Two external companies have looked at the Flemish tram network that today encompasses 331 kilometres of tram lines in Antwerp, Ghent and the coast in preparation of the investment. De Lijn, the local transport company that operates the network, notes that it is becoming less reliable and that this is impacting on passenger satisfaction, running costs and the image of public transport.
110 new trams are on order. They form part of a wider purchase that involves 1,000 new vehicles including electric and hybrid powered buses. By 2025 electrically powered vehicles will dominate public transport in Flemish cities.
Flemish transport minister Weyts meanwhile promises to make good lost ground: "The cities have been requesting a thorough modernisation of the network. I think it's justified. Our backlog is of historic proportions and is now being put right.”
On the coast 11 km of overhead cables are being renewed and investments are being made in a concrete bedding to avoid problems with sand. In Antwerp too investments in overhead cabling and energy stations are planned to take account of trams that get longer and longer. Enormous Albatross trams are being introduced soon.
In Ghent wooden sleepers and old points need to be renewed.