brand new tramway, part of the future expansion which may, according to latest information, actually be with trolleybuses instead!

 

 

Approaching the central terminal area where a number of other trams are laying over or waiting to take up service, a typical two-trailer set appears lightly loaded

 

 

 

A tram is seen running round its trailers at  Lourches (pronounced Lorsh) terminus. We christened the route to this destination 'Lurches' due to the appallingly poor trackwork. These trailers had apparently been built around sixty years before for the previous steam tramway.

 

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RHEIMS - 2009

 

Regrettably no trams to show for this is a new system in the making due for opening in 2011. I was there for a one-night stay inOctober 2009 and when travelling into the city for a meal found considerable signs of the disruptive activities in hand for tracklaying and other work. I'm actually unlikely to go back there for some time so this will be all I can show. 

 

 

 

 

 

BELGIUM

OSTEND COASTAL LINE - 1964 & 2008

 

Until comparatively recent times, for many people south of Blackpool visiting here this might have been their first sight of a tramway for many a year. This and nearby Ghent would have been their nearest such transport.

 Basically now a remnant of the once extensive Vicinal system, it runs virtually the full length of the nation's small coastline which is, I think, about 68km. I first saw it in 1960 when on my school visit and we were allowed to ride on it from Ostend centre to our hostel at Troonstraat. The newest rolling stock then operational dated from the mid-1950s. It and all older stock, which was used as here for the busy summer schedules, was replaced by modern units in a distinctive orange livery by the early1980s.

 

 

 

 

A typical coastal train of the 1960s is seen at the tram station at Oostende Quay. The leading car No. 10043 was classified type SO, had superior seating and dated from 1955. It is noteworthy that these cars were single-ended as they had run around loops at each end of the line, so there was no need for doors to be placed on the offside. See also that it has a heavy-duty pantograph. Parts of this line are quite exposed and sometimes encounter gale force winds. There were no matching trailers built for these and they continued to haul the older style stock and sometimes, as here also a luggage/guards van.

 

 

At this time the line still handled heavy luggage traffic including luggage in advance consigned by passengers arriving by ship or train and travelling on to the many resorts along the coast. There were originally ten of these motor vans designed for carrying baggage although they also performed shunting tasks. No.10019 was one of a trio that came in 1932.Sadly it was destroyed by fire in 1972 although another has been preserved.

 

 

There were storage sidings just east of Oostende station. No 10047 is another SO type (in this nearside view you can see the doors) and is attached to a single bogie trailer. It is facing toward De Panne which was then the westerly terminus of the line, although over forty years later in 1998 there was a further extension towards the French border. Clearly a busy time for the line this car is designated 'EXTRA DIENST (Extra Service).

 

 

 

This is a further view of the sidings which are holding an assortment of bogie-trailers available to increase capacity as needed. In the forefront is trailer 19657 which had originally been built as a motor car in 1932 and was eventually withdrawn in 1968.

 

 

Yet another of the SO motors. No. 10002 is seen at the Het Zoute terminus in Knokke, the eastern end of the line after 1951. This loop terminus at Albertplein was normally used only in winter after 1963 though this is September 1964, and was disused completely from 1967 when the line was cut back to the Railway Station.

 

 

On the left No. 10041 and trailer has arrived at Oostende Quay as Service 2 from De Panne hauling its elderly trailer. The set will either change is destination details to service 1 and continue in this direction to the other end of the line at Knokke or will traverse the back streets loop to turn around and go back to De Panne. To its right is baggage car 10019 again, this time seemingly performing aforesaid shunting duties and hauling a trailer perhaps to be attached to an incoming train.

 

 

With lengthy sections of reserved track and private right of way the coastal line required (in the days before road/rail vehicles) a number of service cars including this interesting tower wagon No. LW3 is again, at Oostende station. It was built in 1951.

 

 

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During the Belgian excursion referred to below we also had a short time to wander around Ostend. Here are a couple of shots taken then of the current rolling stock on this seemingly ever-popular line. The weather was exceedingly dull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BRUSSELS - MUNICIPAL (1964 & 2008) and VICINAL  SYSTEM (1964)

 

 

 

Old and new on the 58. No. 1043 (top) with trailer is one of the older standard sets that proliferated in 1964 whilst the number 4001 given to the above suggests it may have been a prototype or experimental. Note that it is actually articulated - I don't recall seeing any others like this at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PCC type car turns at the purpose built terminal loop installed for the 1958 Expo.

 

 

 

 

A good start had already been made in the placing of many lines underground in the city centre area and the tram emerging from this subterranean interchange is a case in point. These were the first step in the creation of a true metro system for the city.

