Trams in Amsterdam
The Amsterdam tramway network (Dutch: Amsterdamse tramweg netwerk) forms part of the public transport system in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Opened in 1875, the network has been operated since 1943 by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf (GVB), which also runs a large urban bus network.
The trams on the network run on standard gauge track. Since 1900, they have been powered by electricity, at 600 V DC. At the termini of almost every tram line there is a suitable turning loop, so that the line can be operated by unidirectional trams. The only exception is Amstelveen Binnenhof, one of the termini of line 5, which must therefore be served by bidirectional vehicles.
With 15 lines, the network comprises a total of 213 km (132 mi) of track, with some sections used only for vehicles not in service. The fleet is made up of 216 trams, of which 24 are bidirectional and thus suitable for operations on loop-less line 5.
- 1 History
- 2 Lines
- 3 Headquarters and depots
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
On 3 June 1875, Amsterdam's first horse-drawn tramway was opened. It linked Plantage with the Leidseplein, and was operated by AOM (Amsterdamsche Omnibus Maatschappij), which had been founded in 1872 by Karel Herman Schadd, amongst others.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, horse trams ran through the main streets of Amsterdam, linking all neighborhoods inside the Singelgracht with Dam Square. Horse tram lines also ran out to the then new housing districts. By the end of the century, about 15 lines led to or from the Vondelstraat, Overtoom, Willemsparkweg, Amsteldijk, Linnaeusstraat, Weesperzijde, Bilderdijkstraat and Ceintuurbaan.
The routes of the original horse tram lines can still clearly be recognised in the present day tram lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 13.
As of 1 January 1900, the municipality of Amsterdam took over AOM. The company continued as the Gemeentetram Amsterdam (GTA). A total of 242 tramcars, 758 horses and 15 buildings were acquired along with the company.
Between 1900 and 1906, all but one of the existing tram lines was electrified. Additionally, the AOM's unusual track gauge of 1,422 mm (4 ft 8 in) was converted to standard gauge (1,435 mm or 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in).
By 1906, the electric tram network consisted of 12 tram lines (1-11 and 13). To operate these lines, the GTA purchased 229 new electric tramcars. The former horse-drawn trams were progressively reclassified as tram trailers.
In 1906, the Amsterdamse Tramharmonie orchestra (now known as Symfonisch Blaasorkest ATH) was founded. This orchestra, composed of amateur musicians from the Amsterdam region, still exists.
The last remaining Amsterdam horse tramway was line 12 (Nassauplein–Sloterdijk), which was electrified in 1916. Five years later, upon Amsterdam's annexation of the municipality of Sloten, a former Sloten horse tramway came under the control of the GTA. The horses of this line, which linked Overtoom with Sloten, were replaced by tram-hauling buses in 1922; the line was converted into a conventional bus line in 1925.
Between 1910 and 1930, the growth of the city generated many new extensions to the tram lines. The first thirteen electrified tram lines were joined by: line 14 in 1910, lines 15–18 in 1913, line 19 in 1916, lines 22 and 23 in 1921, line 20 in 1922, line 21 in 1928, line 24 in 1929 and line 25 in 1930.
In 1931, the tramway network reached its greatest extent, at 25 tram lines. From that year to 1940, (almost) all the districts in the city could be reached by tram. Between 1900 and 1930, the fleet grew to 445 motorised trams and approximately 350 trailers. These were all twin axle vehicles with wooden bodies.
From 1922 until 1971, mailboxes hung behind the trams. These were emptied at Centraal Station; the post office's distribution centre was located next to the station, at Stationsplein, and later at Oosterdokskade. Thanks to the tram mailboxes, a letter could be delivered on time, even if it is too late for the last collection from the regular mailboxes.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the tram service was reduced. In 1932, lines 12, 15, 19, 20 and 21 were abandoned. However, as part of the Eastern Railway Works (Spoorwegwerken Oost) in 1939-1942, trams came to the new neighborhoods in Amsterdam-Oost, to serve the Watergraafsmeer, the new Amstel station and the rebuilt Muiderpoort station.
