l Nieuwsbrief Issue 49 - June 2004
Contents SNCB/NMBS & CFL News Dutch Tram News Dutch Railway News
Belgian Railway News Belgian Tram News Model News Coach Heating
Newmarket Exhibition The Betuwe Wall    


By Ralph Hanley
The private Dutch Company TTC has been running the “Bergland Express” of 15 coaches from January to end March each Friday. Departure from Schiphol was 15:09 arriving in St. Anton am Arlberg [Austria] at 12:04. The train was routed via Berchem, Bruxelles Midi and Liege. Another private Dutch company is planning to run a “Train Auto” from Maastricht to Avignon each Friday from mid June to late September. This is planned to route via Marloie, Arlon and Luxembourg.
The European Commission has approved the modernisation of the Bruxelles - Luxembourg - Strasbourg route at a cost of €750 million. This will involve quadrupling the line between Bruxelles and Ottignes, and upgrading between Ottignes and Namur to allow 200 kph operation.  Most of the investment will be to upgrade the section between Namur and Arlon to reduce future accidents. There are also plans to construct a new line between Ciney and Libramont for 300 kph operation. An earlier plan to build a TGV line from Bruxelles to Charleroi has been cancelled.

The DB “Europaloc” looks like becoming the new “European” electric. The proposed series “14” SNCB electric is planned to be based on/identical to this locomotive. Brief details are: length = 19.6m, height = 3m, weight = 87 tonnes, wheel arrangement = Bo-Bo, horsepower = 4,200 Kw @ 1.5 Kv to 6,400 Kw @ 25 Kv. The locomotive ES 64 F4 was painted in SNCB livery and displayed at Bruxelles Gare du Midi in April as #1401

As a reminder, Benelux and neighbouring voltages are:
The Netherlands     1.5 Kv & 25 Kv [Betuwe & TGV lines]
Belgium                  3 Kv & 25 KV
Luxembourg           25 Kv & 3 Kv [Luxembourg to Arlon]
France                     1.5 Kv & 25 Kv
Germany                 15 Kv

There is some doubt as to the future of the Vennbahn. Although the “last” service was on November 27 from the Bullange sawmills, it is possible that this line may continue in military use. It would appear that the section Weverce to Bullange closed in January.

In November The Conseil d’Administration SNCB approved an investment budget of €5.8 Billion for the period 2004 to 2007. For 2004 €1.5 Billion are allocated, of which 557 Million will be for the TGV and 307 Million for infrastructure work and 251 Million for motive power and rolling stock.

SNCB have raised fares on average of 3 %.

PFT Excursions
The Belgian preservation Society PFT is organising several interesting excursions, these are:
Farewell to SNCB electric series 22 & 25 on 26 June with K4 & SNCF USI stock, dept Bruxelles Midi 08:30, return 20:00
Farewell trip on the Vennbahn on 07 August with K stock and PFT 202.020 & CFL 1604 motive power, dept Bruxelles Midi 08:20, return 21:00.
Steam trip in China 25 December to 07 January 2005.
For more information contact PFT at Boite Postale 40, B-7000, Mons; Email “pftsp@hotmail.com”

CFL News

Although earlier scheduled for withdrawal by end 2003, the 3600 class now have an extension until 2006. Currently there are seven survivors, [of which 5 are in good working order], and will generally be assigned to lighter duties. These lighter duties give more maintenance flexibility, as they will be able to operate on 3 of their 4 motors. No doubt one of the survivors will be used for spares.
The first of the double deck coaches is nearing completion in the Alstom works. These are designated TER 2N ng and are initially scheduled to work between Luxembourg and Metz.
The sole CFL dining car “Rendez Vous” has been repainted in an attractive off white and red livery. The exterior includes a logo comprising various Luxembourg monuments with its enthusiastic supporter [Groupement des Amis du Rail] incorporated.
Earlier an SNCF BB 66400 deputised for a BB 16500 electric on the Nancy - Luxembourg service. These diesels are not in fact authorised to run on the CFL system!
CFL NoHab 1604 was recently seen replacing a series 3000 on the Luxembourg - Troisvierges service in March as part of the operation “Televie”. Also on this service was the steam locomotive 5519.

Dutch Tram & Light Railway News

Translated by Kjeld Spillett from Het Openbaar Vervoer Railnieuws 47/3, 4 & 5.

