l Nieuwsbrief Issue 43 - December 2002
Model News SNCB/CFL Update Tilburg Open Day Roco International
Steinsel Rail Bourse      


Model News

By Ralph Hanley

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

(For readers' information, Train Miniature is the only magazine devoted to Belgian model railways. It is published by Meta Media with 6 issues each year. The annual subscription for the UK is €49 and the contact address is Meat Media N.V, Wettersestraat 64, B-9260 Schellebelle, Belgium, tel. 00 329 369 3173.


There is a growing trend amongst manufacturers to require pre-ordering for special stock items. Presumably if there are insufficient orders, then the particular item is not made. This is all very well if modellers know beforehand of the specialist items that manufacturers are planning to make. Some of these are not well advertised, and UK retailers are not exactly proactive in publicising such items. Roco currently now send copies of their planned next "International Collection" releases to the Membership Secretary, which is available to members on request. The other noticeable trend, particularly with Lima, is that specialist models come with all the small detail items yet to be installed. Assembling these can be a challenge, such as the case when a small item in ones tweezers goes "ping" and disappears in the layout! (The carpet is even more of a challenge. Ed)

Train Miniature 19 and 20 is a little in the "doldrums" as far as any new model releases are concerned. Unless otherwise noted model news below is for HO scale.

Cornerstone has several Refinery kits available. These are: "Greatland" Sugar Refining # 903-3092, United Petroleum Refining Deluxe [question what makes a Refinery "Deluxe"?] # 933-3705 and Oil storage depot with retaining walls # 933-3167 or 933-3168 for the "high" version.

Jocadis are preparing an 1899 era Fourgon [freight car] "Ballon" in dark green one version with windows, the other without. These were used on the Belgian network up until the 1950's. This is planned to be available at the year-end.

LS Models have advertised SNCB: auto car wagons for November, Electric Class 1300 and 2600 to follow [but no date!] and sleeping cars type "P".

Klein Modellbahn have produced an époque III short wheelbase tank car, reference 5137.

Marklin have an SNCB steam loco type 26 with "authentic" builders plate and Z scale SNCB steam loco type 81. In addition Marklin offer SNCB steam loco type 64 in gauge 1, [no price given!]

Reitz have released four modern buses: a touring "Neoplan Starliner", CFL bus in the new CFL livery, Van Hool T9 "De Post" in red livery and Mercedes Cito "De Lijne"

At the express wish of M. De Prest Roco are releasing a dark green version of the SNCB covered wagon [47513].

Rocky Rail have now imported their advertised SNCB series 59, these are available in various liveries [to suit ones choice]. Decals are available to "flottante - wavy lines" the cabins of their series 53 and 59.

Via - Decor has produced realistic paving of the traditional "Belgian Blocks". These include: Tee Junction, Curves and Pavements.

HObbex have produced a simple catenary system in strong plastic which is sold in modular packs. UK agent is WINCO of Winchester [tel. 01962.869301]

For that Christmas present, Train Miniature has a limited number of 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles at €12. This depicts the 1970's TEE [livery yellow and red] on the Amsterdam to Bale service. Contact TM on, or E-mail "trainbooktique@metamedia.be."

TM 19 contains articles on:

Neerpelt and the "Rhin de Fer"; Building a model of Neerpelt station area; Hove [near Antwerp] station model layout; building a wagon for a breakdown crane; constructing a Butchers shop.

TM 20 contains articles on:

Model layout of Wervik station in 1958; constructing a coal: loading assembly, storage yard, realistic coal pieces and coal yard manoeuvres; sample photographs from the 55 entries for TM's Diorama competition were: Liege in the 60's, Doman Farm, Museum Line 62a, In the Black Country, Abandoned, Ridefort Brewery, In Antwerp Docks, Rouille & Co scrap metal dealers, Train and Tram and Last Steam service.

For those of a thirsty nature, the TM October exposition in Wetteren is introducing an Abbey brewed beer " Class 77". The bottle depicts SNCB loco 7751, and the beer is available either Blond or Brown.

