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The Belgian Coast Tram ( ) is a public transport service connecting the cities and towns along the entire Belgianmarker (West Flandersmarker) coast, between De Pannemarker near the Frenchmarker border and Knokke-Heistmarker near the Dutchmarker border. It is the longest tram line in the world, as well as one of the few interurban tramways in the world to remain in operation. The line is built at metre gauge and fully electrified at 600 V d.c..

History

The first section of the track between Oostendemarker and Nieuwpoortmarker was brought into service in 1885. On its creation, the line was managed by the NMVB (National Neighbourhood Railway Company), or SNCV in French. In 1991, the NMVB/SNCV was broken into two regional companies, one Walloonmarker and the other Flemish, with the Flemish successor company, Vlaamse Vervoermaatschappij De Lijn taking responsibility for operation of the coastal tram.

Characteristics

The service makes 70 stops along the 68 km long line, with a tram running every ten minutes during the peak summer months, during which it is used by over 3 million passengers. The service has recently been made more accessible through the addition of low-floor centre sections to existing vehicles, and the introduction of some new HermeLijn low-floor trams.

Most of the trams have a driving position only at one end and access doors on one side. Thus they have to be turned on a loop (Dutch:keerlus) in order to reverse direction. The newer ones are conventionally laid out with two driving positions and doors on both sides.

An interesting feature is the two alternative routes that exist around either end of the Leopoldkanaal locks just east of Zeebruggemarker, and the similar single track diversion around the inland end of the Boudewijnkanaal lock. This avoids delays to the tram schedule when the road bridge that the tram line normally follows is raised for boats passing under it. A similar feature exists at the southern end of Oostende station around the lock entrance to the Vlotdok.

Gallery

File:Kusttram Henegouwenstraat.JPG|Tram in Oostende Henegouwenstraat stopFile:Tramstation Oostende.JPG|Ostend (tram and rail) stationFile:Kusttram.jpg|Tram in Ostend stationFile:Kusttam in depot.JPG|Tram in depot of OstendFile:Tram verlaat De Haan.JPG|Tram approaching De Haan stationFile:De Haan tramstation.JPG|De Haan stationFile:Trams in De Haan.JPG|A couple of trams in De Haan stationFile:De Haan - tram rail tracks.jpg|Tracks between De Haan and WenduineFile:Adinkerke Kusttram stelplaats.JPG|Depot at Adinkerke

See also



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