Between 1940 and 1945, the trams carried big crowds and faced a crisis. Several lines had to be suspended (lines 4, 6, 8 and 14), before the whole service ceased in October 1944 due to a coal shortage. Many tram cars were transported eastward.
Following the end of World War II, the tram lines were able start running again in June 1945, with an initially limited service (lines 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 24, 25). Line 5 was split into line 5 and line 12. Some lines were returned to service in later years: 2, 17 and 18 (in 1947) and 4 (in 1948). Between 1945 and 1949, the emergency line 26 was the tram line with the highest line number, followed by line 11. In 1948 and 1949, a special tram S ran as an express service from line 25 to Amstel station.
Tram lines 6 and 23 did not return to regular service, but operated intermittently until 1958, as transportation to the stadium. Lines 8, 14 and 22, used during the war, were not reactivated as tram lines, although line 22 was revived in 1950 as a bus line.
Between 1948 and 1950, the GVB acquired sixty motorised trams and fifty trailers, known as the three axles (drieassers). They were built by Werkspoor in Utrecht-Zuilen, and replaced the then oldest trams in the fleet, which had entered service in 1900.
After a period of reconstruction in the 1940s, one tram line after another was shut down in the 1950s. Buses were considered to be more practical. Thus, between 1950 and 1965 lines 18, 12, 11, 17 and 5 (provisionally in 1961, finally in 1965) were replaced, in that order, by bus services. Only the Leidsestraat and Utrechtsestraat remained served by tram lines (lines 1, 2 and 4), which were necessary because these streets were too narrow for buses.
In the mid-1950s, (modern) tramcars came back into the spotlight. The 25 articulated trams ordered in 1955 to serve only the Leidsestraat lines 1 and 2 were well received, and secured the future of trams in Amsterdam. Between 1957 and 1968, 160 new articulated vehicles, manufactured by Beijnes and Werkspoor in the Netherlands, were added to the fleet; they were numbered 551-587 and 602-724. The old twin axle trams from the prewar period were withdrawn from service between 1945 and 1968.
After the trams had returned to favour in the inner city, the newly created Western Garden Cities (Westelijke Tuinsteden) in the west of Amsterdam were connected with its tramway network: Bos en Lommerplein in 1950, Slotermeer in 1954, and Osdorp in 1962.
There were also some other new tram lines, with line numbers that had long since disappeared or had never existed. Line 17, which was closed in 1956, was revived in 1962, when line 27 appeared on the old route of line 17. In 1977, upon the opening of Amsterdam's first metro line, lines 6 and 12 appeared. In 1978, with the opening of Station Zuid), came line 5, and in 1982, a new line 14 (to Station Sloterdijk) was opened, forty years after the lifting of the original line 14.
Other changes also occurred. In 1971, the tramway postal service was withdrawn. In 1972-1973, the first group of articulated trams were extended by the addition of a middle section, to become bi-articulated trams. Also in the early 1970s, two series of new trams were ordered from Linke-Hofmann-Busch in Salzgitter, Germany, to operate the new western extensions. In 1974-19775, nos 725-779 entered the fleet, and in 1979-1981, nos 780-816 joined them.
By the early 1980s, the GVB had 252 bi-articulated trams available for use, at that time the highest number in any city in Europe. In 1983, after only 35 years - a short time for the Amsterdam tramway network - the three axle trams operated their last services; they had never been liked by the tram personnel. Between 1981 and 1983, the GVB also lost four other trams, when they were destroyed by fires started by rioting squatters.
Meanwhile, further western extensions of the network were opened, to Geuzenveld in 1974, Slotervaart-Zuid in 1975, Nieuw Sloten in 1991 and De Aker in 2001. Other enhancements were to: Station Zuid in 1978, Flevopark in 1980, Station RAI in 1981, Station Sloterdijk in 1982 (extended in 1985), and a second connection with Bos en Lommer/Slotermeer in 1989.
