A while ago I had planned a short vacation with my family for the coming week. When I appeared at work after a week most curiousity was less. I could pick up where I left of before the attempt. For Arie it had been more difficult. He had started his shifts almost the next day. Our stunt had been given a lot of attention in nearly all the newspapers. In big articles and on the front page. So Arie was harassed with many questions. Of course there was no detailed technical information, due to the prohibition to speak about the subject. The result of this was a lot of speculation about the LRT. And this led to even more questions; especially from the management (particularly about a number of unjust bills of a certain brake company from Switzerland). This resulted in a lot of arguments. Fortunately Arie and me were not involved in all of this argumenting, but we did get cut off of a lot of things. We never even got a ‘thank you’ from the Company. For those of us who were closely involved it was a bitter disappointment. The credit for the whole operation went to those who had had nothing to do with it. The Märklin Company introduced a model set of the LRT. They needed the permission of the Railroad Company for this, and usually this means some models are presented as a gift. We would have loved to receive a set for our effort, but we never saw one. Again they disappeared into the hands of others. Like the story of a traction manager who told us he didn’t want to concern himself with the LRT, but afterwards told a number a shopkeepers in his village he had been closely involved in organising the successful attempt. This wasn’t a smart thing to do, since I live in the same village of Oud-Beijerland and it came to my attention very soon. Finally when the attempt was published in the Guinness Book it was without our names. It wasn’t even mentioned in my personnel file.
Photos: The Märklin LRT set is still for sale!
What’s important that it was a once in a lifetime experience. Fame is transient and the one who places himself on a pedestal finds that others constantly try to take his place. Nevertheless I don’t regret this docile experience. The LRT stays fascinating. Looking at the number of visitors of this website it shows people are still interested….
After reading this story everyone should be capable of placing earlier suppositions in their right value. The articles that were published are correct concerning the circumstances along side the track:
Back to the aftermath; for quite a while we are recognized by the public. Except for children most people give you a shy smile. Some time later we are invited to dinner with the former director of Materials & Workshops. Jaap, Joop and Teus will be present also. Before this dinner we are tipped off about two engine drivers being needed for a national speed record. It will be held on 16-07, the same as the number of the locomotive that will be used. Location: the section between Eindhoven and Venlo. When we try to get some information we also learn about the risks. Risk we know all about since the attempt. When during the dinner engineer Chr. Moolhuizen brings up the subject, we turn him down. Later we hear the speed record will not take place, apparently they learned from our experiece. Then we are asked to participate in festivities on juli 1st , 1989. There is going to be a live television-marathon broadcast which will last for five hours. A blue-grey French TGV (Train Grande Vitesse) Atlantique will cross the country departing from Roosendaal. At the same time a ICM-3, converted into a studio from the NOS (Dutch Television), will do the same departing from Meppel. Both trains will be filmed from the sky by helicopters. The NOS will be filming inside the train also. The ‘Koploper’ will even be provided with track cameras underneath the train. The company travelling with the studio train will be all kind of prominent figures.
The Dutch Railroads was on camera for five and a half hours on Saturday juli 1st, 1989. The TGV ran from Roosendaal to Utrecht, and from Meppel came the ICM-3 to the center of the country. (Photo from the book: ‘Jublileum in Vogelvlucht’).
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At the end of the day the Atlantique and the ICM will meet at Utrecht Central Station at the exact same time along side the same platform. Our own NS harmony orchestra will take care of some festive music. The President-Director Mr. Ploeger will welcome everyone personally. The NS press would have prefered it if the engine-drivers of the ICM would be Arie and me. But that is not going to happen. Theo Domeni (Manager Power Vehicles Feijenoord) is not able to give us the time needed to learn the track, due to the many colleagues on summer leave. Beside that, engine-drivers from Tilburg protested against the fact that, again, engine-drivers from Feijenoord would be chosen. So running this train was not an option, but we had to be on this train as guests anyway. The reason was that interviews about the LRT were already planned. This time on the train station of Arnhem with news reporter Hugo van Rhijn. It was a shame that the weather spoiled a lot of things; it rained heavily. Finally in the summer of 1989 there was NS-150 at Utrecht Central Station. In between all the material you could admire the 1600 locomotive of the LRT.
Photo above: 'My' locomotive, in the front is John de Rijke (my father) during the material show at Utrecht CS.
Photo below: View of the material show...
Afterwards the 1600 locomotive was recognizable as the locomotive of the LRT for a little while until it’s first maintenance. It’s quite strange that it took quite a long time before I was the engine-driver of this particular locomotive again. I only saw her passing by from time to time running a passengers train. When our path finally crossed it was in front of a cargo train. Every time I pass Kijfhoek I still have to look if she not there between the rest of the material. It will always be my locomotive, even if she’s running for another company now called Railion. Despite the fact that she has ‘RAILION’ with huge letters on the side, you can still vagely see where the NS-emblem used to be.
Photo above (www.spoorwegmaterieel.nl): The Railion 1607 at Maastricht. When I inquired if she was still in service, the following answer was given from the material management of Railion Nederland BV.
Photo in the middle: On a Sunday on my way with the 5130 from Dordrecht tor Den Haag Centraal. On the background the location where once the LRT stood ready for departure.
Photo below (Rini Traets): At Vlissingen in the cabine of a VIRM.
Today and tomorrow you still have the chance to board a train I’m running. After being a engine-driver for more than twenty eight years I’m still fascinated by my job. Eight years ago however I did change employment from NS/Cargo (now Railion) to the present NSR (transport of passengers only). Arie Wander is still working for Railion Nederland.
Photo above (Rini Traets): On the platform of Goes station.
Photo below (Rini Traets): On my way from Roosendaal to Vlissingen with train 14669.
Good-bye and welcome on board!
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