l Nieuwsbrief Issue 42 - September 2002
SNCB/CFL Update Dutch Railway News Tram News Amsterdam Trams
The Combino Tram Model News Exhibition Report NS Unimogs
Batvia Boat Train Eurostar goes Dutch    


By Ralph Hanley

We are grateful to the PFT magazine En Lignes as a source for much of this information

Journal du Chemin de Fer 127

Main items:

Future of SNCB Fret; End of the Series 84 and 85; First private freight train operating on the SNCB; Future investments in SNCB rolling stock; Update on major SNCB infrastructure; DR type 52 steam locomotives on the SNCB; Marklin Type 27 SNCB Steam Locomotive; Early 'photos of SNCB stations, [cont'd].

Journal du Chemin de Fer 128

Main items:

Visit of Danish Queen on SNCB; Line 55 Gent to Zelzate; End of the diesel Series 51; Shed allocations for SNCB diesels and electric engines; Early 'photos of SNCB stations, [part 4]; SNCB types 120 & 121 electrics.

En Lignes 50

Main Items:

History of "Green Livery" diesel locomotives 3 rd part; Current motive power and stock news on the SNCB; Rebuilding 8275; TGV works and infrastructure update.

Motive Power News

SNCB have withdrawn engines from the following classes:

6 diesels 4400 series; 5 diesels 4500 series; 3 diesels 5100/5300 series; 9 diesels 5900 series; 3 diesels 8000 series; 11 diesels 8400/8500 series.

Diesel engine 8275, which was earlier involved in an accident with a truck in the Antwerp harbour, has been rebuilt. However this rebuild is unusual, as it has omitted the cab. This gives the engine a somewhat unusual appearance with a thick stove pipe chimney perched on top of the casing. It is intended to use this engine in tandem with a conventional series 8200. However, sliding back a part of the casing exposes a driving console - somewhat bleak for the crew in the winter. Photographs show 8275 in tandem with [surprise] 8274 at Antwerp Nord.

Maintenance of all series 11 will be transferred to Forest Midi at Schaerbeek . These must be getting close to the end of their useful life. [ Lima has now re introduced an updated model 1181 with better running performance than the earlier 1186]

SNCF have now allowed series 13 and CFL 3000 to operate on their 25 KV network.

With an eye to the future Alstom are experimenting with the conversion of an electric series 14 capable of operating throughout Europe .

Series 15 no 1503 is now usefully employed on the "train de measure", and has operated as far as Aachen . The "wagon de measure" has now been fully repaired, after being damaged in a collision at Voroux last year.

As from December this year, the remaining series 16 will lose their Oostende - Frankfurt working. This will be as a result of the LGV 2 opening between Oostende and Eupen, the service is planned to be worked by DB ICE 3 units.

As a result of its earlier collision at Rhisnes in December, series 53 no 5314 was withdrawn.

After 48 years service, the remaining diesel series 59 have been withdrawn in June.

The last of the series 75 no's 7502/3 have been sold to the Italian company Visali.

Current allocation of series 77 is: Antwerp Nord 29, Charleroi Sud 15, Merelbeke 10 and Kinkempois 10. During a recent visit to Belgium in June, one was spotted on freight duties at Zeebruges. The last 20 of the first series [no's 7761 to 7790] have been equipped with ATB.

A further three locos of the series 80 have been withdrawn, [no's. 8001/68/69]. The duties of these series are gradually being replaced by the series 82 . However the series 82 have been using excessive amounts of oil. This has led to 10 of these engines being replaced by motors [type 6DXS] from the withdrawn series 85.

The last of the series 84 and 85 were withdrawn en block from service in April. However 21 of the series 84 have been "kept" for possible track and infrastructure service. In addition CFD - Locorem have bought two series 85.

As of April; 40 of the emu series 66 have been modernised, which includes the "new" livery. The last two to be modernised [645 & 664], still retain the earlier windows due to a shortage of new windows.

1318 and 1336 were involved in a collision at Marbehan with 2361 and 2352, whilst both were operating a freight service. Apparently the two series 2300 passed a red signal onto the main line as the other train was passing. Judging by the photograph, it would not be economic to repair 2361.

In March a sudden "ice storm" coated the rails with ice at d'Andenne station. Before this could be removed the train from Liege [emu 705] slid into the buffers, but was not derailed. Damage was sufficient to close 2 of the 3 platforms for a time.

Fate is still against the DMU series 41, i n March, no 4117 caught fire in the shed at Mol and was engulfed in flames, sufficient to call out the local Fire brigade. Afterwards the DMU was taken to the workshop at Hasselt to determine the cause of the fire. This series is now in service on Ligne 132 [ Charleroi to Couvin].

Rolling Stock

The first of the new double decker M6 carriages are now in service between Oostende and Bruxelles. Earlier these had been tested over several routes for: stability, noise and braking capabilities. In time these, and the series 41, will largely replace the earlier type M2 carriages, although at present there are still many in active service Kosovo railways have purchased 30 of them.

SNCB have stopped modernisation of the series M4 carriages, mainly due to increased costs and limited usage.