In 1985, a tram line was built to Haarlemmerhouttuinen, but not connected to other tracks, nor equipped with overhead wires. Twenty five years later, it was still yet to enter service.
In 1989-1991, to replace the oldest articulated trams, and to operate new lines, 45 articulated vehicles (numbers 817-841 and 901-920) were built by BN in Bruges, Belgium. They were Amsterdam's first low-floor trams. During the same period came the first withdrawals of the first articulated trams from 1957, apart from a few vehicles that had previously had been damaged by fire or a collision. Additionally, a number of the 1974-1975 LHB vehicles were removed from service.
In 1990, a new tramway to Buitenveldert and Amstelveen was ready to go. Line 5 links Station Zuid with Amstelveen Binnenhof, while line 51 runs as a light rail service, from Station Zuid to Amstelveen Poortwachter, and since 2004 to Westwijk. Also in 1990, line 9 to the Watergraafsmeer was extended to Diemen (Sniep). In 1991, a rush hour line 20 and a special events line 11 were opened. In 1993 came a help line 11, and in 1997 a circle line 20. Lines 6, 11 (2 lines), 20 and 27 have since disappeared. However, line 11 is still used occasionally for extra services to the RAI.
Between 2002 and 2004, following an order for 155 Siemens Combino trams (nos 2001-2151 and 2201-2204), the existing tram fleet was largely renewed. Four of the Combinos were specified as bidirectional vehicles, for use on line 5 to Amstelveen. By mid-2004, 140 Combinos had been delivered. As a result, the last old articulated cars of the 1960s were removed from service in March 2004. However, between 2004 and 2008 all of the Combinos had to be taken progressively out of service for repairs and strengthening, to correct their many structural faults.
Changes since 2001
In December 2001, line 1 was extended to the new district of De Aker, and line 17 replaced line 1 on the route between Osdorpplein and Dijkgraafplein. For a lengthy period, line 24 is diverted via line 16, and line 25 is diverted via line 4, during construction of the Ceintuurbaan metro station at Ferdinand Bolstraat. In December 2002, line 6 was diverted to call at Centraal Station in place of the Stadionplein, and in November 2003, line 16 was extended from Stadionplein to the VU Medisch Centrum.
In May 2004, line 10 was extended/diverted to Java-eiland (Azartplein). Lines 7 and 14 have since been re-routed to Amsterdam-Oost (with a terminus at Flevopark). In December 2004, line 6 started sharing a terminus with line 16 at VU Medisch Centrum (Gustav Mahlerlaan). Since that month, line 7 has been sharing the Sloterpark terminus of line 14; the former line's terminus had earlier moved to Surinameplein, because the turning loop at Bos and Lommerplein had been closed.
On 30 May 2005, a new line, the IJ-tram (line 26) was opened (from Centraal Station - IJburg, a distance of 8.5 km (5.3 mi)) and (initially) line 16 was extended from CS to the Passagiersterminal (for cruise ships). Twelve months later, line 6 was lifted, and the route CS–Passagiersterminal was taken over by line 25 from line 16 (it was later curtailed again to CS). In December 2006, line 24 was extended from Olympiaweg to VU Medisch Centrum.
In October 2011, a new turning loop for lines 16 and 24 was installed at the De Boelelaan / VU stop. It replaced the loop at Gustav Mahlerlaan, which was required to give way to a new building.
