World Railways Photograph Catalogue - Restoration & Archiving Trust

The Nationale Maatschappij van Buurtspoorwegen/Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Vicinaux was formed in 1885 to manage the extensive system of rural tramways that was built across the country. This network reached its maximum extent in 1945 but then declined rapidly from the mid 1950s onwards due to bus competition. So by the late 1980s the only NMVB tram line left was that from De Panne to Knokke.
In addition the larger cities had their own municipal undertakings operating both trams & buses, one of which the Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) operates independently to this day. Following the creation of separate regional structures for Flanders & Wallonia, two new holding companies for local transport were created, the SRWT (Société Régionale Wallonne du Transport) in french speaking Wallonia and VVM (Vlaamse Vervoer Maatschappij), with the trademark “De Lijn“ in Flanders. The remaining NMVB tram line & the municipal systems in Antwerp & Ghent being transferred to the latter. In 2011 the only tram system operated by the SRWT is that of the Transports en commun Charleroi of more recent construction utilising in part some old sections of Vicinal lines.

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