HTM Tram Changes

Members now visiting Den Haag and familiar with the HTM tram system will have to relearn this system. Since end 2003 there have been major changes to the routes, particularly in the centre. Two examples I experienced were:
Lijn 01 from Delft no longer goes via the Centraal station, but is routed via the HS station.
Lijn 03 east bound now terminates at the Centraal station, and takes a completely different route westwards before rejoining Laan van Meerdervoort

GVB – Amsterdam

Summer Timetable
The summer timetable came into effect on 24th May and runs until 12th September. It is interrupted by the ‘high summer’ period between 10th July and 29th August.  With the exception most routes have a less frequent service (e.g. from 6 minutes to 7½ or 9 minutes).  During the ‘high summer’ (school holidays) the frequencies are further reduced.
Rolling stock
From 1st April the following cars were taken out of service: 717; 722; 724 and 721. 
682; 686; 695; 700; 705; 706; 710; 711; 718 and 720 have gone to scrap.
One example of each class is to retained for museum use: 1G: 869; 2G: 586; 3G: 602; 4/5G: 665; 6/7G 709; 8G: 734 & 776
“Bolle Neus” – Old cars withdrawn
On Monday 5th April the last of the classic “Bolle-neus” cars ran.  Car 722 was used for driver training between 07 00 and 15 00 while car 721 worked diagram 7-9 between 08 18 and 17 24 with that 47 years service came to an end.  On 27th March members of the NVBS enjoyed a tour with 724, 585 and 722
In service are cars numbered up to 2090+ 2092-2141.
Poznan (PL)
The 11 GVB cars that went to Poznan (PL) have been renumbered:
800 = 615                803 = 622                806 = 613                809 = 626
801 = 619                804 = 605                807 = 623                810 = 630
802 = 621                805 = 610                808 = 624

RET – Rotterdam

Rolling stock
Delivery of Citadis cars: up to 2036+39+40 with cars numbered up to 2026 in service.  Further deliveries have been delayed.
Class 600/1600: The following cars are out of service at Hillegersberg: 1610; 1611-1616; 1621; 1624; 1633 & 1635 (all unserviceable).  1618; 1619; 1624 and 1634 are held serviceable.  1601 and 1604 are at Kralingen.

HTM – Den haag

Rolling Stock
There are currently 3 Hannover trams in service – 6037; 6053 and 6098.  The future of these cars is not clear at present.  6055 is in depot; 6099 has returned to Hannover for new bogies and 6058 + 6064 are out of service.  From mid April 6000 series cars will only be used on weekdays.

Dutch Railway News


Winter hit Holland on 26 February with large-scale disruption on the Randstad network.  Point heaters failed at many locations bringing the whole Amsterdam area to a standstill.  A number of service groups were suspended including Alkmaar – Arnhem, Den Haag – Amsterdam; Utrecht/Amsterdam – Eindhoven and Amsterdam – Dordrecht/Breda.  The disruption continued well into the following day

Arnhem – Emmerich

On 1st March the line between Arnhem and Emmerich (D) was closed at 1500 because of a fire in location cabinets.  Traffic was diverted via Venlo – Mönchengladbach (D) with DB buses covering between Arnhem and Emmerich (D)

Rolling Stock


Class 2200

2204, 2210, 2212, 2376 and 2384 accompanied mP units (see below) to Maastricht for scrap.  2203 will remain in Terneuzen destined for the VSM.


Owing to a dispute between NS Reizigers and Bombardier there was a pause in delivery, which lead to 8645 and 8655 being stranded at Amersfoort Bokkeduinen.  Once resolved delivery started again with 8645 going straight to service while 8655 went to Onnen for an auto coupler to be fitted.
‘Extended’ sets delivered (Old numbers in brackets): 8629 (8429); 8638 (8438); 8652 (8452); 8661 (8461); 8667(8467); 8674 (8474); 9430 (8230)
‘New-build sets delivered: 8723; 8726; 8727; 8728; 9524 and 9525;

SGM Sprinter

It would seem that the rebuilt Sprinters are suffering with ATB failures.  NedTrain consulting has conducted tests in conjunction with Bombardier and concluded that there are problems with the traction packages.  Further testing was carried out on 2945 at Leidschendam.
Units 2940 (2840); 2946 (2846); 2947 (2847); 2948 (2848) and 2950 (2850) have returned from Randers (DK) (Old numbers in brackets)


From 8th March ICM units that are attaching will not have their gangway doors opened if the second train is more than 2 minutes late. Also if the first coupling attempt fails then the gangway doors will remain closed.  This action, which was trialled at Zwolle and has been extended to all stations where attaching and detaching takes place, is to improve punctuality.

