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Time travel: We delve into the photo archives to celebrate 150 years of Brussels' trams

12:53 15/09/2019

150 years ago, the first trams appeared on Brussels’ streets. We take a look back through the archives to see how they’ve evolved over the years, from horse-drawn wagons to a ride fit for a king

1 May 1869 saw the very first horse-drawn tram take to the capital’s streets, covering the length of Avenue Louise to the Bois de la Cambre

At the end of the 19th century, steam-powered trams were a regular sight. This one is still in occasional operation today as a tourist tram.

One of the first electric trams, replacing horse-drawn vehicles which were unsuited to Brussels’ roads

This typical Belle Epoque tram used to travel from the Bois de la Cambre to Schaerbeek

As it prepared to host its first world fair, Brussels ordered extra trams like this one to transport the 13 million visitors to the city

During the war, trams suffered from poor maintenance and equipment was requisitioned for military purposes. Normal tram service was not resumed until 1925

Trams increasingly find themselves vying with other vehicles along the busy Boulevard Adolphe Max in the city centre

The driver and conductors of the 27 tram, which once shuttled between Bourse and Woluwe, report for duty

The first tram enters the new tunnel at Brussels Midi station

A shelter is installed for passengers at Place Rogier

Students from the Free University of Brussels take the fi rst tram of the day and ride it until the end of the service at just after midnight

Trams negotiate construction work at Botanique

One last excursion for the old-style trams before they make way for newer models

Line 93 passes through Place Luxembourg on its way to Place Brugmann

The new T2000 tram gradually replaces the older model. Here they sit side by side at Louise

Old and new meet at the Atomium during an event to present Stib’s new livery and staff uniforms

A tram makes its way through the snow as the weather leads to a record 920km of traffic jams on Belgium’s roads

King Philippe takes the wheel on the new line 9, and Stib unveils its new depot in Forest

Tram drivers play a game of giant skittles during a day of events to celebrate the tram’s anniversary on 5 May

This article first appeared in The Bulletin summer 2019

Written by The Bulletin