 

 

This was, I think one of the older style four-wheelers fitted with a new body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Societe Nationale Chemins De Fer Vicinaux (SNCV - Vicinal)

 

The SNCV was a once very extensive system of operations covering large parts of the comparatively small nation of Belgium. The government owned operations were largely rural and of an interurban nature and in the post world war II period began to lose money heavily as passenger and goods traffic begaan to disappear. Most lines were electric but there were also rural steam lines with some particularly ancient tram type engines and petrol and diesel powered sets that lasted until the early sixties. The electrics penetrated the larger cities and towns but gradually gave way to buses, trams in these locations lasting up to the late 1970s There are still some lines in and around Charleroi and the popular Ostende Coastal service remains operational today. Here are a couple of shots of those serving Brussels in 1964.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was there again in October 2008 - my, how the city has changed! Unfortunately I was tied to an organised coach tour of the city and was able to see very few trams. I thought that much more of the system must now be underground. We did however halt very briefly at the site of the 1958 Expo and the Atomium, in the immediate vicinity of which I was able to get just the following three shots..........................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GHENT  - 1964, 1983 & 2008

 

Quite a bumper crop here. We based ourselves in Ghent in 1964, just a hundred yards or so from the station, for three or four days so were able to fairly well explore the whole of the then extensive system in between visits to other places. In 1964 this interesting system still boasted some 35km of routes although there had been 53km before world-war II. Its future was then far from certain. Although, from memory the rolling stock was remarkably well kept no new trams had been bought since the early 1930s and many routes relied on a single track with passing loops.

 

 

This rather unfortunate accident is particularly remembered from our visit to Ghent. We were riding on this tram (No. 316) when it collided very forcefully with this Opel estate car which appeared to drive straight across its path. The tram was on the then mainly single track shuttle from Arsenaal to Melle which, in this part at least, and in this direction was 'wrong way' running on the left hand side of the road. Roadside running was common in Belgium and I would think that car drivers generally would have been aware of it, but on this day it was raining hard and visibility was not good. Could this scenario have confused the motorist I wonder??

 

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All of the cars then running were seemingly more or less identical but they did have some minor differences. All were single-truck types like this, although I did notice that that most, if not all appeared to have three axles!

 

 

No.355 is seen near the Muidebrug terminus on one of the many passing loops although the roadway here looks a bit narrow for two sets of lines anyway. This line still  operates today so presumably the current bigger trams that would dwarf these manage this section OK.

 

 

No.340 was built in 1930 and incorporated components from an earlier car. It was one with a three-axle truck, a relatively unusual feature intended to offer some of the advantages of a bogie-tram without the extra cost. The car is seen en-route to Zwijnaarde, a line that ceased operation in 1965 although a service has recently been restored to that area.

 

 

Here's another view of 340, more clearly showing its modified body with four side windows and power operated doors, a feature added in 1952.

 

 

 

No.305, another of the 1930 series is at the Moscou terminus and the conductor is part through the action of reversing the bow collector. The traditional Belgian practice of roadside running can be clearly seen. In contrast to the Melle route, wrong way running here was in the direction of the city.

 

 

No.359 is seen in Korenmarkt in the central area of Ghent heading for the then, as now, architecturally impressive Sint Pieters Station.

 

 

 

 

The ancient Castle of the Counts of Flanders here provides an impressive backdrop.

 

 

........and the battlements provided an interesting viewpoint too.

 

 

No. 348 is leaving Korenmarkt and is heading for Moscou. Trams still serve this route today.

 

 

 

 

 

Passing St Bavos Cathedral. No.328 is fitted with brake hoses for use with trailers. During our time there we saw no examples of such operation at all although some trailer cars were apparently still retained. Although relatively small, ( 20 seats + standees) cars on these services were all operated using conductors then.

 

 

No.404 is seen crossing one of the city's many canals at Vleeshuisbrug in the central area and not far from the castle.

 

 

We arrived in Ghent with the knowledge that the service to Darsen had recently been converted to motorbus and indeed saw much evidence of this, but at some point we caught sight of a tram heading there and took a ride. Unless this was some sort of regular ritual to maintain a right of way I do not know why this happened. The conductor is having to turn the bow collector ready for the return journey. British trams used Fischer style units that turned themselves when the tram reversed but perhaps this was only practicable for the shorter length collectors used for double-deckers?

 

 

Outside the main post office.

 

A return visit was made in 1983 by which time the above cars had been consigned to the history books ( last ones ran c1972) and a smart fleet of PCC style stock - 54 cars delivered 1971-74 - was operating in an attractive blue/cream livery. Some familiar destinations from my earlier visit appeared not to be rail- served any more but in fact some significant new extensions had been made or were being planned, Clearly the mood was quite different and, unlike 1964, it seemed that trams were then there to stay. 

 

 

 

 

 

These first three views are all seen on the turning loops at Sint Pieters Station and show the 1971-74 delivered PCC-style replacements.

 

 

 

This is the Muidebrug terminus. Trams still run to here today. To the right and out of view is an opening bridge - the tram is presumably standing under the control room for this. Trams crossed this structure until the line was abandoned in 1963.

