11th May 2002

Adieu de la Série 59 Tour

Locos Used 5917 & 5946

Route :

Locos Route
5917 + 5946 Brussels Midi - Brussels Nord - Vilvoorde - Mechelen (low level platforms) - Y Dijlebrug - Y Holsbeek - Aarschot - Tessenderlo
5917 (1) Tessenderlo - km 31.20
5917 + 5946 km 31.20 - Y Diest - Diest
5917 + 5946 Diest - Y Hasselt West - Y Hasselt Nord - Y Boksbergheide - Bundel Winterslag
5917 + 5946 Bundel Winterslag - Y Beverst - Y Glons - Montzen Yard
5917 (1) Montzen Yard - Y Montzen Ost - Welkenraedt
5946 (2) Welkenraedt - Y Montzen Ost - Montzen Yard
5917 (1) Montzen Yard - Y Montzen Ost - SNCB/DB border - km 44
5946 (2) km 44 - SNCB/DB border - Montzen Yard
5917 + 5946 Montzen Yard - Y Berneau - Y Longchamp - Visé - Bressoux - Y Froidmont - Kinkempois - Voroux - Leuven - Brussels Nord - Brussels Midi

(1) 5946 on rear.
(2) 5917 on rear.

Here are some photos taken on the day by Duncan Jennings.

Source : Stuart Clarke
(Joined at Brussels Midi, left at Leuven)

Tour Review
(by Stuart Clarke)

Over 60 English (and at least one Scottish and one Welsh!) cranks headed for Belgium via various modes of transport, Car + Ferry, Car + Shuttle, Eurostar and Plane. First gen was that Dave Turpie and Bart had been delayed heavily due to the previous day’s Potters Bar derailment, but none the less made it to Belgium in time for the tour (well at least Dave Turpie made the tour.... more anon!).

5917 looked resplendant in a new coat of paint sporting heritage green livery, whilst 5946 which never made it out of heritage green livery looked an absolute wreck!

Mercia Charters had an entire coach reserved for British pay on the day cranks and this was the second coach in the formation with the buffet/bar being third in the six coach train. At the booked time, we set off through Bruxelles Central with the obligatory smoking out of the underground station! News began to filter through that Bart had missed the tour as he had forgotten to put his clock forward to European Time and was still in bed as we had departed Bruxelles! My timetable came into play to find out where he could get on the tour and Diest on the return from Tessenderlo looked best option.

Tessenderlo was our first photo stop(s). After phots of the train in the station with over 200 enthusiasts blocking the level crossing, much to the annoyance of one 4x4 driver who attempted to mow a few down, the locos were taken off and split up, with 5917 put on the other end. The tour then propelled a further 700 metres towards Paal for another photo stop and then 5946 was added to the front for more photos. This kept the Belgians happy, meanwhile the British cranks had noted that on the adjacent track were a number of four man ‘rail pedallos’ for want of a better term, being propelled by a locomotive of extreme dubiety. Needless to say it was all too much for the likes of Messrs Bates and some of the Mercia boys who had to whip it in!

Back at Diest we were sent into the back road of a small yard and the sight of Bart and friend wondering down the side of the train received a round of applause and cheers from the British contingent, and even a few Belgians!

 Our route from Diest took us via the Hasselt avoider onto the Genk line and a left hand turn at Y Boksbergheide towards Winterslag. On the curve we stopped for a photo stop and several of the ‘Mercia Charters’ contingent got off for their phots only to watch the tour then proceed off into the distance doing ‘required track’ to Genk Goods, and the more important vital connection onto the line we would be doing towards Bilzen. When I rang Denzil to ask if he needed Genk Goods I was met with a tirade of abuse (not surprisingly!!).

We returned to the photo stop location at the closed Winterslag station where Denzil and co. got back on. It was pointed out to them that the photo stop gen sheet explained exactly what was going to happen, pity it was written in French really!

