21st June 2003
Mercia Charters Limited
The Persistence of Vision
|Locos Used||SNCB : 2319, 2554, 5166, 5512, 6077, 7402, 7409 & 8246|
Z18226 : Antwerpen Berchem to Antwerpen Noord TW
Z18227 : Antwerpen Noord TW to Schaerbeek TW
Z18228 : Schaerbeek TW - Ath
Z18229 : Ath to Frasnes lez Anvaing
Z18230 : Frasnes lez Anvaing to Kortrijk TW
Z18231 : Kortrijk TW to Poperinge
Z18232 : Poperinge to Antwerpen Berchem
|7409 + 7402 (1)||Antwerpen Berchem - Antwerpen Oost - Antwerpen Noord TW|
|2554 (2)||Antwerpen Noord TW - Antwerpen Berchem - Morstel - Y Krijgsbaan - Kontich - Duffel - Mechelen Nekkerspoel - Muizen - Weerde - Hofstade - Vilvoorde - Y Haren Noord - Schaerbeek TW|
|8246 (2)||draw forward within Schaerbeek TW (approx 50m)|
|5512 (2)||Schaerbeek depot - Brussel Noord - Brussel Zuid - Braine le Compte - Y Jurbise - Y Lens - Lens - Ath (9) - Leuze|
|5166 (3)||Leuze - Frasnes lez Anvaing|
|5512 (2)||Frasnes lez Anvaing - Leuze - Tournai - Mouscron - Kortrijk TW|
|5166||Kortrijk TW - Menin - Ieper - Poperinge|
|5166||Poperinge - Ieper - Wervik - km post 15.9 (4)|
|5166||km post 15.9 - Wervik (propelling move, approx 200m)|
|5166||Wervik - Menin - Kortrijk (6)|
|2319 (5)||Kortrijk - (7) ??? - Gent Sint Pieters (7)|
|2319 (5)||Gent Sint Pieters - Gent Sint Pieters Yard (propelling move)|
|6077||(7) Gent Sint Pieters Yard - Gent Sint Pieters - (via line 50A) - (7) Denderleeuw - Dilbeek - Jette - Boxstael - Brussel Luxembourg - Etterbeek - Delta - Haren - Y Keelbeek Noord - (8) Schaerbeek Yard - Brussel Nord - Brussel Midi (8)|
(1) 2554 on rear.
(2) 5166 on rear.
(3) 5512 on rear.
(4) The tour was severely delayed at km post 15.9 near Wervik owing to a person who had committed suicide (they "used" the service train a couple of minutes ahead of the tour). The tour stopped over the remains and had to wait until the police and coroner had completed their work before continuing.
(5) plus 5166 dead-in-tow.
(6) 5166 failed - it had been struggling for a while on low power and overheating but was declared a complete failure on arrival at Kortrijk.
(7) Was booked via Burst - Alst but diverted to Gent Sint Pieters on acount of the late running and failure of 5166. Regained booked route at Denderleeuw.
(8) Was booked to return to Antwerpen Berchem (via Vilvoorde, Hofstade, Muizen, Kontich & Y Krijgsbaan) but re-routed into Brussels because of the late running - arrived into Midi at 1.31am!
(9) Original tour spec had the train traversing the Ath to Ghislenghien freight branch but this was taken off the itinerary by SNCB shortly before the tour owing to the line being closed for engineering works.
Sources : Stuart Clarke, Alan Spencer & Duncan Jennings
(by Stuart Clarke)
As the crowds gathered at Antwerpen Berchem station’s platform 3, the first surprise of the day produced in the shape of not one but two class 74 shunters on the rear of the train. 2554 provided the traction at the other end of the three K1 coaches of which the middle was reserved for the ‘Fat Boys’ party. The addition of the extra 74 was to make up for the loss of line 287 which was not available due to engineering work.
The tour set off Northbound round the Antwerpen avoiding line and along a realigned line 12 to make way for the high speed line. The tour branched off into Antwerpen Noord and into the depot yard where some50-60 locomotives were available for sight, including about a dozen switched off class 51s. Other locos of note were 7777 and recently delivered 7791 & 7792 which are the first of the second batch of 77 series locos. 204004 was also noted here.
The 2x74 were replaced by SNCB museum loco 5166 and after an hour of ‘spotting’ the train headed South via the booked route round via Morstel Liersesteenweg and turning left at Mechelen Nekkerspoel through Muizen and right again towards Weerde. At Vilvoorde, line 26 was taken to Y Haren Nord where the tour gained access to the top end of Schaerbeek yard and wove through the carriage sidings, EMU sidings and into the loco sidings in front of Schaerbeek depot where a further visit was planned. The sight of 8246 shunting the PFT buffet car towards our train caused a major flap and desperados swarmed towards the car like Moths to a flame!! Matt Reeves insisted that the two people who had already got on the buffet car should get off as everyone would want to do it, but a cunning compromise was declared, and that was that when the buffet car was attached to the train, 8246 would haul the stock closer to the peg. Albeit, only a distance of 50 metres but I think most people counted the bonus haulage!
TVM fitted class 55 no. 5512 went onto the buffet car end of the train and leading the train, set off via Bruxelles Midi along line 96 towards Jurbise. Before reaching this location though the tour turned right after Neufvilles and traversed the non passenger curve to gain access to the line towards Ath and then a sprint along to Leuze where the train revered onto the former through line to Ronse as far as Frasnes Lez Anvaing. The tour stopped in the platform and it was observed that there were no buffer stops to prevent the train traversing the line North from this location. The locals were also somewhat bemused by the sight of a passenger train.
Next planned stop of any significance was Kortrijk, where 5512 was removed and 5166 was run round the train for what should have been the rest of the journey. On approaching Poperinge it was announced that 5166 was suffering from lack of coolant and was overheating.
At Poperinge, many tour participants retired to a local bar outside the station, where the local Pigeon Racing club meets. Stacks of crates containing racing pigeons were piled up in a room adjacent to the bar and shortly afterwards a large truck arrived to collect them.
Mercia Stewards had attempted to get the tour away before the arrival of the service train but this did not happen, and the service train arrived and duly departed after only a two minute turn around as booked. The tour followed the service train only a few minutes later and proceeded to follow it closely. Shortly after departing from Werwik station the train came to a sudden halt and as participants of the tour looked out of the window the unit in front was noted also stationary about 400m further ahead and shortly afterwards, a unit heading the other way also came to a stand. Driver and guard got off the tour and began looking under the train and it soon became apparent that the train in front had hit someone on the line which was later learned to be a 25 year old woman who was believed to have committed suicide. The tour had stopped over the remains at KM post 15.9.
Eventually passengers from the Poperinge bound train were detrained and placed on the Kortrijk bound train that had struck the woman and it ran empties past the tour train very slowly. About 20 minutes later the Kortrijk bound train departed and was terminated at the next station where a loop existed. The tour remained stationary for about an hour and three-quarters until the incident photographer had taken his pictures, after which the tour train was reversed back 200 metres where it was now alongside a street containing a row of terraced houses on the opposite side, on the outskirts of the village of Wervik.
The tour finally proceeded forward, now some 3 hours late, but about 10Kms later 5166 failed and the tour virtually coasted to Kortrijk where it was shut down. Assistance was found in the shape of 2319 and the tour was then diverted to Gent so that the failed loco could be taken back to Antwerpen and 6077 (due to have taken the buffet back from Bruxelles Luxembourg to Schaerbeek earlier) was on route from Bruxelles.
At Gent Sint Pieters the tour was propelled back into the carriage sidings and 2319 duly departed with 5166. About 15 minutes later, 6077 came on the scene, and after attaching to the train began to set off, but one of the buffet staff was still beside the track so the chord was pulled before she was left behind!
The train eventually went forward as far as Gent station, where due to some huge event in Gent, the platform we entered into was full of youngsters who believed that the tour was the 10.57 to Kortrijk (which was what was advertised on the board, and it was 10.58 by now!).
Back on the way at about 11.10 and the tour left the main line and went via Denderleeuw before continuing down the back route towards Jette. It was anticipated that the train may go via Bruxettes Ouest to gain access to Midi but when continuing forward, participants fully expected the tour to go left into Schaerbeek to lose the buffet car instead of right towards Midi. In fact it was sent straight on via the route originally booked to be taken towards Bruxelles Luxembourg. In went the brakes and another half an hour was sat stationary whilst it was decided what to do. At 00.25(ish) the train continued forwards and was now going to have to run via Etterbeek, Delta and line 26/A all the way back round to Schaerbeek where the PFT buffet car would be removed. Pausing briefly at Bruxelles Luxembourg it was noted that the tour was officially 4hrs and 5mins late!! Eventually the tour arrived at Bruxelles Midi at 01.33!! having taken another hour to get there from Bruxelles Luxembourg.
Despite the scenarios, most if not all the punters who were still there seemed to be in high spirits if not somewhat tired!!!
Timings (Booked & Actual)
(courtesy of Mercia Charters Limited; actual from Robin Addison)
|0.20||Y Antwerpen Oost||08/05||08/05|
|Antwerpen Noord TW||08L27a ~ 09L30d||08L36a ~ 09L42d|
|15.60||Y Oost Berchem||09/53||10/00|
|17.00||Y Zuid Groenenhoek||09/58||10/02|
|21.30||Y Liersesteenweg||10*02a ~ 10*04d||10/05|
|33.40||Y Sint Katelijne Waver||10/14||10/13|
|55.50||Y Haren Noord||10/36||10.31a ~ 10.36d|
|Schaerbeek TW||10L45a ~ 11L26d||10L44a ~ 11L32d|
|9.70||Brussel Petite Ile||11/45||11/48|
|36.90||'S-Gravenbrakel||12*18a ~ 12*23d||12.21a ~ 12.27d|
|43.20||Zinnik||12/27||12.33a ~ 12.38d|
|57.35||Y Lens||12*37a ~ 12*41d||12/51|
|Aat||12*58a ~ 13*10d||13.12a ~ 13.14d|
|12.00||Leuze||13c18a ~ 13c28d||13.24a ~ 13.32d|
|Frasnes lez Anvaing||13.58a ~ 14.10d||13.54a ~ 14.11d|
|6.80||Leuze||14/31||14.31a ~ 14.32d|
|24.90||Tournai||14.43a ~ 14.53d||14.48a ~ 14.53d|
|44.65||Mouscron||15.07a ~ 15.17d||15.08a ~ 15.17d|
|Courtrai TW||15L28a ~ 16L25d||15L28a ~ 16L17d|
|20.90||Comines||16*45a ~ 16*50d||16/32|
|Poperinge||17.08a ~ 17.36d||16.55a ~ 17.44d|
|Wervik KM 15.9||-||18.10a ~ 19.21d|
|Wervik KM 15.7||-||20.39d|
|43.50||Courtrai||18c15a ~ 18c23d||21.11a ~ 21.33d|
|99.10||Erpe Mere||19.10a ~ 19.20d||DIV|
|138.90||Brussel Luxembourg||20.26a ~ 20.29d||??.?? ~ ??.??|
|151.70||Y Keelbeek Noord||20/46||??/??|
|174.30||Y Sint Katelijne Waver||21*19a ~ 21*22d||DIV|
|190.70||Y Zuid Groenenhoek||21/34||DIV|
No attempt has been made to verify the distances given.
a : arrival time
c : crew change
d : departure time
L : loco change
/ : passing time
* : Pathing stop
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