It is uncertain whether SNCB will modernise the series M5 carriages or begin a limited withdrawal program.


After 2 years of work the new 1.5 Km avoiding curve from Landen to Ligne 21 is in service. This allows trains approaching Hasselt to avoid the many crossovers, and permits a quicker flow of traffic.

Ligne 108 from Binche to La Louvière has been reduced to a single track. The infrastructure has been improved and timetable modified to allow operation up to 120 Km/hr.

Following the accident at Clabecq, new improved visibility Kilometre posts are being tested on Ligne 130. These are larger and higher than the current posts and have the KM marked in black on a reflective yellow background. The current KM posts are considered to be too small and difficult to see in foggy weather.

To the delight of those aesthetic travellers, the current ugly CCN [communication centre] at Bruxelles Nord is scheduled for demolition.

In June the new "intermodal" traffic terminal at Bierset alongside Ligne 36 was opened. It will be managed by TRW [Transporte Route Wagon] and will link up with Cortax at Schaerbeek for freight service to France and Spain .


The private operator DLC [Dillen le Jeune Cargo] now has a regular Antwerp to Aachen freight service, [Dep Antwerp 05:16 Arr Aachen 08:40 ; Dep Aachen 09:20 , Arr Antwerp 13:21 ]. Motive power is GM class 66 [as seen in the UK ].

SNCB have introduced a second-class "short distance" ticket. This costs €5.50 for a book of 10 up to a maximum journey of 9 Km.

SNCF are in discussions with SNCB to introduce a TGV freight service between Roissy airport [ Paris ] and Bierset airport [ Liege ].

In 2001 the SNCB transported 146.5 million passengers, a 4.7 % increase from 2000.

A study by SNCB concluded the train to be 4 time cheaper than a car over distances under 100 Km [2.60 Bfr vs. 10.79 Bfr]. Over 100 Km this increased to 5 times [1.48 Bfr vs. 7.39 Bfr]. In addition SNCB were cheaper than their neighbours: between 19 to 78 % NS, 12 to 94 % SNCF and 32 to 150 % DB - depending upon distance travelled.

SNCB have announced their proposed investment program, including new and rebuilds, for the next 10 years. This in Euro Mil is: Emu's 1,008, Autorails 185, Rolling Stock 525, Main Line engines 660, TGV 260 and freight 470.

Bombardier has announced an order from Midland Mainline for 127 new diesel units, based on the earlier Virgin design.

After many years hiring from the SNCF, SNCB have now hired their weed killing train from the UK Company "Weed Free Ltd". This has been seen hauled by either a series 77 or last of the series 51 [5138].

CFL had an unusual working with a 19-coach train from Luxembourg to Marseilles . This was to connect with a cruise to Casablanca using the ferry "Mistral". The train included three SNCB break wagons, six SNCF "Conrail" VTU, one CFL bar/generator and two CFL "Velo" [cycle] wagons. No explanation was given as to why a cruise required so many bicycles!

Another unusual CFL working was from Luxembourg to Cerbere at the Spanish frontier. This included the CFL "Rendez Vous" bar coach and six SNCB I6 coaches.

Negotiations are nearly concluded to allow the SNCB series 13 to work as far as Aix-La-Chapelle at a maximum speed of 200 km/hr. [vs. current series 16 limited to 160 km/hr].

The Danish queen during her state visit to Belgium enjoyed a variety of SNCB motive power: 2728, 5528 & 1317. On return the DSB royal coach was connected to the end of the service train "Donauwalzer". Apparently the Belgian King was very impressed with the DSB royal coach, so maybe the SNCB will be nudged for a replacement.

Dutch Railway News

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden

Sources include Rail Magazine, Het Openbaar Vervoer and various tram/rail articles and brochures, including the Internet.

NS Reizigers

First Sprinter is sent away to Bombardier in Randers , Denmark for a major overhaul. Traction for Sprinter 2836 was supplied by DB 140-573 from Bad Bentheim to Padborg on the 28 th April.

Headaches continue for NS Reizigers with availability of rolling stock worsening due to in part ever-increasing problems with its pool of Koplopers. It now appears NS Reizigers is over 260 trains down on what it had initially estimated. Koploper advertising sporting the 'Randstad' livery has now also come to and end, unit 4050 has now had the distinctive colour scheme removed.

More Belgens to be sent home is the plan at least, with a dramatic reduction of K4's scheduled for 2003. This is mainly the result of the introduction of the VIRM ( extended DD-IRM double-decker stock, - see previous NB ). Currently NS Reizigers employs twenty b-carriages and seven a-carriages, of which a total of twenty will remain in regular service this year.

ACTS 6703 and 6704 collided with each other. 6704 appears to be a right off and 6703 will be sent to Merelbeke , Belgium for repairs, together with 6705. The yard at Eindhoven also saw its share of mayhem, with 1746 colliding with Plan-V unit 461. The Plan-V was sent back to Haarlem for repairs, from which it had arrived only a week before for fire-damage repairs. There was further trouble for DE-II 186 which was damaged by fire, and Koploper 4044 which caught fire whilst en route Alkmaar - Den Helder.

