28th September 2002

Werkgroep Loc 1501 & Stichting Klassieke Locomotieven
The Limburger Tour

Locos Used NS1501, SNCB1501 & SJ1220
DMU Used 798 647-5, 998 306-5 & 998 872-6
Stock Used 50 70 010-0, 19 90 259-7, 88 70 026-0, 19 90 255-5 & 50 70 018-3

28811E : 07.46 Rotterdam Centraal - Kerkrade Centrum
No reporting numbers for the run on the ZLSM
28812E : 17.13 Kerkrade - Maastricht
28814E : 18.24 Maastricht - Rotterdam Centraal

Loco(s) Route
NS1501 (1) Rotterdam Centraal - Rotterdam Alexander - Gouda - Woerden - Vleuten - Utrecht Centraal
NS1501 + SNCB1501 Utrecht Centraal - Geldermalsen - 's-Hertogenbosch
SNCB1501 (2) 's-Hertogenbosch - Boxtel - Eindhoven - Weert - Roermond - Sittard (3)
NS1501 + (1) Sittard - Heerlen - Kerkrade Centrum
SJ1220 (4) Kerkrade Centrum - Simpelveld
ex-DB DMU Simpelveld - Vetschau
ex-DB DMU Vetschau - Simpelveld - Wijlre (5) - Schin op Geul
ex-DB DMU Schin op Geul - Simpelveld
SJ1220 (1+2) Simpelveld - Kerkrade Centrum
SNCB1501 (2) Kerkrade Centrum - Heerlen - Schin op Geul - Maastricht
NS1501 (6) Maastricht - carriage sidings (7)
NS1501 (8) carriage sidings - Maastricht
NS1501 Maastricht - Bunde - Sittard - (reverse of outward route) -  Rotterdam Centraal

(1) plus SNCB1501 dead-in-tow.
(2) NS1501 on rear.
(3) For the photo-stop at Sittard, NS1501 was removed from the rear of the train and then the train, with some passengers aboard, was moved forward to a track away from the platform (by SNCB1501). It was then propelled back to the platform by NS1501 which had by then been paired again with SNCB1501 on the front of the train.
(4) SNCB1501 & NS1501 dead-in-tow.
(5) The DMU was shunted from the "through" platform to another, some passengers remaining on for the move. This was to allow the passage of another special on the line, which was using steam loco SJ1220, "our loco", whilst we were enjoying the railcar trip!
(6) SNCB1501 on rear.
(7) This manoeuvre was a combination of photo-stop positioning and also to release SNCB1501 from the rear of the train and then allow the train to be put in a bay platform. Total distance travelled (for those who remained on board) was estimated at 1,200m (i.e. 600m each way).
(8) NS1501 propelled the stock back into the bay platform.

In common with many European railtours there were a number of photo-stops taken (particularly on the ZLSM preserved line) where the train was moved around whilst those passengers who alighted were taking their photographs. These manoeuvres are not specifically detailed except where significant movement occurred.

Sources : Gary Thornton (on the tour throughout)
Train reporting numbers from Iain Dobson

Tour Review
(by Gary Thornton)

Click here for some photos of the tour.

Having been a passenger on last years summer 1501 tour I was quite happy to sign-up for this years trip - ex-BR EM2 (class 77) 27003 "Diana" being the featured locomotive. It had originally been hoped to use NS 1201 but work to get this back to mainline condition had not been completed so we were expecting to have NS 1501 (this being the NS number for 27003) all day except for the preserved line where steam traction and railbuses would be used.

I flew over on the Friday morning from Birmingham - winning KLM UK Fokker 100 G-UKFE doing the honours. Not wanting to spend 35 on a day rover I decided to have a day off railways and head into Amsterdam to see a little of what the city had to offer. Although there are some locos on the route between the airport and centraal station I lucked out with my 5.20 day return and had EMU's both ways. With my hotel for the weekend being in Rotterdam and a single from the airport to Rotterdam being 9.80 I had saved a fair bit over using a day rover.

After touring round Amsterdam a bit I headed off to Rotterdam, checking into our hotel near the sea-front a little before 6pm. I say "our" as I was one of a group of ten over for the tour. Met up with some of my colleagues back at Rotterdam Cenrtraal then winning loco 1702 took us to Rotterdam Blaak station for a short walk to a reasonable watering hole where most of the others joined us shortly after. The 20 minute walk to the hotel was interesting in that we passed the Marine Museum and one of their exhibits is a class 11 shunter, ex-WD no. 70269. A "seminar" photo was duly taken....even though it was almost midnight!

Saturday dawned early with breakfast arranged to start a little earlier than booked as we had to be at Centraal station for just after 7.30am - the tram driver probably wasn't used to 10 people queuing for tickets at that time of a Saturday morning!

Surprise of the day (for me at least, some others knew the plan) was to find not one but two 1501's on the front of our train - NS1501 (the EM2) plus SNCB 1501 !! The SNCB type 15's were no stranger to the Dutch Railway system as they used to work international trains between Amsterdam and Paris, but not for quite a few years now. With the route we were taking I suspect this would be the first SNCB 15 over much of the route! Our train consisted of four NS couchette coaches plus a restaurant car (being used as buffet/shop). If we were tired we could simply drop the beds and snooze - how's that for comfort on a railtour!

