Nieuwsbrief Issue 34 September 2000


Dutch Railway News Locomotives Multiple Units Coaching Stock
Infrastructure Miscellaneous Private Operators Museum News
Belgian News Trams Modelling News Dutch Railway Museums
Cab ride Exhibition Book Reviews End of the Mp's
Compiled and translated by Peter van der Mark and Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden from Het Openbaar Vervoer, Rail Magazine and various newspaper reports.

NS-R has purchased the 1950's vintage class 1300 Alsthom locos from Railion. All 14 available machines swapped owners and 10 of them will undergo heavy overhaul, removal of asbestos, technical upgrade and refurbishment of the cab environment, to be in full squadron service in June 2001. The other 4 will be cannibalised for spares. I have not heard whether some sort of 1600 or 1700 compatible TDM multiple-uniting equipment will be installed to make push-pull rosters possible, in fact I expect that the 1300's will crop up in the few remaining non push-pull international loco-hauled services, thus freeing the other two types for the many domestic push-pull jobs, both with single deck as well as double deck stock. Other sources state that the 1300's will be used in a special diagram on non push-pull trains composed of German coaches, (see below). The loco numbers involved are: 1301/2/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15. Pending the upgrade developments the last four in regular service, 1302, 1304, 1312 and 1315, have been withdrawn from work and are now at Maastricht works. Whatever the debatable commercial merits of this move, it keeps these capable locos in full use and out of the hands of the competition.

At the same time the lease of four 1600's was changed from Railion to NS-Reizigers as well, numbers 1634/35/36 and 37 being involved. Obviously they will appear as 1800's in the stock books shortly. As you semi-clogs will be well aware, number 1637 is the only loco ever to appear in NS-Cargo red livery. According to the last available information the machine will remain red until a scheduled repaint but its Cargo stickers and number will be removed.

The testing of German pantographs on 1711 and 1718 is continuing despite the fact that the ICE sets have now been approved for work in The Netherlands with these pantographs. These two locos are scheduled to top and tail the MU jobs on the IJssel line as described below. This could have more to do with ongoing testing as two working pantographs on one train at some distance apart have been known to cause contact problems due to wave action set up in the catenary by the first pan.

The venerable 2207 has been moved to Zeeuws Vlaanderen around Terneuzen to replace 2376, which currently is being dealt with at Tilburg after sustaining severe collision damage. It’s nice to hear of an NS owned 2200 being repaired from collision damage!

Two more class 6400 locos were fitted with the Belgian Memor ATP and other minor alterations after repair and fitting with Black Box trip recorders. Numbers 6510 and 6511 are now also available to work into Belgium. The 6400’s that are suitable for service in Germany have had a serial number added to fit in with the German numbering system, namely the series 264. Locos 6494 to 6499 have received the numbering 264 094-099. It is planned to renumber them to 264 001-120 once all of the appropriate 6400’s have been introduced.

General Motors have placed an order with Revisiebedrijf Tilburg to re-work 2 Class 66’s so that they can run in Holland, Belgium and Germany. HGK is currently running a test programme as to their suitability. Apart from building in the Dutch ATB, Belgian TBL and German ‘Indusi’, the cabin also needs transforming. Because the locos were originally designed for the British market, the brake and traction controls have to be switched (as these are the other way round).

The unfortunate choice of locating the cooling air intakes on the underside of the mDDM Bo-Bo-Bo' double deck electric power cars has caused increasing problems during the recent spells of hot weather. It has been mentioned in Nieuwsbrief before that these vehicles suffer from the ailment of having dirt sucked into the radiators, which causes shutdown of the traction installation in case of overheating. The, somewhat makeshift, solution is to regularly hover the radiators, but apart from the fact that in a hard working railway environment such as in The Netherlands this sort of discipline is always difficult to maintain. The very act of hovering itself is usually done in great haste, causing the radiators damage and so compound the problem of reduced airflow and impaired cooling. A thorough re-engineering job looks like the most credible solution in the long run, same as it was on plan T, which initially suffered from exactly the same problems way back in the sixties. On top of this problem it has also been discovered that the induction of cooling air into the traction motors from the underside of the vehicle has not been a very fortunate choice either. Steel filings in the sucked-in brake dust have caused short circuits in many cases, to the extent that there are no spare traction motors available at the moment. A modification to get clean cooling air into the traction motors is now being looked at. This is, I am sorry to say, all rather basic traction engineering. I wonder what planet the developers of this vehicle descended from to make such a basic design mistake, which even based on pure NS experience should have been avoided.

The problem with the fracturing of the motor bogies on the DD-IRM double deck EMU's appears to have been solved and the re-engineering and overhaul of these bogies has borne fruit. All the power cars should now be back in service again, alleviating the shortage of available sets no end. During the winter period, the low temperatures have affected the DD-IRM's wheel units. Due to the thickness of the oil, its effectiveness to cool and lubricate the wheel units is apparently reduced during the first minutes of a ‘cold start’. In extreme cases this has led to damage to the wheel units. Because of this, all IRM’s are now provided with oil with lower viscosity and an extra additive. The manufacturers have indicated this will improve the IRM’s performance during cold spells, although a ‘real fix’ has not yet been found. Because of this, there now exists an ‘emergency wheel unit DD-IRM’ plan, and this will only be enforced when severe frost is expected. The plan includes the Revisiebedrijf Haarlem ensuring spare parts are readily available. Also, the drivers will be asked to adhere to a ‘start-up procedure’. This procedure stipulates that the unit may not exceed 40 km/h for the first 2 minutes after a ‘cold start’.

The planning of the refurb and re-engining of the DE3 three car DEMU sets is still swaying between lengthening to four car sets and then again not, even though there are a number of attractive propositions to the higher capacity of a four car unit. However, most sources indicate that 17 or 20 DEMU's will be treated and that they will remain as three car sets. Asbestos from the mBDK power cars will be removed at Hollandia in the Westhaven in Amsterdam; the re-engining work will take place at Tilburg works, the refurb of the coach interiors probably in Haarlem. Work for these sets under NS-R auspices, all under the wires, is still being studied but there are also a number of lease options to other operators available. However, do not hold your breath as the purchase of German coaches in combination with the extended existence of the 1300's might mean that only a few DEMU sets would be treated. These few sets, however, would then be lengthened to 4-car configuration and might even get ATB-NG to allow them to work all lines. It looks like NS-R will get stuck with local diesel operations for the foreseeable future as the willingness from others to take over local operations elsewhere appears to be lacking. Even completely new diesel stock is being mooted again.

The first of the 4 mP's for the ETCS trials with new ATP and signalling equipment, number 3033, is ready and sports a Cargo red livery. Shortly 5 of these Cargo red ex-postal motor vans will be available for whatever jobs turns up. 3034 is about to leave Amsterdam Zaanstraat as well, 3024 and 3029 are in Haarlem awaiting the start of their overhaul. Apart from the signalling trials they are all apparently also fully available on off days for hire for road learning purposes or transfer jobs such as bringing the odd coach or wagon from one depot to another. They look pretty good in their all-over red livery (without black roofline) in comparison to the muddled look the post office managed to give them in their latter years. I think that rain wash from the pantographs will spoil the neat effect somewhat, never mind the rampant graffiti problem. The cannibalisation of the ten mP's sold to NS-R for spares on behalf of the extended plan T and V EMU operations will result in an empty carcass being carted off to the scrappers every couple of weeks between now and December.

This summer the first sets of MU cabled ICR plus DDM1 coaches have been deployed on the IJssel line. Five ICR including catering and first class and one standard class DDM were topped and tailed by a 1700, both in MU operation. That computes to 8800 kW for a train of an estimated 415 tonnes, the word waste comes to mind. As said above, the first series of ICR stock have received their MU cabling which in modern operation should really be standard equipment on any loco hauled passenger vehicle. As the choice for MU facilities has been in favour of class 1700 rather than class 16/1800, the use of the spare DDM1 driving trailers has been precluded. These DT's could be used as a normal carriage at the end of a train with all DDM1 vehicles being supplied from the big and reliable static inverter on these DT's. This would do away with the need for the low tension generating equipment on each DDM1 vehicle and would thus end the litany of reliability problems encountered since the start of their use in InterCity trains.

Despite a number of drawbacks in the use of the K4 coaches, these vehicles will remain on the Den Haag CS Heerlen and Venlo InterCity services for the time being because as yet no alternative is available. Their drawbacks include the obvious lack of comfort in comparison to the ICR coaches and operational difficulties with the door closing installations -which usually results in not every door closing, causing delays when the conductor has to walk a train length to slam the doors shut. One solution to the door problem appears to be to split K4 sets from ICR sets into full K4 trains, but read on.

