l Nieuwsbrief Issue 36 - March 2001

Contents

Dutch Railway News Infrastructure Private Operators
Miscellaneous Belgian Railway News Museum News
Modelling News Tramway News Model Review
Book Reviews    

DUTCH RAILWAY NEWS
Compiled and translated by Peter van der Mark from Het Openbaar Vervoer, Rail Magazine and various newspaper reports.

LOCOMOTIVES
Class 1300 Co-Co' E-locos. The work to renovate these veterans started with a vengeance as soon as the ink was dry on the contract. The four that were still at work re-entered service after a minimal service check and the other six to follow are probably already at work again as well. It is foreseen that the remains of the locos that did not make it will be scrapped sooner rather than later. The bits and pieces on still available 1100's which fit the 1300's will be taken off as soon as possible for re-use as well and also to make those remains less attractive to prospective buyers.
Class 1700 B-B' E-locos. Number 1732 has returned to the ranks of the DD-AR regional power cars. The problems concerning the mDDM Bo-Bo-Bo' power cars made this inevitable. The loco has been equipped with the BSI auto coupler again and sustained another couple of mods to pick up its DD push-pull duties. At the same time DD-AR 3 car set 7334, which had stood cannibalised and under graffiti at Amersfoort, disappeared to Leidschendam to be done up and repainted in order to re-enter service. From January onwards 1733-1781 will receive the now obligatory trip recorders (black boxes) and as soon as the mDDM power cars reappear in squadron strength numbers 1701-1732 on DD-AR duties will be released to receive this equipment.

MULTIPLE UNITS
The first bodies of the new batch of IRM units have been moved from Goerlitz in Eastern Germany to Aachen for fitting out. The first two of the completely new types of vehicle, notably the intermediate power cars which will be fitted ready for bi-current operation, will be extensively tested in existing sets. The first completely new full-length sets will enter traffic in 2002. This second batch will comprise 252 vehicles but a third batch of 126 vehicles (21 six-car units) is now to be tendered. This means that between 2002 and 2005 a total of 378 extra IRM coaches will have entered service, adding 37,000 seats to the existing stock. As written before, the present 3 car sets will be extended to 4 cars and the present 4 car sets will be extended to 6 cars with a whopping 600 seats each, while all further new builds will be marshalled into 6 car sets. Platforms North of Amsterdam are being extended to take a full 12-car train, which in peak hour conditions will transport 1500 people in comparatively comfortable conditions.
The existing IRM stock has suffered from arson attacks and lightning strikes. It shows in the circumstances what a good choice it was to be able to easily exchange vehicles in sets, as good individuals are readily exchanged with damaged ones to keep the maximum number of units going. As the delivery of new wheel sets for these units is now at speed and the bogie wear problems appear to have been mastered, it looks like most of the breed will be back in service soon.
The unreliability of the mDDM power cars (otherwise, and more correctly known as mABk) has now reached such proportions that long lines of DD-AR sets without power cars can be found throughout the West of the Randstad. Usually there are 6 sets short on the rosters but of those still going there are 8 on average on 2/3 power. Manpower shortages in the repair workshops ensure that dealing with the previously described problems with these power cars, generated by the fact that they take their cooling air from the underside of the frame, take rather a long time.
SGM "Sprinter" EMU's. The Westinghouse compressors fitted to the powered vehicles are giving problems, causing the two car sets to fail. The Westinghouse compressors under the three car sets have been removed to be re-used under the two car sets, this means that the three car sets are running on the Knorr compressor only under the intermediate trailer.
Mat’54 EMU. The hired Hondekop unit is still busy, not only for road learning, but also for the awkward job of dragging DE2 and DE3 DEMU's with their low Scharfenberg couplers to and from the various locations where they are stored, cannibalised, dismantled and/ or done up. The reliability of this 48-year-old unit is said to be impressive.
Houten trams. Yes you are reading it right; NS-R is operating trams again, or rather the Den Haag operator HTM has contracted to run trams for them. NS has bought two of the surplus Stadtbahn type trams from Hannover and left HTM to it to take care of the alterations to the wheel profile and of the necessary 750 V DC feed with a mobile sub-station to the catenary of the very short line from Houten NS to Houten Castellum. The drivers are in fact HTM tram drivers who took early retirement and are now earning a bit on the side. The service runs every 15 minutes. It is foreseen that both tramcars will be altered to work off 1500 V DC, which is what HTM wants to get experience with as they have the ambition of running trams on the mainline under the banner of RandstadRail.
On 03-11-2000 the ICE sets took over all the EC services into Germany bar the Swiss bound EC trains 2/3 Rembrandt and 104/105 Berner Oberland, which have kept their EC status, loco hauled stock and names. All the German EC services were renamed ICE International and are worked by mixed German and Dutch crews on ICE EMU's throughout. In 2002 it is hoped that the new high-speed line between Koeln (Cologne) and Frankfurt will be ready for use and will enable virtually all the services to be extended to Frankfurt/M. The future termination point in The Netherlands in 2003 will be Schiphol Airport, the change-end and servicing location will b Hoofddorp sidings. This will mean by then Frankfurt, Cologne, Amsterdam, Paris CDG and Lyon airports will be fully connected by high-speed trains in regular service throughout the day. Brussels airport is likely to be included by some services along a newly constructed loop. New all-night services are foreseen in this situation offering night flights by rail to airline users.
NS-R and NoordNed, the local operator on the northern diesel lines, have exchanged stock. NS-R has received Wadloper DHMU's for the Zwolle to Kampen turns and DM'90 sets for Apeldoorn to Zutphen (ATB-NG) jobs. NoordNed has received DE3 sets 112, 128 and 142, all with a decent amount of first class accommodation, which has solved one of their problems. DE3 DEMU’s, which are to receive the planned overhaul with a new engine in the power car, will also receive ATB-NG equipment. The sets will be formed of the best available vehicles, regardless of which set they are from. The diesel engines, traction kit and bogies will be taken care of in Tilburg. The interiors will be dealt with in Haarlem, consisting of renewal of floor covering, interior wall and ceiling panels and the seat covering, with which an old tradition has been reinstated. Bogies, motor bogies and traction motors are worth their weight in gold at the moment as there is a lot of commonality with mP, plan T, V and W, so even those of burned out sets and carriages of this generation are carefully removed, preserved and overhauled. All 19 planned DEMU sets will indeed be dealt with and should be in service in two years time at the most.

