- including smart bus solutions

Study Tours to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, & more

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Amsterdam, April 22, 2003
Left - Journalist Randy Gragg of the Oregonian (and his girlfriend); Right - Urban Designer Martin Glastra van Loon of OTAK, Portland (and Randy again) during their tour in the Amsterdam region. The bridge behind them is one of two. These fine bridges connect old Amsterdam with the new land of IJburg and will be used by a new tramway (Summer 2005).

[menu] (or read introduction below) (C), May 2003 - July 2005 update: 110705


Map: (C) Light Rail Atlas, May 2003
Red: excisting; tram/light rail/metro - Orange: project; light rail - Green: project; train - Yellow: Light Rail idea

The map of The Netherlands shows Light Rail in many forms, like the tramways of Amsterdam (adm), Rotterdam (rdm) and The Hague (dhd), the American-like Light Rail of Utrecht (ung), several Light Rail operations on railways (e.g. 2, 6), as well as a 'TramTrain' pilot (4), and some projects (1, 4), schemes(2, 3, 5, D) and ideas (A, B, C, D, E, F).

The Netherlands has a long tradition of operating trams. They share this tradition with their neighbours Germany and Belgium. Dutch study tours can be easily extended to the large systems of Rhein-Ruhr or Cologne-Bonn in Germany, or the tram cities of Antwerp, Ghent, and Brussels in Belgium. A special tour subject is the famous coastal tramway along the Belgian coast (70 km!).

Please, e-mail LRNL/Rob van der Bijl for your questions and bookings.

DOCUMENT: (C) Light Rail Atlas, May 2005

This document supports RVDB's study tours.

This document consists of 9 parts. Please, use the menu to jump to the part you wish to view.

The Hague
Smart Buses
Study Tours

[or back to intro]




Photos: (C) HiTrans/Hans Magnar Lien/Rob van der Bijl
Amsterdam, May 30 & 31, 2003
HiTrans - the European Interreg III B Programme North Sea Region, High quality public transport in medium size cities and urban regions - aims to stimulate development of efficient and sustainable transport in medium size cities in the North Sea region by promoting high quality public transport. June 2003 a team of HiTrans visited Amsterdam.
Left - Leidsestraat Amsterdam, Rob van der Bijl (RVDB/Light Rail Atlas) is explaining something. Are Kristiansen (Stavanger), Hugh Daglish & Clive Greenwood (Sunderland) are watching something; Right above- Leidseplein, Hans Magnar Lien of Stavanger/Rogaland (and again Hugh & Clive) are just waiting to continue their tour in Amsterdam Right below - The HiTrans-team on duty, Clive Brown (Edinburgh) in his black suit is making pictures of this beautiful BRT-stop in the region of Amsterdam (Hoofddorp).

1. Amsterdam, or back to: [intro] [menu]


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kees Pronk
Classic modern tram (1967-1968) in the historic city, Leidsestraat
February 19, 2003

The tramway system of Amsterdam (1875) is one of the largest in Europe. Since the early eighties the network consists of 16 main routes, as well as some temporal, touristic and heritage lines, operating over a route length of at least 178 km. The fysical network (excluding service tracks) of 2003 counts nearly 140 km. A Light Rail line (1990) to Amstelveen (16 km.) is integrated into both the tramway and the metro system (1977).

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
First Combino at the terminus of the new branche of line 1
Amsterdam, December 8, 2001

Since 2003 Combinos of Siemens dominate the tram fleet for regular passenger service. However older cars will remain in service for many years to come.

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl, Amsterdam, May 30, 2005

During the last years several extensions has been taken into service. But still the Amsterdam system will be extended substantially. A new impressive tramway to the new housing area of IJburg is finished (May 2005). This IJtram- line 26 will be almost a system in itself. Line 26 serves a large, new residential area built on artificial islands in the eastern part of the Amsterdam region. In 2012 the system of tramway, Light Rail and metro will reach its largest size.