Have I got news for you

Two items of interest to modellers: John Rowcroft of the SNCF society, as a sideline, retails new or nearly new European stock. All major manufacturers are included and prices are very reasonable. For a detailed list contact John with a sae at: 5 Middle Furlong, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 1SR or E-mail "jrowcroft@tiscali.uk". The other item is that Noch manufacture a very realistic underlay complete with ballast topping, either in brown or grey. This is much better than that sold by Peco.


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 128

Main items:

Brief history o Bruxelles Midi and Nord stations; TACs [Car sleeper] trains in Belgium Summer 2002; BB 36000's on the SNCB network; Mariembourg Steam festival - September 2002; SNCB Steam locomotives type 12; Unusual tunnels of the SNCB; Current happenings on the SNCB and CFL; Update on infrastructure works.

En Lignes 51

Main Items:

History of "Green Livery" diesel locomotives 4 th part; Current motive power and stock news on the SNCB; Memories of the Series 51; Industrial network of ALZ at Gent; TGV works and infrastructure update.


NB 42 inadvertently had the incorrect version of the fate of 8275 known as "Le Veau" far from this engine being rebuilt it has now been scrapped.


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 untimely 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.


SNCB have decided to replace the existing Benelux sets with 16 new sets running on 1.5, 3 and 25 kV. These are scheduled to carry 450 to 550 passengers and should all be in service by October 2006.

Closed circuit cameras have been installed at Bruxelles Central as an aid to reduce train waiting time.

Motive Power News

SNCB have withdrawn engines from the following classes:

11 of series 22; remaining 11 Autorail series 44/45; 1 of series 53 [motor failure]; 1 of series 55 [poor condition]; 20 of series 51; 2 of series 80.

Electric: all the series 12 are now relegated to freight duties, mainly in the Charleroi region. Introduction of series 15 at Gouvy has been delayed due to shortage of drivers. One of the series was recently seen on an Auto train between Bressoux and Mouscron. Earlier series 16 were scheduled to lose their Ostende - Koln duty to the DB ICE-3 but are still on this duty as certain of the DB units have not yet received clearance to operate over the SNCB network, final clearance for the DB units is scheduled by the end 2002. During June eleven series 22 were withdrawn instead of the 18 originally planned. This caused some surprise, as "local" preference would have been to withdraw the 14 series 25 which have been "en parc" since June 2001.

Diesel: four of the series 52 have been "seconded" to TUC Rail to work the permanent way trains. The 5 remaining series 59 lasted until mid July, before being withdrawn. PFT have acquired 5941 for preservation. Four series 62 have been assigned to maintenance duties on the new LGV 2 network. These will be equipped with GPS positioning and radio communications. Signalling limitations of the LGV 1 network do not apply to the LGV 2 system. Three of this series: 6220, 6237 & 6304 have been lent to the ACTS company in Holland. These have all been fitted with a third "headlamp" for NS service. Numbering of the second batch of series 77 will be from 7791 to 7870. All series 80 are scheduled to be withdrawn by mid December.

Autocars: Salzinnes maintenance has fabricated replacement "noses" for the 300 series "Break" units 321, 338 & 366 previously involved in accidents. Since mid June the series 41 units have essentially taken over the Diesel hauled services. On line 132 [Charleroi - Couvin], the last diesel hauled services were withdrawn 03 August.

Rolling Stock

NS have now bought 150 type Bm235 coaches second-hand from DB. This has released the 80 K4 coaches lent to NS by SNCB. 30 of these are to be sold to Kosovo in place of the earlier scheduled type M2, [which had heating problems on the Kosovo system]. The first to be returned to SNCB are scheduled for the Lier - Gouvy service. Introduction of the new M6 coaches between Ostende and Schaerbeek in June has been postponed due to some stability and air conditioning problems; these are expected to be resolved by mid December. Since spring B-Cargo have taken delivery of 250 new Shimmns wagons, these have an unladen weight of 22.5 tons and can carry a payload of around 63 tons at a maximum speed of 120 Km/hr.


The twin track tunnel between Grammont and Enghein [Line 123] was initially too low to install the overhead electrification. This was overcome by "marrying" the two lines, [i.e. one rail running between the other track] and installing the overhead cables along the centre. Although not single track, it obviously needs to be operated as a single track!

Those who have driven the E-19 between Bruxelles and Antwerp will have noticed the wide centre reservation. There are now plans to install a new line in this reservation from Zaventem Airport to Machelen on the stretch of E-19 between Machelen and Zemst.

