The Rotterdam trams
In 1879 horse trams
were introduced in Rotterdam. Together with steam trams
(since 1881) and horse buses they provided the public
transport until about 1906. Electric trams, later supported
by buses and the Metro do serve the Rotterdam people until
today. On this site you can find a small overview of the
history and the different types of rolling stock which
existed, or still is in daily use.
Some important dates from the history:
- 1879 Opening of the first four urban lines (1435mm
gauge; all horse traction; June 1, June 25, October 1
& October 15) by the RTM (Rotterdamsche Tramweg
- 1880 Completion of the original designed urban network
(with a total length of 8.3 km) of the RTM with the
opening of two lines (January 18 & February 4).
- 1881 (April 9) Opening of the line to Delfshaven by
the RTM (1435mm gauge; steam traction).
- 1882 (February 1) First reorganization of the urban
network by the merging of two lines.
- 1882 (May 5) Extension of the steam tramline from
Delfshaven to Schiedam (total length 6.5 km).
- 1882 (December 29) Opening of the tramline to
Hillegersberg (length 4.4 km; 1000mm gauge; horse
traction) by the SlTM (Schielandsche Tramweg
- 1884 (May 17) First extensions to the urban network.
- 1884 (August 7) Opening of the line to Overschie
(length 4.9 km; 1067mm gauge; steam traction) by the
IJSM (IJssel Stoomtramweg Maatschappij).
- 1890 (August 1) Closure of the IJSM-line to Overschie.
- 1890 (December 14) Re-opening of the line to Overschie
by the RTM (1435mm gauge; horse traction).
- 1898 (May 2) Opening of the line to the Hoekse Waard
(1067mm gauge; steam traction) by the RTM. This was the
first line of a large network of steam trams and boat
services south of Rotterdam.
- 1902 (September 18) Opening of the urban line in
Schiedam (length 2.8 km; 1000mm gauge; horse traction)
by the SdTM (Schiedamsche Tramweg Maatschappij).
- 1904 (April 7) Taking over of the urban lines (7 lines
with a total length of 18.4 km) in Rotterdam, the line
to Overschie and the steam tramline to Schiedam from the
RTM by the RETM (Rotterdamsche Electrische Tramweg
Maatschappij). The RTM keeps the line to the Hoekse
- 1904 (October 1) Opening of the line to Voorne-Putten
(1067mm gauge; steam traction) by the RTM.
- 1905 (September 18) Opening of the first electric line
(nr.1) by the RETM, replacing a horse tramline. Power
supply provided by an auxiliary generating plant. In
contradiction to the horse- & steam tram, which
never had line numbers, with the electric tramlines also
line numbers were introduced.
- 1906 (October 15) Start of the power supply by the
- 1906 (October - December) Opening of the electric
lines nr. 2 (October 15), 4 (October 25), 3 (November
28) and 7 & 8 (both December 17). Line 8 replacing
the steam tram to Schiedam, all others replacing horse
- 1906 (November 4) Opening of the first (urban)
motorbus-line by the MAV (Maatschappij Algemeen
- 1907 (January 10) Depot and five (out of ten)
motorbuses of the MAV destroyed by fire.
- 1907 (February 9) Closure of the MAV-line.
- 1907 (March 13) Opening of line 5, the first electric
line without a horse- or steamtram predecessor.
- 1907 (March 27) Opening of line 6 in which the last
urban horse tramline was assimilated, leaving the line
to Overschie the only remaining line of the RETM with
- 1908 (April 13) Opening of the first line on the south
bank of the river and with this starting the first
period of an isolated network of urban tramlines in the
southern districts of the city.
- 1918 (January 1) Closure of the urban horse tramline
of the SdTM in Schiedam.
- 1919 (January 1) Taking over of the horse tramline of
the SlTM to Hillegersberg by the RETM.
- 1920 (June 7) Opening of a motorbus line on the
south-bank by the municipality.
- 1921 (December 21) Closure of the bus-services of the
municipality on the south-bank.
- 1922/3 Replacement of the narrow gauge horse tramline
(former SlTM) to Hillegersberg by line 14 (period May 5,
1922 - June 6, 1923).