Plan V

846 was scrapped on 27 February.
Several Plan V units have been stored: 421; 423; 425; 428; 430; 433; 434; 435; 437 and 481.

mP – Postal units

MotorPost units 3016, 3014, 3004 and 3012 have been taken by barge to Maastricht for scrap.


In line with NMBS and NS policies – all Thalys trains are non-smoking from 13th June.

Private operators


Loco PB14 6004 (on hire) was delivered to Leeuwarden.  Locos 6001, 6704, 1208 and 1224 have gone to store.


DLC has started operating 2 trains in Holland.  While the Moresnet viaduct is being repaired trains will run via Budel and Herzogenrath.

ERS Railways

ERS 6611-6615 arrived by ship from Halifax (NS) and will be numbered ET6 – ER10.


The last class 700, number 713 arrived on 4th April.


189007 was run on test between Kruiningen and Vlissingen on 25, 26 & 27 February. It entered service on 5th March.
On 30th April RaiLion provided the traction for the Royal Train between Warfum and Groningen in connection with Queens’s day celebrations.


SL 2002 was delivered on 2nd March.
ShortLines have formed a partnership with TX Logistics and Trenitalia to run trains to Italy. The traffic runs as part of Waalhaven – Blerick shuttle to Venlo when it is taken over by TX Logistics who work the train to Mannheim (D).  The train is combined there with a German portion.

Belgian Railway News

New Stations

On 13th June new temporary stations opened at Antwerpen Haven and Wolfstee to relieve road traffic on the Antwerpen Ring road, which is undergoing major road works until the end on 2005.  From the same date new and longer P-trains will run in the Antwerpen area.

New Service – Brussel – Warszawa

From 13th June a new Euro-night service runs from Brussel – Warszawa (PL). The train does not stop in Belgium after leaving Brussels and runs via Angleur to Kinkempois and via the little used freight line Kinkempois-Voroux (36c)

Class 14

In September the NMBS will be placing a definite order for new multi voltage locos for delivery from 2005 to replace the class 14.  They will be allocated to Antwerpen Noord.

Class 51

Several of this class are destined for Italian infrastructure companies.  Locos include: 5104; 5107; 5109; 5111; 5112; 5118; 5122; 5127; 5132; 5133; 5135; 5142; 5143; 5172; 5175; 5178; 5182 and 5186.

Class 62

Following a level crossing collision at the end of February 6302 was scrapped on 1st March.  6252 is out of service (for scrap) with serious defects.

Class 77

28 and 29 April saw testing of locos 7773+7774+7771 between Kinkempois and Sittard with a view to replacing the Class 25.5 and RaiLion 6400’s.  Tests were also carried out between Heerlen and Herzogenrath with class 77’s and 55’s although it is not clear whether this was being investigated as a regular route or just for diversions. 

Class 80

The diesel club at Stoomcentrum Maldeghem has purchased 8040.

Into Storage

2208; 2228; 2802; 5928; 5940; 5944; 6220; 6230; 6234; 6293; 6301; 6303; 7302; 7307; 7319; 7329; 8449

Freight Traffic

On 1st March the last freight train left Brussel Klein Eiland with the closure of NV Sabaco.  The exchange sidings are still used for the formation of trains for Volkswagen at Ruisbroek and for TUC-Rail.

Belgian Tram & Light Railway News

De Lijn

Revenue Protection
De Lijn is clamping down on ticketless travellers.  The number of on board revenue protection inspectors has been increased by 25% causing a comparable reduction in detected ticketless travel from 2.33% to 1.66%.  The controls take place in a number of ways.  All passengers joining vehicles are required to pass the driver to show or buy a ticket.  Small groups of inspectors will patrol trams/buses and at least once a month there is a large-scale purge.  Those found without valid tickets are fined €55 for a first offence, €137.50 for the second and €312.50 for the third.
On 5th February the first of the second generation of Hermelijn cars was delivered (series 7232 – 7260).  These cars have no passenger doors at the front of the car.  Delivery will continue until March 2005.  In 2006 a further 11 (7261 – 7271) making a total of 40 new trams (originally to be 30). 
8 PCC cars have gone to store: 7011; 7012; 7013; 7020; 7023; 7025; 7028 and 7031 while car 7000 has become a museum car and will be renumbered back to its’ original number 2000. A further 8 cars have been in ‘warm’ storage: 7010; 7014; 7016; 7017; 7018; 7019; 7021 and 7022 but are being reintroduced after some refurbishment.  7009; 8015; 7024 and 7027 have also been spruced up leading many to believe that the PCC’s have got some life left in them yet.
Delivery of Hermelijn cars 6315 – 6331 will commence in April 2005
Kusttram (Coast)
Trams use a reserved track between Kaai and Marie-Joseplein