Light Rail & Metro

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Amsterdam bound CAF LRV on duty at the Amstelveen line
August 19, 2002

The Amsterdam metro (1977; 3 lines) and the Light Rail line to Amstelveen make up a network of more than 60 km. This network will be extended to 75-80 km. by 2012.
The first two lines connecting Amsterdam centre to Southeast (53, Gein & 54, Gaasperplas) are classical metro lines, while the third, Ring Line 50 (1995), originally was conceived as a light metro. Therefore this latest line is operated with Light Rail Vehicles (LRV's), built by CAF in Spain. Some of these LRV's are also used on the Amstelveen line 51.
Amstelveen is served by two lines. The 51 is used by BN express trams built at the former Bruges plant (now Bombardier). The section to Amstelveen centre is shared with city tram 5. In Amsterdam the 51 shares track with metros 50, 53 and 54.


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Zuidtangent BRT in the Amsterdam region
Hoofddorp, Januari 27, 2002

All railway lines around Amsterdam are served by regional commuter rail. The Zuidtangent is a new Bus Rapid Transit (Haarlem-Hoofddorp-Schiphol-Amstelveen-Amsterdam Southeast) which in the future could be partly transformed to Light Rail.


2. Rotterdam, or back to: [intro] [menu]


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kees Pronk
Rotterdam, December 5, 2001
Old and less older cars. Former Vienna car is still in red and white livery.

The tramway of Rotterdam (1879) is a large, traditional system of almost 70 km. Most trams are built in the early eighties of the last century as prototypes of a never developed 'standard' Dutch tram. Some older trams of the Düwag-type were still in service during 2003. They even got provisional supplementation of comparabel, secondhand trams from Vienna during 2002-2003. New Citadis-type trams have been put into service since 2003.

Tramplus - Citadis-tram
Map/Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl/Kees Pronk
Rotterdam, March 16, 2003

The traditional system of Rotterdam will be enlarged and modernized extensively. Some older sections of the network are already improved. Many extensions are under construction or planned. This undertaking is called TramPlus. It will result in a better tramway system: faster, more reliable and comfortable (see red map).

Light Rail & Metro

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Rotterdam-Zevenkamp, September 30, 1998
Old type LRV on the Light Rail-section

The first section of a metro system opened in 1968. This north-south line is called Erasmuslijn (21.5 km.) The Calandlijn is a newer, recently extended east-west line of over 45 km., including a 8,3 km. Light Rail section (which will be extended in 2004). All metro-rolling stock has been renewed during 2000-2003. The old LRV's of 1983 are still in operation, but have been accompanied by newer ones based on the new metro type.


All railway lines around Rotterdam are served by regional commuter rail. Under construction is the conversion of the regional Hofplein railway towards The Hague into a Light Rail line (RandstadRail), which will be integrated into the north-south metro. See the section projects...


3. The Hague, or back to: [intro] [menu]


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kees Pronk
Testing tramway number 15 at Ypenburg, December 16, 2001

The Hague (Den Haag) owns a large tramway system (1864), which has been expanded extensively during the last 30 years. Several lines serve the coast at Scheveningen, while other lines connect all suburbs with the city centre. The network (128 km.) includes former interurban branches to Delft and Voorburg. Since 1999 new lines have been opened to large housing development areas, like Wateringse Veld and Ypenburg. Nowadays the network covers almost the entire conurbation over Greater The Hague (Haaglanden). This fine tramway posseses many Light Rail characteristics.

Former Hannover tram feighting the snow at line 11
Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kees Verhulst
The Hague, January 5, 2003

The Hague used to be the PCC-car city of Europe. See also the section heritage... But these famous American trams have been put out of service. However, PCC's can be watched during regular heritage services. Across the boarder, in Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels, PCC's still are in service.
The tram fleet for regular passenger duties comprised articulated cars built by BN at the former Bruges plant (now Bombardier). New rolling stock will be acquired when RandstadRail will become reality. In the meantine former Hannover trams are bringing some relief on the historic Light Rail line 11 from Hollands Spoor station towards the coast.