It looks as if the proposed "Rhin de Fer" project has cratered. The Dutch Minister of Transport has currently withheld support, as she insists on further discussions with the Belgian ministry, particularly the rebuilding of the viaduct at Moresnet and modernising line 24. In addition this item has now been dropped from the European Parliament's Transport budget.

Upgrading of the SNCB line 21 from Louvain to Ath has been completed. This was successfully tested by 1341 and seven I11 coaches, eventually reaching a speed of 228 Kph on 20 August.

Electrification of the "Athus - Meuse" section is scheduled to be completed by mid December. SNCB series 1300 and CFL series 3000 are scheduled to work this section.


Following a majority vote in February, the SNCB will impose a ban smoking on its services during 2003.

An unusually short Benelux set of 3 coaches [including the pilot] was seen hauled by series 1189 at Antwerp Luchtbal. The two coaches were test coaches having been installed with updated electrical equipment. They were tested on a return trip between Amsterdam and Antwerp. The intent being to bring these sets up to the standard of the modernised ICR-m coaches of the NS.

Another unusual Benelux set working was on 19 July, when a SNCF corail and NS sleeping car were attached to the series 11 locomotive. [The set being a push mode, and presumably Antwerp Central reversing stop was omitted]. The reason being to quickly locate these two coaches to Amsterdam for the next day services.

August 18 saw train 1139 "Amsterdam - Luxembourg" express hauled by CFL 3017 with a green liveried ex DB luggage wagon in place of the customary NS "Velo [Bicycle] Wagon". Another such working included a further ex DB luggage wagon, this time in Turquoise and White livery.

A short CFL special composed of a CFL Wegmann ABD, Velo coach and "Rendez - Vous" buffet was seen at Spa. This was organised by the GAR Luxembourg Railway Society, and CFL Class 800, No. 804, hauled the train.

All international trains between Paris Nord and Namur have been withdrawn as from mid June.

The private company DLC suffered a setback when its locomotive Taurus ES 64 U2-901 hit an object on the track whilst hauling a train near Aachen West. Fortunately DLC were able to hire a replacement locomotive whilst the damaged locomotive was repaired.

SNCB announce service changes as of mid December, the main ones being: LGV 2 between Leuven and Ath; and electrification of "Athus - Meuse"

New Books PFT in collaboration with SNCB have published "La Jonction Nord - Midi 1952 - 2002". This covers the "history" of the SNCB network and buildings in Bruxelles between Gare du Midi and Nord. The cost is 35 Euro and is available from: PFT, Boite Postale 5, B-1140 Bruxelles.

"La Croix de Hesbaye" covers the history of lines 142 & 147. It is available from Train Miniature Book Shop, tel. Also available from Train Miniature Book Shop is a 48 min video "Chemin de Fer et Trams de Belgique 1930 - 1947 - 1964".

Tilburg Open Day

From Rodney Beech

On the second Saturday in October, the main loco repair works at Tilburg hosts an Open Day for the families and friends of the employees of NedTrain, the new name for the old NS Materieel organisation. Have a look at the excellent site www.nedtrain.nl and follow through their extensive English language pages for a complete explanation of the organisation's operations.

There is a direct entrance to the works site from the station platform underpass and on arrival visitors were presented with a brief guide to all the departments open to visitors. Those familiar with the days of old steam loco works with the clamour and grime of heavy metal work will be surprised by the often pristine environment of the modern electrical workshop. There are still the wheelwright's shops, the heavy lifting shops and general engine repair shops but there are also the specialist areas concerned with auto couplings, pantograph repair, loco controls and engine component servicing.

All the workshops and departments were manned by employees wearing special commemorative polo shirts and demonstrating their skills while the site security staff kept a friendly and courteous eye on over enthusiastic visitors who got the wrong side of the tape barriers. There was a comprehensive history of the works displayed in one of the workshops and the main traverser shed played host to live music, refreshments, "Hapje en Drankje", model railways and souvenir stalls as well as a place for ex- employees to get together and somewhere to park the children!