COACHING STOCK

Coaches ICK. Yes, ICK is the type code for the 150 German coaches type Bm 235 now entering service with NS. They were bought for NLG 125m on 28-11-2000 from a private German firm, PFA Weiden, not from DB directly, to be delivered between August 2001 and July 2002. Anyway, before NS had paid a penny, PFA Weiden, who would have done the NS coaches up and altered them to NS spec, went into receivership. It is unclear as to how this affects these coaches, but apparently they did not belong to PFA either, they acted as agents. So now the coaches will enter service in full DB spec and livery. This poses a number of problems as far as loco working is concerned, as no MU control cable has been fitted as foreseen so running round is the order of the day again.
Of the 150 strong fleet, 69 will in the near future be used as 2nd Class ICK-B, 18 will be used as ICK-BD with a luggage space and conductor's lobby, and 36 will be used as ICK-A 1st Class. In all the coaches only one of the two currently available toilets will be retained, the removal of one toilet and both washrooms will create enlarged door lobbies with tip-up seats. The ICK-B's will retain their twelve six-seat compartments, but in the ICK-A's two adjoining compartments will be made into one by removing a separation bulkhead to form six large compartments with nine seats. The ICK-BD's will have seven six-seat compartments; five will be taken out and be replaced by a bicycle cum wheelchair space, a conductor's office and a toilet for the disabled. The entry doors for this space will be enlarged from their present size. All coaches will receive a 1700 compatible MU cable plus the reconditioned static inverters from the rebuilt ICR coaches, which have received heavier ones to power their AirCo.
NS-R has additionally hired 26 DB coaches in all sorts of livery. 6 ABm 225.0, 18 Bm 235 and 2 BDm 273. The BDm's turned out not to have centrally closable doors and were subsequently deleted from the contract. The ABm's and Bm's are running as 8 coach sets to which an ICR BKD has been added. These coaches are based and maintained at Berlin Rummelsburg and are exchanged with night trains 370/ 371. This means that of the 24 contracted coaches only 16 are available for service, the other 8 are somewhere on the way to, from or actually in maintenance. The contract runs till June 2001 with an option to extend it under the same terms.
Coaches ICR. The first two revamped coaches which left the works have been received with a fairly mute approval by the users; the main comment was on the absence of PC sockets in 2nd Class. Also the loss of personal space with the gain of an extra row of seats (now totalling at 84) has not been unequivocally met with approval, mainly because of its being accompanied by the loss of the tables as the seating is now mainly in coach configuration. It is true though, that the original ICR interior is very generous with space in the 2nd Class. The fitting of full Air Conditioning, with the loss of the opening windows in the saloon, has been welcomed more warmly. We now pray that the AirCo proves itself reliable. The certification of the renewed coaches was a bit delayed which resulted in quite a number standing ready for delivery but not yet in service. It is good to know that the vehicles damaged by fire following arson attacks are all to be repaired and put back in service again. One of those, 82-70 928, is predestined to become the prototype of the driving trailers, type Bs numbered 82-77 003
The two DDM1 driving trailers which have stood around unemployed after their trains were broken up to be used in long distance sets as bicycle vehicles, have now been altered themselves to run in long distance loco-hauled trains. They can now regularly be seen out and about between Haarlem and Maastricht/ Heerlen. The cabs have been locked OOU and the pantographs have been disabled. Their door closure systems have been adjusted to work with normal coaching stock, as have the brakes. Their heavy and reliable static inverters are used to power the on-board systems of all DD stock in the train, so the problem with the unreliable individual inverters and diesel generators have been solved for the trains in which these coaches travel. It does mean however, that all DD vehicles in the train will have to run coupled together with the cab of the BvK on the outside, facing the loco or forming the tail of the train. You might find that the trains with a BvK in the consist will automatically have DD vehicles with dodgy inverters coupled to them; it keeps them going and saves on repair costs.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Over the weekend of 21 and 22-10-2000 the local Haarlem box was closed and integrated into the Alkmaar box. The last two main line crossing boxes in The Netherlands were also integrated into the Alkmaar box as well. The time taken to get everything working was long again. For about a week traffic through Haarlem was badly disrupted due to severe problems with the VPT process control system. In December the same VPT process control system was introduced at Utrecht Centraal, which has led to persistent timekeeping troubles since, notably in the rush hours. Lack of familiarity with the system (otherwise known as flawed training) is the main culprit. In April 2001 Amsterdam Centraal will be fitted and put to work, so hold on tight.
Nieuweschans to Weener upgrade. Whilst the track upgrade from Groningen on the Dutch side of this line is virtually finished and ready for more frequent and faster trains, it has now transpired that on the German side absolutely nothing has happened at all. The question as to who is going to work trains is completely academic at the moment; it will be buses for some time to come.
Oosterbeek Bridge across the Lower Rhine lengthened. In order to create a larger opening for floodwater when the river is high part of the embankment of the bridge on the Arnhem side will be replaced with steel bridge sections with a concrete deck. A further 58 metre long opening in the embankment, called an Ecopassage, will be dug through the embankment much closer to Arnhem. Cost is NLG 100m. The noisy little viaduct across the Klingelbeekseweg, which still sports original war damage from the Battle of Arnhem in the abutments, will also be replaced. Either the abutments will be kept and reused or they will be removed and be made into a monument.
Rotterdam Harbour line sparked. After a long period of testing with the dummy load train the long expected Hungarian loco V63 049 and one power car of an EMU BVhmot 9055 6805200 finally showed that trains can actually run under electric power on this line. The first time the loco was to be used a rather severe safety critical fault with the electrical supply to the catenary was discovered which caused a bit of consternation.

