22nd March 2003

Adieu 80

Locos Used SNCB: 8012, 8035, 8055 & 8067
Stock Used 42517+42578+42629+49209

Route: (Passenger tour)
Z18118 : Brussel Zuid to Quenast
Z18119 : Quenast to Clabecq
Z18120 : Clabecq to Brussels Midi

Route: (Freight train)
Z95118 : Quenast to Clabecq

Loco(s) Route
8012 (1) Bruxelles Midi - Tubize - Quenast
8035 (2) Quenast - Tubize - Clabecq (steelworks yard)
8035 (3) Clabecq (steelworks yard) - Lembeek - Halle - Beersel - Saint-Job - Delta - Haren - Keelbeek North Jn - Schaerbeek ATSE
8035 (4) Schaerbeek ATSE - Schaerbeek ATD
8035 (5) Schaerbeek ATD - Y Keelbeek North
8067 + 8055 (6) Keelbeek North Jn - Schaerbeek ACI entrance
8035 (5) set-back into Schaerbeek ACI yard
8067 + 8055 (6) Schaerbeek ACI yard - Schaerbeek ACI entrance
8035 (5) Schaerbeek ACI entrance - (via line 26) to junction short of Y Keelbeek Nord
8067 + 8055 (6) junction short of Y Keelbeek Nord - Schaerbeek Avant Port
8035 (5) Schaerbeek Avant Port - Schaerbeek Voyagers
8067 + 8055 (6) Schaerbeek Voyagers - Schaerbeek - Bruxelles Nord - Bruxelles Midi

(1) 8035 on rear.
(2) Prior to the tour leaving Quenast 8012 was put on to a rake of freight wagons and this was sent to Clabecq ahead of the tour. The freight was used to "enhance" the photostops at Quenast & Clabecq.
(3) 8012 on rear.
(4) Most passengers detrained at Schaerbeek ATSE and walked to Schaerbeek ATD - a distance of about a mile. En-route SNCB had arranged several line-ups of withdrawn type 80's for the photographers.
(5) 8067 + 8055 on rear.
(6) 8035 on rear. With the type 80's not multiple-working fitted it is not confirmed if 8055 (the "inner" loco of the pair) was used throughout (probably it did not). It was certainly used on the run back to Bruxelles Midi as the thrash through the tunnels and Bruxelles Central proved!

Source : Gary Thornton (on the train throughout except Schaerbeek ATSE to ATD)

Tour Review
(by Gary Thornton)

Some photos of the tour.

Having been over in Belgium at the start of March for the Mercia Charters tours it seemed a good idea to pop back over a couple of weeks later to do this locally-organised railtour. A cheap Eurostar deal (59 return) and hotel (39.50/night for the twin room including breakfast in the Brussels Midi Ibis) clinched it. I also had a couple of days left on my B-Tourrail from the start of the month.

Heading over on the 10.27 Eurostar from London (dud 3007/3008) it was interesting to note 58041 & 58043 in light blue (GIF) livery in Dollands Moor yard - the pair heading off for a working holiday in Spain. Scoring a couple of Le Shuttle locos was aided by the new larger numbers - 9010 & 9017 being duly scooped on a passing train.

A stagger in the UK and waiting a path into the tunnel all meant a late arrival into Bruxelles but there was just time to walk over the road to the hotel and dump our bags then get back in time to cover the Friday afternoon rush-hour. 2346 was a great start on the 15.09 Bruxelles to Aarlon. The remainder of the rush scooped me the following new haulages : 2144 (three out of 60 now left) & 2226 (two serviceable ones left for me). The evening move up to Central for a meal dropped me on to 1358 which was another one out of the way thanks to a double-back move to Midi.

Saturday - the tour. Initial gen suggested we would not get on to the tour as "pay on the day" passengers on account that the train was well over-subscribed. In the event PFT relented as there were only nine of us who turned up to try and get on. At 27 for the day it was to prove very good value. Train locos to start the day were 8012 & 8035 - both winning haulages for me.