End of the line for the 1100's and 600's currently in the yard at Breda . The following units saw their way to the salvage yard of the company Kroon, based in Wilnis: 603, 608, 610, 617, 619, 622, 624, 651, 672, 1117, 1127, 1147, 1149 and 1160.

ICE to visit Haarlem for the duration of Floriade. ICE unit 122 and 123 will be used to take foreign visitors to/from Floriade. During this period, the units will travel 'empty' to/from Watergraafsmeer for cleaning purposes. December will also see the night-train services to Vienna , Berlin , Prague , Munchen and Basel/Milan cease. Although the service will continue to Munchen and Basel/Milan in conjunction with 'CityNightLine', travelling to the other destinations will now be by ICE and possible changes in Germany . The number of ICE services will also be reduced from seven to six, however all ICE services will end at Frankfurt .

Stop Trains will no longer stop at a number of 'at-risk stations'. Unless the authorities are willing to increase security at these so-called at-risk stations, the NS has threatened to drive straight through without stopping. The stations currently on this list include Rotterdam CS, Lelystad, Den Haag CS, Heerlen and Amsterdam Lelylaan.

Smoking will definitely no longer be permitted on trains from 2003 onwards. This is to coincide with new smoking-regulations due to be introduced. It is likely that a no-smoking policy will also be extended to areas such as station buildings.

NedTrain on the move to Haarlem this time, where it plans to relocate its wheel-facilities, currently located at Amsterdamsevaart, these facilities will gradually be phased out. In fact, building for new homes has already started on this site. NedTrain Tilburg meanwhile is likely to move to a new industrial estate, as the local authorities have earmarked their current 12-hectare site for redevelopment to include office, shopping and living.

RailPro goes foreign, as a 70% interest in the company has now been taken by the Austrian 'Voestalpine Bahnsysteme'. This company specialises in products and services for the railway industry. The current shareholders, including Volker Stevin, BAM NBM Rail and Strukton all maintain a 10% stake. RailPro's current turnover is around the €125m.

NS goes International and has agreed a multi-million Euro joint venture with the Polish firm PKP to operate services in West-Pommeren. Under the agreement, the existing PKP rolling stock will be modernised and used. Furthermore, NS is also making moves to get involved in both Germany and the UK . Currently they are seeking to win concessions in Wales , Bristol and Manchester . In Germany their efforts will be directed towards regional transport in the Nordrhein-Westfahlen area. NS has also let it be known that they are interested in 23 out of 33 concessions currently on offer in NL.

Plan-U's continue their return to NS Reizigers as Syntus takes on more 'Lint' units. Recently, Lint units 37 and 38 were delivered to Hengelo from Salzgitter , allowing the return of Plan-U 112, 113 and 115.

Out of favour as now only 15 (instead of the planned 19) Plan-U's will undergo full reworks. This is due to the return of the DM'90 units 3442-3445 from Syntus to NS Reizigers and thus making available sufficient stock with ATB-NB installed. Plan-U units 113-115, 118, 128, 142 and 152 may possible face 'the end of the road'. Unit 114 may have a reprieve and follow a new career at the Spoorweg Museum .

NS International

On the slopes as the private company Euro-Express Treincharter has taken-over the Alpen Express from NS International. Continuing this popular service, the company plans to introduce a 'classic' quiet part to the train and a disco-carriage to get travellers into the winter sport mood.

What a 'tally' as the Thalys continues its success story with its 5-millionth traveller on the Paris route. On average 100'000 travellers use the Thalys service Paris and Amsterdam an in particular De Floriade and de Van Gogh/ Gaugain exhibitions have had a positive influence on numbers. Travellers using the Ski-Thalys for winter sports have also increased by a staggering 50%.


Railion goes black again and for the first time since 1995 actually makes a profit. Although nothing to shout about, the profit of €100,000 (against a turnover of €156m) was made travelling the same amount of ton-kilometres of 3.8b. The turnaround was partly due to increased distribution of cars, paper, chalk and iron-ore, and despite decreased business from the chemical, coal and container industries.

Waste returns as ACTS is now not able to run its waste-train operation, as it requires the locos it used for this service for other duties (in part also due to a lack of traction after collision write-offs and repairs). Railion once again gain control of the service between Haarlem and Amsterdam Westhaven.

We are waiting say Railion, as once again the expected arrival of ten new series 232 locos will suffer delay. This in turn means that NS Reizigers will have to wait for the ten 1600's to come their way too, as Railion will now hold on to them. Drivers based at Kijfhoek are also waiting for their instruction on the new 232, but despite a temporary ATB exemption, one 232 loco is still at the Tilburg works awaiting other modifications. Because of these delays, Railion is now doubting the planned timescales for test-drives in September and an in-service date of February 2003.

New kids on the block as Railion takes delivery of its first batch of Shimmns-ttu 723 coil wagons. A total of sixteen have been delivered so far, and proudly presented to Corus. Based at Amersfoort , these wagons will be used on the Beverwijk > Dusseldorf-Reisholz route. The wagons have taken on the type (-ttu) and build (723) numbers as used by DB Cargo.