For those whose main interest lies in photographing rolling stock, this was a great opportunity to see new and old stock and many in various stages of repair. On arrival through the employee's entrance we were greeted with the following spectacle: -

New GM locos, Class 66 Nos. PB 10, PB 11, PB 16 and PB 17. These are consignment numbers applied in the US before shipment.

ACTS 1251 and nearby Sic 339 and 6449

NoordNed 2-car 'Wadloper' set No. 3218

Beside the main building 1618, 1776 and 1706 were awaiting attention.

NS cargo 6494 in red RaiLion livery was coupled to Sik 339 near the turntable.

688, 674 and 673, the latter with NedTrain branding, were coupled together nearby.

6489 was in the light overhaul workshop, engine running and open for inspection.

Next-door were 689, 683 and Sik 255.

On walking through the works I came across -

Class 66, PB 14, 6516, 6505 and 6480 in various stages of overhaul

In the traverser shed, red DB Cargo 232 903-5 formed an impressive backdrop to the stage for the musical entertainment.

Sik 362 with telescopic crane was the background for family photographs.

Yellow 'Berta' No. 302 270 looked forlorn in weathered yellow Strukton livery.

6418, 6476 and Class 66, 29003 of Belgian newcomer 'Heavy Haul Power International'

Sprinter set No. 2028 was minus bogies.

An Italian State Railways extra long wheel base bogie van was in use as the kiddie's cinema. 31 RIV 83FS 1810 134-8 Gabs built in Calabria in 1977 has a new use and may never be the same again!

In the lifting shop next door was -

1856 over the inspection pit, 6414 sported the new red RaiLion cab sides with standard grey/yellow livery and 1772 was minus bogies and lifted to the ceiling. An unidentified 6400 was completely re-sprayed in red livery while 1774 was in fresh yellow paint. Grimy 1774 was awaiting attention, as was red RaiLion 6499.

Outside, the Works Fire Department were having fun with an old car wreck while on a serious note, 6517 was derailed as part of an accident prevention display. Photographs served to highlight collisions. 6404 had it's cab demolished after hitting what looked like a farm tractor while 6323 had reduced a car to unrecognisable scrap. Several photos of main line derailments were complemented with one or two slow-speed and no doubt embarrassing derailments around the works itself.

Nearby was DEMU Set No. 116 with Zwolle/Groningen destination blinds.

Beside building 76 was another fresh GM import, PB 15 coupled to Sik 215.

At the Eastern Entrance was a line up of DB Cargo locos 232 905-0, 232 902-7, 232 906-8, 232 908-4 and 232 901-9

In the 'graveyard' was 680 minus it's central axle and connecting rods, 644, Sik 274 and 678 with an unidentifiable shape beneath tarpaulins.

Finally beyond the staff car park and off-limits were visible 1777, 1724 and 6497 along with some IRM Regio Runners.

Lastly as a special treat, green liveried Mat '54 Hondekop Set No. 766 operated by the 'Stichting Hondekop Vier' was drawn up across the tracks for the photographers benefit.

I took a few photos and I'll get some across in due course. The weather was cold and grey, and inside I had to use flash so I'll have to wait and see if they're any good. It was interesting to see the imported Class 66's from the US. I wonder where they will end up?

In trying to find out about the 'Open Day' I came across www.railserver.net. Although the text is in Dutch, there is a great photo library.

Roco International Collection

From Neil Sutton

The latest Roco International Collection was on my doormat when I got home yesterday and there are a number of items of interest to the Benelux Modeller in HO scale, these are as follows: -


47322 Brown 2-axle van, with brake platform. The van is shown as ERA IV, but has ERA III numbers, however it is lettered up as a "wagon de service", so its an engineers wagon, suitable to be dumped in a siding at the back of your layout.


63656 (69656 ac) Class 1100 number 1142, in yellow/grey livery. This model is ERA IV, as it is not fitted with "crash noses".

44183 Set of 3 short axle "low side" sand wagons in blue "Rail-pro" livery ERA V. Looking at the models they all have different running numbers, as you would expect from Roco.

47127 Brown 3 axle, car transporter, carrying 10 cars. The model is shown ERA III; the cars are VW 1600's.

46762 Brown bogie Fals Coal hopper, with coal load in ERA III markings.

46763 Brown bogie Fals Coal hopper, with coal load in ERA IV markings.

47426 Blue bogie Cowl wagon "Shimms" with ERA V markings.

47530 2 axle brown Ballast wagon type Eds with ERA IV markings.