 

............................ AND IN LATE 2008 I WAS THERE YET AGAIN (MY FOUR VISITS HAVE SPANNED 48 YEARS!) ALBEIT RATHER BRIEFLY, WITH A COUPLE OF HOURS TO LOOK AROUND AS PART OF A SHORT BREAK BELGIAN COACH TOUR. NO RIDES THIS TIME BUT I NOTICED THAT MANY OF THE ABOVE PCC TYPES WERE STILL IN USE, THOUGH OFTEN COVERED WITH UNSIGHTLY COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING. FROM 1991 ALONG WITH OTHERS, NOTABLY BRUSSELS THE GHENT TRANSPORT UNDERTAKING WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE FLEMISH REGIONAL TRANSPORT UNDERTAKING DE LIJN (in English = 'THE LINE')  THE SOMETIMES GARISH LIVERIES AT LEAST SERVED TO OBSCURE THE RATHER BLAND UNIVERSAL GREYISH WHITE WITH BLACK/YELLOW RELIEF BANDS LIVERY. ACCOMPANYING THEM WERE, AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, SOME RATHER LARGE LOOKING NEW(ISH) LOW-FLOOR SETS BUILT BY SIEMENS FROM 1999. TO MY MIND ANYWAY, THESE ARE REALLY TOO BIG FOR THE GENERALLY NARROW THOROUGHFARES OF THIS HISTORIC CITY, ALTHOUGH MOTORISTS THERE ARE OFTEN LEFT IN LITTLE DOUBT AS TO WHO OWNS THE ROAD! FOR EXAMPLE, EVEN WITH THE BENEFIT OF A WIDE ANGLE LENS (AN UNAFFORDABLE LUXURY TO ME IN 1964) IT PROVED QUITE IMPOSSIBLE TO SATISFACTORILY RE-CREATE THE 1964 SHOT OF A CAR PASSING THE OLD CASTLE - THE NEW ROLLING STOCK JUST FILLS THE VIEWFINDER AND OBSCURES THE ANCIENT FORTRESS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERHAPS APPROPRIATE TO MENTION HERE IS THAT DURING THE HOURS OF OUR VISIT ANYWAY, THERE WAS NO SIGN AT ALL OF A TROLLEYBUS ON THE ROAD - A SINGLE ROUTE OF 9KM LENGTH OPERATED FROM 1989 BUT WAS DOGGED WITH PROBLEMS AND FREQUENTLY NON-OPERATIONAL I KNEW THEY WERE DUE FOR THE CHOP AT ABOUT THIS TIME, HOWEVER SUBSEQUENT INFORMATION SUGGESTS THAT THEY WERE ABOUT AFTER OUR BRIEF VISIT. WIRES WERE STILL IN PLACE BUT THE ROUTE WAS DEFINITELY ALL MOTOR BUSES THAT DAY ( 29th October) . I HAVE SINCE READ THAT IN FACT THE TROLLEYS WERE IN OPERATION UNTIL FINALLY BOWING OUT AT THE END OF DECEMBER 2008.

 

ANTWERP  1983

 

A visit to this bustling port city was made during the same Belgian excursion as the above Ghent shots. A glance at the itinerary of my school visit to Belgium in 1960 (yes - I still have it!) has reminded me that I had actually been there briefly before, but strangely, unlike Ostend Ghent & Lille I have no memory of the occasion or its trams.Thirty plus years ago though its tramway system is recalled as modern throughout and seemingly quite extensive, although I did not have time to study it in any depth. It was a rather wet and dull day but I managed to get a small selection of photos more of which I'll be putting here in due course.

 

 

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VERVIERS - 1964

 

This small town system appeared to be winding down fast in 1964 and we saw evidence of car scrapping at the depot,  It seemed that basically only one route remained running,  to Pepinster with some short workings to Ensival although  we did see a couple of variations. I think this soldiered on till the end of 1969. I recently viewed a fascinating film which is part of the Online Video archive (in three parts 'TRAVELS BY TRAM THROUGH BELGIUM) one part depicts the scene here before 1964 when the system was rather more extensive. This is a fascinating record that is well worth seeking out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This batch with a more modern style of body were in fact only built in 1930

 

 

I ACTUALLY HAD A FEW MORE SHOTS FROM HERE BUT HAD A FILM SNAP IN THE CAMERA ON THIS DAY SO LOST THEM

Verviers trams ceased operations on 31st December 1969

 

 

LIEGE MUNICIPAL - 1964

 

The steel making city of Liege was unique in Belgium after 1945 in having, until 1961, three separate tramway operations in its centre . These were the SNCV (Vicinal) state owned services, the municipally owned system (TULE - Tramways unifies de Liege et Extensions) and the interurban system of RELSE - Railways Economiques de Liege Seraing et Extensions. The two that survived at the time of my visit in 1964 are represented here.

'Wheels like threepenny bits' we said - What was left of the Liege town system seemed very much on its last legs, although I think it actually soldiered on till 1969. I particularly recall that one route crossed a wide bridge over the Meuse and vibrated so badly when a tram crossed it that it was quite alarming for an unaccustomed pedestrian. The bridge had been a post-war replacement for one presumably destroyed in the War.

 

 

 

No.89 is seen on service 1 which was the busiest and was in fact the last to run. All the municipal trams were four-wheelers and were more or less identical to the eye by 1964. Sixty such cars had been bought in 1930.

 

 

 

 

 

Cars in the series 161-193 had more powerful motors and were used mainly with trailers.

 

 

LIEGE-SERAING - 1964

 

The separate Liege-Seraing system was itself on borrowed time. It connected the industrial suburbs of Seraing and Ougree and Flemalle with the central outskirts of Liege city. Its main route was some 14km long and followed the course for much of the way of the River Meuse. It operated a fleet of very fast, heavy and smooth running American looking interurban type cars which, though looking somewhat older, dated only from about 1935. They were known as 'Metro's'.

