From horse-drawn, and steam-electric tram to light rail

Detman54 02-02-2018 Auto
The tram has a long and eventful history, and the world is still an essential means of transport. Especially in the big cities the tram proves its usefulness, the modern city tram is fast, comfortable and can carry many passengers at once. In the time of transport by tram it all went not so smooth, with a horse for the tram are well once achieved no dizzying speeds. We will develop the tram in our country more closely. This picture of the horse restored by the Foundation Tram Work commissioned by Dutch Railway beautifully NCS 16, built in 1891, on October 17, 2011 by Tim Castricum on the Nieboerweg The Hague.

The story begins with the rails

A tram runs on rails and the history of the tram and rail sector all started with the development of the wooden rails in the British mining industry. The first use of the rails in 1556 in the standard work "De Re Metallica" by Georgius Agricola described. From the 16th century, this type of rails used more and more often, instead of all coal in baskets on the back of the mine to be the coal could now be carried out carried in small trolleys with wooden wheels that have been pushed by the miners and, outside the mine could be drawn by horses. Gradually it was wood replaced by iron and the combination of iron rails with iron wheels devised in 1767 and first used in the beginning as yet only in England but soon also in other countries, so there is mention of the use of iron rails and wheels with flanges in 1775 at Clausthal in the German Harz Mountains. Magnificent remains of rails we take for granted in England, the birthplace of all spoorse developments, such as the granite rails -with bill - which still can be admired in Dartmoor, on the second picture we see a reconstruction of the tracks used in the mines of Silkstone around 1809, and the third photo a slice factory trail of around 1830. From this time it is only a small step towards new applications of rails for other types of transport such as the horse and then train with a steam locomotive.
Photo: Denisa Anderson
Photo: Jet Schotsman
Photo: Kenny Simms


The invention of the improved steam engine by James Watt in 1769 heralds the beginning of the industrial revolution. In the first instance, the steam engine was used as a driving force in factories which makes large-scale production became possible. Only later the steam locomotive was developed and elaborated all sorts of ideas about transportation on rails. Similarly, the horse came into view, simply by considering a combination of the stagecoach pulled by horses and on rail-pushed carts coal. It is an idea which is not attributable to a particular inventor. On the stagecoach, also called omnibus, was also borrowed the idea of ​​regular passenger transport over short distances via a fixed route but instead of on the road now on rails. There was another thought behind that of the passenger comfort, the roads at the time were well once lousy quality and bumpy in the poorly sprung carriages was no fun, with a vehicle on rails would be bumping into the past belong. The first horse raced in 1832 in New York in the United States but the success came only after the Frenchman Alphonse Loubat in 1852 invented the grooved rails that could be placed flush with the street surface. That was when the first line is not the case, the rail strike as many as fifteen centimeters above street level from what obviously was a serious obstacle for other traffic.
Photo: La Fèbre, Jutphaas
Photo: Weijburg, Utrecht
Photo: Unknown, Den Bosch

The first horse-drawn tram line in our country

The horse began to open in the country since 1864 to play an important role in the daily life of both urban and rural residents, in that year the first horse tram line of our country was in The Hague. We have to remember that the rubber band was not yet invented the so-called "horse trams" which we today have as a tourist attraction seen driving around on rubber tires and without track time were simply not possible. The Hague horse tram was from the opening day a great success, thanks to the tram, one could travel farther than previously possible. Everywhere throughout the country lines were constructed and had almost every city of any size over time a horse-line. The steam train came later developed, this was only possible after an amendment in 1879. Electrification of tram and train was still not on the agenda, the first experimental electric tram ran until 1881 in Berlin. From the moment the steam tram was riding in Netherlands clerk she must travel the long lines outside the major cities and it was not a competitor of the horse. The last horse-riding in the Netherlands in 1930 between Makkum and Side Rake in Friesland.

