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Book: “Les tramways belges dans l’Empire Ottoman”

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This book describes the detailed history of the tramways of Beirut, Constantinople, Damas, Salonica, Smyrna. It describes several light railways in the former Ottoman Empire and a bunch of aborted projects (i.a. Jaffa, Jerusalem, Lesbos). A chapter is devoted to the Aleppo trams, established under French rule, and other sections illustrate the horse trams of Bagdad and Tripoli, two networks which were the subject of electrification schemes in the thirties.

All these networks were wholly or partially financed and/or equipped by Belgians, the last of those enterprises being nationalized in the fifties. A final chapter is devoted to the tramways preserved in Lebanon, Istanbul and Salonica. This study is based on an in-depth survey of the archives of the operators and in the Belgian and French diplomatic files.

Next to the description of the networks, their operation and rolling stock with an unprecedented accuracy, the book reveals how concessions could be obtained in the highly corrupted Empire. There was little change under the Republic, while the operation of Salonica, once Greek after the 1st Balkan war, had to face the bureaucracy and the insolvency of the new rulers.

Quite strangely, the operations in Beirut and in Damas became under the French flag a prime target for the nationalists. Beyond an historical approach describing the harsh realities of another era, the author tries to add a touch of humor and of humanity. The life of the people who built and operated those tramways, whether Ottomans or expatriates, is dealt with too.

220 pages A4 on glossy paper 115 g/m², hardcover, 9 tables of the rolling stock, 335 illustrations including 30 tickets, 20 maps, 4 original paintings by P. Meeuwig, 4 shares.    

Price post included:

44 EUR (Belgium)
49 EUR (Germany, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands)
59 EUR (other European countries).
The Belgian Post requires a telephone number and an email address of the addressee on the parcels shipped abroad.
The appropriate amounts should be paid to “Tramania” on account BE41 0001 3319 1710 (IBAN) and bank code BPOTBEB1 (BIC)

Edited by Tramania asbl. ISBN 978-2-9601948-4 -5

Published in conjunction with the exhibition « Orient Express » at the Trainworld museum (Brussels, from 26 October).

Take also a look at “Les tramways belges en Russie”, “Les tramways belges en Egypte” and “Le tramways de Tientsin », still available.    


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