PRIVATE OPERATORS
NOORDNED
NoordNed is still getting clobbered about bad punctuality and unreliability. Whilst the company is working hard and creatively to address the problems it is a fact that much of their mileage is made up of single track, a recipe for delays. Another complaint focuses on the lack of information passengers get from the few staff available. To me this lack of presence of staff is understandable (no one likes to face the same irate customers over and over again with the same argument) but at the same time it aggravates the whole unacceptability of what is happening from a customer point of view. NoordNed has promised more staff to deal with the many complaints. Their receipt of DE3 sets from NS-R with first class accommodation has brought an end to the stream of fines the company had paid to the province of Groningen due to breach of contract. About half a million guilders has been paid and MD Mr. Post has left the company looking for new challenges.

SYNTUS
The first of the new Alstom LinT 41 articulated two car units, number 21, arrived in Amersfoort from Salzgitter for testing and commissioning. The DM'90 sets will soon bow out on the lines East of Arnhem to be followed up by these units. The first impression is that of a very tram-like vehicle, without toilets and a bit of a retrograde step from the sort of comfort and amenities offered on a DM'90. From the 10th of June the trains will enter squadron service between Arnhem, Winterswijk and Zutphen in a half hourly service. Of course, the reliability of the new units will be eagerly watched after the troublesome start of DM'90 combined with ATB-NG a couple of years ago. The commissioning and initial testing went so smoothly that the procedure could be shortened by a day. All the new sets will receive names of well-known local people; the first unit received the name Masha after a jazz singer from the area. Syntus will retain its DE3 allocation as they will still work rush hour trains from Arnhem to Zevenaar and possibly on to Emmerich, which would then suddenly have more frequent connections with Arnhem and the rest of The Netherlands than ever before.

AVV
This acronym stands for Aachener Verkehrs Verbund, the name of the organisation, which in the near future will take over the management of the services from Heerlen to Aachen. On the 20th of December a three car DB-Regio Talent set type VT 644 made another test trip (in service, replacing a DM'90 trip) between Aachen Hbf and Heerlen. DB-Regio will most likely be commissioned to actually work the services, so this test was a full taste of what is to be the norm soon. It looks like the 3 DM'90 sets from this job, with their retractable steps for German platforms, will find ready employ on Arnhem to Tiel services where platforms were found too low to be worked by the standard sets.

SHORTLINES
ShortLines has acquired the same type of Czech DH shunting loco of which ACTS already operates three. The loco carries the number SL 1001 (not the 6000 series as the same ACTS locos) and is the former CSD16144. The loco will be used on the line between Sittard and Born. Bo-Bo' DE-loco DE83 has finally entered service with NS ATP and now works the Cologne shuttle again. Sister DE 84 is now in Tilburg for the ATP modification. DE 61, one of the two class 66 demonstrators, is back in Tilburg to have its NS ATP fitting finalised. Although the type is accepted in Germany it isn't as yet in The Netherlands, and as far as things can be foreseen it will take time to actually come off. Sister loco DE 62 is happily making its trips in Germany by now.