NS-R is seriously debating the outright purchase of 100 to 150 very comfortable (own experience) ex-German InterCity loco-hauled coaches, which are becoming available due to the progressive influx of new ICE sets. If NS buys this stock then the days of K4 on Dutch metals are numbered, they might possibly be returned later this year. One possibility is to fit NS MU cabling for full and indiscriminate compatibility with the existing stock. On the other hand, sources state that the German vehicles might not be push-pull fitted at all but be employed in dedicated schedules with refurb class 1300 locos. It is unclear on which service this would be, but it is clear that even refurbished ICR’s do not match this stock in sheer comfort. So business-wise separating the two does make sense in that the ex-DB stock could take over a sort of extended IC+ role.

Three of the ex-DB postal coaches, now used on the successful Overnight Express sleeper cum parcels service to Italy, derailed during shunting manoeuvres in the Westhaven area of Amsterdam. Apparently all three 26.4 metre long coaches came off the road; they are now at Amsterdam Zaanstraat for repairs. The fact that the loading of this train takes place in the Westhaven rather than at Hoofddorp is due to with a conflict between NS-Vastgoed (Real Estate) and Thalys BV; the NS High Speed Operations arm. For that reason NS-V refuses to sell the necessary ground to RailNed to install a simple hard-standing as a loading facility for Railion Benelux and NS-Int. at Hoofddorp sidings, very close to the main generator of traffic, the Aalsmeer flower auctions. Apparently the train, not stopping for additional loading between the Dutch border and the Italian destination, is already commercially viable with 75 to 80 passengers (Dfl 290 cheapest return trip) and two loaded freight/parcels vehicles, which is regularly exceeded. The crux of the success of this operation is probably due to the fact that -because there are passengers on board the train has passenger status, which means that the cargo gets the same “right of way”. As far as NS-Int. is concerned, other possible destinations which could be served with this formula are Muenchen (Munich), Berlin and Wien (Vienna) and I did hear talk about Praha (Prague), which are all classic destinations from The Netherlands. London is not on the cards, probably for the "special" stock reasons due to the small loading gauge and the demands of safety in the Channel Tunnel.

On Thursday 6th of July the signalling control systems in Utrecht of all places developed a severe fault after an electrician caused a bad short circuit during work on the wiring, burning out forty of the VDU's which traffic controllers use to monitor and at times manually regulate traffic. Between 11:45 and 14:30 virtually no trains passed through this mother of all hubs in Holland. Obviously, the fallout of this incident was very noticeable throughout the country. On the 4th of June traffic in the South had a little taste of what havoc failing electronics can cause when a faulty interface print in the VPT traffic management system upset the works. Serious delays and cancellations lasted for 5 hours.

The work to double the lines into and out of Schiphol underground airport station and to provide the station with 6 platform faces has now been finished and the entire infrastructure is now in use. Including work to create a fly-over at Hoofddorp this job has taken 11 years. A row about fraudulent earnings of the construction companies involved on the project erupted, but allegations could not be proved.

Since the drive to take staff away from smaller stations started to bite, a number of de-staffed stations have been demolished. More of these locations, which are not deemed worth the investment in a Wizzl shop and which are not listed, will disappear in the near future. In Limburg Eijgelshoven, Chevremont and Tegelen disappeared. Further northward Zwolle Veerallee and Vrouwenparochie went.

The forecourt of Haarlem station has long been a source of discontent with virtually all users. Several attempts to do something about it have mainly resulted in a big bus station at the exclusion of everything else, which fulfils neither the desires of the bus company nor those of the travellers and the town councillors. So, now a new attempt is going to be made. The forecourt at the city side will be dug away and an underground bus- and TRAM station will be located there, which will require about NLG 1 bn. This will make it possible to recreate a nice open station square on the top, suitable for pedestrians without the fear of being squashed under a bus as at present. This will enhance the monumental character of the station, of which the municipality is justifiably proud and wants to make the most of.

The connection from Vlissingen Sloe to the chemical company Elf Atochem was completed in January to facilitate the transport of 20,000 tons of cargo from France. The trunk line in the harbour area has been extended by another 3 km to the Scaldiahaven and trains rolled on the 1st of April. It was only in February this year that the firms of Zeeland Seaport and Verbrugge asked for the extension, which was then built in record time.

The execution of age old plans to extend the original Amsterdam Metro line northward under the harbour toward Amsterdam Noord and Southward to Amsterdam World Trade Centre, to give that first line its spine function as planned, looks like being imminent. At the beginning of the autumn the Vijzelgracht will be cleared and the building of the underground stations at CS, Rokin, Vijzelgracht and Ceintuurbaan will commence. The over ground sections to Buikslotermeerplein will be installed at the same time, mainly using the existing line 50/51 track The tunnel sections will not be constructed with the previously used cut-and-cover method but will use tunnel boring techniques. The northern part of the line will be 10 km long with 8 new stations. Estimated cost ECU 1 bn, scheduled completion in 2008. The narrowing of platforms along the ring line 50 has been finished which will enable the old, wide units to visit here as well. Traffic is booming along this line and initially it was considered taking over a number of the now redundant old Rotterdam series 5000 units. Their condition and the price asked for the transport scuppered these plans and they are being scrapped now as reported above.

On the 2nd of July Connexxion, the operator of the sneltram line from Utrecht to Nieuwegein, started services on the 2-km long extension from Nieuwegein Centrum to Nieuwegein Zuid. In the meantime the renovation of the available sneltram stock, which includes fitting a new front, is continuing apace.

The province of Zuid Holland wants to invest more money in the development and actual construction of what at this moment are still only plans to get light rail in operation between Gouda, Alphen aan de Rijn, Leiden, Katwijk en Noordwijk. As many of us will see it uses existing NS lines from Gouda via Alphen a/d Rijn to Leiden and continues then basically along the former route of the NZH "blue tram" toward the seaside. In Leiden itself the tram will work as any city centre tram. The NLG 100 m which has been put forward for 2006-2010 by the government is, according to the provincial authorities, too little and very late. They say that, based on the plans as agreed in 1999, the first phase of the system could be in operation in 2002 with services taken over from NS on the Gouda to Alphen and the Utrecht via Alphen to Leiden lines. The estimated total cost is about NLG 314 m for 50 km's of line with 32 stops, of which 7 are existing NS stations.

The RandstadRail project aims to use the historic Hofplein line to link Den Haag and Rotterdam in a more meaningful way, especially in Rotterdam where at present the Hofplein terminus is comparatively isolated. The plan for Rotterdam includes a 2-km long tunnel to connect the Hofplein line with the rapidly growing Rotterdam Metro system. In Den Haag the vehicles would run along the existing tramline to Scheveningen. This means that the vehicles will have to be able to deal with 1,5 kV DC overhead on the NS line, 600 V DC overhead on the HTM tramline and 750 V DC third rail on the Rotterdam Metro lines. Furthermore NS-ATB and the Metro signalling will have to be taken in its stride. A final decision about this plan remains to be taken.

A viaduct across the Driepoortenweg in Arnhem, built in 1901, is not to become a listed structure if NS RailInfraBeheer has it its way. It needs work done and if it is listed this will be quite a bit more expensive. The viaduct, situated in the line from Arnhem to Zevenaar and the German border near the Het Broek industrial estate is in fact one of the few listed buildings left in Arnhem after the ravages of WWII. It was placed on the list in May this year, together with a number of dwellings, a small transformer shed, remaining bits of old fortifications and a number of monuments in cemeteries. The viaduct was built in 1901 by the Netherlands Rhine Railway Co. Ltd. (NRS) in its line from Amsterdam Weesperpoort station via Utrecht to Arnhem and then on to Germany. Another, smaller but higher, NRS viaduct can be found on the West side of Arnhem near Mariendaal on the line to Utrecht. The fact that Arnhem is in a fairly hilly area has undoubtedly contributed to this comparative wealth in old brick-built viaducts. NS has traditionally never been known as very willing to put itself out in order to preserve its heritage. In that respect the situation is many times more pleasant here in the UK, whatever the reason.

Delay looks certain for Betuwe Freight route, as the shifting of cables, sewers and other ducts appears to require quite a longer than budgeted for. On top of this it has been found that there is more polluted soil to be dealt with than initially thought which is another source of extra cost and delay. The chance that the line will open for business in 2005 is still estimated at 80 percent, although its first section, the Rotterdam Harbour line will now be opened in March 2004 instead of July 2003. Testing of the 25kV catenary with the Hungarian loco has been postponed until November. Until that time a newly developed electronic testing outfit will be used which can simulate, measure and validate virtually all conditions generated by traction using the line. The MAV loco will mostly be used to compare the results found with the new installation. 13-km track between the Maasvlakte and Europoort has been fitted with catenary. On the Betuwe line the building of a temporary viaduct in the present line near Sliedrecht, requiring alterations to be made to the catenary and track, precluded any traffic between Dordrecht and Gorinchem on the 11th and 12th of July.