 

 

 

 

The aforementioned interurban cars were twenty in number (301-321) This is no.307 with the modern 1960s skyline of Liege in the background. Also seen is a modern bridge over the river. All Liege's bridges were destroyed at the end of the second world war and had to be replaced.

 

 

 Short working shuttles were operated and there were a number of these small four-wheelers which, again, were older than they looked having new bodies constructed about 1953. Although of single ended appearance they could be driven from both ends. This one still has  trolley pole collection apparatus. The company livery was an attractive two-tone green in a country where most trams were plain cream.

 

 

 

 

...........and this one a pantograph. No. 57 and No.52 were fitted with these for use on the short shuttle service between Tilleur and Ougree-Gare and avoided the need for the conductor to swing the trolleypole every few minutes - trolley reversers were apparently unknown in Belgium. This branch was abandoned in 1966.

 

 

An untypical sylvan setting on reserved track.

 

 

No.42 was the only one we saw that had this older style of body. One of an original batch of ten, it was built in 1915 and modernised in 1932. Used on the Flemalle line, the last of them was withdrawn in 1967. 

These operations  had all ceased by 30th April 1968.

 

I AM MUCH INDEBTED TO GEOFFREY SKELSEY (UK) AND YVES LAURENT-HANSART (BELGIUM) FOR PROVIDING IMPROVED DETAILED CAPTION INFORMATION (WHICH I AM IN THE PROCESS OF INCORPORATING) FOR THE FOREGOING BELGIAN TRAM VIEWS.

 

 

 

THE NETHERLANDS

 

AMSTERDAM - 1981

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 during the heavy snowfalls of mid-December 1981.

 

.............AND A VERY BRIEF VISIT IN 2012

 

The intervening thirty-one years had seen, as might be expected, a complete change of the fleet to the very latest types, and a complete change of livery, however it seems my time in this major Dutch city is fated to be dogged by appalling weather. At least it was only rain this time, but a hell of a lot of it that kept me sheltering for most of just an hour and a half there. 

 

 

 

This shot actually shows one of the principal curses that affect present day transport photographers, namely those wretched moving dot matrix destination screens! It's well nigh impossible to get a decipherable destination to show at any time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++ ROTTERDAM (1981)

To follow 

 

 

 

THE HAGUE (Den Haag 2012

 

My only previous visit to the Dutch capital was in December 1981, but I spent a few hours there again in 2012. As this included a sightseeing tour there was not much time to photograph trams, however I did manage the following four as a record.......... 

 

 

1981 views to be added later

 

 

 

 

Just leaving the purpose built terminal loop at Scheveningen, the seaside resort of The Hague. 

 

The first pair of views show the current standard livery but as with almost everywhere else, all-over advertising makes its mark here. All rolling-stock was seemingly more or less identical.

 

 

 

 

 

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ITALY

 

ROME (1972)

 

Stopped off in the Italian capital for a couple of days during a coach tour of the country in October of 1972. Only the afternoon of the second day was available for tram chasing and as (my) luck would have it the operational staff of the transport system called a strike. This resulted in some independent operators taking over some bus routes but the trams remained firmly in their depots. However the Italians always do things differently and the strike ended at about 2.00pm. I was therefore able to take a few good rides and get a small number of photographs before the autumn light began to fail. Here's three to start with. A point of interest was that my hotel was on a trolleybus route, or so I thought. When the hotel porter told me that the strike would finish soon I set out down a long winding hill with overhead all the way and as I got nearer the transport hub I saw trams were running but could see no trolleys anywhere. Only then did I take a closer look to see that the wires were quite corroded and obviously disused so I don't know when the services finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MILAN - 2009

 

It was fully a quarter of a century before Italy was re-visited, going twice, in 1999 and 2000, but there were no trams in our main destinations of Lake Garda Florence and Venice. In 2009 however it was better luck for we were staying on Lake Como and were given a chance by our tour operator to have some time in Milan. After tagging along on the walking sightseeing tour we had a little over two of hours and I was able to photographically record a smattering of the comprehensive system there. Being rather restricted by time to the central area my only regret is that I did not even catch a glimpse of the trolleybuses there, which subsequent research has indicated operate only in the outer areas running on peripheral services - perhaps another time!

 

 

 

I had long heard about the legendary Peter Witt cars in use there but did not dare to hope that any would be still running in 2009. What a surprise for these classic 1930/40s trams were, if not quite in the majority, certainly very plentiful as the photos show. Here one trundles towards the camera and is passed by the latest type of car to enter service there.

 

 

The significance of the different liveries (orange or yellow) was lost on me. 

 

 

Passing near to La Scala.

 

 

Somewhat more modern.

 

 

Updating would appear to include modern style pantographs.

 

 

London around the corner! - I think not. This presumably was the name of a nearby hotel.

 

 

Unusual for an Italian city - no other traffic! - I cannot say but perhaps this was a tram only thoroughfare.

 

 

 

 

Another of the latest type - Built I believe by Ansaldo.

 

 

All over advertising was not seen much. This and an all over dark  blue (Nivea Cream) Peter Witt  were the only two that I caught sight of.