MISCELLANEOUS NEWS
Despite the still rather messy situation between NS and the Government in the rail passenger transport sector, the open access regulations for freight will go ahead in 2003. From then on any enterprise willing to invest in compatible rolling stock and qualified crew may let the freight trains roll. Hopefully the government will not stick its nose into the day-to-day operations of the freight operators in the way they do it with the passenger operations. This is likely to lead to the following fairly exciting developments.
At present DB-Cargo/ Railion, which consists of DB, NS-Cargo and DSB-Goods with working agreements with BLS and EBT for through working in Switzerland, is not a profitable but nevertheless a big operator which is the biggest freight user of the tracks in The Netherlands. Given that the money-taps of the States of Denmark, Holland and Germany are likely to be turned off soon as far as freight subsidies are concerned, severe economies will have to be made. I think that either Railion/ DB-Cargo will have to shape up and turn profitable by becoming truly businesslike by going for viable transport projects only or another big operator will take them over and do the same thing.
As earlier developments in The Netherlands have proved, these restructuring actions leave a lot of potentially rewarding pickings laying around for smaller, more astute operators. This means that the diversity of operators is only likely to grow, which is borne out by the fact that at the latest Innotrans fair a lot of manufacturers showed new or reconditioned traction specifically for this type of undertaking. General Motors EMD will push its successful class 66 derivative for Europe hard by building an extra ten machines for long-term demonstrator and power by the hour lease purposes.
As far as railways are concerned conservative emotions are not conducive to the future health of the operations. An internationalised and far-reaching railway transport revolution is necessary for the survival of rail as a primary transport mode, and is now clearly in the making. Rumours are flying that DB-Cargo and SNCF Fret are teaming up to buy out the Wisconsin Central share and more in EWS! And I think that that would do wonders for Channel Tunnel freight traffic as well as for the smaller freight operators in Britain!
The current service delivery of NS is more often than not well below what it used to be in the bad old days of full state operation. In fact it has a definite flavour of the current British standards at times, something which was mentioned in at least two newspapers as the horrifying picture of the future of rail transport in The Netherlands if nothing is done to reverse the trend of present developments. The once so celebrated reliability of the system has in too many instances escaped the grasp of the operator and justified complaints are rife, often by important people known to be in favour of rail transport and supporting it by using it for their daily transport needs.
Signalling and traction pack up a mite too often while rolling stock has severe availability and reliability problems. So do the many electronic control and management systems, which NS is accused of not actually being able to run properly in the first place. At the same time the relationship between the NS management and the front line workforce has been allowed to get badly soured, while individual refusals to work a train add to the misery. NS drivers leave fully laden trains standing on the valid argument of being unsafe. I guess that if in case of an emergency the driver cannot go back into his train due to the connecting doors being held shut by the sheer number of passengers then he is justified in not taking that train out. On top of that and outside the direct control of the railway operators, there is rampant, highly destructive and life threatening vandalism (notably arson).
The ill effects of grave blunders about keeping spares stocked in suitable quantities were aggravated by unforeseen government pressure to change the railhead lubrication grease to an environmentally friendlier type, which unfortunately was not as effective as the old stuff. This caused an unforeseen depletion of spare wheel sets, the initial effect of which could not be covered by the remaining stocks. This emergency led among other things to hurried supplies of cheaper wheel sets of debatable quality which caused their own problems, such as disintegration of axles in service. Anyway, into the sidings went the first batch of rolling stock (initially notably ICR and class 1700 locos, later ICM and DD-IRM EMU's as well) awaiting wheel sets.
Then there was the experiment of doing as little as possible on the maintenance of rolling stock. This also found its doubtful results compounded by not really surprising faults (hindsight admittedly) in cooling as well as bogie design of new rolling stock (remember mDDM and DD-IRM). This in turn put a lot of extra pressure on to the existing rolling stock, some of it about forty years old (class 1300 locos, plan T and V EMU's and plan U DEMU's). Predictably it could take this sort of thrashing only for so long and then they also started to give signs of distress, thus not only compounding the rolling stock crisis but also compounding the spares crisis, but thank heavens there were still mP's lying around.
Then there was the well known seasonal trouble with flats on wheel rims due to sliding on slippery track, which this autumn went extra sour as many trains were running on tyres with the absolute minimum thickness anyway due to that spare wheel set problem. So the usual cure, turning off the tyres, was no longer possible and into the sidings went yet another batch of badly needed coaches and locos.
There were days last autumn when NS-R was over 325 coaches short on its rostered amount! In fact, there are reliable sources which state that even now NS-R will never succeed in sorting out this hash in the present mode of maintenance as they, to quote a very Dutch saying with a bearing on this case, are attempting to mop up with the taps still open.
On being made independent, NS promised the Dutch government to double the number of train travellers and to achieve this by investing NLG 14 bn. So far neither this investment target nor the doubling target has been reached. At the same time however, NS gave the distinct impression of feeling free to disregard service-related improvements, which the government put forward to its electorate in its transport policy plans if it didn't look too favourable on the balance sheet. This clearly made the Minister and Parliament appear inept, while at the same time NS gave itself a reputation of being greedy, something which never goes down well among the Dutch.
All this does not mean that the little Kingdom has given up on their railways. Investment in new projects is storming forth at a, for British orientated minds, an unbelievable pace. Whilst the big works on heavy freight and high-speed rail have taken off (only the Eastern High Speed line is still in a state of flux) it is now light rail for urban work, close to the electorate, which is getting the brunt of the attention. The state is prepared to furnish NLG 80 to 120m toward a frequent, (six) all-stations an hour, type of light rail system on main line and local tracks, ranging from Zevenaar via Arnhem and Nijmegen to Wychen, and through connections to Emmerich are not discounted. Furthermore, there would be a cable car connection from Nijmegen across the Waal to the North bank, connecting with a railway station there. The minister was not convinced of the viability of this last bit of the plan and has asked whether a good bus connection would not have the same effect.
In Arnhem itself the hugely popular tram in the open-air museum has hit the imagination of the population and plans are now under way to raise the NLG 17m needed to extend the circuit into town and on to the station. It would serve the other big crowd puller in the area, the Burger's Zoo, as well. It would also, sadly, mean the likely end of the No. 3 trolleybus connection, but given the tram route as put forward it wouldn't half be a stunning bit of railway. Through the big and leafy Sonsbeek park and a nice residential city area and into the woods West of the Zoo and Museum. Connection with the museum loop is foreseen to enable easy tram parade activities with the oldies from the museum, as well as direct admission to the museum on a combined ticket straight from the city.
Sandtite, the British developed anti-slip gel, has proved itself on the Dutch network and further investment is due. The tracks between Utrecht, Amersfoort and Zwolle will be the next to be treated. The investment will very likely see reinstatement of older rolling stock (mP) with tanks and application equipment (nowadays one mP is altered to do this job and there is an unpowered vehicle which is often hauled by the surviving EM2 class 1500 Co-Co'). But fixed trackside equipment, reminiscent of rail lubricators, will also be installed at certain locations. The line from Venlo to the German border at Kaldenkirchen with its German 15 kV 16.6 Hz AC electrification is an obvious candidate for this system, as heavy freight on this leaf-bordered climb has always been known to have trouble. The main problem is one of logistics, as the train borne application requires traction, a driver and a track slot, a combination of factors which is often not available. The yearly NLG 2.5m cost to the track authority is also seen as a rather sore point.
NS-R, infrastructure provider RailInfraBeheer and the rail safety authority RailNed did an audit on the fire safety of the existing tunnels in The Netherlands and were not really happy with what they found. Each and every one of the five existing railway tunnels (Amsterdam-Hemtunnel (1.5 km), IJmuiden-Velser Tunnel (2 km), Rotterdam-Willemstunnel (3.3 km), Schipholtunnel (5.7 km) and Best-Station Tunnel (2 km) has its own set of evacuation regulations (apparently the tunnel in Rijswijk is too short to count). Emergency exits were found blocked and safety systems were found defective but the ignorance among staff about local evacuation procedures was the most worrying aspect. Streamlining of safety aspects of the existing and future tunnels is now being looked at.
The vans of the Overnight Express are finally being loaded where the biggest customer is based, at Hoofddorp close to the Aalsmeer flower auctions. NS-Int. and Railion hope to see a vigorous further development of this service from its present location. The site has its own exit from the nearby A4 motorway. The passenger vehicles are still cleaned and watered at Watergraafsmeer and are added to the train at Amsterdam Centraal. This separate loading and unloading is repeated at Milano, where the passenger vehicles are dealt with at Milano Centrale and the freight vehicles at Milano Melzo.