As of 2013[update], the Amsterdam tramway network was made up of the following lines:
- 1 – Centraal Station – Leidseplein – Surinameplein – Station Lelylaan – Osdorp De Aker (Matterhorn)
- 2 – Centraal Station – Leidseplein – Hoofddorpplein – Nieuw Sloten (Oudenaardeplantsoen)
- 3 – Zoutkeetsgracht – Museumplein – Ceintuurbaan – Muiderpoortstation
- 4 – Centraal Station – Frederiksplein – Station RAI
- 5 – Centraal Station – Leidseplein – Museumplein – Station Zuid – Amstelveen (Binnenhof)
- 7 – Sloterpark – Leidseplein – Weesperplein – Flevopark
- 9 – Centraal Station – Plantage – Watergraafsmeer – Diemen (Sniep)
- 10 – Van Hallstraat – Leidseplein – Weesperplein – Rietlandpark – Java-eiland (Azartplein)
- 12 – Station Sloterdijk – Museumplein – Ceintuurbaan – Amstelstation
- 13 – Centraal Station – Rozengracht – Mercatorplein – Geuzenveld (Lambertus Zijlplein)
- 14 – Sloterpark – Rozengracht – Dam – Plantage – Flevopark
- 16 – Centraal Station – Vijzelstraat – Museumplein – De Lairessestraat – Amstelveenseweg – VU Medisch Centrum
- 17 – Centraal Station – Rozengracht – Kinkerstraat – Station Lelylaan – Osdorp (Dijkgraafplein)
- 24 – Centraal Station – Vijzelstraat – Museumplein – Beethovenstraat – Amstelveenseweg – VU Medisch Centrum
- 26 – Centraal Station – Rietlandpark – Piet Heintunnel – IJburg (IJburglaan)
The numbers 6, 8, 11, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25 and 27 have belonged to Amsterdam tram lines in the past, but now there are no tram lines with those numbers. A brief list of the disused lines and routes:
- Line 6 existed from 1901 to 1942 (and as Stadium transport to 1958), and from 1977 to 2006. It took on various routes. During period 1901 to 2006, there were successively three different tram lines with this number. Its final route was VU Medisch Centrum (Gustav Mahlerlaan) via the Leidseplein to Plantage Parklaan.
- Line 8 existed from 1905 to 1942. This tram ran through the old Amsterdam Jodenbuurt (Centraal Station – Nieuwmarkt – Waterlooplein – Weesperstraat – Rivierenbuurt). In the war, trams with line number 8 were used to deport Jews. Therefore, this line number will never be used again.
- Line 11 existed from 1905 to 1944, from 1949 to 1955, and from 1993 to 1996 (as a helper (short cut) line for line 1). The number is now sometimes used for trams to special events.
- Line 15 existed from 1913 to 1932, and from 1936 to 1937.
- Line 18 existed from 1913 to 1951.
- Line 19 existed between 1913 and 1938. In this period, there were, successively, five different tram lines with this number.
- Line 20 existed from 1922 to 1932, from 1991 to 1993 (branch line), and as a Circle Tram from 1997 to 2002. During the entire period, there were successively three different tram lines with this number.
- Line 21 existed as a horse/tractor tram line (ex municipality of Sloten) from 1921 to 1925 and as an electric tramway from 1928 to 1931.
- Line 22 existed from 1921 to 1944 (Circle Line Centraal Station).
- Line 23 existed from 1921 to 1944 (Stadium transport to 1958).
- Line 25 existed from 1930 to 2013 (Centraal Station - President Kennedylaan). Between 2006 and 2012 tram 25 also ran between Centraal Station and the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA).
- The line numbers 28 and 29 have never been used for a tram line in Amsterdam.
- The line number 30 is used informally by the Electric Tramway Museum Amsterdam (Haarlemmermeerstation – Amstelveen – Bovenkerk).
Upon the electrification of the Amsterdam tramway network, all tram lines were given a line number and a line colour. The latter designator is a square logo next to the line number, so that people who cannot not read the line numbers can still recognise the line. The tram stop signs also display the line colours, as did the early twentieth century horse tram lines. Line colours have been used in other cities in the Netherlands (The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht), but outside Amsterdam the colours have since been removed.