NS1501 powered the train as far as the first pick-up point, Utrecht. Discussions took place as to whether the SNCB loco would actually power or was just along for the ride (and to be photographed by the local enthusiasts who would be quite happy even if it didn't actually work). On leaving Utrecht a look out however confirmed we had three pantographs "up front"...as NS 1501 has two pans that meant SNCB 1501 was also powering. Mixed emotions for this happening - I've cleared my SNCB 15's so wasn't too bothered, other than for the "riot factor" of it happening in the Netherlands, but spare a thought for David Russell who has only had one of the class for haulage before...guess which one! Another of my travelling companions was happy though as he scored it.

At 's-Hertogenbosch NS 1501 was removed from the front of the train and put on the back - no question about SNCB 1501 then as it was now the sole loco powering the train! We sped to Sittard where another convoluted photo-stop saw NS 1501 end up back on the front of the train, SNCB 1501 not powering from this stop.

A stop was made at Weert to allow people to join who had crossed the border from Belgium courtesy of the "TTB day" special service from Neerpelt. Was surprised to find it rather foggy, but it did make for a nice photo.

At Kerkrade Centrum we changed traction type to steam - ex Swedish Railways kettle no. 1220 simply backing on to our pair of 1501's. Whilst "only a kettle", 1220 was notable in being a Nohab-built loco! We proceeded down the ZLSM line to Simpelveld where we transferred to ex-German Railway railbuses for a run to Vetschau...an unusual happening as this is over the border into Germany. We paused at the border which, as well as being marked by modern EU border signs, was identified by some large concrete "tank traps" left over from WW2 - this being part of the "Siegfried line" German defenses.

After the obligatory "end-of-line" photos at Vetschau (where the driver "buffer kissed", though not no-one was hurt unlike in the UK!) we headed back to Simpelveld then onwards towards Schin op Geul. A half hour pause at Wijlre to allow another charter on the line to cross our train. The bar opposite the station - appropriately named " gen baan" - made good business during the wait. The other charter was sharing steam loco with us so those not in the bar had the chance to photograph 1220 powering through.

Schin op Geul is the end of the ZLSM in the westerly direction. This was a junction station but since closure of the line in 1992 the pointwork at the junction has been severed, though the station building is shared between NS and the ZLSM.

On our way back to Simpelveld we had an impromptu photostop in the middle of nowhere...partly because we seemed to have caught up the other charter on the single line!

Having been shunted about, we eventually departed Simelveld with 1220 coupled to SNCB 1501 and NS 1501 bringing up the rear. At Kerkrade Centrum SNCB 1501 took over for the run to Maastricht. Another protracted photo-stop manoeuvre saw the train pull into the carriage sidings (about 600 metres from the station) and SNCB 1501 was then uncoupled to leave back to Belgium (1501's home depot of Kinkempois is not far over the border south of Maastricht). In a move that wouldn't be seen in the UK, the train was propelled back into a bay platform by NS 1501 - complete with quite a number of passengers who had stayed on board as a result of starting to suffer from "PSF" - Photo-Stop Fatigue.

The run home wasn't much to write home about - it was getting dark and was basically the reverse of the outward route. NS 1501 performed well with some impressive acceleration from some slacks and stops.

All in all this was quite a simple, tour but one that was still very enjoyable. Having two 1501's on the train was a bit of a novelty and kind of made up for the lack of NS 1201 which had originally been advertised for the tour.

Gary Thornton.

Timings ( Booked & Actual)
(from Gary Thornton)

Location Booked Actual   Booked Actual
Rotterdam Centraal 07.46d 07.48   21.23a 21.24
Gouda 08/12 08/03   20/55 20/56
Utrecht Centraal 08.24a ~ 08.37d 08.31 ~ 08.38   20.15a ~ 20.26d 20.18 ~ 20.25
Geldermalsen 08/52 09/08   - -
's-Hertogenbosch 09.04a ~ 09.16d 09L08 ~ 09L22   19/47 19/45
Eindhoven 09/39 09/52   19/28 19/26
Weert 10.04a ~ 10.09d 10.07 ~ 10.17   19/05 19.09a ~ 19.10d
Haelen 10*20a ~ 10*29d 10.29 ~ 10.38   - -
Roermond 10.35a ~ 10.48d 10/47   18/52 18/56
Sittard 11.05a ~ 11.32d 11L04 ~ 11L37   18/38 18/43


Location Booked Actual
Heerlen 11/50 11/54
Kerkrade Centrum 12L00a ~ 12L10d 12.05 ~ 12.14
Simpelveld 12D30a ~ 12D45d 12.34 ~ 12.45
Vetschau 13.05a ~ 13.10d 13.01 ~ 13.09
Simpelveld 13/28 13.23a ~ 13.34d
Wijlre 13.45a ~ 14.15d 13.46 ~ 14.14
Schin op Geul 14.25a ~ 14.40d 14.21 ~ 14.39
Eys 15/00 15.12a ~ 15.16d
Simpelveld 15D15a ~ 16D25d 15.25 ~ 16.37
Kerkrade Centrum 16L50a ~ 17L13d 16.57 ~ 17.13
Heerlen 17/22 17/22
Maastricht 17L51a ~ 18L24d 17.51 ~ 18.26

Timings continue in first table.

a : arrival time
d : departure time
D : change from loco-hauled stock to DMU / vice-versa
L : loco change
* : operational stop
/ : passing time

Back to "The Railtour Files"