The day started off much like a previous Mercia Charters mini-day tour with the train visiting Quenast and Clabecq. Being PFT however there was much playing with the train in the name of decent photographs....for anyone not familiar with Belgian and Dutch railtours be warned, the day is a real marathon of photo-stops...upwards of 20 in a day are not unusual!!

Interestingly we'd achieved RST (i.e. over an hour late) before we left Quenast!

At Quenast 8012 was put onto a short rake of freight wagons and after this posed next to our train it left for Clabecq. 8035 took us to Clabecq with a nice stop on the way to photograph the train from a steep hillside. It has to be said the pre-planning for the photo-stops is extemporary and you can be sure the sun will be in the right place etc. At Clabecq I stayed with the tour stock whilst many chased the freight through the steelworks complex.

With 8035 back in charge (8012 on the rear) we set off for Schaerbeek, using the Brussels commuter line via Delta to get there. Another photo-stop was further interesting in that it was on the main running line at Schaerbeek Josephat. To make the photo "more acceptable" the rear loco (which was the best to photograph from the position of the sun) even had the red tail lights changed to whites for a few minutes!

Schaerbeek - on paper it looked like a whole afternoon of piffle. In reality it was just that too - but well interesting piffle it turned out to be, so there were no complaints. Arriving at the MU depot part of the massive complex we were told to get out and from here we would be on foot for a while. 8012 was uncoupled from the rear then 8035 set off with the train for the main loco depot about a mile further on. At various points of the walk the depot staff had arranged for line-ups of withdrawn 80's - a couple of the line-ups with upwards of a dozen locos in them!

It should be remembered that this is a working depot - yet there was none of the problems found in the UK regarding people wandering about (only the depot buildings were out of bounds). I can report that no-one got mown down during our stay! By the time we got back to the train we found 8035 had been run round (again!) and 8012's place had been taken by 8067 & 8055. Some discussions amongst the UK contingent though as these locos cannot "multi", so to count both for haulage both would need to be driven individually.

Another hour or so of piffling around the yards then took place, we ended up at Schaerbeek Avant-Port after an incursion in to the Infrastructure depot.

At Avant-Port we were followed in by a pair of 80's on a freight working - as they are all in theory now stored/withdrawn we assume this was staged for the tour. For the next 90 minutes the tour participants chased the freight in and around an adjacent scrapyard. As for the UK nationalities aboard....well, the buffet was by then open for the purchase of beer so we stayed with the train :-)

A final run back to Bruxelles Midi then took place with both 8055 & 8067 manned and working. The "traditional" PFT passage through the underground Bruxelles Central station took place - walking pace to the platform start then full thrash through the station! The UK contingent got into the act with some noisy bellowing to add to the general riotous scene through Central and there were some very baffled looking punters on the platform!

At the end of the day this was a really good day out - full marks to PFT & SNCB for the pre-organisation for the photo-stops as well as the displays at Scharbeek.

Gary Thornton.

Timings (Booked and Actual)
(by Gary Thornton)

Passenger Tour:

Location Booked Actual
Bruxelles Midi 09.12d 09.17
Quenast 09.42a ~ 10.35d 10.06 ~ 11.12
Clabecq 11.13a ~ 12.30d 11.40 ~ 12.52
Josephat 13.30a ~ 13.40d 13.40 ~ 13.50
Schaerbeek ATSE 13.59a ~ 14.15d 14.03 ~ 14.12
Schaerbeek ATD 14.30a ~ 15.00d (14.18) ~ 15.07
Achaerbeek ACI 15.10a ~ 15.30d 15.26 ~ 15.44
Schaerbeek Avant-Port 15.45a ~ 17.45d 16.23 ~ 17.58
Schaerbeek Voyagers 18.04a ~ 18.09d 08.05 ~ 08.06
Bruxelles Nord 18.19a ~ 18.22d 18.24 ~ 18.26
Bruxelles Midi 18.30a 18.37

Freight Train:

Location Booked Actual
Quenast 09.55d 11.03
Clabecq 10.43a ??.??

a : arrival time
d : departure time
/ : passing time
A time in brackets is approximate.

Back to "The Railtour Files"