TEC – Transport en Commune

Only 4 routes remain:
                Route 54:                                Gare du Sud – Beaux Arts – Waterloo – Gilly
                Route 55:                                Parc – Waterloo – Gilly
                Route 88:                                Anderlues – Beaux Arts – Waterloo – Parc
                Route 89:                                Anderlues – Gare du Sud
Extensions are planned from Gilly to Soleilmont and the section to Gosselies will be reopened.

Vicinal Museum – Thuin

The new “Centre de Découverte du Chemin de Fer Vicinal” opened on 4th April.  The museum is open 4th April 2004 – 27 September 2004 on Sundays and Holidays 1100 – 1800; 3rd July – 28th August every Saturday 1100-1800.  It is also open on 14 & 15 August and 11 & 12 September.  More details at www.asvi.org.

Model News

By Ralph Hanley
[We are grateful to Train Miniature as a source for some of this news]
Following the Nuremberg Exhibition, the model scene has gone fairly quiet with few new releases. Lima remains somewhat of a conundrum, as they are now apparently setting up a new web site. In addition the French magazine “Rail Passion” has advised that they still believe Rivarossi will be [eventually] releasing the Parisian Inox emu sets. The only firm news is that Hornby have offered the Administrator €8 Million for the business. Jocadis are advertising that they have the following remaining Lima models:
Benelux Electric series 1100 # 1187 [with roof modifications]
SNCB series 1500 [blue with yellow bands] # 1501
SNCB “B Cargo” eight wheel wagon.
Two versions of SNCB cereal [Rivarossi] wagon
Jocadis are planning to move their shop from Rue de Bruxelles to Enghein Station [about 100 m]
In a recent “Train Miniature” survey the Mehano SNCB series 77, after a variety of tests, was judged to be the best model of 2003 with an overall “score” of 96 %.  The ranking of other models was: -           Rocky Rail series 26 @ 92 %
Marklin series 2500  @ 91 %
Roco 260.028”         @ 86 %
Roco  204.005          @ 89 %
Roco 5408                @ 81 %
Anew model shop in Arlon is planned to open mid May, details are:
Mod.L, Rue G. Kurth 25, B-6700 Arlon,
Tel:, Fax:  “www.modl.be”
Closed Monday mornings.
Exit # 32 from E-411, take N81/N4 towards Bastogne, turn left at second lights into Rue G. Kurth. Shop on right hand side.
The German Hobby Ecke Schumacher has produced typical Belgian overhead catenary wiring. Contact address is: Lerchenhofstrasse 18, D-71711 Steinheim, Germany. Fax: 00.49.7148.4976.
Electrotren are reported to be in financial trouble and going out of business, having made substantial investments, but not being recovered due to falling sales.
Roco have issued their International Collection catalogue IV 2004/2005. There is not much to excite Benelux modellers. The only [HO] items being:
CFL 1 st/ 2nd  Type UIC Y green coach [44599]
SNCB Bogie Hopper wagon operated by NS [47412]
NS “RaiLion” Bogie sliding tarpaulin wagon [47455]
Roco have recently issued an N scale auto discharge Fals type 1000 FS bogie wagon in “B Cargo” blue livery. In addition Roco have produced a rail cleaning block # 10002 at €9.45 or €7.52.
PB Messing Modelbouw is advertising an N scale prototype SNCB type M2 coach. This may be one of the first N scale SNCB coaches to be available.
The Russian Sint Peterburg Tram collection has produced an 0 scale Rotterdam [RET] tram type ZGT series 700.
Rietz have manufactured an autobus “De Lijn” in traditional white and black livery. This is based on a Mercedes chassis with Van Hool bodywork. It is equipped for the route “358 Brussel Noord”
Train Miniature [# 29] has a detailed article to enhance the appearance of the recently issued Roco SNCB NoHab [204]

Coach Heating

By Ralph Hanley
Today one takes heating in passenger coaches for granted, even now expecting air conditioning. Prior to 1889 Belgian travellers were expected to make their own arrangements to keep warm when travelling. In 1889 the respective Minister decreed that heating would be provided on International trains that departed between 20:00 and 04:00 hours from 15 October. Other major trains would have heating as from 1 November.  Local and most national trains were “exempt”!
There were two types of heating: the “Radelet” and “Hot Water Bottle”. The “Radelet” consisted of red-hot coal in a protective casing, which lasted for about 5 hours. The “Hot Water Bottles” at 80 deg would last for about 2 hours, and [hopefully] these would be replaced by private companies at stations along the route.
Subsequently, the Americans developed a steam heating system, supplied by the engine. This was adopted by the Belgians in 1896 and became the standard heating method until the advent of electrification.

