Things about the tram

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‘In the wake of yesteryear’

Before I’ll return to the realm of South-east Asia in these series; a personal intermezzo about the days wherein I grew up and developed a passion for rail and all what’s coming along with it. The Hague in The Netherlands or proudly named: Low Lands by the sea in the years short after World War II and aftermath; no luxury, no extra, almost nothing at all but without the occupation a peaceful coexistence. One had to work in order to regain some extravagance, the economically output of a war; starting from scrap again and making the most out of it.
My old neighbourhood with seven tram routes, a paradise for any child with a certain desire. Two years old when the first PCC car arrived in the city (1949) on trial and later would become the only type running. The first arrival I missed by nature but by all means not the further development though too young for understanding the implementation.
The HTM (Haagsche Tramweg-Maatschappij – Tramway Company of The Hague) always have been a supporter but also advocate for this type of tram and in my opinion a constructive one. They still are going strong more or less as heritage though with daily run like in San Francisco (Market Street line).
Developed and designed in the U.S. as early as in the late thirties they found their way to Europe, in many cities for short or longer they roamed the streets and still can be wondered i.e. at Antwerp, Gand or Brussels in Belgium, a proof of their stability though their hey-days are long gone.
Back to The Hague were the following series were introduced. PCC stands for Presidents’ Conference Committee Car and were constructed under licence by La Brugeoise et Nivelles [BN] located at Bruges in Belgium. Series 1000-1024 delivered between 1949 and 1952. Series 1101-1200 delivered in 1957-58. Series 1201-1240 delivered in 1963. Series 1301-1340 delivered between 1971 and 1974. The fleet numbers 2101-2130 (without control cabin) were delivered in 1974 and 1975.
Some of the PCC cars too early met the man with the (sledge) hammer, new transportation concepts but above all increasing traffic forced the company to switch on articulated trams despite PCC’s could run in train formation (3 cars) they hardly did in normal service and the combination 1300-2100 apparently didn’t brought the wanted relieve. Without any doubt there’ve been other reasons why these cars before their real expire date were send to the eternal depot.
The Hague during the seventies and eighties can be described as a PCC bulwark (a word origination from the Dutch language; bolwerk). It’s far from a comfort but some original PCC parts were reused for their successor (boogies).
The driving characteristics of the PCC are unsurpassed; it always was more than a pleasure to see the cities environment smoothly passing by behind the window. I can’t recall how many times I rode the lines, it doesn’t matter anymore, a slowly fainting history and only the words will keep it alive plus a handful pictures that survived the wear and tear of time. The pictures in this story (taken in the sixties) among others with more details can be found on our photo site on the set: The trams of The Hague, click Flickr and you’re connected.

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About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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