The line from Nieuweschans-Leer is due to be renovated to the tune of 35m NLG. New track and a new platform will be added at Nieuweschans to enable trains to pass one another. The renovation also means that the line can also be used for cargo. From October this year, traffic will be increased from 3 to 6 international trains per day between Groningen and Leer. The Dutch Government will pay 7.4m NLG towards to the project, with the German Government footing a bill of 28m NLG. This is because the track condition in Germany is extremely poor with trains not being able to go faster than 30 km/h, after renovation this is hoped to increase the line speed to 120 km/h.

In February NS RailInfraBeheer started the construction of a third track between Houten Centrum and the planned station at Houten Castellum. The new track has a total length of 1900 meters and signifies the start of track extensions around Houten.

The current infrastructure at Den Haag CS is coming up for 25 years old and will be completely replaced in the coming years. The first major change was in the period May-June, when platform tracks 7 to 12 were totally replaced, with 11 and 12 being lengthened for long InterCity trains.

The Dutch cabinet has decided to construct the ‘Hanzelijn’, running from Lelystad to Zwolle via Kampen. Estimated costs run to 2 billion NLG and must be ready by 2010. It will possibly also form part of the Zuiderzee line between Amsterdam and Northern parts of Holland.

Good news for Railion is that the GM Opel train has been re-routed through The Netherlands and now travels from Bochum-Langendreer to Emmerich behind a DB-C electric, then all the way to Antwerpen behind two NS-C (Railion) 6400's with Belgian ATP. It is only here that Belgian Cargo takes over. Incidentally, this train is one of the first candidates to travel the Iron Rhine tracks once this line has been done up. Probably we'll see a third version of the international class 6400 locos; those fitted with two Dutch types of ATP, German Indusi ATP and Belgian Memor ATP. Also, coal traffic from OBA Amsterdam toward Germany has taken off again, which is definitely good news for Railion. Class 6400 Indusi fitted triplets are being used. The DB 241's are busy on their steel trains as usual.

The first generation of Werkspoor built Rotterdam Metro units is now being disposed of and is being transported on low loaders to Terlouw metals in the Waalhaven area for scrap. I have not heard of any initiative to save a unit for a museum but I trust someone will have thought of that. Strange to see them go, I very distinctly remember the national pride when these units opened traffic on the first underground railway in The Netherlands.

After the announcement of the merger between DB-Cargo and NS-Cargo into Europe Rail Cargo, later renamed Railion, it is only NS-Cargo, which has so far has actually shown any willingness at all to apply the name Railion to stationary and trains. Further action is now stalling, as the planned financial merger, scheduled for 1 January 2000, has been postponed. In Germany newly painted rolling stock is still appearing in full DB-C livery and Hartmuth Mehdorfer, the new DB top dog, is known to be against the new name, as was reported in a previous issue of this magazine. In the meantime some cross border operations have been streamlined and five NS locos are allowed to travel into Germany, as are three DB locos into The Netherlands, which is all that the co-operation has spawned so far. There are more inter-workings transporting a far higher tonnage with Belgium, with many more Dutch and Belgian locos involved, without any kind of wish to merge between NS and NMBS Cargo. What is going on?

The well-known green livery of the VAM household waste transporter vehicles, formerly the big Takkls bogie hoppers and now the containers on the ACTS wagons, is about to disappear. VAM waste management has been taken over by EDON energy generators and is now part of the Essent Environment organisation. In one fell swoop all containers will be re-liveried into the red Essent house colour with logo. Question is whether in the longer run it will make much difference, as the care of VAM was not such that the green containers were externally cleaned and in reality they were of a typical railway grimy brown rather than green. It is probable that this same colour will predominate on the red containers after a few trips without a wash. Another fact is that the word VAM figures in many NS abbreviations for locations, quite logical after 70 years of use. For instance, the name of the junction to the old composting plant north of Hoogeveen is known as VAM Aansluiting, short VamA, and the Apeldoorn loading point is ApdVam and the one in Haarlem is HlmVam. Along similar lines another name which merits reconsideration is BvHc, the abbreviation for Beverwijk Hoogovens Centraal yard, now that the name Hoogovens for the Dutch steel manufacturer has been superseded by Corus Steel. Stay tuned.

NS-R is under increasing criticism from passengers after having had to admit that standing on a number of routes could be the norm for some time to come during the rush hours. Minister Netelenbosch said that there is no breach of contract but parliament wants to have a further look at that. They are concerned about reversal as far as the desired modal shift to rail for rush hour travel is concerned. People would probably rather sit comfortably in their car in a traffic jam than stand on crowded platforms and trains in the rush hour, something which NS apparently (accidentally, we hope) overlooked. The reasons for the shortage of seats are threefold. The first is the on the whole rather precarious rolling stock situation after the wheelset drama due to mismanagement of resources, followed by overuse of other stock that initially was not affected to keep the services going more or less as advertised. The second is the dire shortage of conductors, based on the fact that one conductor is only allowed a limited number of coaches under his control (four double deck or six single deck) which has now led to enforced shorter trains. The third reason is that the rise in rail use has been much steeper than NS foresaw and the delivery time of two years for the ordered additional DD-IRM stock is presently grinding a mite. As far as conductors are concerned, an advertisement for 400 additional positions went out, which has so far resulted in 75 people having been found suitable for the job and who are now under training. The situation with drivers is also getting a bit worrying in some parts of the country. The reason being that, as predicted the various operating companies start poaching each other’s drivers. This leads to shortages in the least preferred kind of work, i.e. large conurbation local work, where the public noticeability of staff shortages is also acute, especially in the rush hours.


In line with the policies of regionalisation and of NS-R shedding local work wherever possible, Syntus has reached agreement with the authorities involved to expand its work in the Achterhoek area in the Province of Gelderland from 10 June 2001. From that date it will run the full Arnhem-Winterswijk service, thereby restoring this traditional link which was severed under the initial arrangements, under which Syntus ran the Winterswijk to Doetinchem section and NS-R the Doetinchem - Zevenaar to Arnhem section. Syntus will initially lease more DM'90 DHMU's from NS-R for coupling-compatibility reasons, but from June 2001 will use their Alsthom LinT 41 2-car sets, which are currently on order. However, they will be short of stock for the foreseen peak services, and for these they might spot hire refurbished plan U 3-car DEMU's. A workable arrangement for the running of train services under semi-privatisation is taking place rather quickly in the Arnhem area! It is interesting that Syntus runs the trains as driver-only between Doetinchem and Winterswijk, with irregular ticket checks with flying squads. Apparently the results are encouraging and NS-R is now going to do the same thing on the loss-making Heerlen to Aachen run, despite the fact that they are in their last year on that work and that the unions are against it.

At the same time it was announced that the minister had made ECU 14 m available for the IGO+ public transport integration project centred on East Gelderland, known as the Achterhoek (literally; the Back Corner). The money is mainly meant to add ATP and extra detection facilities to the signalling on the lines involved as the very light diesel sets of today are known to be prone to not actuate track circuits when leaf mulch collects on the tracks in the Autumn. Line speeds will be raised to 130 km/h, a new station added at Winterswijk-West and 11 level crossings with automatic warning lights only will be converted to full AHB. An extra loop in the single line between Zutphen and Winterswijk will be added to enable raising the frequency to two services per hour and finally stabling and refuelling facilities at Winterswijk. This will probably do away with the need for these facilities at Arnhem Berg sidings where the space is needed for other purposes in the near future anyway.

Incidentally, converting level crossings is part of a government-instigated drive to do away with warning lights only installations as the bulk of the accidents tend to happen on these remote crossings. Some 600 of these crossings will all be converted to AHB in a 10-year rolling programme. Similarly, a good number of the present 2900 crossings are to disappear at some time in the future in a programme to replace the worst accident prone AHB crossings with tunnels or viaducts, or delayed closing double barriers with train warning signals if the preferred split-level option is not viable.