All main railway lines from The Hague to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht respectively are served by regional commuter rail. Under construction is the conversion of the regional Zoetermeer and Hofplein railway into a Light Rail line (RandstadRail), which will be integrated into the local tramway network. See the section projects...


4. Utrecht, or back to: [intro] [menu]

Light Rail

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Terminus, Utrecht, August 30, 2002

In 1983 Utrecht opened the first new post-war system in Western Europe. Since then two new Light Rail-lines serve large satellite housing sites at Nieuwgein and IJsselstein. This regional network is served by Swiss-built type of cars, based on the famous Stadtbahn B type. Similar cars have been built by CAF for Valencia (Spain) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The LRV's have been recently overhauled; new livery and fronts have changed the appearence of the cars dramatically.

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
IJsselstein, September 8, 2000
LRV's still in old livery, but already at the new southern terminus.

In 2000 one of the two lines has been extended to the new south of IJsselstein. All other possible extensions have been postponed. Unfortunately recent history has learned that it's politically impossible to extend the line through the centre of Utrecht.

Light Rail Atlas presents a fascinating, interactive 360-degrees...
PANORAMA: at the trambridge over Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal!


All railway lines around Utrecht are served by regional commuter rail. See also the section projects...


5. Railways, or back to: [intro] [menu]

Gouda-Alphen (pilot project)

LRV on heavy rail tracks is meeting old yellow train
Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kees Pronk
Rijn-Gouwelijn, Alphen, February 8, 2003

Since early 2003 trams are in service on the railway Gouda-Alphen. Bombardier built trams of the Stockholm type A32 are operating on heavy rail tracks testing the possibilities of track sharing in The Netherlands.
This pilot project is carried out under the responsibility of the national railways (NS) and the regional authority (province of Zuid-Holland). HTM, operator of The Hague tramways, delivered the trams. The project is in advance of the future RijnGouwelijn. The railway Gouda-Alphen will be intergated into this future Light rail-network. See the section projects...

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Alphen, April 16, 2003
TV crew filming and interviewing Light Rail Atlas

This pilot project will provide knowledge and expertise with regard to Light Rail generally and to safety particularly. Hopefully the test results will mean a break through the deadlock that has existed for some time now with regard to obtaining concrete information on safety and joint use of light and heavy rail. Planned or future track sharing initiatives in The Netherlands, and perhaps even in other European countries, would benefit from this.


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl, Doetinchem, June 21 2004

Since June 2001 the new regional railway- and buscompany Syntus operates a Light Rail-train service on the local lines from Winterswijk towards Zutphen and Arnhem respectively, using Lint-cars (type 41, Alstom). A new stop was opened in Winterswijk. More stops will follow. Syntus has tendered successfully for other railways, e.g. Zutphen-Hengelo-Oldenzaal.


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Glanerbrug/Enschede-Eschmarke, December 10, 2002

The German Regiobahn Westfalen runs a Light Rail-train service on the international-regional railway Enschede - Eschmarke - Glanerbrug - Gronau (and further extended into Germany). After 20 years of closure the railway came to life again in November 2001. Nowadays Talent-cars (Siemens) are offering a smooth ride, serving a newly opened stop at Eschmarke, a huge suburb in the conurbation of the city of Enschede.

Heerlen-Aachen (EuregioBahn)

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Heerlen, May 4, 2004

The old railway between Heerlen (NL) and Aachen (D) is operated by the new Euregiobahn since June 2001. Talent Light Rail-trains perform all services. The line will be part of a regional network in and around Aachen, which is currently under construction and in planning. Single articulated Talents of Baureihe 643.2 could be used as a 'tram' on future 'street'-sections of this network.

Houten (Utrecht)

Photos: (C) Light Rail Atlas, Houten, February 11, 2001

The Dutch national railways (NS) operate a short shuttle tram-service between new town Houten and a large new housing area south of Houten. Since January 2001 one ex-Hannover tram, rebuilt by HTM, operator of The Hague tramways, serves a third track along the main line. In the near future the tram will be withdrawn. Then the third track will be used in a regional rail system around Utrecht. See also the section projects...


