|1740 approaches Nijkerk with a push pull DD-AR service from Zwolle to Utrecht. 24 March 2018.|
Saturday 24th March
|186020 prepares to depart Rotterdam Centraal with one of the frequent |
Intercity Direct services to Amsterdam via the high speed line. 24/03/2018
|A VIRM EMU between Zwolle and Amersfoort. 24/03/2018|
|1733 leads a DD-AR set north from Nijkerk. 24/03/2018|
There are two types of locomotive up for haulage in the Netherlands; the more traditional NS class 1700 which were built from 1990 and based upon the French BB7200, and the modern Bombadier class 186 'Traxx' locos introduced in the last few years following the debacle of the failed 'Fyra' high speed service. We wanted to sample both but this would involve some travelling as the only location where both services cross over is Amsterdam.
From Breda we took another Intercity on to Eindhoven (these trains while not branded 'Intercity Direct use the same coaching stock top and tailed by Traxx locos). It was then time to hop on an EMU again to reach the capital Utrecht where we would meet up with the 1700 hauled operation.
NS 1700 locos are now undoubtedly in decline and their only 'traditional' hauled workings are the IC Berlin trains between Amsterdam and Bad Bentheim (where DB traction takes over). A handful do however still operate on push-pull 'Sprinter' services together with DD-AR train sets.
|More DDZ trains seemed to be running on the Zwolle - Utrecht service than|
we thought possible by the diagrams! One such train approaches Nijkerk.
|1736 pushes a DD-AR set towards Utrecht at Nijkerk with the local 'Sprinter' service. 24/03/2018.|
|Former ACTS traction at Amersfoort. 24/03/2018|
|The only diesel of the trip; DB's 6516 gets it's ballast train underway from|
It took a while to get the pictures we wanted as these trains are far from predictable. Despite the 'Sprinter' running every 30 minutes many of the trains had DDZ's on them, and many of those with a loco had it at the wrong end. Eventually we got what we wanted and it was time for a quick dash back to the station to pick up another 1700 back to Amersfoort.
|1745 arrives into Amersfoort with IC146 from Berlin to Amsterdam, the NS 1700 having taken over at Bad Bentheim. 24/03/2018|
We had a fairly quick connection here to make the 2 hourly international train back to Amsterdam which arrived on time with 1745 at the front. This train would get us back to Amsterdam in daylight for some photos and also to explore the city which was a new destination to myself and my companion for the weekend Rhys.
On board the IC Berlin train we sat near a couple of Dutch railway enthusiasts (they seem to be everywhere) who took great pleasure in telling us their favorite locomotives and a bit about the NS system. Certainly nice to see some enthusiasm from this young pair and all the others we bumped into.
|186017 prepares to depart Amsterdam with an Intercity Direct. 24/03/2018|
A few bars and a rack of ribs finished off the night in Amsterdam (which is beautiful for those not already well aware) before heading back to our airport hotel at Hoofddorp near to Schipol Airport- city centre hotels were simply too expensive for a rail trip!
|1761 passes light engine through the impressive station at Amsterdam Centraal on the evening of 24th March 2018.|
|Challenging photography under the dark station canopy as 186020 arrives into Amsterdam with another Intercity Direct.|
Sunday 25th March
|Bombadier Traxx 186040 arrives at a sunny Breda station with a |
Den Haag - Eindhoven intercity service. 25/03/2018
|186032 leads an Eindhoven bound Intercity as it approaches Boxtel. A sliver/grey class 186 can be seen on the rear. 25/03/2018|
|186017 leads towards Tilburg with it's train for Den Haag. 25/03/2018.|
|This is the one I fell off that fence for! SBB Cargo 189 288 works past Boxtel|
with an intermodal service heading south. 25/03/2018.
Boxtel itself is served by local 'Sprinter' services in the hands of Talent EMU's (which I think are pretty nice as modern EMU's go), these got us to Tilburg to finally drop onto one of the might 'Koploper' Intercity trains to Breda from where it was back onto InterCity Direct to Rotterdam.
We could have saved considerable time sticking with the Koploper through to Roosendaal, however these had been terminating at Breda earlier in the day so the plan didn't work- though they did now appear to be running through.
It was a healthy plus for our 16:09 Benelux train from Rotterdam but I still nearly missed it by going out to photograph the station. I was wondering if I had time to get a drink when I noticed it was 16:07 and I was outside the station barriers! Fortunately the train was made still with time for a photo, but it was a little closer than I would have liked. We had been travelling on FIP coupons within the Netherlands (the barcode for the automatic gates working with no issues) but I needed to buy my ticket on from Roosendaal to Brussels which I was hoping to do on the train. This wasn't a problem... except that the conductor would not (or couldn't) sell me a ticket with my FIP discount.
|The classic 'Koplopers' are very much a feature of the NS|
network. 4043 is seen approaching Amersfoort. 23/04/18
I know I shouldn't really grumble too much but that's the first full price ticket in Europe I've had to buy for quite some time! Instead of going right through to Brusselles we left the Benelux at the beautifully decrepit Mechelen to pick up another loco into the capital. Clearly this is a much easier move on a weekend than it is on a Sunday! Eventually we gave up waiting a loco and settled for the refurbisehd AM75 EMU which was on an Antwerp IC service!!! I didn't know these EMU's were being refurbished and while the ancient interior will be missed it was nice to see it at least looking clean.
|1924 leads it's train into Brusseles Noord. 25/03/2018|
There wasn't much time left to get food (obviously avoiding 'Quick' burger) but I managed a waffle which was eaten in the Eurostar queue before boarding the 19:52 which I still believe is far too early for the last train to London. 374019/20 obliged for the non-eventful journey back to St Pancras where it was nice to see a line up of all three types of train currently in use on Eurostar services with both original and refurbished class 373's lining up with the 374.
Or course the most frustrating part of the trip was the journey from London back to Surrey with buses being provided due to a total engineering block at Wimbledon...
All in all not bad for an easy weekend away with a few decent photos and another 19 foreign locos in the book.
|Another Intermodal at Boxtel with Railpool 186 457 (Leased by Captrain) at the helm heading north. 25/03/2018.|
|It's 186020 again this time in some sunlight at Rotterdam Centraal with another Intercity Direct service to Amsterdam. 25/03/2018|