Contrary to Syntus, NoordNed is making a hash of it on the Northern Diesel lines. They have a dire shortage of trains; yet have managed to return DH sets to NS-R (probably to reduce lease costs for sets only active during rush hours). They now find that the name NoordNed is as bitterly reviled in the North of The Netherlands as Connex or South West Trains is over here. NoordNed has now suggested that schools and universities should stagger their start up times and most of all make them later in the morning to alleviate dire overcrowding problems in the rush hour. The people in the North have laughed these proposals away as ridiculous; NoordNed is now hiring extra DHMU's back from NS-R. Meanwhile, the Groningen municipal authorities have threatened NoordNed with an ECU 159,000- fine for non-provision of first class accommodation on the NoordNed trains and to revoke the contract and offer the services to other operators. Therefore, NoordNed is now altering the interior of some sets again by adding first class seats, which obviously further reduces the capacity offered. In an attempt to reduce the ever increasing shortfall of rolling stock, NoordNed is planning (and has been since February) to hire the NMBS ‘Optio’ carriages, formerly used by Lovers Rail. All 19 of them are currently parked at the Saint-Ghislain yard. The provinces of Groningen and Friesland have stipulated that the carriages must be ‘serviced and checked’ before being brought into service. Which locos will be used to pull the carriages is still unclear, NS-Cargo has no spare 6400’s and Strukton’s 2200’s have no ATB. NoordNed has in the meantime been able to hire 2 Wadlopers from NS-Reizigers.

NS-Cargo virtually exploded with rage when DSM chemical industries announced that from the 1st of June this year ShortLines will work their five times per week tanker trains from Geleen-Lutterade to Rotterdam-Botlek, using one of the HGK DE1002 Bo-Bo' locos. Railion announced that they will suspend all co-operation with ShortLines and even the drivers are not allowed to use toilets and catering facilities any longer where they are operated by Railion. The fact is that DSM is the sort of customer which Railion could ill-afford to lose as it brought in about a quarter of the yearly turnover. Railion could, however, try to find out why DSM selected ShortLines and thus avoid seeing other customers walk out for the same reason.

An added bone of contention is that ShortLines, being short of traction, are hiring VSM owned ex-NS DE loco 2233 for work in Sittard and Rotterdam as long as DSM 7 is not available. The fact is that VSM acquired 2233 based on the agreement that this loco would not be offered for work in competition with NS-Cargo. So Railion is now threatening court action against VSM and is exerting other pressure on this museum operator. If this means that Railion will now stop making old traction available to museum operators in the future then this is not a clever move on the part of VSM. The tenacity with which the former NS bits hang on to 1300's and the rotting fleet of semi-decommissioned classes 2200, 1100 and 600 locos makes one think.

ShortLines had to have one of its trains pushed across the big Dordrecht drawbridge with its steep approaches on the 27th of May. The Bo-Bo' used was unable to get its 1200 tonne load up the slope and what happened was a nice example of not thinking but acting. The "Dordrecht in Stoom" steam shuttle topped and tailed by SSN pacific 01 1075 and 1'D2' (2-8-4) tank loco 65 018 made its way to the stricken train and lent a hand banking it over the hump of the bridge, after which the diesel could make its way alone to Kijfhoek and beyond into the Rotterdam harbour area. What the influence was on the passenger timetable on this extremely busy stretch of track is not known.

ACTS has put its third ex-Czech shunting loco no. 6003 into service. Number 1251 took it from the VSM workshops to Rotterdam and on the day of arrival the machine was used to propel a train into the Rail Service Centre. However soot, oil residue and other dirt in the exhaust caught fire, fortunately only causing a charred look to the previously pristine livery around the exhaust. Troubled V100 093 went back to the VSM.

Loco 1501; ex BR EM2 class 27 has been repainted in its NS-colours again. When reading about these ex-BR locos it is hard to imagine that the EM2’s have actually travelled more kilometres on Dutch metals than between Manchester and Sheffield. The spell in BR lined black livery is over again and 1501 has returned to the rails in its customary yellow and grey. This is one livery in which they lived the longest given that under BR they had black, green and blue liveries at one time or another. Together with 1211 she is available for charters and other jobs as usual and I expect that they will appear with some regularity as before, to keep the muscles taut and to refresh traction knowledge among drivers.

At the end of May it was announced that the NS-Group would make NLG 70 m available for work on the Utrecht railway museum. The Maliebaan station in which the museum is housed will be brought back to its former glory, complete with its original interior. Platforms 2 and 3 will be enclosed in a hall with air conditioning and for the collection, a building of 2000 sq. m will be added. 2004 is the date that the renewed museum should be open.

This very active organisation in Southern Limburg, which is now fully accredited as a steam traction engineering firm as well, complete with licenses to test, has a DE2 unit available. This set is fitted with German Indusi ATP and will very likely be used for working into Germany on their international line to Vetschau (see reports in Nieuwsbrief passim) as well as on excursions. In order to make a distinction with present NS units the idea has been put forward to repaint the set in a different livery, which, due to the fact that the unit has been thoroughly altered anyway, could, but does not necessarily have to be a historic livery. Later, when NS -supposedly- has disappeared from diesel operations in the area altogether the unit might regain her yellow outfit again. Next to the Swedish steam locos which the company runs there is a C (0-6-0) austerity saddle tank from former NS stock available (8826) which is now awaiting a space in the workshop to start its repair into full working condition.

When visiting Amsterdam it might pay to try and get information about what events are planned in the city. The shortage of normal GVB tram vehicles to meet stiff traffic demand is now regularly being dealt with by hiring museum vehicles of every possible description from museum organisations in Amsterdam. Unfortunately for the operators, the appearance of exotic trams on the streets often generates its own extra traffic as enthusiasts board these trams in droves and stay on board for far more than a regular trip from A to B. But it undeniably looks good to see these old and often beautiful trams from various European cities criss-cross the city between the regular machinery. Naturally, if they are not being employed in town you can see them on the museum line from Haarlemmermeer station to Amstelveen. Rotterdam and Den Haag have cottoned on to the success of the Amsterdam exploits and now organise their own old trams on the streets days with equal success. Den Haag operator HTM has now decided to install the new VECOM traffic control system in the museum trams as these are fitted with the now redundant VETAG installations only. A date to keep in mind is 16th September; there will be a huge tram spectacle in Amsterdam to celebrate 100 years of electric trams in Amsterdam. The tram parades will be massive with large numbers of different tram vehicles. On the 9th of September there will be trips in Den Haag with the NZH "blue tram" stock A327 + B37 between Korte Voorhout and Scheveningen beach.

Even before any of the 95 Siemens Combino trams ordered have arrived, GVB wants to extend the order with another 60 vehicles. The advent of the Combino's will mean the end for much of the present stable, only the angular series 780-816 LHB Salzgitter trams and the newest electronic BN Brugge trams 817-841/ 901-920 will remain in service. A Combino will probably be present at the tram parade of September 16th when a Potsdam Combino will be present, reliveried in Amsterdam colours.

The 4-track tram station at Amsterdam CS for routes 4, 9, 16, 20, 24 and 25 has been moved eastward to allow construction work to take place under the old location for the extended Metro station for the northbound, cross harbour, line. Then, the route along the Ceintuurbaan will be fully segregated from other traffic, while the platforms of the stops will be extended to take two trams. The neighbourhoods have mounted a protest as the pavements will be narrowed and many trees will have to be felled to enable the redesigned traffic situation to be put in place. In the harbour area on the KNSM Island, near the passenger terminal not too far away from CS, a redesign of the Azartplein will allow a future extension of route 10 from its present terminus via the Czaar Peterstraat and the Verbindingsdam in 2002.

It is a little known fact that there is a tram tunnel in the centre of Den Haag. It is not yet in use (after about four years of occasional construction work and a lot of deliberating), but the biggest hold-up and main reason for the anxious deliberations is the fact that the tunnel has up to now been flooded four times. Meanwhile, the municipality has decided it will grant an extra NLG 70 m to finally get this tunnel dry and in working order, so presumably work has restarted. The first trams should use this tunnel in 2004. PCC car 1329 has been restored to full working order and will leave Europe for a museum in the USA.

Rotterdam has dropped the Siemens Combino tram but has selected the Alsthom Citadis trams instead. I think that for the passenger, the difference, apart from the liveries, will be minimal. Rotterdam has chosen the TM model, which is a five part articulated modular tram, of which the looks of the tram front can be selected by the customer. The two outer modules contain the traction bogies and the cabs, the intermediate modules are suspended between the outer and the inner modules, and the inner module carries the pantograph and sits on non-powered wheels. The tram is of full-length low floor design for 190 passengers, of which about a third are seated. The tram is 30.5m long, 2.40m wide and 3.36m high excluding the reach of the pan. There are four doors on each side; the door height is 2.10 m with a doorsill at 300 mm above the street, partially depending on the load in the vehicle. Stops will be announced and shown automatically inside all the modules. The traction installation will come from Alsthom Traxis, formerly Holec Ridderkerk. This traction installation is again of modular construction, is very compact and in fact consists of two identical units in the outside body-modules; each consisting of 3-phase IGBT controlled traction motors with regenerative as well as normal dynamic braking with resistances. Everything that is not fitted in the motor bogies is fitted in pods on top of the roof and is cooled naturally by airflow without extra fans etc. All traction is fitted with diagnostics with PC interrogation and readout for the driver. In short, a normal up to date tram for the year 2000, of which the first vehicle is planned to enter service in the second half of 2002. They will mainly replace the oldest trams of the 1600 series.

