Trams in Rotterdam
|Rotterdam tramway network|
|A Citadis 302 tram outside Rotterdam CS, 2008.|
Opened in 1879, the network currently has 9 regular lines and 3 occasional lines. It has been operated since 1927 by Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram (RET). This is the most expanded rapid transit system of the city while the Rotterdam metro is the most used system.
The RET has had two predecessor tramway companies, the RTM and the RETM, respectively. The RTM (Rotterdamsche Tramweg Maatschappij) was founded in 1878 to operate the first horse-drawn tramway in Rotterdam, which opened in 1879. From then until 1904, the RTM ran both horse trams and steam trams in and around the city, which was then much smaller than today.
Apart from the RTM, there were two other, smaller, companies operating tramway networks in and around Rotterdam in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1882, the Schielandsche Tramweg-Maatschappij opened a horse tramway of 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge from the Hofplein via Schiekade and Bergweg to Hillegersberg. Two decades later, in 1902, the Schiedamsche Tramweg-Maatschappij opened a horse-drawn tramway in Schiedam from the station via Koemarkt to the Hoofdplein. This tramway had a gauge of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in).
A new form of urban transport, the electric tram, arrived in Rotterdam in 1904, with the creation of the new RETM (Rotterdamsche Electrische Tramweg Maatschappij). On 18 September 1905, the RETM began operating the first electric tram line in Rotterdam, line 1 (Honingerdijk – Beurs – Park). The current to power the line was supplied from a temporary generator. On 15 October 1906, the municipality started to supply electricity from the new power station, and the 21-year operating concession began. By the end of that year, there were already five electric tram lines operating. In 1907 and 1908, more lines entered service, to bring the total to nine lines. The maximum extent of Rotterdam's tramway network was 25 lines, and this was reached in 1930.
The livery of the RETM trams was originally dark blue, and was later changed to cream. From the 1930s, it was yellow ochre.
After 27 March 1907, the horse tramline to Overschie was the only remaining non-electric line of the RETM. Although the horse trams to Hillegersberg and Schiedam were still operating, they were not part of RETM network. On 31 December 1917, the Schiedam horsecar line was closed and not replaced. In 1919, the line to Hillegersberg was taken over by the RETM. In 1922 and 1923, the RETM converted this line to a standard gauge electric tramway, and in 1924 and 1925, the horsecars on the line to Overschie were gradually replaced by trams with petrol engines. Finally, in 1928, the Overshie line was closed and replaced by a bus line.
During this period, the RTM continued to operate trams to and from the islands of South Holland and Zeeland.
Several years of negotiations in the 1920s culminated in the transfer of the RETM to the municipality of Rotterdam. On 4 April 1927, the council decided to approve the proposed transfer. On 15 October of that year, the RETM was transformed into a municipal transport company and renamed RET (Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram), with 1,903 employees.
- Duparc, H J A; Kaper, H P; Stigter, L (1968). Trammend naar de Metro [Trammend to the Metro]. Leiden: Brill. (Dutch)
- van Huijksloot, Jan (2005). Van Allan tot Citadis [From Allan to Citadis]. Rosmalen: Uquilair. ISBN 90-71513-53-X. (Dutch)
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