 

 

 

In contrast to the first photo this displays the modern front end of the newest cars

 

 

 

GERMANY

 

HEIDELBERG - 1973

 

 

Just a short lunch stop - the only shot I could get

 

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AACHEN - 1964

 

 

 

 

 

Aachen's position on the Europe map puts it with close borders to both The Netherlands and France. This meter-gauge line from the centre to Vaals used red trams and was evidently a separate operation to the Aachener Strassenbahn. I might easily be wrong, but isn't Vaals is actually in The Netherlands???

 

 

 

 

--ooo000ooo---

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUNICH - 1965

 

 

The limited re-awakening in Britain to the value of tramways is welcome indeed but it is quite sobering to realise that the West Germans were knuckling down to this sort of thing over fifty years ago! It has to be admitted however that their war ravaged cities were still undergoing major re-construction then, even twenty years after the end of hostilities and making way and building this sort of thing must surely have been less problematical.

 

 

Reserved track was commonplace.

 

 

This type of tram was known as a KSW (krieg strassenbahnwagen or wartime tram) a subsequently modernised low specification design typical of its time, operating a busy journey with two trailers. On the original print one can count about twenty-three passengers here. Interestingly all but two of those actually identifiable are women. I'm sure this says something quite significant about West German demographics and its then successful economy though I'm not sure what! There is clear evidence behind the cars of  then unrepaired allied bombing damage.

 

 

I borrowed a relative's Box-Brownie as I had got hold of an outdated 620 transparency film. This was the best of the three exposures taken.

.......and here's an articulated version. As far as I can recall this was a prototype and the only one in use at the time. All other Duwag sets had separate trailers, usually without conductors so you were on your honour to have paid before you enter them. Heavy fines were imposed if you hadn't and the warning was in three or four different languages at stops and in the trailers themselves! Munich was way ahead of the game in 1965 and had pre-pay ticket machines in wide use.

 

 

New tram, old architecture - the old town gateway here seems also to have been the victim of blast damage.

 

 

Old tram, new architecture - the strikingly modern (for 1965) Mercedes Benz offices here and the shopping precinct underneath were typical of the opportunities available to planners re-modelling the city then.

 

---ooo000ooo--

 

NUREMBURG - 1965

 

Latest (1965) DuWag style set.

 

During the Nazi era of the 1930s trams were found to interfere with proceedings for the massive gatherings held in the city and steps were taken to construct subways under the main parade ground.

 

Typical of many older traditional style cars still operational then.

 

Britain was not the only nation then to see the tower block as a means of solving a housing problem. This is an obviously then recent extension to serve the new residential complexes. The motor car here looks even older than the above.

 

A works car.

 

Birds eye view made possible by being granted acces to the roof of the office block in which the tramways offices were located. It looks like a major new tramway interchange is under construction near the top right. It's my guess that a whole block of buildings once stood on this site and the space probably only became available as a result of war damage.

 

AUGSBURG - 1964

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STUTTGART - 1965

 

 

 

 

EAST BERLIN - 1973

 

 

Went on a tour through the famous 'Checkpoint Charlie', however we were very strictly controlled and were only allowed to leave the coach at the Russian war cemetery and a luxury hotel for coffee - despite this I sneaked outside but we were nowhere near any trams so I contented myself with photographing some odd looking buses which were parked nearby. This was the best of only two grab shots through the coach window. This tram seems very similar to those seen in Dresden (see below)

At this time, as far as I could tell trams in the western sector had all ceased operation. At Potsdamerplatz and a couple of other places I could see that the trams had formerly gone right through where the wall had been erected

 

DRESDEN - 1973

 

This was, if memory serves me correctly, only a lunch stop en-route to Prague. It's a good job that the fayre on offer was not to my liking.(I still won't eat sauerkraut!).  I decided to go out, checking with the courier what time I needed to be back on the coach. I walked only a couple of hundred yards either side of the venue and one way reached a large wide open area which was a busy interchange and a market. Looking at a modern Dresden city centre map recently I have come to believe that this may have been what is now known as Postplatz. I obtained only a small record of which this is more or less all. Tram photographers behind the iron curtain in those days were, at very least, discouraged from such activity I think. In fact I was never too sure that what I was doing as a tourist was actually allowed. I got some strange looks from some people in uniform, and probably I was being watched by others not so attired, but I got away with it, also in Prague and Budapest too. You could get almost uniterrupted views as there were very few private cars about.Unless you were very lucky or in a privileged position they were quite unaffordable. I remember, I think it was in Budapest, a sort of department store with an example of the now cult Trabant car in the window!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some views of the ubiquitous Tatra T3 sets that were getting to be commonplace all over the eastern bloc at this time. Red & Cream seemed to be tha standard in other places too. 

 

 

 

All older sets were of this type and this one looked considerably smarter than most. The backdrop here is the Zwinger Palace I think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1945 severe destruction of "that beautiful baroque city"  (John Betjeman) resulted in the proliferation of much soul-less architecture like in the background here and in the preceding photo. I have personally never been able to go back there but through another abiding interest (in GDR made cameras) I have seen many photos of the city as it is today and there is an amazing transformation including, of course, the complete reconstruction of the beautiful Frauenkirch. The mood of reconciliation in more recent years is evidenced by the new cross for the dome of this wonderful building that was (I may need to be corrected here!) provided by the son of one of the February 1945 raid RAF bomber crew members. There is also a street named Coventrystrasse.

