Kusttram – The World Longest Tram / Light Rail




3.9/5 Pros

  • Impressing tram ride
  • Lovely scenery along the coast
  • Some interesting attractions en route
  • Cheap fare Cons

  • Limited faciltiies
  • You have to take the whole loop (no quicker alternative)

67 kilometers alongside the Belgian Coast, serving 67 stations – the Kusttram (“Coastal tram line”) is regarded to be the world longest tram line. While visiting Rock of Ages musical shows in Oostende, I just had to take that very special ride in the rail-driven vehicle. Here is my report about it.


Kusttram – Network & Tariff

The Kusttram is connecting De Panne in the South with Knokke in the North. De Panne is some 5 kilometers away from the Belgian-French border, while Knokke is about a seven kilometer drive away from Dutch territories. As the tram line is running close to the Belgian Coast, it thus almost connects it completely. The travel time is roughly 2:30 hrs. During day time, there is normally one train each 15 minutes in both directions. Other key cities connected are Koksijde, Middelkerke, Blankenberge and Zeebrugge.

Typically, you can shorten the ride at Oostende Station, where one tram is arriving and waiting for slightly more than fifteen minutes, so that you can enter one tram ahead. You might loose a seat with a good view, though, the ride is popular among tourists as well as locals.

The regional public transport authority DeLijn (“The line”) is operating Kusttram. A single ride is 2.50 EUR. However, if you want to do the full line, which also requires a return on the same transport (see below), I recommend for a 24 hour ticket, which is just 7.50 EUR. There is also a 72 hour ticket (15 Euro) as well as multiple ride tickets.


Kusttram – Rolling Stock

Kusttram is using 1000mm gauge tracks (One Meter Tracks). Nowadays, even though different models are in use, all trams are low floor ones. Since 2021, DeLijn is aiming to replace by so-called Zeelijners. They are build by Basque manufacturer CAF on the Urbos 3 platform. These five section cars have a length of 31.4 meters and a width of 2.40 meters. Similar cars can be found in various cities, like Budapest, Canberra, or Jerusalem.

The interior of the trams is a rather straight tram design. I liked the functional design. As there are loops on both terminal stations, there is just one cockpit in the front of the train. Even though you don’t look into the direction of travel, I took most of the shots in this review from one of the four seats in the rear of the Urbos 3 vehicle, which are facing each other and give a great view through the rear window. Contactless ticket conductors are at the doors. There are also screens with ride information. Even though the tram can be very crowded, especially in the major towns, I overall felt that the passenger area is comfortable. Nonetheless, it is not the comfort you like for a full 2:30 hour ride along the whole route.


Kusttram – The Ride

As there is no faster alternative to do the trip, apart from a taxi (see below), I started my trip in Oostende, first heading South to the terminus De Panne. From there, I went all the way up to De Knokke, before heading back to Oostende. On the Southbound trip, you first pass the (not too frequently used) airport Oostende-Brugge (OST) and the former World War II defense facilities around Middelkerke. En route, you further pass Nieuwpoort and Korksijde. Right before the terminal station, you also pass the amusement park Plopsaland. The train station at De Panne has some facilities and connections to France. The pictures below also feature the way back North. Especially the ride along the the coast and beach is enjoyable on a sunny day.

After passing some rather commercial areas of Oostende on the Northern part of Kusttram, you pass a couple of touristically well-known towns. For example, you pass Blankenberge. Another key spot you pass is the ferry harbor of Zeebrügge. Knokke-Heist is a rather popular beach town as well.


Kusttram – Services

The rail stations at the terminal stops as well as at the Belgian rail connection points (see below) feature toilets. There is no special service onboard the Kusttram itself.


Kusttram – Alternatives

Oostende, De Panne and Knokke are all as well connected by Belgian rail. However, there is no rail connection alongside the coast. If you want to travel from one of these station to the other, you typically have to transfer in Bruges, from where the rail lines radially connect to the coastal rail stations. Sometimes, you even need an additional transfer. As the connection times were at least not ideal during my visit, the rail connection is at most is 30 minutes later. At some times, the Kusttram is even quicker. There are also Belgian Rail connections in Blankenberge and Zeebrugge.


Kusttram – My View

Riding the Kusttram as a whole is quite an investment. Due to the lack of more effective alternatives, you at least have to invest a bit more than five hours, just for the ride. If you want to go for some stops, it turns into an extensive day trip and I recommend to kick off your day early. However, the ride is definitely a great experience and I absolutely loved to do it. The day pass offers you to have a great day along the coast. Unfortunately, there is no merchandise somewhere, e.g. in Oostende.


Rides on Rail 2024

Here are all my Rides on Rail postings published in 2024: about Belgium

Here are all postings related to Belgium:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *