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Railtouring Belgian style - PFT ADIEU AUX AUTOMOTRICES CLASSIQUES


jonhall

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Last weekend I went on a Belgian railtour organistd by PFT-TSP, to comemorate the withdrawlal of these two car EMU's (there are still plenty in service, but I guess the deliveries of Desiro's will kill them off eventually).

 

PFT-TSP have a reputation for a lot of photostops, and when I translated the blurb that siad this tour was not suitable for children due to the high number of stops I knew what was coming. Alas the route was changed from that originally booked, so a couple of the lines that I 'need' in Belgium wern't covered, and the weather wasn't exactly conductive to great photography, but a good day out was in store. 

 

The train started at Brussels Midi, and the first photo stop was Schaerbeek station!

 

 

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Then  we went into the EMU depot at Schaerbeek and had a quick nose around

 

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before departing again for another photostop in Eppegem station

 

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A lineside stop at Haacht, which I didn't get out of the train for - I was a bit worried about the drop from the step, and wasn't sure I would be able to get back on again afterwards.

 

then another station photostop at Tienen

 

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and another at Waremme

 

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before we took the freight (only?) route from Voroux that avoids the steep gradient into Liege, and instead heads for the southern end of Kinkempois yard. There we had a very strange photostop.

 

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Nothing unusual so far, but then the photoline repreated into the tunnel! 

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Which is a new one on me...

 

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having finished there, we continued towards Kinkempois, crossing the river only to stop for another photo just on the end of the bridge

 

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We then continued to Vise where the line to Maastricht is crossed by the fright line to Monzen Yard (where we will head later) for once I was in the right place to catch a freight going over the top.

 

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Then we took the curve to join that line, and were de-trained just short of the first tunnel, but on strict instructions not to cross the line, because this was about to pass

 

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once that had cleared we crossed over for another snap of our units,

 

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before again being told to stay put until the passage of

 

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We then passed through the tunnel and were de-trained and I walked forward from the back coach I was riding in, only to be told to get back on again - as I returned to the rear of the train it became clear why - this 66 had been crawling along behind us (premissive block?)

 

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So we continued to Monzen yard, where amongst the freight trains are a set of ancient coaches, including this which I believe is a British Ambulance train.

 

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Having done the photostop in the reception sidings we reversed back to the tunnels, where the train was stopped and I snatched a quick low evel photo

 

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before hiking through a muddy field to get to the top of the embankment to rush off a snap

 

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before the train was moved a bit further along

 

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We then returned to Monzen yard, this time a bit further towards the locoshed

 

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I don't think that the turntable will be used any time soon

 

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From Monzen we took the line bown to Welkenraedt

 

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From there we headed westward along the old Liege-Aachen mainline to stop at Verviers Central

 

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and then the rather nicely restored Trooz station

 

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before reaching the spectacular station at Liege

 

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from there we travelled as far as Flemmalle-Haute, where we reversed, crossed the river again, and ended up more or less underneath the bridge we crossed eariler in the day, for a final photostop alongside the steelworks, 

 

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Alas there was insuffcient time to study these hoppers any more closely.

 

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Can you imagine doing any of that in the UK?

 

Jon

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  • RMweb Gold

Smashing day out by the look of it - and Trooz has definitely come up in the world by the look of those pics, it was in a very terminal sate of decline a few years ago.

 

Those units had a character all of their own and back 20 years, almost, ago when we used them regularly we regarded them as a sort of Belgian equivalent of a 2 BIL (really I think because of their rather ancient looks rather than anything more sensible such as any sort of physical resemblance :O )

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Thanks for sharing those Jon.


 


Last year I was fortunate enough to travel on 3 of those units between Nevelles to Brussels.


They reminded me of BR in the eighties!


(I don't know where I put my photos of them though!)


 


 


Kev.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Jonhall, I can affirm you this picture is one of a British Army Ambulance train. It's sitting there as it was purchased by an amateur living near Montzen (in the old station of Hombourg) who purchased loads of old rolling stock. It's in worse shape than I remember seeing it a few years ago when I went to Montzen yard myself (before a back injury made it difficult for me to go trainspotting as I have difficulties to stay standing for long periods of time...)

 

Oh, and by the way, those old EMU's are somewhat dear to me, as I rode from my village of Momalle to Liège first for school then to work (in a library) since 1982... and to believe the first ones were built in 1962 and are still running ? ? ?  

 

Finally, about those Hoppers, they were used by Cockerill to carry iron ore from the harbour in Anvers (Antwerpen) to the Iron Works in the Liège and Charleroi areas. Others were also built for other Iron Works in France and Luxembourg. HO models were first made by Dacker (kits) and are now made by B-Models (scale 1/87th). It's unlucky you did not come here a few years ago, as we had loads of those trains riding along the rails around Liège... Now, thanks to Mr Mittal, they closed our Steel Mills here, and those times are gone by...

 

Ricky.

 

 

So we continued to Monzen yard, where amongst the freight trains are a set of ancient coaches, including this which I believe is a British Ambulance train.

 

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Yeah, John... We got screwed all right by that [censored] Mittal.... 

 

Still I'm lucky to have known the steel rail traffic in its full blow back in my late teens as a friend of mine was working at the railways and was posted near the steelworks, and I often went to spend my wednesday afternoons with him taking pictures of trains... I still have slides with the iron trains in Cockerill Ougrée, and was also lucky to capture some iron ore train action near my home on video in the 1990's... 

 

Those videos will normally be published on the club's facebook page as on the club's web page... Already a video and a slideshow of our layout on the facebook page... 

 

Cheers,

 

Ricky.

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