29th May 2004

P.F.T.
Voyage Inaugural de la 5941 dans le Gand

Locos Used SNCB: 5183 & 5941
Stock Used 3 Plan K + Buffet + 2 Plan K

Route:
Z18193 : 08.10 Bruxelles Midi to Langerbrugge
Z18194 : 10.15 Langerbrugge to Zelzate
Z18195 : 10.50 Zelzate to Langerbrugge
Z18196 : 12.05 Langerbrugge  to Gent Zeehaven
Z18197 : 14.56 Gent Zeehaven to Moerbeke (Waas)
Z18198 : 16.18 Moerbeke (Waas) to Gent Zeehaven
Z18199 : 18.03 Gent Zeehaven to Gent Sifferdok
Z18200 : 18.30 Gent Sifferdok to Gent Zeehaven
Z18201 : 18.55 Gent Zeehaven to Bruxelles Nord

Loco(s) Route
5183 + 5941 Bruxelles Midi - Bruxelles Nord - (via line 50) - Merelbeke -  Y Ledeberg Oost - Y Ledeberg Noord - Gent Dampoort - (via line 58) - Wondelgem - (via line 55) - Langerbrugge
5941 Langerbrugge - (via line 55 old alignment) - Rieme - Ertvelde - Zelzate Sidings
5941 (1) Zelzate Sidings - Bk 15.6 (SNCB Bk 27.6)
5941 Bk 15.6 (SNCB Bk 27.6) - Zelzate - Ertvelde - Rieme - (via line 55 old alignment) - Langerbrugge Sidings
5941 (2) Langerbrugge Sidings - Y Noord Everstein - (via line 217) - Evergem Overdam Bk 3.45
5183 (3) Evergem Overdam Bk 3.45 - Y Noord Everstein
5941 (2) Y Noord Everstein - (via line 55) - Wondelgem [loop platform]
5183 (3) Wondelgem [loop platform ] - (via line 55) - Y Zuid Everstein - (via line 216) - Evergem Sluis loop
5941 (2) Evergem Sluis loop - Y Zuid Everstein (via line 55) - Wondelgem [loop platform] - Gent Zeehaven
5183 (3) Gent Zeehaven (via line 204) - Gent Noord (via line 77a) - Moerbeke (Waas)
5183 + 5941 Moerbeke (Waas) - (via line 77a) - Gent Noord - Gent Zeehaven
5941 (1) Gent Zeehaven - Gent Sifferdok south side end of dock
5941 Gent Sifferdok south side end of dock - Gent Zeehaven
5183 + 5941 Gent Zeehaven - Gent Dampoort - Y Ledeberg Noord -  Y Ledeberg Oost - Merelbeke - (via line 50) - Denederleeuw - (via line 50a) - Bruxelles-Midi - Bruxelles Noord

Notes :
(1) 5941 propelling.
(2) 5183 on rear.
(3) 5941 on rear.

Source : Andy Pullar

Tour Review
(from Andy Pullar)

Having started visiting Belgium at the beginning of the 1980s I have travelled most of the lines still open in Belgium (and some now not). However for a variety of reasons line 55 from Gent to Terneuzen had escaped me (at least north of Langerbrugge).

 I thought I had missed out again with this trip being advertised to run a month prior to its eventual run date. However, thanks to the postponement caused by engineering works (I wonít ever moan about them again) at Wondelgem and a tip off from Mercia Charters I found myself on a glorious sunny day in a compartment of one of the K Plan coaches at the head of  train Z18193 listening to the thrash of  the PFT owned class 51 and 59 in combination along line 50 towards Gent.

The train was billed as a photographers special to commemorate the return to the main line of SNCB class 59 number 5941 after its purchase by PFT. As the new 10k alignment of line 55 around the site of  Gent Kluizendok was expected to see its first trains on 28 June this was also likely to be the last chance to traverse the original section north of  Langerbrugge. Being a PFT trip the list of  photo stops together with instructions on detraining, getting in the photo line and re-boarding (in a choice of French or Flemish to add to the fun Ė translation please) filled both sides of A4. No matter how much I tried to understand I kept getting bellowed at. I would join the photo line only to find that whilst I was setting my cameras the line had moved back 10 feet and consequently I would thus find myself  in the way again. (Allez yourself).

The itinerary was pretty straightforward to the site of Langerbrugge station where 5183 was unhitched from the train during the first of the photo stops. After much manoeuvring of  locos and train (and annoying motorists on the level crossing south of the station) it was off on the last chance required track. Work on the new Kluizendok complex was much in evidence to the west of the line with quay sides in place and the ground between ready for excavation. As work commenced in 1996 it ought to be. Passing the north end of the realigned track Zelzate was reached. However for photo purposes the train proceeded to the Dutch Border with 5941 shoving (having run round in Zelzate Sidings). Everyone out whilst 5941 and the train was positioned next to the border marker.

Heading south photo stops were arranged at Zelzate, the closed station of Ertvelde, Rieme (the site of the commencement of the new line 55) and on the soon to be closed section of the old alignment of line 55 before the return to Langerbrugge. Whilst 5183 was being attached at the tail end of the train a north bound freight ran through headed by a 77 for extra excitement and additional late running.

Lines 217 and 216 were traversed  in top and tail mode though even more delay was added to the itinerary by the photo stop waiting for a tram to pass on the bridge over the canal and line 217. Whether by design or the late running the train did not reach the parts that Mercia Charters managed some two years or so earlier reversing some way short of the end of each branch. How sad never mind. And yes I managed to get in the way of the photoline.

Then it was off to Moerbeke via a reversal in Gent Zeehaven Yard. All dud track which was just as well as once again PFT fell short of the Mercia buffer kiss at Moerbeke. To position 5183 on the head of the train for the return to Gent it was detached from the train at the entrance to the sidings at Moerbeke. 5941 then pushed the train inside the points to enable 5183 to effectively run round. Queue much clicking of cameras and flattening of lineside vegetation.

Once again photo stops were enjoyed on the return with slow run pasts and 5183 being coupled and uncoupled and even posed on a rake of wagons. Much leaping later and 5941 found itself propelling the train out of Zeehaven Yard onto the quayside at the Sifferdok. The south side of the dock was used to pose the train under the gantry crane next to the coal stocks after a five minute fight with a set of points set in the concrete. 5183 was positioned on the north side of the dock and both 5941 and 5183 trundled back and forth in a crazy duet for the cameras.

In the midst of all this the stock had been shunted to the west end of the quay for the extra mileage (Excuse me but isnít this supposed to be a PFT trip. Quick get on board before they realise).  Returning at Gent Zeehaven and 5183 was once again piloting 5941 for the thrash back to Bruxelles and the Belgian beer or two I promised myself (to top up those from the PFT buffet to ward off the effects of  photographers bellow).

Arrival at Bruxelles Nord was about half an hour late but who cares. One day I might get to Terneuzen.Next tour please.

Andy Pullar

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