NS worried about appearances and has instructed Railion to remove all NS logos from existing Railion stock. This will happen systematically as wagons come into the service yards. Railion however has no immediate plans to affix their own logo straight away.

Railion feels the heat, as a new operator is to appear on the scene from October onwards. Named 'European Rail Shuttle (ERS), currently the rail operator for P&O, Nedlloyd and Maersk, is to start its own container shuttles from Rotterdam to Germersheim. Another two routes planned for January of next year are Rotterdam-Neuss and Rotterdam-Mainz. Traction will be provided by a leased Class 66. Railion will however continue to operate the shuttle services to Italy .


The breaks are on as the HSL-South completion has now been put back to May 2007. The reasons for yet more delays cited include unexpected problems with track laying in the Bergschenhoek area, and the existing plans did not include any test-periods for rail and trains.

Let there be light as all existing signals between Woerden and Harmelen have been replaced by LED-signals. Apparently the new LED-signals are more visible and have a longer life expectancy. Once all signals have been replaced, a saving of €200'000 is expected.

Museum News

Museum Organisations Amsterdam on the move as they have submitted their plans for a new Amsterdam Public Transport museum to the local authorities. Now the plans for the proposed Schinkeltunnel have been scrapped, and the AOM is forced to leave the Tollenstraat complex, these new proposals have taken on an air of urgency. The plan proposes to build the new museum complex between the Haarlemmermeerstation and the Schinkel, next to the Havenstraat works. Included in the plan is a complete clean up of the area concerned, new enclosed yards, exhibition areas, restoration facilities, and a children's' traffic play area within the tram reverse-loop.

Relive a bit of history with the Haagse Openbaar Vervoer Museum , as they will once again offer historic tram rides from April to the last Sunday in October.

Stichting Romeo is once again running its historic tramline 10 through until 27 th October. The route has not changed, however trips will be no longer than 45 mins due to a shortage of personnel. You can enjoy this historic line on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until 8 th September, and then Saturdays and Sundays only until 27 th October.

Tram & Light-Railway News

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden

Sources include Rail Magazine, Het Openbaar Vervoer and various tram/rail articles and brochures, including the Internet.

Gemeente Vervoer Bedrijf

GVB stays public as over 70% of Amsterdammers voted against the 'road to privatisation'.

Tramline 17 goes old-fashioned and becomes the twelfth Amsterdamse line (out of a total of seventeen) to carry conductors. There is a team of sixty conductors ready to assist travellers between Centraal Station and Dijkgraafplein (Osdorp).

In the summertime frequency of service for trams, metros and buses will once again be amended for this period, as most of the city's population will be on their annual summer holidays. Tram times will be affected from the 22 nd June onwards, and for metros only during the 'high-summer' service (starting first July, lasting for twelve weeks and affecting trams and buses too). This year will see no alterations to routes - this will happen again during September and December. The summer will also see a continued drive for renewal of tramlines, including the Noord/Zuid line and IJtram. June also saw new tracks being laid at the Overtoom/ 1ste Constantijn Huygensstraat.

The Bill takes the metro and is successfully continuing its partnership with the GVB. In fact, due to the 'ticket-controllers/police' partnership 'zwartrijden' (fair dodging) is actually on the decrease on Amsterdam 's metros. The role of police is to reduce any aggressive behaviour that may be encountered, and generally support the team of forty controllers. They can also check authenticity of names should somebody not be able to pay nor carry proof of identity, and all this 'on the spot'. This partnership has been welcomed by the average metro traveller, as it is generally making metros a safer place to be.

Teething problems for the new Combino's during the first few days of service included locked brakes, leading to unit 2007 suffering damage due to colliding with one of the 'Wiegbrug' barriers. Other problems with bogies and software meant that only two units, namely 2005 and 2007 were the only Combino's still in service. Due to these problems, delivery of further Combino's has been halted to investigate and rectify known malfunctions. Over and above, the new methods of entering/exiting the new trams has, in some cases also led to delays.

HTM Den Haag

Undergoing a facelift as from June onwards all trams (including the seven purchased from Hannover now on line 11) will undergo a paint-job and start to appear in a red/cream colour scheme with brown entry/exit doors.

HTM on the up as 2001 results are 11% up on the previous year. Turnover was up to €180m, however profit decreased to €0.2m due to the loss-leading service in district 'Haaglanden'. The HTM organisation now encompasses bus, tram, light-rail, Infra, and consultancy divisions.

What's in a name , from June this onwards the HTM is now officially known as the "HTM Personenvervoer NV " (instead of NV Gemengd Bedrijf Haagsche Tramweg-Maatschappij). No doubt, as with the GVB, the organisation will continue to be known as simply "HTM".

The Swedes arrive, as six new units will be delivered in late September to run services on the Rijn-Gouwelijn. The sneltrams are presently active in Stockholm . Tests will take place between Alphen and Gouda , and additional safety systems will be installed including ATB. A new service location will be built in Alphen a/d Rijn.

Seconds from Hannover , as the HTM has decided to take on second-hand rolling stock currently located in Hannover . Costing 2.100.000 Euros, the units (firm orders on seven, with an option on another eight) will be fully serviced (new windows, brakes, de-rust) and repainted into the new HTM red/beige livery in Hannover before delivery to the HTM. They are expected to enter service in December this year on line 11. The reason for second-hand stock rather than new - these units will only be used short-term (planned period of five years) until the new RandstadRail-stock arrives. (See photo in centre of this issue)

RET Rotterdam

Tightening the belt as the RET is running a 'negative-profit' to the tune of €10M. In order to turn this around, plans include making the travel-zones smaller (from the current 7.5 km to 4.5 km). The current 'hot-spot' problem of zwartrijders (fare dodgers) will also be tackled in earnest, and the RET will also petition The State for contributions towards improving safety.

Smile - you're on camera as the RET now wants to 'beam' all security camera footage directly to the police. Since the new cameras were installed this February, sharp images of all that goes on in and around stations are available and are invaluable when chasing and identifying suspects.

Amsterdam Tramways

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden

The future of tram services in and around Amsterdam looked very bleak during the 1950's. Rolling stock was ageing and poorly maintained, leading to break failures and deadly consequences. Heads rolled too, with the then director W. B. I Hofman being forced to leave. It was even considered doing away with trams altogether and believe it or not plans were drawn-up to run bus-only services.

Luck was on the trams side however in the form of the Leidsestraat - this narrow street was and still is too small for the number of busses required. Therefore twenty-five 2-part articulated six-axle units were ordered from the manufacturer Beijnes and built and delivered under license by Schindler AG based in Pratteln. Running on lines 1 and 2, the units were numbered 551-575 (Series 1G) Units 551 and 552 entered service in June of 1957, with greatly improved ride qualities and all the comforts offered by a modern articulated tram. They were certainly a hit with the travelling public, which led to a rethink. No more thoughts of bus-only transport and even intentions to expand the tram-net. A new 2G series was quickly introduced in 1957, units 576-587. In fact the small 'enkeltjes' saw service on lines 1, 2 and especially 7, 9 10, 16 and 24. In 1958 it was decided to transform 551 into a 3-part articulated (or double-articulated) unit, which proved so successful that from then on all units were now ordered in this format. The Series 1G were all transformed into double-articulated units (with the last 'enkeltje' transformed during the early 70's) and renumbered 851-887.

During the late 80's, early 90's the series 602-634 ended their service and a number were sold to Poznan. Two remained, of which 886 went to the AOM. Now brought back into its original grey colour scheme it has also been renumbered to 586. This design, originating from the 1950's is only now being slowly replaced by the Combino's - not a bad track record!

The Siemens Combino Tram

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden

The Siemens Combino success-story started on the drawing-table in 1994, and following a partnership with the firm Paulussen a prototype rolled onto the streets of European cities including Amsterdam and Rotterdam. This road show was so successful, that in 30-40% of cases an order was placed. To date, over 500 examples have been ordered with Amsterdam staking its future on the Combino with the biggest order of all, 155 units. So successful is the Combino, that there is now also talk of a diesel-electric version.

All Combino's, however different they may seem in appearance share the same basic power-unit, bogies and mechanical uncoupling system. Dubbed the first-ever 'system tram', because of its modular build process, many aspects such as gauge, cabin width and type and pantographs are flexible to requirements. They can also be combined to create 3-part (the smallest) up to 7-part (the longest) units. The individual sections can easily be swapped-out, ensuring units can re-enter service as quickly as possible. Sufficient spare parts are apparently available, with ordering eventually to be over the net. Siemens is also offering a 'Rundum-Service', whereby Siemens undertakes the servicing. Extras also include video-surveillance, air-conditioning and a second drivers-end.

The Amsterdam Combino's (in fact 2 nd generation Combino's) are delivered as 5-part units and are unique in the fact that they are the only versions delivered with an air-conditioned 'ConCab'. From this cabin, the conductor is able to control the doors and even close off the rear-section with a 'glass wall'. Passengers will benefit from larger windows, extra legroom and a collapsible ramp for wheel-chair-bound travellers. To control fare-dodgers, entry is only via a single door located next to the driver or via the double-doors opposite the conductor. The other doors can only be used to exit the tram, with one-direction swing barriers to prevent those who wish to have a go. Finally, a GPS system will also be fitted to work in combination with the 'Annax' tram stop announcement system. The one-direction Combino's will be numbered 2001-2151 (series 13G), with the bi-directional units becoming 2201-2204 (series 14G). This series will be destined for line 5 to Amstelveen, as there is no reverse-loop present.

Model News

By Ralph Hanley

We acknowledge Train Miniature as a source for much of this information.

Roco have now been sold, and hopefully, disproves the earlier rumours of their closure. Despite higher offers Roco was sold to a former Technical Director of the company. This may ensure relatively small changes in their product range for the future.

Roco International Collection, Roco were contacted by the Society and now send us copies of their "International Collection". Benelux HO items in the latest "International Collection 1 - 2003" are: SNCB Flat wagon with spoked wheels 47391 in green & 47392 in brown; CFL high capacity Flat wagon with weathered steel slabs in brown 47394. [Orders to your Roco stockist by end August]. For anyone having ordered the Roco CFL Z 2000 emu, there is another long wait. MBSL advised that delivery is now "next year", as was said in 2001!!

Lima has apparently announced a new marketing strategy. That is specific country models will only be marketed in that country, i.e. SNCB models will only be available in Belgium. It seems strange in an era of high competition that a company is prepared to shoot itself in the foot!!

Train Miniature 18 has a high focus on Belgian model Trams and include details/photographs of 2 relatively extensive layouts, the largest being "Bruxelles a Fontaine - Remersdaal". Other items of interest in TM are:

Constructing an HO scale station, based on a typical "road side" SNCB station; Testing the Mehano Vossloh G 2000; Constructing a Fiat "Van Hool" 420 HA ST 4 bus from a Kit.

Belgian Model Trams or kits available are:

Jocadis [SNCV] : Tram a vapeur type 7 [Joc Ref 81050], Tram a vapeur type 23 [Joc 81051], Autorail [Joc 81003], Motrice Electrique type S [Joc 81004], Motrice Electrique type N [Joc 81005], Motrice Electrique type SO [Joc 81006], Motrice Electrique et Remorque type "Braine le Comte" [Joc 81000]. In addition: accessories such as signs "Arret de Train" & "Il est interdit de circuler les voies", and kits for passenger and freight trailer cars. A more modern model is the Hodl Siemens new tram as seen in Gent and Antwerp.

PB Messing Modelbouw offer kits for: PCC Gent/Antwerp tram in addition to a single car unit "De Lijn"

Bachman retail an "American" PCC [ref 62945]; which with minor modifications can become a SNCV tram. This is also available in N scale.

TTM have a white metal kit for the "standard" SNCV tram and trailer. Sint Petersburg tram collection market these models on "O" gauge.

Lima manufactures a "current" two car "De Lijn" tram.

Ferivan produce two tram kits, one for the relatively modern Charleroi type Bn, and the other for the type "Braine de Comte".

BEC sell a Bruxelles tram kit series 5000 of the STIB.

Model Train update:

Mehano [through Rocky Rail] advertise Belgian HO: Class 66 DLC with delivery for September, Type 26 for August and a Series 41 two car unit for October. [It is hoped that these models will be more reliable than their life size units]. All are planned in DC, AC or Digital.

Treinshop Olaerts continues to advertise the SNCB "Break" in either a 2 or 3-car unit. These are planned in: Bordeaux, Grey/Yellow, Airport Express or CFL liveries. Prices start at €360 [2 car unit].

Brekina through Modelspoorcenter, Bruges, have released a Mercedes type 0317K bus in SNCB Bordeaux livery at €20.

Artitec, for those with plenty of "elbow grease" have a "gas oil" stand based on one at SNCB Bruges. Price is €58.50.

Modelbouw Centre [Bruge] has developed a resin three-story high facade for properties. These are aimed at the rear, but could well be used for the frontal surfaces.

Exhibition Report

From Ralph Hanley

Arlon Railway Exhibition

Our holiday in Luxembourg coincided with the Arlon Railway exhibition and bourse. This was organised by the "Train Modele Sud" of Arlon. After navigating Arlon we found the exhibition at the "Hall Polyvalent" conveniently close to the Station. The exhibition was just a bit smaller than Maastricht with predominantly Belgian [no surprise] and French layouts. Most were in HO, but there were several "O", "N" and one "G". The standard of modelling was very high, with four complex large layouts. One SNCB layout, paced at 15 x 4 m included catenary and signalling control. This was running 5 trains simultaneously. Another included some amusement with cows invading a football pitch and Nuns playing tennis cheered on by local Friars. The SNCB system has never struck me as being "fire prone", but the number of layouts including "fires" was quite astounding!

Productive time was spent in the "Bourse" section. Generally prices were translated as £1 = €1 when compared to England. Very little Dutch stock, but plenty of Belgian, French and Luxembourg models. The only items more expensive than England were the "Ticket to Ride" videos. Treinshop Olaerts was a major model shop present with a whole sub room of stock.

Catering put the average UK exhibition to shame both with choice and prices. [Particularly when compared with the "rip off" catering at the NEC] Hot meals and a variety of baguettes/flans/salads were available plus wine and beer. Question, should complicated layouts be operated whilst "under the influence"?

As a belated sop and twinge of conscience, we toured Arlon Cathedral [via Arlon station], and Carolyn was able to admire and photograph all the superb flower arrangements therein.