 

 

 

 

A poignant reminder in 1973, some 28 years after the event, of the destruction wrought in the closing stages of WWII. The architectural style of these fire and bomb ravaged buildings make it clear why Betjeman described the city in the way that he did. I can only imagine that the wide open areas where I found these scenes to photograph might have once been a maze of smaller streets.

 

SWITZERLAND

Zurich - 1965

 

My only visit to this major city of Switzerland was with the LRTL tour of 1965. There'll be quite an interesting selection here in time but sadly not much at all of Zurich itself. In an unguarded moment in about 1967 I handed a large quantity of my negatives to a fellow enthusiast who promised to print them up for me. In the event he never did and failed to return the negatives which included almost everything that I captured in this city, and also of Stuttgart and some other places. I understand that he is now deceased so whatever could have happened to them I do not know. The few below are all that I have, seemingly mostly all the same type of car, although there were some elderly heavy looking centre-entrance bogies and lovely old four-wheelers with trailers still about too, plus trolleybuses and some peculiar new single-deck buses where the driver sat in a glass cabin on the front roof!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the newest articulateed sets but still with a separate trailer!

 

 

Just peeping out of this small depot, one of the aforesaid old four-wheelers. I recall distinctly that they were working on a route to The Zoo

 

FORCHBAHN - 1965

 

This metre-gauge line runs from Zurich to Stadelhofen via Forch and Esslingen and opened for traffic late in 1912. Part of it now runs underground and there are links with the Zurich trams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I presume that these latter two had been or were by then works cars but surely they were destined for preservation - can anybody comment?

 

 

SCHAFFHAUSEN - 1965

 

Perhaps best known for its close proximity to the famous and spectacular Rheinfall, the Swiss border town of Schaffhausen was at this time operating a smart fleet of these little grey painted four-wheelers with trailers. I'm not sure when but the trams were later scrapped in favour of trolleybuses and a current generation fleet of these is now operational or on order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BASLE - 2001

 

 

 My wife and I ventured overseas again in 2001. We passed through the city of Basle but unfortunately did not stop so these rather poor efforts are through the coach window on a rainy day.

 

BALTIC CAPITALS TRAMS IN 2010

 

LATVIA

RIGA

 

Riga was to be congratulated in running the ubiquitous Tatra T3 in different colours. This all over advertisement for a Swiss milk chocolate was particularly attractive in 2010

 

This was the standard livery for the Riga fleet, again a pleasant change from the standard red & cream seen in so many eastern European cities for so long 

 

 

 

ESTONIA

 

TALLINN

 

 

I may be wrong but I think all trams shown here are Tatra T4 types. I did not see any other type in use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FINLAND

 

HELSINKI

Through the coach windscreen

 

All Helsinki trams seemed to be the same except this one, presumably on some sort of tourist service.

 

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

 

PRAGUE - 1973

 

was particularly interested to visit here as my grandfather, who had died the previous year, was born in a town not far away from the capital and had worked there before settling in England in about 1908. In 1973 the whole place was seemingly rather sombre as no doubt memories of the failed 1968 rising were still quite fresh. Mindful of possible problems with photographing transport I carried only a small Baldessa 35mm rangefinder camera which slipped into my anorak pocket, and I used only colour transparency film. . 

 

 

 

The ubiquitous Tatra T3 in service in the country that manufactured them.

 

 

This one appears to be an intermediate type between the very old four-wheelers still then widely present and the modern Tatras. It was the only one of its type that I actually saw in service. 

 

 

Lots of these old four-wheelers, usually with trailers were still about. They look very much the same as the car that was presented in 1968 to the Crich Museum but were surely later than its date which I believe was 1911?

 

 

HUNGARY

 

BUDAPEST - 1973

 

 

 

 

 

---oo000ooo---

 

FOGASKEREKU VASUT (Buda Hills Railway)

 

 

 

We arrived here early evening and it was getting dark, however after 7.00pm I was out and about. A trip to the Buda hills was arranged for the morning though I found the place quite by accident taking a tram ride and the funicular which went there. The heading name for this I have given above is derived from internet searches although I cannot replicate on an English language keyboard the accents used in the Hungarian tongue. I was the only passenger and I recall the driver switched off the interior lights so that I could view the city by night. I went for a daylight look later and saw the above. The red and cream cars were seemingly almost brand new and, I presume the older yellow/cream set was one of those they replaced. A couple more views will be added in due course.

 

POLAND

 

WARSAW 2010

 

 

At least its yellow with the red this time - two motor cars are running coupled 

 

 

 

 

This looks like a Tatra T4 type 

 

 

 

 

 

I recall being most impressed with general street cleanliness in all the former eastern bloc capitals visited. Warsaw was no exception 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously one of the then newest design sets - I have no details but it looks very similar to the newest Milan types 

 

 

 

 

PORTUGAL

LISBON - 1984

 

 

 

 

 

 

For years before I ventured here I read about the famous Graca Circle tram route with all its twists, turns and gradients. By 1984 however changes to service patterns meant that the route was not frequently operated as a whole, though one could go round the complete thing with a change or two. This is Sao Tome, a well photographed location, and it is interesting to see over the years in nearly a century of views captured here the gradual growth of the tree above the tram. This was, as far as I can recall, the only occasion when I lumbered about with three cameras around my neck!. No cine (unfortunately) but I got a good record in colour and monochrome print and colour transparency.

