The Longest Passenger Train in the World (4)

Saturday February 18th, 1989


In the past week, besides to our usual shifts, we absorbed ourselves in all the plans and conditions of february 19th. TSB (survey of temporary speed limitations) nr.7, which lasted till the end of the shift of Sunday february 19th, fortunately showed no L, A and E signs for the section Kijfhoek-Eindhoven and possible supplements were not forthcoming. Regretfully it became known there had to be some more filmshooting to be done.  By this time this had to take place in between already planned matters. Which are by now completely arranged around the actual composition of the LTR. Before formation can take place the workshop Feijenoord have to place a number of flags on each 10th carriage. Accordingly three of the last four carriages received the words '60 DE LANGSTE REIZIGERSTREIN TER WERELD' (‘60 THE LONGEST PASSENGER TRAIN IN THE WORLD’) on the side. This last job took place beforehand in Eindhoven, according to the script. Next to the earlier performed extensive technical inspection, the 1607 also gets a letterpress.


Photo: Every tenth carriage was to receive a flag across the roof with it’s corresponding number in the line of carriages..  Here you see the 10th carriage during the record attempt. The end of the 60 carriages, passing Prinsenbeek on the photo, can’t be seen.

When the 1607 is ready we have to appear on Feijenoord for the shooting of the press photos. Before that, in the morning, we make a run to Breda for the final filmshooting. Now we have the disposal of camera images in the sun and in the rain.

In the mean time people are busy schunting carriages on Kijfhoek. Fortunatly we don’t have to worry about that. We are really very busy doing the things we have to do for ourselves. Tension increases by the hour and we wonder if we are going to make it on time. As to be expected there is some delay. Of couse no one is to blame, everbody is very enthusiastic and work as if their lives depend on it. One of the unexpected things; the 1607 shows some deep lacquer damage on the spot where the lettering is to be placed. When we arrive at Feijenoord that afternoon it appears that the locomotive is not ready yet, due to this problem. The boys from working party 1501 (the 1501 is still in depot on Feijenoord) are still busy working with filler to get the surface smooth again. After that we have to find a suitable set for the shooting of the photos.

Photo: The press photo of the loc 1607 at Feijenoord on which Cor de Rijke (left) and Arie Wander (right) present  the locomotive to the public. This photo, by the way, was hardly used in the media.

After we finished, much too late, with the photo shoot we went to Kijfhoek by car. On Kijfhoek-north our colleagues have taken care of the distribution of the carriages. They are placed in series of 20 carriages on three adjoining tracks. They also placed long airhoses to connect the 60 carriages. What a length!

Before we go on I have tell you that we made the agreement that the LRT engineers would share their professional experieces with our colleagues all over the country. So I kept accurate notes. I filled several pages with notes about the brake tests before the attempt, but I had to hand them over to Teus. Presumably he burned them or he just ate them…..So the next words I had to dig up from memory. I left out the things I didn’t remember exactly. But the main features I do remember!

As I told you before; the using of the brakes would not cause any problem. Technical information about the brakes was made available to us. If everything turned out as described the LRT would brake in the same way we were accustomed to running the trains loaded with ore. The advice was to use the brakes with extra alertness and patience. Different was that there wasn’t much space between the carriages. I told this before; Arie and me felt uneasy about it. Anyway, I don’t remember if we did the brake tests with the 1607 or with another 1600 locomotive. It shows that I had to concentrate on so many things, that I forgot. To fill the main reservoir with air took a very long time. The same happens with an ore train certainly when you have an nonstop main reservoir pipe. Unexplainable difficulties showed itself at the moment when the brakes actually had to work. At the first outlet of air (0,4 bar at that time) the only brakes that worked were those of the first 16 or 17 carriages. That was strange, so we tried to fill the whole system a second time and make a new attempt. But further attempts gave the same result. We had made sure that alle the foucets were opened. It was a terrible moment. There was no explanation unless the train brakepipe was stopped up. Speculating about the cause we needed information concerning the pressure in the brakepipe in the back of the train. To get those readings I connected an e-loc. 1300 at the back of the train and it showed 5 bar. Time was flying however and we were not nearer to the solution. Out of curiosity we made a few brake tests from the 1300, which were slightly different from one another.

When we used the brake of the 1300, not the first 18 carriages responded, but every attempt a number of carriages fewer. Arie and myself came to the conclusion that the circulation speed through the different types of foucets was the cause. There is a difference between the types of foucets of a 1300 and a 1600. So not every brake reacted at the exact same time. And of course this affects the behaviour of the train when it brakes. We had experieced this when in the ore transports the 2200 locomotive was replaced by the 1600. A 1600 brakes very accurately.  In a double traction with the use of 1300 locomotives it was less accurate……and 4000 tons and four 2200 locomotives resulted almost every time in a unwanted stop.

Experimenting we came to the discovery that the brakes would react at the same time if we would let a maximum amount of air escape out of the brakepipe. To accomplish this we had to put the brake in a fast brake position, at the same time use the emerency brake and open the red emerency foucet, on the right side of the cabine. There were of course huge pressure waves in the brakepipe, Even after a relatively long periode, the pressure gauge indicated pressure fluctuations. With the passing of the pressure waves some of the brakes would release again. But important to know was the fact that we could always make an emerency stop, even though it probably would break the train. It was painfully obvious to us that we could not use the brakepipe during the record attempt. Worn out and disapointed we went inside into a little corner in the signal-station. Here we considered every possible scenario, using al our knowledge and experiece, to come to an acceptable solution. Finally Arie and myself decided to make the run under certain restrictions. Jaap said to us, ‘You’re the engine-drivers, it’s your show’. So I said: ‘I can do it when we use the electrodynamical brake and let the train run out’. (During the transport of ore I was a master of juggling with the brakes, of couse always in a reponsable way. Of course this wasn’t according the rules). Arie condition was; ‘green signals all the way from Kijfhoek to Eindhoven’. Jaap Schuit immediately took the phone and demanded a guaranty by the Main Traffic Control Center in Utrecht.

Knowing that now we officially had the status ‘technical test run with passengers’ and we could go to the extreme, we finally could go home. I don’t want to keep from you the words my wife wrote in her diary about all this:

Picture: February 18th, 1989; from the diary of my wife.

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