Unimogs in Service with the NS

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden

A total of fifteen Unimog platform vehicles were in service with the NS, one of which you can still see today at the Maliebaan museum. Based on an agricultural vehicle chassis, the Unimogs were fitted with four-wheel drive, high and low gears and of course a rail system, built by the company 'Zweiweg'. The platform was raised by a single centrally positioned cylinder, allowing for good access to overhead catenary wires. The platform was controlled by those on it, whereas actual driving instructions were passed on to the driver via an intercom system. This system was nowhere near 100% reliable, and after a number of fatal accidents most vehicles were fitted with new safety systems, including an emergency handbrake, which could be applied from the platform. Once new vehicles were developed and introduced, one Unimog was donated to the Maliebaan museum, with the others either being scrapped or even converted into camper-vans. Apparently one also ended-up at the ZLSM where it is still in use today.

By Boat Train to/from Batavia

By Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden

Travelling to the far-flung corners of the empire during the nineteenth century was a drawn-out affair, with journeys to the East Indies lasting around four weeks by ship. Even after the opening of the Suez Canal, journeys remained long, until two companies, namely De Rotterdamsche Lloyd and De Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland introduced rail services to the Mediterranean ports of Marseille and Genua, reducing the total journey by up to six days.

Both companies employed fast mail boats, designed to carry passengers and mail to the East Indies. With the expanding rail network across the European continent, both companies decided to introduce a Boat Train service in 1928. Both services, running alternate weeks, quickly became popular for those who could afford it. Especially when you consider that this route would avoid passing through the Gulf of Biscaye, notorious for a rough passage. The Stoom Maatschappij Nederland (SMN) ran a rail service between Amsterdam and the port of Genua, whereas the Rotterdamsche Lloyd (RL) first of all carried their passengers by rail to the port of Marseille, from where onwards they completed the journey by boat.

In fact, one could make the journey across land before 1928, although this was fraught with obstacles such as customs and passenger checks at each and every border and travel was by method of the so-called 'D' carriages which meant many transfers (including the taxi or metro in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon when travelling to Marseille).

Competition was also in the form of air travel. Taking the KLM from Amsterdam Schiphol (or alternatively the then in existence Rotterdam Waalhaven Airport) to Paris, and onwards to Marseille with Air Union would however have set you back f129.50, thus unaffordable to most. The introduction of the Boat Trains meant a non-stop direct connection to either port at an average price of f50.00 second-class travel.

Both services departed and arrived at Den Haag SS, the then 'centre of the universe' for all matters concerned with the East Indies. Different routes were however adopted by the companies.

De Nederlandse Express, Genoa - Den Haag SS and vice-versa with the SMN

In the early stages passengers from the East Indies would arrive at the Ponte dei Mille, Genoa. Here, passengers had to have their travel baggage inspected by customs, with any larger items sealed in their presence. From here, they would take the bus to the Piazza Principe station, and luggage followed by truck. The bus journey, with reserved seats was f1.50 per person. The SMN soon realised the discomfort and inconvenience of this part of the journey, and in October of 1928 extended the track through to Genoa Sant Limbania, located at the docks. De Nederlandse Express did however only have one departure time from Genua, thus should the boat arrive early, passengers had a few hours to spare before continuing their onward journey to Den Haag SS. This was probably due to the fact that the FS, SBB, DRB and NS could not agree any alternative routes. Leaving Genua at 10:38, the route home was via Milaan > Chiasso > Goschenen > Muttenz ( nr. Basel ) > Basel Badischer Bahnhof > Freiburg > Karlsruhe > Mannheim > Mainz > Koblenz > Bonn > Koln ( where a Mitropa restaurant car was added ) > Düsseldorf > Emmerich > Zevenaar > Arnhem > Utrecht CS > and finally arrival at Den Haag SS at around 09:45. Total journey time was around 22 hrs 45 mins. One notable difference, up to 1940, the Southbound route was always via Arnhem > Nijmegen > Kleef > Koln, after which is resumed the same route (with the North-bound route passing Emmerich > Zevenaar). See accompanying route map .

Leaving Genoa trains generally consisted of: baggage car (locked by customs), NS D-carriages 1 st and 2 nd class and a Mitropa restaurant car to Basel Bbf. Once at Basel Bbf, those passengers who had reserved a place in the sleeper were asked to change over to the sleeping carriage. From 1938 onwards, sleepers from Compagnie Internationale des Wagon-Lits were employed. Southbound journeys were hauled by NS-series 3600 to Nijmegen and swapped for electric stock at Basel Bbf. Due to the Italian three-phase system, the loco was once again changed at Chiasso to a FS-loco.

Passengers were discouraged from leaving the train when entering stations. Station stops were merely for train personnel to join and/or leave the train. Interesting to note is that one could join the train in Germany at Koln, Koblenz, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Basel DRB. Whether many did so or not is not known. In fact, it is very doubtful, as one could only pay for the ticket in Dutch currency.

If you wanted to accompany a passenger during the first phase of the journey through The Netherlands, or indeed travel to Genoa to welcome passengers at dockside, permission had to be sought from 'head office' in advance.

To give you an idea of price, tickets costs were as follows

•  Genoa > Arnhem 1 st Class: f 75.00.

•  Genoa > Arnhem 2 nd Class: f 52.00.

•  1 st Class Sleeper an additional f 18.50.