By Peter van der Mark and Neil Sutton
AM'96 3-car EMU's have all been delivered. These units, based on the Bombardier I11 coach, have now all been delivered and are in service. The last two, 557 and 570 came off the factory in Brugge in mid-June. The first sub-series 441-490 with 3 kV DC and 25 kV 50 Hz AC dual voltage capabilities are all based at Oostende for Antwerpen - Gent - Lille and Herstal - Liege - Charleroi - Lille services. The second series 501-570 with 3 kV DC capability only are used on the Knokke/Blankenberge - Gent - Brussel - Hasselt, Charleroi - Brussel - Antwerpen and the Brussel - Luxembourg services and are based at Hasselt depot, even though 501-524, used on the Luxembourg jobs, will be reallocated to Stockem depot. The AM'80 Break 3-car units previously used have all disappeared from these runs and are to be re-deployed along cascade principles on other jobs, even though reappearance on their former routes in emergency (failures etc.) should not be ruled out.

Construction of the class 77 locomotives has reached number 18, however not all of the locomotives have been delivered and passed for traffic, so far the fleet is only allocated to Antwerpen Dam depot. Class 13's up to 1332 are in traffic, it is planned that all 60 locomotives will be allocated to Merelbeke near Gent, currently the classes only duties are on the hourly IC services from Oostende to Eupen, and Oostende to Antwerpen. The first class 13 to work to Luxembourg was on 23rd July when 1314 worked the Ardennes Express train INT 1138 from Liege to Luxembourg.

Class 4100 2-car DHMU's. Tests with the first unit continue. It should be borne in mind that delivery has started about 10 months after the contracted delivery date and that Alsthom is bound to pay ECU 5355- in penalties for each week that each unit is late. With 79 more units to come that could amount to quite a whopping handout by the time the last unit is taken over. Delivery of the first unit from the Barcelona factory was by road, which in itself took care of 8 days delay over a projected 8-day journey due to holiday traffic in France.

After the use of a class 51 DE loco and 9 of the 1960's vintage M2 carriages on an emergency run to get 70 British Euro 2000 soccer fan (atic) s to Calais after the Charleroi difficulties, the French showed themselves to be less than pleased with these type of vehicles. They are not approved for passenger services on the French network (they were used until fairly recently on Brussel to Lille services until Thalys took over) and dumped them for a month at Calais to settle the dispute. Long lives the maturing European unity!

One of the better-known sorts of freight traffic from the port of Antwerpen to a Dutch destination is the zinc ore run to Budel and Balen. Presently about 77 type Fals bogie hoppers are used for this job, the well-known boxy type which are used extensively in Holland and Germany as well. These will be replaced with 55 blue liveried type Tallns bogie hoppers on track friendly bogies wit a tare weight of 28 tonnes. This allows them to load 61.5 tonnes at 100 km/h (60 mph) or 71.5 tonnes at 80 km/h. To start with the trains will run at the lower payload pending research into, and possible necessary upgrade to 25 tonnes axle load of sections of track. The final stage will be the formation of 3000 tonne trains to limit the journey to one out and back service per day.

On Monday 14-08-2000 five wagons of a tanker train from DSM chemie at Geleen-Lutterade derailed near Vise just South of Maastricht on the Belgian side of the border, presumably due to excessive speed. As it now turns out, the train was hauled by one of the Belgian ATP fitted NS diesels with a Dutch driver. During the recovery of the wagons the very dangerous and flammable cargoes had to be pumped into road tankers after which the wagons had to be degassed and then put back on the track and made ready for transport, a job which took about three days. During that time the nearby A2 motorway was closed for traffic and about hundred people in Vise had to be evacuated. NMBS estimates that the whole episode has cost them NLG 10 to 15 m, which they want to have paid back by the operator of the train, which is Railion Benelux. An in-house investigation proved that track and signalling were working and up to standard, so now the waiting is to get the analysis of the tape from the Black Box trip recorder on the loco. Meanwhile, on the night of the 20th the route was opened for traffic again.

At approximately 18:00 on Friday 11th August NS diesel locomotive number 6517 hauling a Sittard to Kinkempois chemical train, was involved in a derailment at just south of Vise station on the line between Maastricht and Liege. The train contained 12 wagons of which 3 became derailed. The line was closed until Sunday when the one daily train from Amsterdam to Luxembourg was permitted to pass the site at 5 km/h hauled by a SNCB class 55 locomotive. Buses replaced the hourly IC service. The line reopened to traffic on Monday.
(The above two reports came from different sources, which is correct I am unable to say. Editor)

Also in the Liege area on Monday 14th August, 2 trains ran into each other in the tunnel between Liege Palais and Liege Guillemins. The accident was caused by the driver of train IC 2429 07:39 Liers to Bruxelles (via Namur) worked by EMU number 321 passing a signal at danger at Liege Jonfosse and hitting the EMU working L5677 06:43 Namur - Herstal. 21 people were taken to hospital, 2 of whom were seriously injured.

From the beginning of August SNCB have decided to close all booking offices from 22:30 in the evening except for Bruxelles Midi. This decision has been made for security reasons; in future tickets will be available from the guard on the train after 22:30.

SNCB are currently considering a class 14 locomotive, which would be a development of the class 13, which is currently under production, but would include 15kV AC capability enabling the locomotives to work into Germany. A small order is expected, these locomotives would primarily be for working the Oostende - Koln Hbf InterCity services. It is expected that DB will not renew the 3000v DC equipment at Aachen Hbf when it is due for replacement in the near future. This means that only Belgian locomotives fitted with 15kV AC equipment will be able to work to Aachen, this is currently limited to the seven class 16 locomotives.

A new high speed line between Bruxelles and Namur / Charleroi is being considered, plans are being drawn up for a new 200 km/h line which would follow the E411 motorway, the line would split north of Namur. The aim is for a journey time of 20 minutes from Bruxelles to Namur and 35 minutes from Bruxelles to Charleroi. The first track was laid on the new line between Liege and Bruxelles at the beginning of June. The line is planned to be operational for summer 2002.

Reopening Lines to Passengers
SNCB is also looking at reopening six routes to passenger traffic these are as follows: -
Alost – Termonde – Puurs; Genk – Maasmechelen; Virton – Athus – Arlon;
Libramont – Bastogne; Nivelles – Ottignies; Dinat - Givet.
At the moment this is just a study and nothing may come of it.

By Peter van der Mark
Another star appeared at the Dutch super model firmament, that of Werps Modelbouw. Edwin Werps, a technical engineering graduate, decided to make his hobby his job and is now issuing models of mainly 19th and early 20th century tram and main line equipment. Given the stunning quality of the etched and cast brassware, which he markets, the prices are actually relatively soothing. Already on the market for about NLG 300 is a 0-4-0 steam tram of 1880's vintage of the "coffee grinder" (encased) variety as run by the Gooische Stoomtram. The loco is probably the smallest running HO model available yet has a Mashima motor with flywheel hidden in the boiler. Running is impeccable. Then, a model of one of the two four-wheel flat cars of the Gooische Stoomtram. Both the loco and the flatcar sport working scale tram couplings, the reality in scale is astonishing but fast attaching/detaching appears a bit troublesome. For the mainline there is an HO model of the 1865 vintage Staatsspoor CHA four-wheel van, with an open brakeman's seat with crank on top in the case of the 22 braked vehicles. The un-braked vehicles (81 built) come without this most charming looking feature. Both versions can be built from the kit, price around NLG 90. A model of a low-sided standard gauge wagon built by the HSM in 1865 for the transport of sand or horse drawn coaches, is the fourth item, price around NLG 75. All vehicles come as DIY kits with all transfers and with RP25 wheels as standard, but the pinnacle of true good looks is reached with the P-87 fine scale wheels. Axles of wagons feature compensation. Completed models to spec can be purchased after prior arrangements. Address: Werps Modelbouw, Latyruspad 11, NL-1338 XK Almere, Netherlands, Telephone, 0031 (0) 36 5327879. Email: e.werps@chello.nl

VEMI has issued an HO model of a Den Oudsten A11 type bus in Connexxion livery to dress up the station forecourt. On a modern outline Dutch lay out one cannot do without them.

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden.
Are you interested in visiting Dutch historical lines and museums? Then read on. I have listed (split over 2 Nieuwsbrief issues) details of 18 rail museums and an accompanying map. If you are connected to the Internet, then you can also access this information at the following address: www.railmusea.nl, although the information provided will be in Dutch. Do contact the organisations before planning your visit, as many of them only operate between April and October, and some only offer rides on certain dates.

Museumspoorlijn STAR (map ref. 1)…
The line runs from Veendam – Stadskanaal - Musselkanaal covering a total distance of 26 km.
Address: Stationstraat 3, 9503 AD Stadskanaal.
Contact: Tel: 0599-651890, Email: info@stadskanaalrail.nl
Travel: a. Train/Bus: Via NS-Station Assen, Arriva no. 28 and taxiline 228 or
Via NS-Station Groningen and Emmen, Arriva line 73.
Further Info: www.stadskanaalrail.nl

Eerste Drentse Vereniging van Stoomliefhebbers EDS (map ref. 2)…
Located in an ‘open-air’ museum demonstrating life in the ‘bourtangermoeras’ up to the 1920’s, the EDS train takes you for a 20 min ride through the ’hoogveen’ area.
Address: Veenpark, Berkenrode 4, 7884 TR Barger Compascuum.
Contact: Tel: 0591-324444.
Travel: Train/Bus: Via NS-Station Emmen and VEONN line 45.

Industrieel Smalspoor Museum ISM (map ref. 3)…
This museum line takes you for a ride on the original ‘smalspoortraject’ dating back to the early 1900’s. The line was mainly used for transporting peat and the ride includes a visit to a working peat factory and takes around 60 mins.
Address: (Postal Address) Griendtveenstraat 150, 7887 TK Erica.
Contact: Tel. 0591-303061.
Travel: Train/Bus: Via NS-Station Emmen, and TreinTaxi.
Further info www.smalspoormuseum.nl

Stichting Rijssens Leemspoor (map ref. 4)…
Located to the South of Rijssen, the reconstruction of the old ‘Leemspoornet’ is underway. Attractions include an engine-shed and rolling stock, which can be viewed every last Saturday of the month. Track is currently also being laid.
Address: Markeloseweg 78A, Rijssen.
Contact: Tel: VVV Rijssen 0548-520011.

Museum Buurt Spoorweg MBS (map ref. 5)…
The MBS runs a 7 km historical steam train service between Haaksbergen and Boekelo. Using authentic rolling stock and materials, an attempt has been made to represent a Dutch branch line as realistically as possible. The MBS runs seven steam engines, eight diesels and a collection of restored rolling stock.
Address: Stationsstraat 3, 7481 JA Haaksbergen.
Contact: Tel 053-5721516.
Travel: Train/Bus: Via NS-Station Hengelo, Bus 53.
Via NS-Station Enschede, Bus 20, 73.

Veluwsche Stoomtrein Maatschappij VSM (map ref. 6)…
The VSM runs large steam engines on the Apeldoorn - Dieren line, accompanied by a varied range of carriages over a distance of 22 km.
Address: Dorpstraat 140, 7361 AZ Beekbergen.
Contact: Tel: 055-5061989.
Travel: Via NS-Stations Apeldoorn and Dieren.

Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum NSM (map ref. 7)…
Having recently been refurbished, the National Railway Museum boasts displays of the Dutch railways past and present. There are model railways and ‘real trains’, including rides on the historical ‘Jumbo Express’ and new exhibits/shows such as the Holland Rail Show. The ‘Arend’ and ‘3737’ locos are also fired-up 4x a day.
Address: Maliebaanstation, 3581XW Utrecht.
Contact: Tel: 030-2306206, Email: nlspoorwegmuseum@tref.nl
Travel: Via NS-Station Utrecht CS and Bus GVU line 3.

Museumstoomtram Hoorn - Medemblik MHM (map ref. 8)…
Visit Hoorn – Enkhuizen - Medemblik on this popular museum line.
Address: Van Dedemstraat 8, Hoorn.
Contact: Tel: 0229-214862, Email: mshm@worldonline.nl
Travel: NS-Station Hoorn.

Corus Excursietrein (map ref 9) …
Take a trip by steam engine over the 800 ha industrial complex run by Corus (steel manufacturers, formerly Hoogovens Steel). The ride of 21 km takes almost 2 hrs passing various steel factories and includes an ‘expert’ guide and photo stops.
Address: Beverwijk NS-Station.
Contact: Tel: 0251-498384.
Travel: NS-Station Beverwijk.


By Peter van der Mark
In this country a thorough search for factors which induce railway accidents has been instigated after the Southall and Ladbroke Grove accidents near Paddington. Both accidents occurred on a stretch of track which, unlike most in Britain, has fairly recently been upgraded, is controlled in the most modern fashion and is actually fitted with ATP. Nevertheless, 38 people lost their lives within 2 years in the two accidents mentioned and the obvious question, which Railtrack and the operators struggle with, is why?

One of the factors involved clearly is the signalling and its interface with the train drivers. The Institute of Railway Signalling Engineers (IRSE) has set up a working party to do some fundamental research into the British signalling philosophy and the way the end-user, the train driver, works with it. One of the members of this working party is the eminent and well-known writer on the subject of railway safety and its history, Stanley Hall. Through IRSE he arranged a trip to The Netherlands for a fact-finding mission on the signalling system and ATP in use there. The main reason being that the Dutch signalling could in a number of ways be regarded as a speed-signalling version of the British system, rather than the route signalling in actual use in this country. Another reason was that most Dutch people speak very good English.

The main difference between the British and Dutch systems is that the Dutch driver gets well defined digital speed orders from illuminated boxes under the signals, which are backed up by local changes in the speed indication of the ATP. In Britain a driver receives route indications to which a speed order is attached, the details of which he has to know by heart.

Stanley Hall wanted to experience what this speed signalling looked like from a seat in the cab. As he and I were already involved in an exchange of views following the Ladbroke Grove accident, which after all happened on a stretch of track where I earn my daily bread as a driver, he did me the honour of inviting me to come along. And so we found ourselves at Schiphol Airport on the 8th of June, to be received by the IRSE contact in The Netherlands Mr. Wim Coenraad, together with two other signalling and safety experts, Mr. Jochen Vorderegger and Mr. Arno Saarloos. At Amsterdam CS the excursion started in earnest, Mr. Vorderegger explaining that the use of "dwarf signals" in low speed area's (40 km/h or 25 mph) for space reasons had some negative implications for sighting by drivers in the sometimes very high cabs in use there.

We set off in a Sprinter three car EMU with an Amsterdam driver. It was very interesting for me to see the way a Sprinter is push button controlled. A row of buttons with speed indications is fitted in front of the driver and he selects and pushes the right button for a certain speed, the train cruise control does the rest. This works for increases as well as decreases in speed as the train is fitted with dynamic braking facilities. This dynamic braking facility moved the driver to do something which corresponds to the driving of similarly fitted trains in Britain when using the brake handle to come to a full stop. Shortly before reaching his stop point he releases and then applies his brake again. What happens is that he keeps the changeover between dynamic braking and full air braking in his own control this way, as the automatic changeover with its short release of the brakes might occur anywhere, even at a rather unwanted moment just before the stop blocks. A number of niggly incidents occurred, when shortly after their introduction "Networker" trains hit the stop blocks on the South Eastern, and this can partially be ascribed to this -in itself foreseeable- functioning of the brake system. A matter of getting used to.

And so we travelled all stations to Haarlem and then through the Velser Tunnel to Uitgeest. Here we changed ends, looked at the big ATP box (which would not fit into the Russian built DB class 241’s) and then went back to Amsterdam CS via Zaanstad. The type of ATP in use was the "classic" NS-ATB EG. This system does not work with a calculated "braking curve" as do the more modern systems, but it demands a set braking effort called the "brake criteria" which must be fulfilled if the driver does not want the system to take over and stop the train for him. Three very civil "dings" on a bell indicate the moment that the brakes can be released as far as the ATP is concerned. This old type of ATP also works with a very restricted number of speed indications, 40, 60, 80, 130 and full speed for those types of stock allowed to work faster on lines allowing it. Under 40 km/h the system does not interfere with the driving and will allow passing a signal at danger. In such 40 areas we will usually find those "dwarf" signals with their sometimes limited "spotability" from the high cabs is a bit daunting. My Dutch colleagues without fail shrug this away under the heading route knowledge.