Next on the list was the line to Montzen Yard. This line from Y Glons to Aachen West is probably one of the most scenic in Belgium but is freight only. The line passes through several long tunnels including the 2km long Veurs Tunnel, and over some serious viaducts including two over the Albertkanaal and Meuse river and the staggering 1153m long 50m high Viaduc de Moresnet before the line crosses the Belgium / German border midway through the 870m long Botzelaer Tunnel and drops steeply into Aachen West. Originally the tour was to have gone to Aachen West but DB refused.

A photo stop was held just after passing through Veurs Tunnel and some serious flapping began when 2375 appeared at the back of the train. No, it was not for the tour but light engine to Montzen under permissive signalling!

More photo stops in Montzen Yard where long withdrawn class 84s 8405/08/12/14 and 92s 9210/14/15/16 were also viewed (I scored all eight for sight!).

The longest bit of track I scored was the next bit, 8km from Montzen to Welkenraedt. This was performed in Top and Tail mode from Montzen and back. On our return from Welkenraedt we were being bellowed at by participants of some sort of Truckfest being held at a warehouse adjacent to Montzen Yard. Trucks of all variety were racing round with horns blaring and we also viewed a car bungee jumping(!!)

We reversed again and headed across the viaduc du Moresnet to what is believed to be the administrative border between SNCB and DB (the actual border, as mentioned earlier, is midway through Botzelaer Tunnel). More photos and then back to Montzen for the rear loco to run round to the front for our journey back to Bruxelles. It was now that the British contingent instigated a ‘Seminar’ phot much to the bemusement of the Belgian contingent who didn’t know what to make of it! Our route back was via Visé and Kinkempois and the ‘back road’ to Voroux. On the climb out of Kinkempois we stopped for our final photo stop atop a 50m high viaduct. I took one look out of the window and declared that I was NOT getting off the train. Many did and walked across to the far embankment to take what turned out to be some terrific phots, I personally did not want to throw up! Much bellowing at normals below was performed, and no guesses that ringleader ‘Stickers’ was leading the bellow!

Finally we pulled forward off the viaduct to pick everyone up but the train pulled up at the rear of a row of gardens, and the sight of a group of horny Belgian girls having a Barbecue was too much for the Brits. In true style, much bellowing commenced between train and garden, with the girls giving as much back as they were receiving! They certainly played to the crowd!

Finally the tour rolled into Leuven where I got off with the Andy Read party as we were staying here whilst the Dave Snow party got off to catch the following 20.33 train as far as Brugge where they would have 90 minutes to get to the 23.21 shuttle, which was the last one before the tunnel shut down for engineering work until 08.00 on Sunday. I gather they made it with 10 minutes to spare.

And so, it’s all over, including the shouting. The fat lady has sung and the popular class 59s bow out. We now await the end of June to see if there will a final encore!

(by Stuart Clarke)

km Location
0.00 Brussels Midi
3.80 Brussels Nord
13.30 Vilvoorde
24.50 Mechelen (low level platforms)
45.90 Y Dijlebrug
46.95 Y Holsbeek
59.30 Aarschot
77.70 Y Diest
km post 31.20 (photostop)
9.75 Y Diest
10.45 Diest
29.95 Y Hasselt West
30.90 Y Hasselt Nord
33.40 Y Zonhoven
44.50 Y Boksbergheide
46.90 Bundel Winterslag
48.10 Winterslag
58.95 Y Beverst
76.25 Y Glons
Montzen Yard
2.50 Y Montzen Ost
10.40 Y ???
0.30 Y ???
8.20 Y Montzen Ost
Montzen Yard
2.50 Y Montzen Ost
8.10 SNCB/DB border
km 44 (photostop)
0.30 SNCB/DB border
Montzen Yard
15.70 Y Berneau
16.60 Y Longchamp
18.85 Visé
31.65 Bressoux
34.65 Y Froidmont
36.55 Kinkempois (closed station)
37.65 Y ???
50.65 Voroux
109.05 Leuven
** 138.35 Brussels Nord
** 142.15 Brussels Midi

Mileages by loco;
5917 : 355.25km
5946 : 354.55km

Whole tour: 374.35km

All distances, in kilometres, have been provided by Stuart Clarke. No attempt has been made to verify the distances given. ** Last two distances assume direct route to Brussels.

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