6. Projects, or back to: [intro] [menu]

RandstadRail (The Hague-Rotterdam)

Network RandstadRail

RandstadRail is Holland's largest Light Rail-project. It foresees in a new regional network in and between the conurbations of The Hague and Rotterdam by means of two undertakings. The first is an extension of the The Hague tramway towards new town Zoetermeer. Under construction therefore is the conversion of the regional Zoetermeer and Hofplein railway into a Light Rail line. This first part of RandstadRail (2006) will use the future Souterrain tramtunnel (including large underground parking) in the centre of The Hague.
The second undertaking is an extension of Rotterdam's north-south metro to The Hague Central Station. Under construction therefore are the conversion of the regional Hofplein railway towards The Hague into a Light Rail line, as well as a new tunnel in northern Rotterdam. This second part of RandstadRail is due to open in 2008.

RijnGouwelijn (Leiden)

Animation: (C) RGL/MCW, November 2002
The most important street section of the future systeem, Leiden centre (Breestraat)

The RijnGouwelijn is the planned regional Light Rail-route which will connect the cities of Gouda, Alphen and Leiden with the coastal towns of Katwijk and Noordwijk. This project represents Holland's first implementation of the 'Karlsruhe model'. Tram-tracks in the inner city of Leiden will be joined with railway-tracks in the region.
The first phase, Leiden-Alphen-Gouda, will be opened not earlier than 2007. An experimental tram service started early 2003 on the railway between Gouda and Alphen. See the section railways...

Green = tramway, centre section
Bleu = excisting railway, track sharing section
Orange = tramway, phase 2

The eastern part of the proposed system (2007) will use exciting railway as well as a newly built tramway in the city of Leiden. The western part, Leiden to coast (phase 2; 2010), will be constructed as a tramway.

Other projects

New systems using Light Rail technology are planned in the urban regions of Utrecht, Arnhem-Nijmegen, Maastricht-Heerlen, Enschede-Hengelo-Almelo and Groningen-Assen.

7. Smart Buses, or back to: [intro] [menu]


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl
Almere, January 15, 2005

The New Town of Almere hosts a bus system, designed in the mid seventies and still expanding today. The buses use an almost 100% dedicated infrastructure; no elevated sections, though many grade crossings are equipped with barriers. Recently operation is renewed and branded as MAXX.

Other smart bus solutions

Several SmartBus projects deserve to be tour subjects, like the ones already mentioned on this page - Zuidtangent (Amsterdam), Syntus feeder buses (Achterhoek). Other projects: the commuter bus system of the northern Amsterdam region, the renewed network of the city of Tilburg, the dedicated bus infrastructure of Enschede's buses.
And Phileas of Eindhoven? It seems that this so-called smart bus-vehicle is not a success. Technical problems still remain (July 2005). We like the busway, but not the over-designed Phileas-bus.


8. Heritage, or back to: [intro] [menu]


A large collection of electric heritage vehicles is operational on a transformed regional railway. This touristic line (1975, 6 km.) from Amsterdam (former Haarlemmermeer station) to Bovenkerk is connected to the city tramway.


Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Rob van der Bijl, May 2000
Tram of Rotterdam in Arnhem

A circular touristic tramway (1996, 2 km.) on the territory of Arnhem's open air museum offers opportunity to encounter historic trams. Some of the Rotterdam ones are quiet new, other cars as well, like 'Arnhem 76', which is an accurate replica (1996) of the original GETA 70-75, who were all destroyed during World War II.
Still, a rather unsure!, plan do excist to connect the museum to the city and its main railway station by means of a second tramway.

Ouddorp (RTM)

Diesel and steam trams provide a touristic service between De Punt (Ouddorp) and Port Zélande. This museum undertaking preserves a large collection of vehicles once used by the 3'6" gauge Rotterdamsche Tramweg Maatschappij (RTM) on their huge regional network south of Rotterdam.