Newmarket Exhibition – 19th June

By Robert Palmer
More than 50 stands of various guises, all devoted to the continental scene of one description or another assembled under one roof sounded a mouth watering prospect, and the outcome did not disappoint, layouts featuring scales ranging from Zm gauge 1 and virtually all scales/gauges that I can think of in between.  The exhibition was organised by our members Phil Colton and Mike Boutle under the guise of the European Railway Societies and raising funds for Multiple Sclerosis.
First layout on entering the exhibition was a model of a small Fenland sand pit featuring a working dragline and real sand which was loaded into 4-wheel tipper wagons – OK, maybe not continental but certainly unusual.  There was also a room labelled in the programme the “and now for something completely different room” which apart from demonstrations of modelling in Zm, Nn3 and S gauge included a New Zealand layout to Sn3.5, a Balearic Islands sea salt-pan layout to 1/24th scale and the beginning of a Russian standard gauge (5 feet gauge) in S gauge.  Apart from the above, other countries represented by working layouts were: - Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany (East and West), Belgium, Holland, Croatia, Denmark, Norway and Italy, unfortunately the layout representing Greece was not there.  Also running was the Gauge 1 Association running track with some mouth-watering items circulating; unfortunately I did not see the Big Boy running!
Trade was very well represented and included limited editions of prints, books, magazines, videos, DVD’s, scenic items/tools, computer simulator software and of course models, from Z gauge upwards, new and second-hand.  Societies represented, apart from our own were the Austrian, Swiss, German, SNCF, Scandinavian, Alte Zeite Groupe, Italian and World-Wide N gauge society.  The day itself was a success and the ERS will be able to hand over around £2000 to Multiple Sclerosis, and if you did not visit you missed a very good day.  Next one scheduled for 17th June 2006, make a note in your diary now!

A Blot on the Landscape: A K A The Betuwe Wall

By Rodney Beech

Editors note, this short item was written at my request following receipt of the photos included as both a reason to use them and an explanation of them.

On the night of the 12/13 August 1961, work started on the 45 km first stage of the infamous Berlin Wall which was later extended a further 120 km around West Berlin. It fell on the 9th November 1989, but there is little indication that the Dutch equivalent will meet the same fate.

250,000 m2 of wall, over 5 meters high and more that 160 km long will surround the new freight only Betuwe line from Rotterdam to a point near or at the German border between Zevenaar and Emmerich.

At the outset, Architects were asked to consider how best to achieve a noise reduction to 57 dB of the noise generated by 100+ freight trains daily. Various attractive and complex shapes were tested but the author suspects that cost overruns prevented the adoption of the preferred solution for a more utilitarian design. The result is a structure that has already caused much aggravation and where the phrase “not in my back-yard” has real meaning. In a flat landscape, the wall becomes a real obstruction on the skyline and will not be softened by a growth of ivy on its flanks. Neighbours are no longer able to see each other across the fields and in some cases the wall is quite close to the houses. Protests seem to have fallen on deaf ears for, “the regulations call for the measures to be taken, and no exceptions can be considered”. Of course the decisions are taken by authorities remote from the situation and they certainly don’t have to live with the results for the life of the railway.

The line will be electrified at 25kV AC which means the “noisy” diesels currently operated by the 7 private freight lines including ACTS, ESRAIL, Rail4Chem, and ShortLines will be unable to use the route leaving the new fleet of 20 type 189 multi voltage “Eurolocs” on order for RaiLion Benelux and the 100+ type for RaiLion Deutschland to work the line across The Netherlands and across Europe.
Rail fans will have limited views of these locos and their colourful container trains until they reach the reception sidings at Emmerich except from the few road over-bridges or the already infamous footbridge in Babberich. Where exactly “the wall” will end is not clear but it is certain that it will not cross the old frontier between Holland and Germany. The line east from Zevenaar is also traversed by ICE-3m high speed passenger trains, the passengers on which will not be pleased to have their first views of Holland’s windmills obscured by a wall reminiscent of the dark days of European history.

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