BELGIAN RAILWAYS NEWS
Class 59 Bo-Bo' DE-locos. Two of the ten still existing Baldwin machines were involved in yet another bad accident in Belgium in which one driver lost his life. For reasons as yet unknown to me two works trains on the HSL East under construction hit each other in a violent head on collision on 11-01-2001 near Remicourt, close to Voroux not far from Liege. Leading loco 5950 as well as trailing 5947 of the offending train ended up on their sides with heavy damage and were complete losses. The other train was worked by two ex-NS locos, of which 7601 was crushed but 7615 appeared repairable.

MUSEUM NEWS
Foundation BEL in Lochem will attempt to purchase the two Syntus DE2 units and restore the original blue liveried appearance (hence their initial nickname Blue Angels) of at least one unit as closely as possible. The sets should be housed in a shed close to the station.
Foundation HIJSM. This foundation, which will attempt to run tourist services from Haarlem to IJmuiden, has received official recognition from the minister as a railway undertaking, which merely means that it is registered as such with the local Chamber of Commerce. Now the hard bit starts, the acquisition of the access agreement and the safety case never mind the purchase of suitable rolling stock and maintaining and crewing it. The operator wants to extend the line (like every other operator before them), this time to the Felson terminal where the ferry to Newcastle docks. This is a strange goal for a tourist service given that it is run of the mill harbour land, it isn't close to the sea and that in a slightly different direction there are a lot of good beaches to be reached along virtually open land. Apart from that is the fact that two developers want to build office blocks in the path of the line to the Felson Terminal and that everybody else wants the train to continue to as close to the seaside as is reasonably possible.
A number of developments are inducing people to hire museum stock for special trips. One of these is the looming obligation to fit working ATP by 31 December 2001; the other is the fact that it is now possible to hire trains direct with the various owners without interference by NS Charters. So we see locos 1211 and 1501 on a number of trains (also service trains) and the Mat'24 Blokkendoos unit out and about regularly. DE1 41 is now a very regular performer due to its go anywhere capability. The museum is quite anxious to get Mat'46 two-car Cucumber unit 273 out and about as that should be a winner. Very reasonable hire prices of NLG 2,500 for DE1 41 or NLG 3,000 for 273 are quoted when dealing directly with the museum. It is NS-R which organises the trip but that is for a very reasonable fee.
The yellow plan E coach 978 1 806, which for years accompanied the ex push pull driving trailer measuring coach used for testing locomotives, and which to my knowledge is the last surviving example (in NS use) of this once common breed of coaches, has been adopted by VSM. This former 29-37 361 was picked up from Tilburg where it has resided for the past few years and will also find its former work mate a home at the VSM premises. For the interior of this plan E the furniture of a scrapped DE3 is needed.
Locomotor 352 has been repainted in its original green livery and has been plinthed in front of Aalsmeer station by NBM Rail.
NSS notched up the proud total of 10,000 visitors last year at its premises at Valkenburg in the dunes near Katwijk. It found however that steam locos 4,7 and 11 need new boilers, and a request for a subsidy has been lodged with the Prince Bernhard Fund. In the meantime coach P45 was finished in November, while the work on P46 has started. The frame and bogies for this vehicle are already available. NSS runs driver's courses for those interested in narrow gauge in a rather attractive landscape. Apply in writing to; NSS, Jan Pellenbargweg 1, NL 2235 SP Valkenburg ZH, Netherlands. Cost NLG 500, dates 28 April, 5, 12 and 19 May 2001.
SGB has acquired a former Middelburg local signal box and has placed the 70 year old brick built structure near Goes station as part of the railway museum it is setting up there. Transport was done on top of a towed barge and went without a hitch through the Zuid Beveland Canal

MODELLING NEWS
Pavement tiles. GM&S Haarlem sells polystyrene sheets with the typical Dutch concrete pavement tiles which are used on pavement along roads and on platforms. Size is HO. Further material for dressing up of streets such as flexible kerbing is in preparation.
Walthers HO sells a double track revolving bridge that can be adapted to Dutch practice. A kit to motorise the bridge is also available.
The mDDM power car for the three car DD-AR sets produced by Rivarossi is in the shops. For a truly life like appearance the vehicle should be motionless while the driver and a senior conductor try to figure out why it won't go. Or put a number near a workshop and have an HO figure hovering the rads. The appearance, despite its 1:100 length scale, is okay. It makes the right bulky impression with the already available DD-AR coaches. The train will not win the prize for the most elegant looking train in Europe though. As far as the model is concerned, try and do something about the yellow edges next to the window glazing, it looks naff.

