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20Dec/190

Amersfoort and Apeldoorn – December, 2019

It was time for another family adventure to Amsterdam, but this time for Christmas! I was just about ready for Australian summer before being shipped over into the depths of winter in The Netherlands. Lots of research had been completed: I'd found sites for photography spots, live maps of the passenger services and freight timetables. Unfortunately, the latter has been taken down in the last 4 days... can you believe it? Milliseconds before I travelled to the country, the information disappears! Despite this disappointment, I decided to trek out to the regional towns to hunt down freight.

The trip started from Amsterdam North and, thanks to the now-open Northern Metro, it was a quick 5 minutes to get there. I was then very happy to realise that my services would all be run by Koplopers (my total favourite)!

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That last shot is cute... the poor onboard information system had a disk failure and tried to boot... the weirdest part being that the display starts off upside-down!?

Amersfoort

This town is located south-east of Amsterdam and, via the intercity services, only about 40 minutes away. From the station, there's a large yard to the north-west which hosts infrastructure testing equipment, a train simulator for NS staff, and the shunting yard for the automotive branch. The automotive branch runs south-east from the station, down to a few factories that process half-completed cars from Germany. The goal was to exit the station and loiter near the start of the branch, near a level-crossing, to try and see something run through. Fortunately, as I was approaching the station, a small diesel was already at the head of a long rake of new cars, ready to be taken down the line.

But first... the station... some Koplopers... and the yard...

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That shot above was a total accident... turns out you can shoot and focus at the same time and get some pretty weird effects. The top was the only one of 5 that turned out, not that I was even trying. It was a total mistake.

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So many Koplopers, but then the yard... at the eastern end there's a stash of vintage locomotives in various liveries and owned by various companies?

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One thing I need to admit is that the lighting at this time of year in the northern hemisphere is dismal! I mean, it's beautiful for an hour or so when it's 'dusk', but that's 3pm! The sun is gone by 4!

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Wandering to the end of platform 5, I could see the car-carrier rolling towards the station. I then consulted maps and realised that it'd been shunting backwards, whilst I was arriving, to access platform 2/3, which would then let it take the branch. I was obviously in the wrong spot, at the wrong time, and therefore bolted to platform 2. Fortunately, Amersfoort is beautifully designed and there's stairs at both ends of the platform. Before-long, it rolled through...

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Quite a few Porsches on the end! An Intercity was coming in through next, bound for Berlin, and so I exited the station to get a shot of it along the line to the east.

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The NS loco-hauled services look very similar to the older SNCF locomotives in France. I wonder if they're the same manufacturer? I'll do a little research when I'm sleeping on a french train later in the month. From here, I returned to the station to check out what else was going on. Prior to actually entering, you have to cross the branch where the auto-train went...

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The line looks like it's heavy-railed, but the smaller diesel indicates otherwise... then again, they might just be saving fuel. Out the very front of the station, there's a strange clock that seems to be offsetting the current datetime for something relevant to somewhere else?

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And one can't forget an obligatory front-on shot of the station.

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From here, things got awkward. I had time and decided I'd do a round-trip to Apeldoorn and so I approached platform 2 once more. From the yard, an oil train approached without warning. Fortunately, my camera was at the ready... but after the second shot, my camera seemed to stick in half-focused mode. I turned it off and on again, but as soon as it powered up, it did a focus, as if I had my finger on the trigger, half-pressed.

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And so, the train passed... and I had a dead camera. I jumped on the east-bound service to Apeldoorn.

Apeldoorn

As we rolled away, I sat down and started pulling apart my camera. After having the lens, battery and memory card out, the camera finally snapped back into action. Funnily enough, as we were heading towards Apeldoorn, the conductor came over the PA and mentioned something sounding like an apology... this, of course, is a guess as my Dutch is non-existent. The guess was that we were dawdling thanks to the freighter taking its time in front of us. Soon enough, we were accelerating again and I saw a glimpse of a train in out the right windows. Turns out there's a passing loop near Stroe and the freighter had been put away... I'd get to see it again in Apeldoorn?

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Amazing. Another fluke... playing leap-frog with freight trains in the middle of The Netherlands. Apeldoorn is also a branch for the Arriva Zutphen line. This is run by two-car diesels which are remarkably similar, in layout, to DERMs from the Victorian railways.

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Anyway... after that mild success, I headed back to Amersfoort. I'd bought an initial return ticket from Amsterdam to Amersfoort and then another return from Amersfoort to Apeldoorn, so I had to exit the station to keep all my tickets valid. Another point, I took a loco-hauled intercity like the one above. Even though these are ICE carriages from DB, it seems that they operate as standard intercity services once in The Netherlands. Although I didn't actually get my ticket checked.

Back at Amersfoort

Whilst coming back in, I saw something interesting. Past a building, down near the auto branch, was a stuffed-and-mounted wooden EMU? The building seems to be an old station building, is a Gibson store/function-center, and the loco must be from Austria or Switzerland?

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Very nice actually, but the sun was already ready to set. Actually, the EMU reminded me of the railway line from Palma to Port De Soller.

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I then did a lap of the whole station and wandered over to the northern side of the yard. There's a building that used to be carriageworks that I thought was a bar, but turned out to just be a function center. One good thing was that it allowed access to the other side of the stored locomotives...

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Finally, on the way back into Amersfoort station, I stumbled past a beautiful piece of stained-glass art. That's totally a Koploper!

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And that was then it for the day... jetlag was kicking in and although a nice beer was had at De Wagenmeester on the southern side, including a great view of the tracks!,...

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It was home time.

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