The Amsterdam line colours consist of combinations of one or two colours (red, green, yellow, blue and white). Not all colour combinations are permitted: for example, green-blue and yellow-white are not used, due to the lack of contrast. The square plane can be split horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
The belt lines 3, 7, 9 and 10 were given a line colour in one colour: yellow, blue, green and red, respectively. The radial lines usually had line colours divided into two. Later, new line colours divided into three fields (using a total of two colours) were introduced. Lines 7 and 13 have different combinations again. Line 7 is blue, but for clarity two horizontal white stripes are added. Line 13 is white, but has a pattern of blue squares added. Line 22 (originally 19) (Circle Line Centraal Station) was the only line using the colour pink.
Under the current system, there are 38 colour combinations. In the 1980s, never used combinations were assigned to the nonexistent lines 27, 28, 29 and 30 and to the Metro line numbers 50 and 58. Today, the line colours are still used. They are located next to the line number on the front of the trams and light rail vehicles (and also on light rail vehicles running on Metro lines 50, 53 and 54).
Headquarters and depots
The AOM's original headquarters was located at Stadhouderskade 2. In 1923, the GTA set up a new headquarters in the Amsterdam School style building at the corner of the Overtoom and Stadhouderskade 1. In 1983, the GVB moved to Scheepvaarthuis (also in Amsterdam School style; completed 1913) at Prince Hendrikkade 108. In 2004, the GVB moved again, to a modern office building at Arlandaweg 100, near Sloterdijk station.
For the operation of Amsterdam's trams, there are two main depots: Havenstraat (Oud-Zuid), which was opened in 1914, and Lekstraat (Rivierenbuurt), built between 1927 and 1929 in Amsterdam School style. On 12 July 2010, the management of the two depots was merged. Lekstraat depot is now only used for storage, and the daily maintenance of all trams is now carried out at the Havenstraat depot.
Since May 2005, the tramway network has also had a yard at the Zeeburgereiland. This was built especially for line 26, partly because of lack of space in the Lekstraat depot, and partly to shorten turnaround times.
- Duparc, H J A (1990). Lijnenloop Openbaar Vervoer Amsterdam 1839-1989 [Loopline public transport Amsterdam 1839-1989]. Amsterdam: Gemeentevervoerbedrijf. ISBN 90-901395-7-5. (Dutch)
- Duparc, H J A (2000). Een Eeuw Elektrische Exploitatie van de tram in Amsterdam [A Century of Electric Operation of Trams in Amsterdam]. Delft: H J A Duparc. ISBN 90-901395-7-5. (Dutch)
- Freeke, Jan (1990). De kunst van het vervoer. Een beeld van 150 jaar Amsterdams openbaar vervoer. [The art of transport. A picture of 150 years of public transport in Amsterdam.]. Den Haag: SDU Uitgeverij. ISBN 90-12-06442-2. (Dutch)
- van ‘t Hoogerhuijs, Herman (1996). Trammaterieel in Nederland en België [Tram Equipment in the Netherlands and Belgium]. Alkmaar: De Alk. ISBN 90-6013-948-8. (Dutch)
- Leideritz, W J M (1979). Van Paardentram naar Dubbelgelede [From Horse Tram to Double Articulated]. Alkmaar: De Alk. ISBN 90-6013-904-6. (Dutch)
- Stoer, Gerard (1982). Spoor en tram materieel in Nederland [Rail and tram equipment in the Netherlands]. Alkmaar: De Alk. ISBN 90-6013-916-X. (Dutch)
- Visser, Noëlle (2000). In grote lijnen: het Amsterdamse openbaar vervoer (1900-2000), ter gelegenheid van het 100-jarig bestaan van het GVB [In grote lijnen: Public Transport in Amsterdam (1900-2000), to mark the 100th anniversary of the GVB]. Amsterdam: Gemeentevervoerbedrijf. (Dutch)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Trams in Amsterdam.|
- Geheugen van de Amsterdamse Tram (Memories of Amsterdam trams) (Dutch) – with many images.
- Photos of the Amsterdam tram in the Image Bank, Amsterdam of the Stadsarchief Amsterdam (Amsterdam City Archives) (Dutch)
- Amsterdam database / photo gallery and Amsterdam tram list at Urban Electric Transit – in various languages, including English.