TRAMWAY NEWS
Translated by Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden from Het Openbaar Vervoer.
GVB - AMSTERDAM
31st October 2000 saw B&W lay down the principles for the future privatisation of the GVB. These include that the council will become the contractor and award its public transport to other companies. Surprisingly the GVB itself will also be able to bid for such contracts, but not until 2006. It is proposed that the ground, infrastructure, work yards and traffic control systems of the metro remain with the council. Rolling stock (including seagoing vessels), real estate and other inventory will move to the new ‘independent’ company. Should the GVB not pick-up the contract to run public transport in and around Amsterdam, they will have to return these assets. A definite decision concerning the privatisation will be taken by the council in Nov 2001.
On October 18th 2000 the council gave the go-ahead to purchase another 60 Combino’s. In principle therefore only the series 780-816, 817-841 and 901-920 will remain. The design for the new tram has been finalised, with the outside front of the units looking somewhat different to the current design. The route-number will be displayed on the front-left of the cab, together with the route-colour and next to that the destination. Details for the interior are yet to be decided. The interior fittings (seats etc) will be identical to that of Potsdam, but with GVB upholstery. It is intended that the upholstery be ‘vandal-resistant’ and easy to clean. Colours for the interior include grey, broken white and blue.
With future improvements on the NZ-line in mind, and the infrastructure work surrounding the ‘concertgebouw’ (concert hall) area, October 2000 saw yet more extra track installed between Van Baerlestraat end Gabriel Metsustraat (to/from Roelof Hartplein) in Amsterdam. These were at the time not yet in use. ‘Osdorpplein’ (Osdorp square) has had extra catenary installed, in order to aid line-17 to approach the reverse-loop at the end of the route from the other direction. The advantage of this will be that line-17, travelling from both Osdorpplein and Dijkgraafplein towards the city-centre will be able to ‘disembark’ at the same stops.
After an overhaul including a new white/blue livery, 816 came back into service on 21.10.
The following units have received their new advertisement liveries.
Unit 602 – Glorix (blue).
Unit 818 – Naomagic (pink).
Unit 916 – Sports arena ‘Boulevard’ (blue/white).
Unit 774 – Backbone (blue).
Unit 757 – Schwarzkopf (light-blue), and
Unit 917 – Tintoretto (white/ red-brown).

RET – ROTTERDAM
November 6th saw the rush-hour tramline 22 discontinued, having only been introduced on 28th August. After the tram drivers strike on lines 2, 20 and 22 (who incidentally won all their demands) once again the functionality of line 22 – utilising part of line 20’s route – was reconsidered. It was then decided to discontinue line 22 and transfer all units to line 20, which now has 19 units in service. The number of passengers using line 20 has also risen by 10% above forecasts. Line 9 from Kralingen disappeared too, leaving line 7 as the only alternative of transport for students en route to the Erasmus University. It has also been decided to introduce a ‘double-decker’ bus service – line 122 – to meet peak demand on line 7.
From November the RET has also introduced miniature flags on their vehicles. With the slogan “The whole world is welcome by the RET”, the RET wish to imply that it is a joy for everyone to travel with them. Each month will see a new ‘continent’ as theme – Europe was the first. Apart from ‘flying the flags’, the vehicles will also carry special information about a country’s culture, music and foods. The RET had also been investigating the possibilities of hiring trams from Hannover. This is because demand is outstripping the number of units available. Unfortunately the units did not meet RET’s required specifications. RET is now talking to the city of Den Haag, who currently hirer units from Ustra-trams.

MODEL REVIEW
By David Halsall
Bachmann Branch-Line 32-250 ‘OO’ WD Austerity (NS Class 4300 ‘Jeep’) 2-8-0 4310. Approximate price £100.
Members may be surprised to find a review of an ’OO’ scale locomotive in Nieuwsbrief. Bachmann’s excellent model of the WD 2-8-0 is indeed produced in mainly British guises: BR black with the choices between two crests and several numerical identities as well as BR (Western Region) and LNER versions, weathered and un-weathered, and Longmoor Military Railway blue and red. The welter of WD variants also includes further locomotives for overseas service with the 21st Army Transport Corps, the Kowloon and Canton Railway (Hong Kong), and of greatest interest here, one of the substantial fleet of ‘Jeeps’ which served Dutch railways from c.1944 until their final replacement in 1958. These were allocated to the number series 4301-5307, and joined other imported British-built locomotives such as the WD 2-10-0s and the J94 Saddle Tanks in war service.

The model is constructed of a mix of metal and plastic parts and is noticeably heavy, giving good adhesion. This, and the well-balanced chassis and motor provide a flexibility and smoothness in use - the loco is capable of slow shunting speeds as well as of maintaining good consistency on longer runs. Thus it is well suited to its prototype’s role in moving heavy freight. The appearance and detailing of the model is excellent. The impression of size is well captured and the wealth of detail and its accuracy is impressive. I have seen nothing but praise for the models in the regular magazines. The WD 2-8-0 sets a very high standard for future models to follow.

Number 4310 further shows the same quality in containing a sachet of additional parts, in addition to vacuum pipes, front steps, cylinder drain cocks, etc, to enhance its own distinctive features. The chimney extension, head and taillights, and ladder to the left side of the boiler, together with brake cylinders on the right of the smokebox most distinguish the engine’s appearance compared with the British versions. Like the UK locomotives, the motion and wheel trims are effectively blackened and a simple draw bar allows the choice of two positions for the tender coupling. Paintwork is very well finished, with clear lining and legible printing. The realistic looking diamond-shaped builder’s plate is just identifiable through a strong lens (x10) as one of the North British Locomotive products.

The locomotive is fitted, appropriately, with standard continental couplings. If it is intended to store the model in the box, note that the polystyrene ‘cradles’ supplied need some trimming to fit the extended chimney.

Two controversial aspects remain for discussion. The price of c£100 may seem high compared with c£75, for which the British versions can be bought in the UK. It might be argued that this is a high price differential to pay for a few extra parts. However, compared with the retail price of European steam locomotives manufactured and sold by other European firms, the NS 4300 2-8-0 appears good value. Hence, a group of Dutch modellers view the model thus: ‘yes, we know that they are 4 mm scale rather than 3.5 mm, but they are nice models, and very reasonably priced!’ (Hans Louvet, 2000, p.423) The second element for query is that of scale - if only they were built to HO! It is a pity they are not, but as a big engine the difference seems to show less with HO stock than I expected and I therefore agree with Hans Louvet. All we need now is a Belgian version with its number in serif on the smokebox!
References, ‘Jeep’ 2-8-0s:
Van Wijck Jurriaanse, N.J., 1972, Stoomlocomotieven van de Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Rotterdam: Uitgevers Wyk, pp. 71-74.
Louvet, H., 2000, Railway of the month. Vinkeveen, A small Dutch country station modelled in HO scale, Continental Modeller 22/10, pp.418-423.