The steam train enters

Again Hague was again the first municipality in which an application was submitted for the operation of a steam tram line between the square before the Rhijn Railway, the current Central Station and Scheveningen. On April 20, 1878 a Belgian locomotive came to The Hague and this went on April 23 to make its first test drive but that was not a success, for the horse-laid track was not calculated on the weight of the steam locomotive and after many repairs to the line and new tests gave the Municipal Executive of The Hague end of 1878 authorized the use of steam power.
Photo: Pier Damme
Photo: Engelfriet
Photo: Westerbeek *
Not long after that other operators also follow the example of The Hague and in the years created a dense network of steam tram lines throughout the country. In the first picture above we see the tram on the island Walcheren, then a Rotterdam stoomtram that produces an impressive plume and the third photo a steam train in the village street of the rural village Hummelo. Today there is almost nothing left of the once widespread tram rail network. Hague took in 1924 farewell to the steam tram and at the Rotterdam Tramway Company also many rural lines operated but drove the last steam train in 1963. The museum tram help us remember the steam train times, get acquainted successively on the pictures below: the Hoorn-Medemblik, Stichting RTM Ouddorp and Stoomtram Goes-Borsele. On these lines is driven by historical material, and there is to admire an extensive collection of locomotives and carriages. Thanks to the many volunteers and donors, we can long remain enjoy the steam tram.
Photo: Max Popma
Photo: Pieter Dijksma
Photo: Mark Grotendorst

The electric tram

The electric tram was mainly in the city a very welcome successor to the steam tram. A steam train vomits while driving a lot of smoke and soot pollutes and buildings, windows and some laundry outside to dry on the line hangs. The steam train was a tragedy and a nightmare for clean housewives of that time. Today we also speak the day regularly about poor air quality in cities by the exhaust from the traffic, but at the time of the steam tram air quality was also a "hot" item. The first electric tram was a battery tram, so even without a wire, they rode in August 1890 in -again- Hague. In October 1900 is put into an electric tram in Haarlem Station Haarlem to Bloemendaal, this line is overhead wires. Already in 1902 the line was extended up to Zandvoort and transport it increased considerably.
Photo: collection T. de Jong
Photo: collection Jeroen Epema
Photo: Hans de Haan collection
Above the first picture we see one of the first trams Hague, The Hague tram network was electrified from 1904. Making pictures was at that time still a peculiarity and the driver is some stiff at almost at attention, the conductor is a bit more relaxed. In the middle of Amsterdam's first line on the Overtoom in March 1904. Please note that the streets, still no sign of car! On the third picture we see one of the switching trams of the Haarlem-Zandvoort line with trailer and second railcar at the endpoint in Zandvoort in June 1918. The term link tram was used for motor vehicles that could drive coupled with both trams were operated from the front tram . Thus, one could quickly extend the tram during rush hour.


The electric tram was a sign of progress and soon became a popular subject for postcards. They paint a nice, albeit some romanticized, but still accurate time image. The Amsterdam maps shown here, we see first of all to find the Sarphatistraat with a tram line 10. Again, no trace of motorized traffic, the car was still a rare appearance. We also see a tram line 7 on the bridge over the Nieuwe Herengracht at the height of the JD Meijersplein and last line first on the Overtoom. Overtoom is remarkably quiet here, which is today quite different!
Photo: collection Jeroen Epema
Photo: collection Jeroen Epema
Photo: collection Jeroen Epema

Modernises the tram

In the past 100 years, the tram has become a very modern vehicle. It's been a long road with many ups and downs. After World War I came up to the competition of the bus and the car and became first and foremost the region tram becoming less profitable. It was a declining business for the local tram and after World War II, all the lines lifted. The city tram was able to maintain itself only in the three major cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Below we see the trams which were decisive long from the 70 decades before the streets in those cities, the Amsterdam "roundhead" built by Beijnes, Siemens AG, and DÜWAG Werkspoor, Hague PCC-Car, designed by the famous American designer Raymond Loewy and also built the Rotterdam tram by the German firm DÜWAG.
Photo: Collection Tim Castricum
Photo: Esther 't Wout
Photo: Jan van Driel
Previously, almost every major city tramways, Utrecht, Groningen, Arnhem, you name it. Most city trams are from 1950 disappeared from the streets, they could compete with car and bus also in the city anymore. Around 1980 comes in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam a revival, new modern trams are used and take the transport flows for the first time in a long time increases again. Rotterdam takes a few lines by the advent of the metro were still removed soon again back in service in time and adds two new lines to the existing network, towards Vlaardingen and Barendrecht.

