02 - TRAM

Here you see a 1906 tramcar, which has been restored to its original condition, when it served travellers in the streets of Laon.

We would like to mention 3 Saint Quentin citizens who have worked very hard to safeguard local industrial history. They are:
• Francis Crépin, president of the Vermandois association for safeguarding local industrial heritage
• Jacques Leroy. After years of research, he published a fascinating book about life on the Saint Quentin trams
• Jacky Tabart. In 1955, a year before the Saint Quentin tramlines were abandoned, he wrote a popular song celebrating the wonders of the tramcar.
Thanks to all three of these passionate advocates of local heritage.

It was on 11th April 1895 that the Saint Quentin city council decided to put in a tram system.

Two different models of trams were used successively. The first trams were driven by compressed air. We will not dwell on the many problems involved in making them work. Suffice to say that the compressed air models were replaced by electrically propelled trams in 1908. The new trams were painted yellow and had platforms at each end.

The Saint Quentin trams of 1908 were a little shorter than the model shown here, but this tramcar has been redecorated with signs originally used on trams running in Saint Quentin.

In May 1956, Saint Quentin stopped using trams. Sadly, none of the city’s tramcars has been preserved for posterity. Laon, which is home to the main Aisne prefecture, kept its trams running until 1971.

The Loisirs et Traditions de France association was able to acquire this tram from Laon In 2001 and has since renovated it.

It is strange to note that in our modern era, many large cities are reintroducing trams, more modern in design but still driven by broadly similar methods to those used a century ago.


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