47730 6-axle black flat "Salmms???" with stakes, carrying a steel plate load, ERA IV/V.

47731 6-axle black flat, same type as above but loaded with steel "I beams".


63474 (69474 ac) Class 54 diesel in green and yellow, the model is shown with a prototype photo only as 5408, with only 2 headlights instead of 3. The model is shown as ERA IV with traditional cabs. The photo Roco have chosen to use is one taken at the Randers event a couple of years ago. The loco in question I believe is PFT's class 52 (ex CFL), and is a doctored photo. The real 5408 was withdrawn in 1986 and cut up long ago.

63476 Class 204, this is a class 54 in era III livery. Again this model is shown as a prototype photo only. However when I looked at the photo I began to smell a "big" rat, the loco is numbered as 204.005, yet it is in a pair with a floating cab loco. This is a heavily doctored photo, and is really a picture of 5404 (204.004 the heritage loco) which has had its extra headlights removed and its livery altered digitally to remove one of the sets of yellow bands!!! The picture, that this imagine is based on is on page 92 of SNCB GM's 52 53 54 book. The model I would have hoped Roco would have produced would have been 204.004 aka 5404, which has always been in original green and yellow livery. I am going to drop Roco an email to clarify exactly what they are producing, as I would like a NoHab for my former SNCB layout but not one that is in ERA III livery or one that got withdrawn in 1986 and has the wrong light arrangements.

(Editors note. Although by the time you read this it will be too late to place an order (closing date 30 th November) I have included it for interest.) As an addendum to this piece for completeness I have included below a copy of Neil's email to Roco and their reply.

I have received your latest International Collect Brochure, for which orders have to be in by 30/11/2002.

I am interested in the Belgium Items listed on page 18; the problem is the photo's you have used to illustrate the models are not real photographs as they have been "altered". Unfortunately the alterations you have made are wrong and I would be grateful if you could confirm exactly what you are producing in relation to models 63474 and 63476. The first item class 54 era IV, is numbered as 5408, but with totally wrong headlights, the second model era III 204.005 is also wrong. I would have thought you would have produced a model of 204.004 as this locomotive has always retained its original livery and would therefore be suitable for era III to V. As I said I'm very interested in purchasing one of this models once I am clear exactly what you are producing.

Dear Mr. Sutton,

Thank you very much for your mail. Yes, it is true, the photos in the brochure are not correct, but I have asked my colleagues of the product management and they assured me that the models would be produced in the correct version.

Mit freundlichen Grüssen / With best regards,


Andrea Pöschl

Steinsel Rail Bourse

From Ralph Hanley

One of the advantages of long marriages is that wives become quite well tuned into husband's wishes. Thus whilst we were waiting at the CFL Wasserbillig station, Carolyn spotted a notice for an "International Rail Bourse" the next day at a place called Steinsel. A quick search of our map located Steinsel just north of Luxembourg City.

The following day we drove through the wooded countryside to Steinsel. Whilst waiting at the level crossing at Heisdorf two Z 2000 CFL emu's went by. Unfortunately it was tipping down with rain, there are some limitations to rail photography!

Steinsel is a small village and the "Rail Bourse" was well sign posted to the village hall. Parking was somewhat restricted with a multitude of French and German cars, but we got in between the showers. Inside was similar to Houten, a lot smaller but just as packed. Initially it was a shuffle around the aisles, but it thinned out as the early arrivals left with their goodies. Prices were not unduly low, [now known as the "Euro hike"], but still cheaper than England. The main emphasis was on DB stock, with a selection of SNCF items. Most stands seemed to be small traders with one shop from Mersch. However I did manage to pick up a CFL class 3600 electric Bo-Bo by Jouef, albeit in a Lima box. The Rail Club of Luxembourg had a stand, and was selling covered CFL wagons "Diekirck Beer" manufactured by Sachsenmodelle, another addition to my stock. There were a few SNCB diesels, but no sign of any NS items.

Refreshment were fairly basic, but in keeping with the village hall location. Altogether it made an enjoyable visit.

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