Interurban Throwback: Charleroi —Part 2

A Tale of Two Tram Cities.

Sometimes I stumble into the past. Although I was keen to explore Charleroi by tram, I wasn’t expecting the vestige of roadside interurban operation on the long line to Anderlues.

Frequency on this line is only about every half hour, and I nearly gave up on this leg of my journey while waiting for a delayed outbound tram at the dark and dire brown-tile transfer station called Piges in western Charleroi.

Much of the route features modern construction on concrete elevated structures and subway, a creation of the Charleroi Metro. However, once beyond a turn-back station at the end of this infrastructure intensive right of way, trams operate on a vestige of the old Vicinal network (once the operator an extensive system of Belgium’s interurban tram lines).

In Anderlues, the tram uses single track gutter-side street running. All I can say, is this really cool for a modern-day operation. Lumix LX-7 photo.
In Anderlues, the tram uses single track gutter-side street running. Let me just say, is this really cool for a modern-day operation. Lumix LX-7 photo.

This includes side-of-road operation with long sections of single track, passing sidings and brick-lined streets. I was astounded. I checked my calendar, and it confirmed that it really was August 2014, not sometime in the mid-twentieth century.

However, as is too often the case, I was on short-time and only had a few hours to explore this fascinating railway.

A tram takes a corner in Anderlues. Moments later  torrential rains dampened my photography. Lumix LX7 photo.
A tram takes a corner in Anderlues. Moments later torrential rains dampened my photography. Lumix LX7 photo.
Hard rain at Anderlues.
Hard rain at Anderlues.
A tram takes a siding on single track at Anderlues. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
A tram takes a siding on single track at Anderlues. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
Working single track outbound at Anderlues. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
Working single track outbound at Anderlues. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.
This reminds me a bit of my father's photos of Johnstown Traction Company's operations in the 1950s. Lumix LX7.
This reminds me a bit of my father’s photos of Johnstown Traction Company’s operations in the 1950s. Lumix LX7.
Streetside pickup point; an inbound tram pauses for a stop to collect passengers in Anderlues. Lumix LX7.
Streetside pickup point; an inbound tram pauses for a stop to collect passengers in Anderlues. Lumix LX7.

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Tomorrow, take a ride on the SNCB!