The Railway Series
Museum Railway Lines in the Netherlands
Steam trains are awesome, especially when seen steaming by. Unless you’re in the cab, riding a steam train is not necessarily that much fun, but clearly enough people enjoy it to an extent that allows for six museum railway lines in the Netherlands. I believe the best ones are those that also operate a railbus, in which you can sit behind, or even next to, the driver and see the tracks. In Beekbergen, Hoorn (where the Museumkaart is valid) and Stadskanaal they just do stinky steam; MBS in Haaksbergen owns a beautifully restored Wismarer Schienenbus railbus, but unfortunately they allow it to be run only occasionally. The two most scenic railway lines, SGB in Goes and ZLSM in Simpelveld (the Miljoenenlijn), both operate steam engines and an über-cool Uerdinger Schienenbus VT 98 railbus — but the one in Goes looks rather horrid with its ugly livery and ill-appointed interior. So in short: go Simpelveld.
Nicknamed Rote Brummer, the Uerdingen railbus is by far my favourite train, like a Volkswagen Beetle on rails: smart & simple, it has an appealing fifties design and the sound of its two Büssing Unterflurmotor U 10 diesel engines is second to none. Passengers can flip the bench’s seat-back to sit opposite each other or always face forwards, if so desired, but the best place on board the train is the tip-up seat next to the driver, if not already occupied by the guard. Or should I say: ‘one of the guards’, because most museum railway lines employ a small army of volunteers, who are ever so eager to punch your ticket and enthusiastically provide you with ample information on all things train. (I’d love to become a train driver on the Miljoenenlijn’s railbus myself, but I know perfectly well that this is not what we as a family need right now, don’t I.) Disclaimer: despite my personal preferences, please note that the six aforementioned railway lines are all charming in every respect, and that there is no reason not to go see them all.miljoenenlijn.nl