 

 

Here's a good selection of other views from that visit....................

 

 

These attractive little four-wheelers proliferated in 1984 and, like this one were frequently well loaded. Many had British built trucks and controllers. Not as old as they may look, they mostly dated from the 1930s and had been rebuilt over the decades.

 

 

Here's one of the veteran bogie cars

 

 

 

Here's one of the bogie cars in rebuilt form without the clerestory roof. It is standing in the depoot in the shade of the flyover which too traffic onto and away from the suspension bridge which crossed the River Tagus.

 

 

I think Lisbon had the steepest grades anywhere for pure adhesion tramways and here is a typical hill section.

 

 

......and some of the narrowest streets with trams too. This is a place where I would think no motorist would dare to venture. Not too safe for pedestrains either - I counted my toes after this tram had passed me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some four-wheeelers had had modernised bodies which were apparently supplied by the UK in unbuilt frame & panels form to be built locally. These cars were usually seen hauling trailers.

 

Notice here how the track is interlaced to enable a sharp right turn ahead! In Lisbon motorists knew exactly how to park to avoid problems. If the track had been normal here the driver of NI-26-21 would have been in big trouble.

 

 

 

No.353 shows well the extent of re-building undertaken on these cars. The clerestory roof has been replaced with an entirely new structure. By 1984 this might well have been a decades old change though.

Whilst many of th bogie-cars were genuinely very old, this was not the case with the little four-wheelers that were, in the main built in the 1930s and later, many then with British trucks and electrical equipment. Since my one and only visit in April of 1984 however the system has been considerably cut back. New articulated sets have been introduced and the old bogie cars have all long gone. A few of the four-wheelers survive, albeit totally rebuilt with new (German) electrical equipment and  trucks. They are mainly used on tourist services.

 

 

A passenger alights as this car is just topping one of the steepest grades on the 1984 system

 

 

 

 

Leaving church on a Sunday morning - the substantial crowds of worshippers needed more than this tram to get them home 

 

 

There are three of these cable car services operating steep hills in Lisbon and this particular one runbled up and down passing not far from my hotel bedroom window. They are designed to deter the oft seen continental practice of hanging on the outside for a free ride but many locals still took advantage and walked up the hill getting assistance by holding on to the car whilst it climbed at a slow pace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPPORTO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOME EUROPEAN TROLLEYBUSES

IN THE 1960s 1970s and 1980s

 

AACHEN -1964

 

 

Henschel?

 

 

Perhaps their equivalent of a 'utility' trolleybus, No.13 was the only one like this I saw running in September 1964.

 

 

 

 

The famous No.22 of 1956 - Aachener Strassenbahn also operated some almost identically bodied Mercedes buses. In preservation in the UK since the 1970s (at the Sandtoft Transport Centre) it is to soon undergo some work to make it operational after many years out of action.

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

INNSBRUCK - 1965 (FIRST SYSTEM)

 

 

They abandoned in 2007 for the second time!  Note that this vehicle is built for right hand drive. I think it may have came second-hand from Lichtenstein (Vaduz?) which (when the vehicle was new anyway) used the British rule of the road.

 

--ooo000ooo---

 

LIEGE - 1964

 

 

 

 

 

The oldest trolleybuses in Liege in 1964 were these FN-ACEC's dating from 1932-33.This is No.426.  The last British built Ransomes vehicles (1930) had apparently been withdrawn a couple of years before. Here's more shots of them. No.425 avoided my camera during my stay but came over to these shores a couple of years later and now resides at Sandtoft where it has run recently.

 

 

Cosmopolitan town - 417 passes  the British Tavern and Cafe Anglais!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the foregoing were of pre-war origin still giving yeoman service when a quarter of a century or more old. When we first saw one of these however it must have been fresh out of the paintshop as I thought it was brand new. In truth it was eight or perhaps nine years old, a licenced copybuild of an American design. I think they must have been about ten metres long.

 

---ooo000oo---

 

MUNICH - 1965

 

 

Munich West Germany - There appeared to be only this one route when I was there in 1965. I found out nothing about where it went or the vehicles that operated it. By the spring of 1966, somewhere near the end of March it was gone I believe.

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

GENOA - 1972

 

 

Just an overnight stop and an early morning departure, this was one of two shots I got passing quite near our hotel. I suspect they were of Fiat or Lancia manufacture. I have read recently that they are now operating the latest design of modern articulated vehicles.

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

ARNHEM - 1973

 

An early start after an overnight stay at the Hotel Twente - Coach in background almost ready for the run to Berlin. All these shots were taken before 08.00 hours! 

 

 

 

 

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

ZURICH - 1965

 

 

 

LUCERNE - 1965

 

Lucerne has kept faith with the trolleybus and has a smart modern fleet today. Some of these below later went on to see service in Schaffhausen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REUS-TARRAGONA - 1971

 

 

 

FIRTESA operated just two ex London Q1s rebuilt to the condition shown here. After up to ten years of hard slog both were in a terrible state by 1971 the photographs do them too much justice! Both these views are of the same vehicle - the other at the time carried no external advertising. Regrettably these were the only Spanish ex LT trolleybuses I saw.