- 1923-1928 Over 100 different private companies did
operate urban motorbus lines. Most of them just during a
few months and with 1-3 vehicles only.
- 1924/5 Replacement of horse traction on the line to
Overschie by motor traction (period May 19, 1924 - May
- 1926 (September 1) Opening of the lines across the
river and merging the networks on the north and south
- 1927 (October 15) Take over of the system (with 1
motor and 15 electric tramlines) by the municipality
with changing the name into RET (Rotterdamsche
- 1928 (May 26) Opening of the first three urban
motorbus lines of the RET.
- 1928 (October 25) Closure of tramline to Overschie and
replaced by a motorbus line.
- 1929 (May 1) Reorganization of the network with
expansion to 18 lines.
- 1930 (March 24) until 1931 (May 16) The network did
have its greatest extent with 25 lines.
- 1934 (July 1) Reorganization of the network with route
changing for many remaining lines.
- 1936 (July 1) Reorganization of the network with route
changing for most remaining lines.
- 1940 (May 10) Service on all lines stopped due to the
German invasion making the city front-area.
- 1940 (May 14) Air bombing by the German Luftwaffe
destroys all the centre and part of the eastern
districts of the city. About 900 people killed. None of
the tram-depots or tramcars were damaged. The bus-depot
& 22 motorbuses were heavily damaged or destroyed.
- 1940 (May 16-17) Reopening of the lines of the RTM to
Voorne-Putten and the Hoekse Waard.
- 1940 (May 17-19) Reopening of the lines 1-4, 9, 10, 14
& 22 as far they were situated outside the destroyed
areas. Temporary three isolated networks in the western
(lines 1 & 4), northern & eastern (lines 10, 14
& 22) and southern (lines 2, 3 & 9) districts
- 1940 (May 25) The networks in the western and northern
& eastern districts reconnected with each other by
the first line (10) through the destroyed areas.
- 1940 (June 5-21) Gradually recovery of the network on
the northern bank with changing of the routes of many
- 1940 (June 22) Reconnecting of the southern lines
across the river with the network on the northern bank.
- 1941 (November 26) First extensions of the network
(lines 3 & 22) into districts (Blijdorp) not served
by the tram in the pre-war period.
- 1943 (March 31) Air bombing by the USAAF of the
western districts. Besides about 400 people killed, 2
electric tramcars and a trailer were destroyed and four
electric tramcars with three trailers were damaged.
- 1943-1944 Constructing of a cross-river
trolleybus-line through the tunnel. Converting of 12
motorbuses into trolleybuses with the use of the motors
of six trams (nrs. 155, 170, 175, 197, 198 & 201).
The trams became trailers (with the numbers increased by
1000), but the trolleybus-line was never opened.
- 1944 (October 14) Suspending of all services except
peak hours. (lack of energy)
- 1944 (December 1) Services on all lines stopped. Due
to the war there was a severe lack of energy and food
resulting in a serious famine.
- 1945 (June 8) Reopening of the lines 2, 3, 8, 10 &
16. Service on peak hours only.
- 1945 (August 16) All day services again.
- 1947 (December 1) With the reopening of the lines 11
& 17, the network was recovered from the war
- 1957 (May 8) Closure of the RTM narrow gauge line to
the Hoekse Waard.
- 1965 (November 6) Closure of the RTM narrow gauge line
- 1967 (May 8) until 1968 (June 8) Reconstruction of the
- 1968 (February 10) Opening of the first Metro-line
(Centraal Station - Zuidplein, later several times
extended) replacing all tram (and most bus) lines across
the river. Start of the second period of two isolated
- 1982 (May 10) Opening of the second Metro-line
(Capelsebrug - Coolhaven, later several times extended).
- 1996 (September 9) Opening of the tram-line across the
river and merging the networks on the north and south
- 2006 Take over of the "Hofplein" railway line.
- 2011 The former "Hofplein" line fully intergrated with
the Metro network. Through service Den Haag Centraal
Station - Rotterdam Centraal Station - Slinge.