The low-floor tram, an important innovation

In 2003, being engaged in the Rotterdam Citadis tram, we see it in the first photo below, the low-floor tram. It is this innovation that paves the way for a completely new experience of the concept car. Stepping in and out has become much easier what the tram makes much more attractive. Improvements in rail and wheel techniques also ensure that the past is the rattling, squeaking and shaken so that the tram provides a much greater comfort than before. Amsterdam also renewed between 2002 and 2004 the existing tram fleet by ordering 155 units of the Siemens Combino type, shown in the second picture. These trams were initially really mostly "problem children", had to be repaired a lot of structural defects, a process which was completed in 2008. Hague has dropped the town transport an eye on the Siemens tram that we see in the third picture. In addition, The Hague has for the light rail lines 72 ultramodern new rail vehicles of the type purchased RegioCitadis. RandstadRail is a so called "light rail" concept, quick light trams that will form a new big-network in the future. The first light rail is put into operation in 2006 in The Hague and after solving a number of teething problems have become a huge success!
Photo: Peter Verhagen
Photo: Chris van der Linden
Photo: André Borgdorff

The Amsterdam museum tram line

Before we look at the "light rail" concept we return once again to the tram museum for the history of the Amsterdam tram museum is definitely worth it in this context. On the route of the former Haarlemmermeer Line is now ridden with museum electric trams from Amsterdam to Bovenkerk. The line was opened as a local railway in 1915. It was a very dense steam railway network and the trail went including to places like Mijdrecht and Alphen aan de Rijn. The last passenger train drove in 1950, its role was taken over by the car and by bus. One could not then suspect that the line much later might have had a bright future as 'light rail' services to Amsterdam, the number of commuters that today from Mijdrecht, Alphen aan de Rijn and intermediate ones to the city need to work is gigantic! The same goes for other places around Amsterdam as Purmerend, Weesp and the Gooi region. At the time, the tram is crowded out by the car and now all tram lines broken, we are reaping the bitter fruits in the form of traffic jams. Was grown in the network along the development of the traffic flow than the light rail concept had herein may be easily applied. It was different and we have a nice museum tram line to account on many different electric trams in the collection. Amsterdam itself but also from The Hague, Rotterdam and abroad. Yet it is perhaps possible that history will repeat itself in the future, there is already talk about the extension of the existing fast tram from Amsterdam via Amstelveen South to Uithoorn and it is already very close to Mijdrecht!
Photo: Museum Tram Amsterdam
Photo: Museum Tram Amsterdam
Photo: Museum Tram Amsterdam
We show you some trams from the collection of the Amsterdam Museumtramlijn, we see the 454 in Amsterdam, The Hague 824, notice the cigarette advertising, which today can no more! The latter is the Groningen 41, she drove from Groningen to Haren.

Lightrail earlier

The term "light rail" is the type of rail which is halfway between train, metro and tram. The light rail vehicles are faster than a tram, lighter and cheaper than a train and may also additionally on the tram rails in downtown. The name is new, the concept is not. Light rail "avant la lettre" was of course the Blue Tram which among others drove from The Hague to Leiden and Amsterdam via Purmerend to Volendam. The Blue Tram was from the 20s regional transport system. This tram was quick and the high frequent tram services were first living in commuter villages really attractive,
Indeed, it was the era when for most people, the bike was the fastest mode of transportation. The Blue Tram has also made a significant contribution to the development of commuters places like Zandvoort, Katwijk and Noordwijk in the bulb and at various locations in The Hague and Leiden. The middle picture shows the Blue Tram in addition to the regular tram at the station in Leiden, we can see here that the Blue Tram something bigger and is of heavier than a regular tram, she is also in speed between tram and train. The busiest line was Amsterdam-Haarlem and Zandvoort, she was raised on August 31, 1957 and the last Blue Tram drove on November 9, 1961 on the route Hague-Leiden.
Photo: K. Immerzeel
Photo: Hans van Engelen
Photo: M. H. Odendaal