BOOK REVIEWS
Poot W. and Van Groen, H., 1998, Amsterdam-Utrecht. Zoals het was (As it was). 144 pp, 215x230 mm., landscape format, hardback ISBN 90-73575-060-0, £24.95.
Reviewed by David Halsall

This book is ideal for British enthusiasts of railways of the Netherlands. It portrays a rich variety of trains traversing the familiar Amsterdam-Utrecht main line (via Abcoude, Breukelen and Maarssen). These are illustrated by good quality colour photographs, many full page, and a commentary text in Dutch with a full English translation by M. Margolis alongside. The structure is based upon a north-south gazetteer of stations, and the railway's environs, very like the actual journey from Amsterdam to Utrecht. As such it is a helpful reference and record to the railway traveller and to those following the changes brought by modernisation, especially the likely continued loss of existing railway buildings, landmarks and structures as the line is progressively widened to four tracks, and rebuilt as a high speed line. The picture of the DB ICE unit visiting Utrecht CS in August 1989 for the 150th anniversary display of railways in the Netherlands (p. 139) is indicative of what was to come. Scheduled ICE 3 services now run into Amsterdam CS, and future international rail travellers' experiences will reflect the achievement of 200 kph in everyday schedules. The book focuses upon the recent past, mainly 1980s/90s, with a few views of earlier periods, showing both scenes and equipment now lost through progressive change, as well as further elements likely to be modified, or destroyed as conversion into a HSL continues. The authors have thus built in increasing interest as the next few years' changes progress. Best to see the line soon in its present condition!

Whilst the range of motive power in the chosen period is appropriately illustrated, this is much more than 'just another book of locomotive pictures'. Local, regional and international traffic and facilities are well portrayed through an era of change, and whilst inevitably selective, there is a balanced distribution of photographs throughout the line. The record of change - in bridges, track layouts, flyovers, stations and other new works - is well portrayed especially at key areas such as Amsterdam, Duivendrecht and Utrecht. The authors/photographers show a rich local knowledge of points of interest along the line. Their choice of photographic locations, whilst necessarily selective, shows an appreciation of effective locations and viewpoints of the subjects, at varying times of day and seasons, and in differing weather conditions. They approach their pictorial themes through the relationships between the railway and roads, canals (especially note the route of the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal), rural and urban areas, thus picturing trains in the landscape of the railway, which in turn contributes to the broader economic, social and physical landscape of Randstad Holland.

The maps are a disappointment. They are basic in the limited railway information they provide for the reader and offer insufficient material to fully support the text. The three utilised - on the front cover and pp. 2 and 9 - need to show much more local detail. They do not even have scales for the reader to follow the line successfully on the ground, and on other published maps. The English translation could also be more refined, but it is a welcome addition as a great aid in presenting railway and contextual information.

Overall this is a book well worth purchase and reading. It provides a practical reference for the future, providing a temporal and spatial foundation to our understanding of the new works to ease operational difficulties and allow expansion of capacity. It will also provide a source book for those who wish to model areas in the north, and contribute to the enjoyment of studying the changing modern Dutch railway system.

Jumbo’s, Jeeps & Blokkendozen, Order No 10.043, Publisher NVBS, Price fl 50.00, Language - Dutch.
Reviewed by Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden
This book covers the Dutch network shortly after the war, when once again the network came to life with a variety of stock, including British locos “de Jeeps” (NS series 4300 and 5000) and “de Jumbos” (3700’s). Electrification of the network took on a new lease of life after the war, with footage of the first electric locos included, including the last NS steam tram. Further documentation includes travellers in Utrecht still using freight-wagons for transport, the ”badkuipspoorlijn” in Zeeland during 1953 and the loco depot at Amsterdam CS and Watergraafsmeer.
Available from: RailArt, Postbus 3740 AA, Baarn, Tel. (0031) 35 5432760, Email: railart.de or Internet: www.railart.de.

VIDEO REVIEWS

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden
Het GVB Amsterdam Anno 2000, Order No 10.0591, Playing Time 60 mins, Price fl 49.00, Language - Dutch.

Put together by the famous Amsterdam organist and filmmaker Wim Stroman, this video contains unique footage, giving a flavour of the GVB in and around 2000. All areas of this fascinating tram organisation are covered, including a look at the various workshops and all unit types currently in service. This video also takes a look into the future, following various test-drives with low-floor trams such as The Combino, Magdeburgtram and the Variotram 2000 from Duisburg.

De Grote Tramparade 2000, Order No 10.0592, Playing Time 60 mins, Price fl 49.00, Language - Dutch.

This video celebrates the tram parade held in September of last year in Amsterdam to celebrate 100 years of trams in Amsterdam. The video covers all types in use over the 100-year period, from horse-trams through to the futuristic low-floor trams.

De Amsterdamse Tram van 1930 tot 1980, Order No 13.015 (Groenendal Video), Playing Time 55 mins, Price fl 59.00, Language - Dutch.

Containing footage of the NZH-trams, this video takes a nostalgic look at the various tram types in service during this period, including the Unions, Blue and Bergmann cars, ‘Utrechtenaren’ and many others. The construction of line 17 to Osdorp is also covered.

All videos available from: RailArt, Postbus 3740 AA, Baarn, Tel. (0031) 35 5432760, Email: railart.de or Internet: www.railart.de.


