|l||Nieuwsbrief Issue 36 - March 2001|
Compiled and translated by Peter van der Mark from Het Openbaar Vervoer, Rail Magazine and various newspaper reports.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
RET – ROTTERDAM
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!
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.
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.
JOURNAL DE CHEMIN DE FER # 118
JOURNAL DE CHEMIN DE FER # 119
European Railway Review