Brussels, Belgium Trams

From nycsubway.org


Brussels has an extensive tram system with street running, private right of way, and a "Premetro" tunnel through the main part of the city. The North-South pre-Metro (used by routes 3/23, 52, 55 and 90) opened in 1976 from Gare du Nord to Lemonnier as a tram subway and remains in that form today. In 1993, an extension to Albert was opened. There is also a short pre-Metro crossing Montgomery Circle on the east side of the city, connecting with Metro Route 1B and tram routes 39, 44, 81 and 82. It opened in 1972 and 1975 and is used by Routes 23/3 and 90. The system operator is Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB). Or, in Flemish, Maatschappij voor net Intercommunaal Vervoer te Brussel (MIVB).

A word about location descriptions: In keeping with Brussels being the capital of Belgium, many stops, streets and locations are indicated in both French and Flemish. Sometimes photos are labeled with the Flemish, sometimes with the French. For example: "Groene Hond" (Flemish), which translates to English as "Green Dog" and French as "Chien Vert"; or "Quatre Bras" (French), which translates to English as "Four Arms" and Flemish as "Vier Armen".


4-axle PCCs. The 4-axle PCCs are Brussels' oldest active trams. There used to be three groups--7000-series PCCs built new in 1952; a large group of cars built in 1957/58 using parts from Kansas City PCCs; and a final 16-car group built in 1961 using new carbodies and parts from ex-Johnstown, PA PCCs in 1961. Only the first and third groups remain in service today. Principally, they operate Routes 39 and 44 out of Montgomery Station, through some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in east Brussels, but also work Routes 18 and 83, plus trippers on Route 82 running from or through Gare Midi. Only about 50 4-axle cars remain in service, including all of the 16 7156-7171 group using Johnstown parts.

6-axle PCCs. The 127 double-ended 6-axle articulated PCCs numbered 7701-7827 comprise the backbone of Brussels' fleet. They are used on virtually all routes, and take over from the 4-axle cars on weekends. They were built by La Brugeoise in 1972/73. In addition, there is a one-of-a-kind 6-axle PCC, number 7500, assigned to Woluwe Depot along with 4-axle cars 7156-7171 and certain other 7000s. It was built around 1962. Unlike the later 7700s, 7500 is a single-ender. 7500 alternates trips on Route 39 and 44.

8-axle PCCs. Brussels' longest trams are the 8-axle PCCs, 7901-7961. They are used on Routes 52, 55 and (occasionally) 56, which serve the pre-Metro running down the spine of Brussels between Albert, Gare du Midi (Zuidstation) and Gare du Nord (Noordstation). One was also spotted working a Route 18 service in the pre-Metro. The 61 8-axle PCCs were built by BN (La Brugeoise) in 1977/78. Most, if not all, have chopper control.

Low-Floor Trams. The newest trams currently running in Brussels are the 51-unit 2001-2051 series. These are used on north-south Routes 91, 92, 93 and 94 exclusively. These 6-axle cars were built by BN (La Brugeoise) between 1993 and 1995. They have unusual maximum-traction front and rear trucks, with a driving axle followed by a small pony-wheel axle.

Standaardtrams 5001, 5003, 5010, 5014. Similar to the so-called Peter Witt-cars in the U.S.A. these cars are from the first group of Brussels trams delivered with bogies. From 1935 onwards series 5001-5025 were built in Belgium by Dyle & Bacalan. They were provided with Westinghouse air-brakes, 4x45 kW motors, weighed 15 tons, with a capacity 90 passengers, 34 seats. Distinguishing marks were the square and stiff appearance. They got the name Standaardtrams because they had set a new standard for trams in Brussels, and they became a great success. Later on, tram no. 5001 got a center extra door, similar to the Peter Witt cars in Milan, Italy. Car 5018 was rebuilt to Brussels first PCC car. From this series car no. 5001 and no. 5008 are preserved as museum trams and still can often be seen in running order. Their home base is the tram depot (remise) Woluwe where the large collection of historical trams is to be found.

Photo Gallery

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Photo by: Theo Neutelings

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Photo by: Theo Neutelings

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Photo by: Theo Neutelings

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Julius Ceasar

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Location: Ban Eik

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Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Stokkel Circle

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Location: Terveuren

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Location: Remise (Depot) Woluwe

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Location: Schaarbeek

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Location: Gilbert

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Location: Remise (Depot) Saint-Servais

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Photo by: Herman R. Silbiger

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Photo by: Herman R. Silbiger
Location: Tramway Museum at Remise Woluwe

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Photo by: Jos Straathof
Location: Place Louise

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Photo by: Jos Straathof
Location: Place Louise

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Page Credits

By Peter Ehrlich.

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