Cities & Railways

Photo: (C) Light Rail Atlas/Kees Verhulst
The Hague, May 10, 2003
PCC 1022 on a regular heritage service

The cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague all posses a large collection of historic trams. For instance The Hague which used to be the PCC-car city of Europe. But these famous American trams have been put out of service. However, PCC's can be watched during regular heritage services. Rotterdam has a small museum and a popular touristic tram services during the summer (line 10). The collection of Amsterdam has been dispersed over many sites. Nevertheless the old trams are on street regulary.

Photo: J.C.T. van Engelen; Courtesy: A. van Kamp
The Hague summer 1961
The last days of the famous Blue Tram

Some preserved vehicles of the former NZH are stored in The Hague. Other cars are exhibited in a small trammuseum at the main busdepot in the city of Haarlem.
Many old railways in The Netherlands host touristic steamtrain services. A famous one is the railway Hoorn-Medemblik, which also owns a large collection of steamtrams and vehicles.


9. Links, or back to: [intro] [menu]


RVDB & Light Rail Atlas act as intermediary for various 'services',
concerning Light Rail, infrastucture, urban planning, but also study tours, publications, exhibitions, and internet productions.

RVDB: urban planning...
Consultants, urban planning

Dutch Light Rail experts...
Consultants, infrastructure and Light Rail

Urban planning and landscape architecture...
Publications, exhibitions, internet productions

Netherlands Institute for Spatial Planning and Housing -Partner in study tours

Systems & projects

Amsterdam (GVB)
Rotterdam (RET)
The Hague (HTM)
Utrecht (Connexxion)
Arnhem-Winterswijk-Zutphen (Syntus)
Regionalbahn Westfalen
Heerlen-Aachen (Euregiobahn)


"The most comprehensive Amsterdam tourist related link collection.
No fluff, pure information"
All information you need - the hotspots of Amsterdam.


10. Study Tours,or back to: [intro] [menu]

your questions and suggestions...
LRNL or Light Rail Atlas



LRNL now offers cheap guided Light Rail-tours to European cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Lille, Orléans, Paris, Strasbourg, Cologne, Bonn, Karlsruhe and Saarbrücken.
Feel free to write to LRNL excursions.


LRNL offers Light Rail-excursions world-wide, using its international network of LR-experts.
Each program is characterized by its most important cities. However, cities can be removed or added.

Northwestern Europe
Düren - Cologne/Bonn - Ruhr area;
Hannover - Kassel - Bielefeld;
Saarbrücken -
Strasbourg - Nancy;
- Nantes - Paris;
Saarbrücken - Karlsruhe/Heilbronn - Stuttgart;
Belgium coast - Lille - Gand - Antwerp;
Londen - Birmingham - Manchester - Sheffield - Nottingham;
Manchester - Liverpool - Dublin;
Paris - Rouen - Lille - Valenciennes.

Middle and southern Europe
Basel - Zürich - Bern - Lausanne - Genève;
Milan - Turijn - Genova;
Napels - Messina;
Valencia - Barcelona - Bilbao.

Eastern Europa
Poznan - Lodz - Warsaw - Krakow;
Prague - Most - Plzen - Brno;
Helsinki - Petersburg;
Moscow - Noginsk - Kolomna;
Kiev - Dnepropetrovsk.

Northern America
Portland - Seattle - Vancouver;
Calgary - Edmonton - Toronto;
San Francisco - Los Angeles - San Diego;
San Francisco - San Jose - Sacramento - Salt Lake City - Denver;
Boston - Newark - New Jersey - Philadelphia - Baltimore;
Boston - Buffalo - Pittsburgh - Cleveland
New Orleans - Memphis - Dallas

Southern Amerika
Buenos Aires - Curitibá
- Rio de Janeiro

Johannesburg - Durban - Capetown (urban planning);

Hong Kong (city) - Hong Kong (Tuen Mun) - Manilla;
Tokyo - Kyoto - Hiroshima.

Sydney - Melbourne - Adelaide


DOCUMENT: (C) Light Rail Atlas, May 2005

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