•  2 nd Class 'couchette accommodation' an additional f 11.00.

It is interesting to note that these prices included bed linen, but not soap!

Rotterdamsche Lloyd 'Rapide' Marseille - Den Haag HS and vice-versa.

As with the SMN, services commenced in 1928. RL had also organised a train connection from the main station through to the quayside, so there was no need for passengers to do the final part of the journey by 'alternative' transport, as was originally the case with the SMN.

The RL also had four different return journey times Marseille > Den Haag HS, depending on the arrival time of the boats in Marseille. Because of the lengthy voyage, the arrival time of the boat could not always be accurately determined. Thus, when the boat passed Port Said, leaving the Suez Canal, the captain would telegraph the arrival time, which could be determined from this point onwards. This would then determine the 'RL Rapide's' route, namely schedules A, B, C or D ( see RL Schedule A ). Schedule D was particularly unfavourable for those with onward journeys to Groningen and Leeuwarden; the train simply arrived at Den Haag too late for them to continue their onward journey the same day. Total travel time with the RL was around twenty-three hours.

No less than five companies were involved en-route to Marseille, namely the 'PLM' (Paris, Lyon, Mediteranee), 'de Chemin de Fer du Nord', 'de Sociètè Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges' (SNCB) and the NS. Additionally, the 'Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Europeens' also supplied carriages.

There were noticeable differences with the service offered by the SMN. Firstly, it was a 'closed' train with corridor carriages 1 st and 2 nd class from the PLM, sleepers from Wagons-Lits and also a restaurant car, baggage car and postal carriage for the transport of mail between Belgium and The Netherlands. Furthermore, those who wanted to make use of the sleeper had to purchase a 1 st class ticket. There was no need to change over to the sleeper (as was the case with the SMN), as the sleeper was also fitted with two seats per compartment. It was also possible to combine compartments, useful when travelling with a large family. The 'couchette' carriages offered four sleeping-places together with four seats. Toilets and wash facilities were located either at the centre or top-end of each carriage. Blankets were not made available by the PLM, but could be hired from the RL for f2.50. A deposit of f5.00 had to be paid, and the blankets were to be 'disinfected' and returned within ten days of arrival at the final destination. Failure to do so would result in the loss of the deposit, but one could keep the blanket. Finally, the RL did allow the passenger to complete the journey in stages, allowing for visits en-route.

To give you an idea of price, RL Rapide tickets costs were as follows

•  Den Haag HS > Marseille 1 st Class: Dfl 64.80.

•  Den Haag HS > Marseille 2 nd Class: Dfl 45.00.

•  Sleeper an additional Dfl 48.60.

•  'Couchette accommodation' an additional Dfl 7.50 (plus f 2.50 per blanket).

Competition from KLM came in earnest in 1937 ( see accompanying KLM poster, 1937 ), when journey times by air were reduced to some 55 hrs (5 half days). Prior to this, the KLM was not able to offer a viable alternative, as flights were only conducted during daylight hours with crew and passengers over-nighting in hotels en-route. A typical journey by air would therefore last around ninety hours.

Over and above, war broke out in Europe and the last boat train left for Marseille in April 1940. On 10 May Germany entered The Netherlands, marking an end to rail travel to the East Indies. Services did resume after the war in 1947, but soon fell victim to the ever-popular air-travel.

Eurostar goes Dutch, from just £85 return

Sent by Paul Stoddart-van der Maaden and taken from the www.eurostar.com website

Eurostar, the international high-speed passenger train service linking London with Paris, Brussels and Lille - today announced it had reached an agreement with Thalys International to offer onward rail travel to The Netherlands.

Passengers are now able to purchase tickets through Rail Europe for as little as £85 Standard Class return and £145 First Class return for travel from London Waterloo or Ashford International, to Rotterdam, The Hague, Schiphol Airport and Amsterdam. Like existing Eurostar Plus destinations, passengers will have the benefit of a quick change at Brussels-Midi before travelling onwards to Holland.

"This new agreement with Thalys makes rail travel to The Netherlands even easier and more convenient," says Schera Zekri, Director of Distribution for Eurostar. "It means a weekend break in Amsterdam or a business meeting in The Hague without first the hassle of airports and transfers."

Thalys is the high-speed link between Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne. Like Eurostar, not only does Thalys embody the most advanced railway technology with services from centre to centre in unbeatable times, but it also offers three major strengths: service, fares and frequency.

"This agreement with Eurostar combines the best in European rail travel - speed, convenience, reliability and style," says Rita Moosen, Manager of Distribution and Systems for Thalys International. "Thalys and Eurostar are committed to establishing a truly pan-European sales offer for rail passengers, to make rail the preferred mode of travel between European centres."

Thalys operate six return journeys daily between Brussels and Amsterdam, and seven in summer, making the journey not only frequent but also quick - just two hours and 30 minutes. Eurostar operates eight services to Brussels Mondays-Saturdays, and seven on Sundays. Tickets can be booked through the Rail Europe Call Centre on 08705 848 848.


Back to Nieuwsbrief Index

Back to Top