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Tram line brought prosperity to Goeree-Overflakkee

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

OUDDORP It is 100 years ago this year, that modern transportation a tram line- was introduced to the South-Holland island of Goeree-Overflakkee. Up to that point the island made do with dirt roads, which usually turned into almost impassable wagon trails during the wet winter season. The effect was that farmers had difficulties getting their produce to markets, schools were often closed and a trip to Rotterdam could take a whole day. The tram line, RTM, which linked up by ferry with an already existing line at Hellevoetsluis, heralded prosperity for everyone, with farmers soon shipping potatoes and onions to Rotterdam and even to England. The opening of the line attracted throngs of people wanting to ride the tram, prompting officials to even press freight wagons into service to accommodate all the passengers. The tram line was retired in 1966, when RTM transformed into a bus line. Following the Flood of 1953, the island became part of the Delta diking and road system, which made it very accessible and economically still more feasible. A dedicated foundation now operates a museum, which includes a six kilometre- long line where tourists can get a feel of the past which elsewhere no longer exists. Islanders looking for a better future first settled on Texel, in the Haarlemmermeerpolder and then emigrated in significant numbers to Patterson, New Jersey and beyond.