Belgium was among the first countries to build an extensive railway network. The country was heavily involved in the early development of railway transport. It was the second country in Europe, after Great Britain, to open a railway and produce locomotives. The first line, between the cities of Brussels and Mechelen opened in 1835.
Tram system of Belgium in the 1970s
In 1870, the total length was already exceeding 3100 km. In 1912 the length was increased till more than 5000 km. This will remain so till 1948.
Belgium was the first state in Europe to create a national railway network and the first to possess a nationalised railway system. The network expanded fast as Belgium industrialised, and by the early 20th century was increasingly under state-control. The nationalised railways, under the umbrella organisation National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS/SNCB), retained their monopoly until liberalisation in the 2000s.
Currently, the length of the railway network is 3578 km of which 3000 km is electrified and less than 800 km is only single track.
These amazing photos were taken by Tim Boric that show what the tram system of Belgium looked like in the 1970s.
Antwerp. Franklin Rooseveltplaats, 1972
Antwerpen. A 1908 Vintage tram car on route 12 negotiating the curve from Van Wesenbekestraat to Gemeentestraa, 1973
Antwerpen. Groenplaats, 1973
Antwerpen. Koningin Astridplein, 1973
Antwerpen. Tram and car traffic under the “removable steel viaduct” that spoiled Rooseveltplaats for so many years, 1973