Back at Amsterdam CS we left the Sprinter and went to see the ICM "Koploper" stock for an Amsterdam CS to Nijmegen InterCity, once again under control of ATB-EG. The height of the cab over the track is the first and most impressive feature of this stock when one is used to British outlines. We started off with a potential "ding-ding and away SPAD" but the driver was fully with it and did not react. It triggered another pang of "if only we had this stuff" emotion in me when the senior conductor called the driver on his short wave handset to apologise. The trouble I have to getting through to the senior conductor when he attends to his duties in the train, away from the intercom phone, then this is the solution. Anyway, away we went to Utrecht and Arnhem. At the Utrecht stop the driver, a veteran with 30 years behind him, wanted to see what a British trained colleague would drive like so he invited me into the seat. It became clear that the difference between a Southern DC unit and this much more sophisticated NS unit in the end was actually negligible. I did have to get used to the foot pedals for both horns and the fact that the controllers for traction and braking are positioned opposite and work opposite to the British controllers, but this is a bit like reconverting oneself to driving a continental car every once in a while. On approaching Ede Wageningen I did a bit of a rather fast, home style, approach (the brakes being very good on this stock) and overlooked the fact that the ATB-EG demands a set braking rate, so we found ourselves grinding to a halt well before reaching the station. Red face time.

Anyway, we arrived in Nijmegen and changed to a DM'90 DHMU. First impression was the space in the cab, next, the absolute silence in the cab of this diesel stock. If the new Alsthom Coradia's are as good as this then we are in for a major improvement in working circumstances on FGW when compared to the noise of HST's. But the really lasting sense of delight came when this unit switched between the two completely different systems of ATP in use in the Netherlands, as the Maas line has been equipped with the much more modern and powerful ATB-NG. It is an absolutely incompatible system with ATB-EG under which we left the station; both systems are as different as say DB-Indusi and NS-ATB EG. Yet, there was no turning of knobs as on Eurostar, no pressing of buttons, no resetting of anything at all. The one readout/speedometer handles both systems and if you did not know it (and have a Dutch signalling man with you to point it out) you would not experience it. At no time was the train without ATP control and this smooth automatic changeover occurred three more times on reaching Venlo and then Roermond. If only other European systems could be forged together like this! Obviously this will become obsolete the moment European Train Control System finally -finally- comes on stream but in the meantime I most certainly consider this to be State of the Art. I was deeply impressed; to me it defined the difference between a system where every bit of investment in decent rail equipment is begrudged and one where only the best is good enough.

In Roermond we waited for an InterCity back to the Randstad, twelve coaches ICR hauled by an 1800. Once again I was offered a stint in the seat but I politely declined as this was completely different from my experience and in case of an emergency I would not be able to instinctively do the right thing immediately. But interesting machines they are. The driving desk is characteristically French and completely different from anything else of the period.

A rather difficult moment had to be negotiated by my Maastricht colleague when the detection on a set of crossover points had failed and as a consequence three AHB road crossings had to be worked locally, by the train. This is done by approaching the crossing very, very slowly and then actuating a switching point at about a meter from the crossing, which is still open and cars are zooming by. When the bells start clanging and the barriers come down the train has to be stopped until the crossing is secure, and then move across. It was rather a nerve-wracking experience to me, although Mr. driver never stopped explaining the details of a particular spot of trouble he had with his rosters. Talk about different cultures, Railtrack would never deal with this situation in a similar fashion, we would stop all traffic for as long as it takes a man to show up in a Railtrack Incident Response van with keys to close the crossing from a box at the line side. There are good sides to both approaches.

We finally got back to Amsterdam; I particularly enjoyed the trip between Muiderpoort and Amsterdam CS along the Dijksgracht. Here it was a matter of looking for a green signalling cabinet to spot the location of a lonely dwarf signal, rolling along in a 630 tonne train at 40 km/h, probably unable to stop in time without spilling lots of coffee if the spotting failed. Oh well.

All in all we saw an impressively well thought out, concise and easily readable signalling system with very widely fitted ATP in action. Most of all it was striking to see the confidence with which junctions were taken at the indicated speed with minimum loss of speed and time as well as minimum investment in energy to get back to line speed. This compared very favourably with the uncertainty which surrounds the approach control (is that signal coming off or not) in use in Britain. Whether we will ever consider adopting a similar system over here is a very big question, though. I have my doubts on that one.

I sincerely thank Stan Hall and IRSE for the invitation and Wim, Arno and Jochen for the excellent job they did in organising -and escorting us on- this most instructive and memorable trip. Obviously, any language fails to express my gratitude to my NS-R colleagues for the welcome we found in their cabs.


By Robert Palmer
Saturday 17th June, St Felix School Newmarket. The day was sunny and hot, very hot, too hot to attract large numbers of visitors into a school. Nevertheless many visitors turned up to enjoy a varied selection of layouts representing many of the railways of Europe, which is where the majority of layouts purport to be based. There was also a varied selection of trade stands to back up this variety. As always at Newmarket, there was a display of Trabant cars outside the hall, only this year they were also used to provide a free taxi service to the station.

The NRS publicity stand was in attendance for the day together with a display of Dutch H0 gauge rolling stock and a selection of videos playing. Several members put in an appearance, which helped to make the day an enjoyable experience, there never seems to be enough spare time to talk to the many acquaintances I have made during many years of railway modelling! There was an informal inaugural meeting of the European Railways Group. This is a proposal to have a ‘loose’ and informal coalition of like-minded Societies to help promote common interests. A further meeting was proposed to take place at the Oxford exhibition and should anything further be decided then we will report back to you in the next issue.

Thanks are due to the Treasurer Allan Haynes for his assistance in staffing the stand, and to Membership Secretary Dave Dawes for transporting the stand to Newmarket and for supplying the TV and video. Overall a successful and enjoyable day, even if it was too hot to be inside, and I think the organisers, (which includes our Publicity Officer Phil Colton) were reasonably happy.

By Ralph Hanley

Main articles, well illustrated by photographs, on: - NS Leiden to Dordrecht section 4, Moerwijk to Delft; Steel transportation in the Netherlands by NS; NS France Alpine express. Other articles: - Marklin models of SNCB series 22 locomotives; SNCB M4 carriage models; Continuation of SNCV tram systems ‘Aux Trams Citoyens’.
Items of interest: - SNCB have six series 55 diesels equipped with TVM430 signal systems which enables them to use TGV tracks. A photograph shows 2 such 55’s hauling an empty Eurostar near Ath. Several photographs showing the current state of Liege – Guillemins station rebuilding. LS-Models/Sachsenmodelle have produced a new NS Fourgon with signs in 4 languages. During January an SNCF automotrice TER 23576/231572 type TER 2N based in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais was operating between Luxembourg and Thionville. The new SNCB series 77, [7701 –7708], are allocated to Antwerpen Dam and so far have operated trouble free. The existing NS Dynamometer car has been replaced by a new Eurailscout manufactured by Strukton. Both were seen in the same formation between Maastricht and Vise. There are plans to relocate Zeebrugge station closer to the beach and ferry terminals, this would significantly reduce the existing 3 km walk to these places and the SNCB hopes to increase passenger traffic. There are rumblings, reported in Le Soir, concerning the upgrading of the track between Bruxelles and Luxembourg to increase speeds from 140 to 160 kph. The cost of 12b Bfr to gain 10 minutes is thought to be too costly per minute saved. Opponents believe that for a smaller additional investment, speeds of 200 kph would be possible with much greater timesavings. The possibility of using Pendulum trains is to be reviewed. Electrification has been completed on the remaining section, [Rivage to Gouvy], of the Liege to Luxembourg line #42. The 25kV electrification was completed at the end of May at a cost of 900m Bfr after starting in 1997. Electrification involved modifying 9 tunnels and 85 km of catenary. Signalling is controlled from a new cabin at Rivage. Completion was celebrated on 27th/28th May by free travel between stations on the line and on 3rd/4th June by return travel to Luxembourg at single fare.

