Whilst it may not be British events in Brussels in early May certainly deserve coverage as this was when the Belgian city celebrated 150 years of tram operation. On 1st May – a Bank Holiday in mainland Europe – the main day of events to celebrate the occasion took place which included a spectacular 40 tram parade plus a static exhibition of several trams and a steam tram doing demonstration runs along a short length of track. A new tram mock-up from Bombardier was also on display.
Before the parade started the trams were lined-up in the morning in chronological order with the works cars bringing up the back of the parade. Thousands of people walked along the line of trams in the morning with enthusiastic staff on hand to let them on board and see around the trams – many of which came from the heritage fleet. For those attending the event it was great to see so many people enjoying the tram line-up and showing that there is some civic pride in historic transport still.
The parade itself started at 1400 including a commentary and thousands of people standing behind barriers watching the 40 trams pass by. All trams did a circuit out and back to Louise tramstop with some of the heritage trams returning to give free rides and some more heritage cars not included in the parade (due to type duplication) also coming out for the rides. Once again there were very long queues for the rides showing just how the popular the event was not just with enthusiasts from across Europe but also the general public.
Will we see scenes like this for the 150th anniversary of trams in Blackpool – we only 16 years to wait and find out!
Thanks to Ian Nightingale for the information included in this article.
Editor’s Note: My knowledge of trams in Brussels could be written on a very small postage stamp and so the captions above have been gleaned from various online sources. Any errors or omissions are mine and if you do notice any please either email or leave a comment below.