SEEN IN THE READING
From Ralph Hanley
EN LIGNES # 44
Main Articles:
Along the Vesdre in summer 1962, (between Fraipont and Goffontaine on the SNCB)
Trams on the Norwegian Trondheim network, featuring trams bought in the 1950’s, built by SNCV in Hasselt.
Ex SNCB type 13 carriages in service in Mauritania.
New SNCB Diesel Autorails series 41. These are a 2-car unit with an overall length of 49,600 mm with seats for 207 passengers. Each carriage is driven by a Cummins 485 Diesel motor and will attain a top speed of 120 kph.
Locomotive News:
The following SNCB locomotives have been withdrawn: 5319 [after a collision at Bettembourg], 5145 [requiring major engine overall], 6501, 7501 [after a collision in Antwerp docks, this being the first withdrawn of this series]. Locomotives scrapped: 5144, 5189, 8425, 9109, 9139, 9201, 9204 and 9212.
CFL have tested HGK Diesel locomotive 9901, which was manufactured by General Motors and is identical to the UK class 66.
Series 11 have had the pantographs changed by Faiveley for type SX on request of NS, as the replacement is quicker to retract.
Proposals to use type 55s on the Antwerp - Neerpelt service ran into difficulties as lijne #19 is unable to return current from the electric heating circuit. During the winter months type 55s are only hauling M2 stock, again due to the heating systems.
Infrastructure:
A new station “Liege-Palais” is planned to be built for completion in 2003, with the buildings underneath the tracks. The major works on Lijne 50A are now completed, and now increases the speed limit to 200 Kph. SNCB have installed a new 24 Mw sub-station [August] at Bruxelles Midi, located outside Midi station between lines 50A and 96A. This replaces the old sub-station located at Forest-Midi.
Misc:
On 11 August 12 wagons of a freight train, hauled by an NS series 64 derailed close to Vise station. Some of these wagons contained highly dangerous materials, which resulted in the line and sections of the adjacent AutoRoute E 25 being closed. Three days later another accident occurred at the entrance to the tunnel at Liege-Guillemins, when two passenger trains collided. This resulted in 21 injuries, 3 being serious. The trains involved were the Lier-Blankenberge [366] and Namur - Herstel [321]. Eurotunnel returned into “the Red” during the first half of 2000, with a loss of Bfr 4.3 bn. SNCB have chosen Electrabel to supply its electricity from 01 January 2001. In response to local representations, SNCB are evaluating the potential to reopen lijne 155, Virton to Lamorteau. Smelting and fusion freight has ceased between Dunkerque and Marcinelle due to the costs being judged to high. This threatens lijne 73 between De Panne and Leffrinkoucke.

JOURNAL DE CHEMIN DE FER # 118
Since issue # 117, this magazine now has new management and editor. The major change is the apparent disappointing omission of any NS news in either issue #118 or #119. Subsequent issues will show whether this omission is permanent.
Major Articles:
History of the TEE “Inox” carriages as typically used on “L’Etoile du Nord”.
Bavarian steam locomotives series S 3/6.
Survey of Belgian trams.
Model Update:
Jocadis of Enghein have produced a 3 wagon “Spa-Monopole” set in association with Sachsenmodelle at a cost of 2,103 Bfr. These have been developed based on old photographs.
Fleischmann have released a limited number of the SNCB steam locomotive type 64 [wheel arrangement 4-6-0]. Motor is located in the tender, and the locomotive is numbered 22.358. Liliput have issued a SNCB flat bed wagon type 3000 F3, at a cost of 750 Bfr.
TTM have [hand] made a limited number of SNCB diesel series 70 in two versions, yellow & green and green. Cost is 7,500 Bfr.
Erwin Werps of Holland, will be releasing in February 2001 a limited number of locomotives used for the GCB “Grand Central Belge” in the mid 1800’s. [These locomotives were in fact made in England around 1855]. Being hand made and of a high standard, these are priced accordingly at 15,000 Bfr. In addition this small company have available two kits for a GCB open truck and a closed wagon, which were in service during the 1880’s. Price per kit is 4,800 Bfr.
Misc:
The SNCF double decker TGV type TER 2N was seen at Bruxelles Midi during September. A SNCB type M2 carriage has been converted to an information centre at Blankenberge, and is planned to remain until 2002. As from December Eurostar stock will no longer be used on the Bruxelles to Nice service. SNCB are studying the construction of a “fast” line to Hasselt, which would branch off the future LGV Louvain to Ans. Design speed is foreseen at 200 kph. CFL have taken delivery in October of 6 autorails series 2100 to 2106. These are manufactured by ATER and are based on the SNCF series 73500.

JOURNAL DE CHEMIN DE FER # 119
Major Articles:
History of the SNCB type 66 [4-4-0] locomotives with photographs and listing of all in this series.
Summary of SNCB events and news during 2000.
Visit of preserved 4-6-2 steam locomotive # 1002 to Bruxelles Midi in November last year.
Potential end for the SNCB series 75 diesel locomotives.
Model News:
TTM models [Halenstraat 55, B-2060, Antwerp] are offering the SNCB type 70 diesel, either of Ronet or Antwerp Dam shed. No price is given.
Articles on two model layouts:
English model “Westford”, located in Somerset.
A small layout featuring ballast and sand loading by rail into barge.
Other Items:
A new rail serviced container terminal has been commissioned in Antwerp harbour. SNCB # 1330 has been modified for dual voltage to run on the SNCF network. After an extensive test run over the SNCF network, the modifications were accepted by the SNCF. Initial roster is from Stockem to Metz. Further modifications are planned of this class to haul freight from Antwerp to Saint-Louis [near Basle]. So far CFL have no plans to follow the SNCB modifications with their 3000 class. The new Virgin high speed and “pendulum” stock, manufactured by Bombardier Transportation, is being tested on the SNCB network. CFL no’s 3600 and 3613 are being cannibalised to provide maintenance spares for the remainder of the 3600 class electric locomotives.

European Railway Review
SNCB has ordered 210 double deck passenger vehicles type M6 from a consortium of Bombardier Transport (Bruges) and Alsthom Transport (Valebciennes). Planned deliveries are from the 4th quarter 2001. Overall length is 26.8m with 124 seats in first class and 140 in second class. Service speed is 160 kph. Interior layout is similar to the latest NS double deckers and is initially planned to be used on the Burbles to Oostende route and later to Kortrijk/Luxembourg.

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