Main Articles, well illustrated by photographs, on:
NS ICE units in service
Last of the SNCB TAC trains [autocar transport] from Schaerbeek
NS “over night” express, [Amsterdam to Milan]
Other Articles:
SNCB series 22 locomotives, [second part], with technical details
NS fire evacuation exercise in Best tunnel, during this exercise the Venlo - Maasvlakte steel trains were diverted via the “Meuse line” involving a short halt at Vierlingsbeek.
Construction details of new “Kibri” signal cabin “Saxby”
Items of interest:
NS News
After 55 years Hillegom, [Den Haag to Haarlem line] has now had its station reinstated in the same place as the earlier one; it is now served by 2 trains per hour. Electrification of the freight line from Maasvlakte is proceeding slowly, with catenary just reaching Dintelhaven [2 Km]. French and Czech built locos are planned for the testing. The railway through the streets of Deventer was closed 27 May. Locomotives 2459 and 52 8139 hauled a farewell train of 3 “Blokkendoos”. NoordNed will no longer use as many “Wadlopers” as NS. The surplus is now in service between Zwolle and Kampen (see NS News, NoordNed. Editor). Leidschendam depot held an open day 27 May. Rolling stock on display included the new ICE stock, a smartly turned out 1501, sprinter and HTM tram 3147. Two ex “Lovers Rail” M2 carriages were seen on SNCF sidings at Gray repainted as “Optio Express” and may see service again in Holland (see NS News, NoordNed. Editor).

In a move to increase passenger traffic, from 01 July SNCB allow free travel for children up to 12 years, after 09:00 for 2nd class travel. In addition pensioners will only pay 50 Bfr per journey, again for 2nd class after 09:00. SNCB passenger receipts for 1st Q 2000, compared with 1st Q 1999 have increased by nearly 8 % national, 18 % international, and 14 % parcels. Thalys now operates a Bruxelles to Geneve service in 5 hours by combining with a service from Roissy to Geneve. However using this service, with changes, the journey time to Bale now increases from 5 hr 50 min [1975 TEE] to 6 hr 10 min. Antwerpen Dam now appears to be the “centre” for demolishing withdrawn stock. Recently seen for demolishing were: - 5160, 8456, 8427, 8459, 8504, 8517, 8513, 8506, 8514, 8525, 5113, and 8442. Locos seen partly demolished were: - 5155, 5169, 5177, 8425, 9109, 9139, 9201, 9204 and 9212. Locos 7701 and 7709 have been temporarily reprieved to haul withdrawn stock. SNCB type 77 locos are often seen in tandem with DB motive power hauling the Aachen - Montzen freight service. Permanent way work on line 161 [Bruxelles to Namur] during w/e 13 & 14 May resulted in service diversions via either Ottignies - Louvain or Charleroi. Delays ranged from 15 to 40 minutes.

Redundant SNCB coaches type K1 - 3, [originated from the SNCF in 1995], have found new service with NS. They are designated K4, and have been modified to run at 140 Kph and to have automatic door closing / opening. They are operating in SNCB red with NS logo mainly on the services from Den Haag Centraal to Breda, Eindhoven, and Heerlen. A photo shows an IC train with mixed NS and SNCB stock at Den Haag CS ready for departure to Heerlen. Motive power is normally NS class 1700.

By David Halsall
European Handbook Number 1. Benelux Railways locomotives and rolling stock
David Haydock, Brian Garvin and Peter Fox. Platform 5 Publications Ltd., Sheffield, 2000, 176 pp., £14-50, paperback, 4th edition, ISBN 1092336089

Most readers will be familiar with Platform 5's European Handbooks, which give details of the rolling stock and locomotives of the selected specified countries, and useful if brief introductions to their railway facilities. The new (4th) edition of Volume 1 of the series was published in early August 2000, providing a much-needed revision of the Benelux countries rail handbook. The considerable changes since 1994 (3rd edition) - investment in new infrastructure, motive power and rolling stock, and in the changing organisation of railway services and provision, administration, management, and operation are reflected in the content of this volume, divided as previously into three sections, one for each country. Each national system is introduced by a consideration of access from Britain, rover tickets and costs, passenger train services, the organisation of the railway system, depots, works, etc. and rolling stock and motive power liveries. Nine pages of maps in full colour are a great improvement on the black and white maps in the 3rd edition, which suffered from a lack of clarity owing to size reduction (in particular the SNCB/NMBS map was almost illegible). These maps include larger scale representations of the larger cities' railways - Amsterdam, Brussels and Liege - and the alignments of new high speed (e.g. Antwerpen-Rotterdam-Amsterdam) and urban passenger lines (e.g. Amsterdam). New freight lines indicated include the Betuwe line.

The bulk of the book is, however, devoted to listing, classifying and detailing the salient features of locomotive and multiple unit classes and passenger rolling stock. Numbers and names, liveries, present uses, dates of construction, electrical and mechanical systems, dimensions, tractive effort, maximum speed, etc. are specified for each class. This data is supported by a generous selection of clear photographs in colour (69) and black and white (13) of modern train services. These provide a thorough introduction to the newcomer to Benelux railways, and an up to date reference for the more experienced enthusiast. Details of museum sites and preserved railways and their Benelux and other (foreign) motive power are listed and illustrated, and these are a useful foundation for the reader's explorations of older railway practice. The one disappointment is the lack of further information on the private open access freight operator, ShortLines (p.125). As this operator is based in Rotterdam and works freight between the port and Germany, details of its relevant motive power for these services would be appropriate. The reader is instead forced to await the forthcoming volume on German railways for this information.

Overall this is a much needed and well-appreciated reference source for the enthusiast interested in the modern railway operations in the Benelux countries. It continues the themes, ideas and layout of earlier volumes, is attractively produced with enhanced use of colour, and provides modern up-to-date information (much needed in a period of such rapid change), and clarity of presentation. It is strongly recommended for purchase.

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden.
During the late thirties the NS introduced streamlined carriages in order to reduce journey times. These new units were also fitted with an automatic coupling system, which meant that the post wagons could no longer be used, as they used the earlier ‘screw’ coupling system. Moreover, the new NS stock did not include a separate post compartment. The Dutch PTT – still in favour of transporting mail by rail – therefore ordered (from Beijnes and Werkspoor) a total of six streamlined post units, which included an automatic coupling system. These units became known as the ‘Pec’s’, an abbreviation for ‘P’- postwagon, ‘e’- denoting the ability to couple the unit with NS electric stock, and the ‘c’ for the presence of a toilet.

In 1950 the 3rd and last series of Pec’s were introduced. These were similar to the 2nd series and were built on pre-war chassis. The interior included a toilet (in the nose of the unit), a sorting area and further room for the transport post-bags. In 1949 the so-called Dec’s, built by the firm Allan, were introduced. They were initially designed as bicycle carriages, were 2m longer that the original Pec’s and were fitted with larger loading doors. Unsuccessful in this role, they were later converted to transport mail; the Dec’s however were not used for sorting mail, only for the transportation thereof. In 1950 they were renumbered to 951 and 952. By 1979 all Pec’s had been retired from service, as the Dutch PTT had a preference for dedicated post trains (with no sorting personnel on-board). This preference led to the Sternet Postvervoer being established in the late 70’s.

Sternet … Sternet was introduced with the intention of totally separating post and passenger traffic. It started in 1972 with 12 distribution centres known as EKP’s (Expeditie Knooppunten). These were large sorting centres located alongside the track at Amsterdam CS, Arnhem Goods station, Den Haag CS, Groningen, ‘s’Hertogenbosch, Haarlem, Leeuwarden, Roosendaal, Rotterdam CS, Sittard, Utrecht CS and Zwolle. 1987 saw the last EKP completed in Leeuwarden, thereby ending the loading and unloading of mail on passenger platforms.

As it suited both NS and the PTT to separate post and passenger traffic, it was decided in 1963 to order a new series of MotorPosts. The new series was to be based on the Plan T as this had already proved to be successful during its test period. Built by Werkspoor, the new series, to be known as mP3000, entered service during 1965/6. Like their predecessors, the new MotorPosts were liveried in brown. In 1975 the nose was painted yellow and by 1976 3016 and 3017 took on the yellow-red colour scheme that most of us will recognise. This colour scheme was introduced to signify the relationship and co-ownership between NS and the PTT. By 1985 all MotorPosts appeared in this livery, and with the privatisation of the PTT in 1989 mP3026 appeared in the new ‘house-style’. More house-style liveries appeared thereafter, all being variations on the original yellow-red.

After the PTT had announced the end of the transport of mail by train in 1996, NS-Cargo became the new owners of the MotorPosts. NS-Cargo, in their guise of ‘Rail Distributie Nederland’ did use some of the mP's as traction on the NS Materieel distribution network. Although some are still in use today in various roles (and received new colour schemes), most have sadly only found the scrap yard.

Modelling the mP's. Unfortunately this is no easy task, Marklin do offer the 4 main liveries of the mP3000, but most of these are only available for their AC system. They have also launched them under their Hamo range, but these are not easy to come by and mostly only second-hand. Philotrain has also produced a 1:87 scale of the mP3000, but again I have never seen them at swapmeets. Roco have made an effort to represent the 2-axle post wagon

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