Light rail now

It seems that our urban planners and traffic planners have reinvented the wheel with the concept of light rail, they pretend to repeat it in any case, but even here the story seems so. Of course, the implementation is much more modern, yet it differs little in essence from the Blue Tram. The first "new-fangled" fast tram line of our country was realized by the municipality of Utrecht in collaboration with the railway and from December 1983 reason there LRVs to Nieuwegein-Zuid line number 100 and to Nieuwegein Breakdown by line number 101. Line 101 was extended in 1985 to IJsselstein . There were 27 trams for lines built in Switzerland, which are now 30 years old and will in the not too distant future may all be replaced by Citadis low-floor trams from the company Alstom Transport. There has been a trial Citadis tram ride on the net. Since the year 2008 also drive there former Viennese fast trams on the lines in their original red and white color combination in order to bridge the period until the replacement of the fleet.
Photo: Bindonlane
Photo: Michel Terpoorte
Photo: B. Uittenbogaardt
We see the Utrecht Sneltram in the Connexion colors, the "Viennese" and the possible successor to both, the Citadis tram which was borrowed equally from the French city of Mulhouse. The most recent light rail project is light rail, light rail network opened in 2006 in The Hague and Rotterdam region. RandstadRail was created from the merger of two railway lines, former Zoetermeer Line is now linked to the tram network in The Hague and merged with the former Hofpleinlijn which is also added to the metro network of Rotterdam. RandstadRail several new stations open and the frequency on the lines is substantially increased. Where previously these trains were now replaced by fast trams. It has quite some doing in the earth for the project was finally realized and not only coincided with skyrocketing costs overschreidingen but also with all kinds of problems with the equipment and the signaling system at the start of operation.

Wise choice

Yet it was a wise choice, both the Zoetermeer Line as the Hofpleinlijn were no longer profitable and could be removed eventually. With the conversion to light rail passenger number increases again and the accessibility of the inner cities of The Hague and Rotterdam, thanks to the expansion of the number of stops become much better for all the commuters from the region. Below we see one of the beautiful HTM RegioCitadis fast trams, built by the leading French manufacturer Alstom, when passing the Beatrixkwartier stop. This stop is part of the tram viaduct along Princess Beatrixlaan in Bezuidenhout. The beautiful 400-meter-long viaduct was designed by Zwarts & Jansma Architects and was popularly soon nicknamed the "fishnet" on the second picture is clear why. Next to it we see the RTM light rail type RSG3, she does a little more reminiscent of a metro, built by Bombardier Transportation.
Photo: IHO
Photo: IHO
Photo: IHO

The future

The modern tramway is on the rise thanks to his formidable start driving, not to mention the total jamming of the traffic during rush hour on motorways and main roads. In the Randstad is an experiment with light rail vehicles taken on the route Gouda-Alphen aan de Rijn, in the framework of the project RijnGouweLijn which the region trams would have to drive through the center of Leiden and at a later date towards Katwijk. It has now become clear that no Leiden RijnGouwe Line gets through the city. The college parties VVD, CDA, SP and D66 in the Provincial Council of South Holland have finally decided that the Rijn-Gouwe line from Gouda to Leiden on existing track riding and that the part of Leiden to the coast is achieved by means of a ?? ?? vertrambare bus lane. What considerations have made the difference is not clear. Leiden, however, that from the outset strongly oppose a route through the city, so much so that the province be ?? persistence power ?? Leyden was going to use to force yet to participate in the construction. There were still gloomy predictions about the cost of construction and the transport forecasts.

Many new plans

In Nijmegen there are plans for a light rail connection to the city of Kleve and in Eindhoven for a connection to the Belgian Neerpelt. Both lines involves the re-use of an existing track. Finally, we wish to mention that the project Waterway Center Hook of Holland definitely need to put on the map, which is thought to be a light rail connection to Rotterdam. We are here in a nutshell you went through the history of the Dutch tram and admittedly have a good picture of past and present, but this of course is not completely full. That is extensively within these specifications also not possible for this is the history of the tram. What is clear is that the tram is never completely gone and there lies ahead a bright future for the modern light rail. Would you like even enjoy a ride in a vintage tram go along with a tram from the Electric Tram Museum Amsterdam, from Easter to October you can join us every Sunday! The Hague and Rotterdam tram museum are worth it, and look at both museums also regularly organize tours with period equipment, fun outing with the kids!