Route 44

foto: Linda

It’s 2 p.m. in the afternoon, a few hours before the rush hour is at its highest and the underground tram stop Montgomery turns into a junction for the crowds of people trying to get home after a long day at work. Now is the time when you can easily buy a ticket at the ticket machine and peacefully take a seat on the next arriving tram 44.

A ticket for a single  ‘Jump ride’ costs € 2.10 at the ticket machine since a ticket bought from the tram driver will cost you more. Return is € 4.20, a ticket for 5 rides is € 8 and for 10 rides it is € 14. As this review only reflects on one ride, I will not go further in detail about all the kinds of subscriptions you can get. If you are interested, you should check the site.

foto: Linda

There he is! Tram 44 arrives at Montgomery, drops off the people who need to go to Brussels and picks up the people with the opposite plan. Don’t know how to open those slim vintage doors? The green rubbery strap in the middle will open your gate to the journey that’s waiting for you! Once you climbed on the tram and scanned your ticket by pressing it against the white circle on the red scanning machine, you can take a seat. Just look out as the pillows with the old school pattern can sometimes slide off the bench!

foto: Linda

For now it’s quiet on the tram. But imagine how it would be at rush hour! The seats are so small that, while sitting down, your knees almost touch the bench that is on the opposite of you. Trust me, you easily get over the awkward feeling of touching knees with strangers when you sit in a four seat. If you’re at the window site, you’ve probably already noticed the heating that is blowing just that little bit too strong on your legs. Unless it is broken.

It seems that the people taking this tram on a daily basis don’t matter about the small issues. In fact, it seems like it is a familiar touch to this means of transport. The commuters often also recognise each other, as they mostly share the same destination: Tervuren. Some of them start a conversation, while others try to enjoy their trip in peace and quietness.

Wiggling, squeaking and creaking, is how the old vehicle rolls upwards to the outside. Did you know that the route of this tram, actually consists of only 1 street? Whole the way from Montgomery to Tervuren, this tram leads you parallel with the Tervuren avenue.

Out of the blue, the tram stands still. The light switches off. The engine stops running. Technical damages occur regularly, but there is always a creative way to solve this kind of problem. The driver comes out of his cabin and opens the electricity box. There he switches off all the fuses and puts them back on. Momentarily the vehicle comes to live again, just like an old cell phone that needs to be switched off-and-on to re-obtain its optimal functioning.

foto: Linda

While strolling further on the rails, take a look through the window. Notice the authentic green cottages at each stop. There even is a tram museum on the way!

More interested in nature? Wait till the tram enters the Sonian forest. Right before the forest you will see a statue of two girls facing each other on your right. The girl that looks in the tram’s driving direction represents the city, the other one represents the more rural side. And that’s how the route enters the famous forest. A visit during autumn is really a must for breathtaking sights!

Once through the forest, Tervuren station is not that far away anymore. The route ends at the authentic station of Tervuren, which is just a short walk away from the Africa museum 200 meters further down the road!

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