‘Riding along the mill’
Holland or official called: The kingdom of the Netherlands once was dotted with a lot of steam tramway networks, provincial and interprovincial. Some perished at an early stage others were transferred to electric service but none survived the sixties. The three biggest cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague – kept their municipal tram system running till today. Utrecht, the fourth leading city, already abandoned her network in the thirties but almost fifty years later rejoined with an interurban line split in two. If you were old enough halfway the industrial revolution and being dedicated to rail, boy o boy live was beautiful in the land of tulips, windmills and wooden shoes.
How meagre were the developments at the other side of the world. Thailand, fourteen times Holland, was far from dotted with light rail systems, actually only three. Tha Rua – Phra Phuttabat, Thon Buri – Ban Bua Thong, Bangkok – Samut Prakan the so called Paknam railway. Only the latter was electrified and became an interurban tramway. Like in Holland they all disappear in the sixties or even before. Bangkok † 1968 had a city tramway network, even Lop Buri † 1962 with a single line. They were the last survivors of a once praised mode of transportation. It was not before 1999 the successor of the tram saw daylight in the city of Angles and named Skytrain, how appropriate. Later it started run under the pavement as well.
Looking back on can say rail history have had his ups and down too. In the Netherlands the latter started short after the W.O.II with the upcoming of the private car and many rail bound enterprises switched to rubber tires, the bus took over like in Bangkok. Now the roads are clocked and slowly we understand more asphalt means more problems, widening a road alone is no solution at all.
Back to the rail and that’s what happens in the big Mango but also abroad. People are still not prepared to come out of their cars; it’s an excellent status symbol only murderess if you drive by the thousands on the same time and same spot.
For some it’s very harsh to comprehend but sitting alone (or with two) on four wheels is not the swift way of mass transportation needed.
Back to the dream; a picture of a postcard and how lovely it must have been riding along the mill in the vicinity of Koedijk somewhere between Alkmaar and Bergen (on the sea). The author was too young and not living there, just travelling, see and ride, was something one did not easily do in those days. The picture below tells it all; a wedding and within the boundaries of the locality celebrated with the tram. Horse and carriage comes with the marriage, an iron horse and lovely wooden coaches.