 

 

A small number of these French built Vetras were also in use

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

SALZBURG - 1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      and in 1987.........

..

...

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

BUDAPEST -1973

 

 

 

 

When these obviously quite old artics came along they sounded very much like particularly noisy trams! I am fairly certain that they were Ikarus built.

 

These three shots were taken in the city park area when I was trying to locate the transport museum near there.

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

OPPORTO - 1984

 

 

 Maroon liveried example on the narrow roadway atop the famous Ponte Dom Luis double-decker bridge. A light railway/metro line now uses this carriageway.    

 

 

 

In colour this time showing the later, mainly orange colour scheme. For many years some British built BUT trolleybuses were operated, however when replacements were needed after the 1960s British involvement in trolleybus manufacture had ceased and these single deckers, like their double-deck counterparts were of Lancia manufacture.

 

                                 

 

. These 1967-68 Lancia built vehicles were for many years the only double-deck trolleybuses operational in public service  anywhere in the world. They last operated in about 1996 and one example now runs in the UK at the Sandtoft Transport Centre alongside many British and European Museum trolleybuses. 

 ........................

.......................and in 2002

MONTREUX - 2002

 

 

Our coach party was visiting Chateaux Chillon and I managed to snatch this shot of a passing Montreux-Vevey trolley. I estimate that it was belting along at well over forty mph at the time. 

 

 

 

 

 EUROPEAN TROLLEYBUSES

IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

 

A starting selection from the Baltic States - more to follow 

LITHUANIA

  VILNIUS 2010

 

Vilnius is one of the few, perhaps the only, european capital city never to have operated a tram system, however it has a superb network of trolleybus routes to complement its bus services. Main livery is red & cream although a few in other colours and all-over advertising were also seen

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

LATVIA

 RIGA 2010

 

Riga operated a widespread trolleybus network with some of the very latest rolling stock running alongside earlier examples. It also had a large tramway network. Livery was blue & white though quite a number of trams carried all-over advertising.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESTONIA

TALLINN 2010

 

Tallinn has a large trolleybus system running alongside motorbuses and trams. Like Vilnius it has a mix of new and old. Some of the oldest Skodas including articulated ones seemed in rather poor health and the noise emanating from the motors, particularly when climbing gradients sometimes made them sound more like trams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELGIAN BUSES IN 1964

 

This selection was captured at the time of my visit to Belgium in September 1964. I cannot add much detail in respect of the home produced vehicles seen there as I have no technical or other information about them. Many buses were seen operating for the Vicinal system in their Red Cream & Black colour scheme while those of the Belgian National Railways sported a livery whose main colour, a sort of jade green, was quite similar to that later adopted by Tees-Side Municipal Transport in the UK. Also in this selection are examples from the municipal fleets of Ghent and Liege. Tour coaches were about in some numbers too and a few views of these have been included within the Coaching Scene page

 

VICINAL

 

 

 

 

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

BELGIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

 

 

 

 

 

Those were the days! - When Great Britain had an export market for home designed and produced vehicles. AEC seems to have been fortunate with orders from the railways here, presumably the chassis were Regal IV's. Even Guy Motors got a look in, and, I think Leyland too although I did not see any to photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot identify all of these although some are badged BROSSEL. Another indigenous product was Miese? (I may have that spelt wrong). The bodies here are by Van Hool or Jonkheere.

 

 

Mercedes too!

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

MIVG - GHENT MUNICIPAL

 

 

Maybe he thinks he might get lost! - The driver of this replacement bus service for the Darsen tram route keeps closely to the old tram lines.

 

 

Probably the oldest bus we saw there - it may very early post-war. Anyway, it's an American Mack rear-engined chassis with, I am told, home built bodywork. Maybe Mike from Pennsylvania who contributed to the Guestbook recently and had worked for Mack for many years can identify it for us if he reads this.

 

 

Another fairly standard for the time Brossell/Jonkheer saloon. We actually stayed in a small pension probably just off camera to the extreme right. We had a room right at the front (first floor) and at this time a tram route passed right outside which had gone by the time I went back in 1983. There was a gradient down to the point seen in the photo here outside St. Pieters Station and the sound effects were wonderful - we certainly had no need for an alarm clock in the mornings!

 

 

 

---ooo000ooo---

 

STIL - LIEGE MUNICIPAL 

 

 

Mercedes

 

 

Brossel

 

 

??????- Actually I think this may be a Liege Seraing vehicle - and it looks like another Mack

 

---ooo000ooo---

FRANCE

PARIS - 1971

A brief glimpse of the types then running for RATP. The famous open-backed pre-war Renaults had, alas, run their last a couple of years previously.

I believe these were made by Chausson

Paris had a brief and minimal flirtation with double-deckers at this time. They were made by Berliet. Unless they got one over on the Volvo Ailsa (not introduced in UK till 1974) then it looks like an under-floor engine type.

Also by Berliet I think, there were many more of these, a  much newer type, on the road