Our postcard from Edition Collet was taken about 1910 and shows two of the three passenger trams of the tiny Cassel tramway. Cassel, a small town with a population in 1930 of around 2,000 (down from 3,200 in 1901), is in French Flanders in northern France, close to the Belgian border. The view is in the Grande Place and as well as the tramway shows the former town hall and old Conciergerie. The current Museum of Flanders is now housed in this impressive building.
The tramway of Cassel was opened on 20th July 1900. It was single track with passing loops, including double track at the termini, and was built to metre gauge. It ran just 3.3 km from Cassel railway station on the Hazebrouck to Dunkerque line, which was built in 1848, providing the connection to the town centre of Cassel which was at the top of a hill. It followed what was then Route National 42 (now D933) and Rue Constant Moeneclaey, to end by the bandstand in the Grande Place.
There were three small single-deck 4-wheel motor cars with corner entrances and three steps up, rather like those used on the Manx Electric Railway. Unusually for French tramways of this period, the trams had large Siemens bow current collectors. Occasionally they pulled three centre-entrance trailer cars. There was also a motorised baggage car.
The town succumbed little damage during the First World War, despite the heavy military action in this area, and being the headquarters of Marshal Ferdinand Foch between October 1914 and May 1915 and headquarters for the British Second Army under Sir Herbert Plumer from 1916 to 1918. Increased competition from motor cars and lorries caused it to close on 16th July 1934, being replaced by motor buses.
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