The Longest Passenger Train in the World (6)

Sequel February 19th, 1989 (1)


Photo: 'Webasto'-loc 2301 is used as a taxi for the LRT engine-drivers.

When we arrive at the north-side we find ‘our’ 1607. The shunter on duty already placed the locomotive 'against the electric wire', so we can put the first part of the LRT in position. But before that could take place I had a fierce argument with Henk Poel, who insisted that his crew finished the cleaning of the graffiti first. But we were under a time pressure and we had to go on, graffiti or no graffiti. We had an agreement with the project management to place the locomotive very close to the signal. This was pleasant for quite a number of spectators who are already on the viaduct of the Munnikensteeg. And also on the road around the railway yard there are many photographers to be seen. In whom I recognize quite a few colleagues. A number of colleagues of the cleaning crew are already waiting for us. The rest of the crew stayed behind on the north-side to clean the rest of the carriages. Suddenly, hawk-eyed as an engine-driver must be, I see a colleague who seems to be watching the train closely. He wears a yellow safety coat and gives me the impression that he is a employee of the Railway Company. After bending over a couple of times in order to make a precise estimate, he looks at me and gives me the stop-sign. Too early according to planning. We are about twohundred meters from the signal. No doubt there is a valid reason. Perhaps because of the cleaning crew or the position of the wooden steps for the passengers. Of course I want to know the reason for this premature stop. ‘It’s exactly the right place for a nice photo’ is the answer from Ger de Groot (who is Chief of Exploitation with the Hoorn-Medemblik steam-tram nowadays). OK, I forgave you, Ger. We did consider to pull up a bit, but the cleaning crew were already scrubbing.  Besides that, steps were already placed against the carriages. We checked if this position would cause problems for the shunters, but since it didn’t we decided to leave it this way.


Photo: On the socalled 'thirth track' is the first part of the LRT. At the left: Teus Mels en Arie Wander. At the right in the front: Ger de Groot.

While we are waiting for the rest of the formation of the LRT, we close down the ATB. We also check if closing down the deadman’s pedal has undesirable consequences. But with an electric 1600 locomotive closing down a deadman’s pedal gives no opportunity to use the fast brake. So that’s no option. We need the fast-brake. While we are inside doing the last check-ups, all kinds of interested people are swarming around the locomotive. There are very curious and try to find out what’s going on. One of those interested is engineer Chr. Moolhuizen, the managing director of the department of ‘Rolling-stock and Workshops’ of the Dutch Railroad. Jaap Schuit and Joop van de Hout try to distract everyone. When everything is checked for the last time we can only wait for the rest of the carriages and the arrival of our passengers. At this point we are informed that a huge amount of spectators are gathered along the route. That not everyone is as enthousiastic is obvious; someone has chained himself to the track with handcuffs. Personally I never expected this because the Railroad has kept quiet about the record attempt until the very last minute. This increases the tension. To ease our nerves  a few more intervieuws are arranged; there are enough reporters and camera’s present.

Photo on the left: more intervieuws before we depart.

Photo on the right: Discussing the departure procedure.

Our proudly shining train is ready for departure amply before it’s time to depart. A number of shunters and technical teams are present on the train in case of an emergency. Of course there are also police officers of the Railroad Police on board. We can keep in contact by means of walkie-talkie’s. By now the passengers are already on board quite a while and we start the count-down. Before we leave, we disconnect the soundcable between the locomotive and the first carriage. The ‘Speaker’ is too distracting for us.


Photo on the left:  Jaap Schuit takes care of the walkie-talkie contacts.

Photo on the right: The departure procedure of  'The longest passenger train in the world'.

Beforehand we made a deal that we, Arie and me, would each take care of half of the run. The one who isn’t running the train keeps in touch with the trainposts. We will continuously check the position of signals and other important details with the local train service leaders. And we also check the speed that’s allowed on certain parts of the track. The engine-driver who runs the train doesn’t have to think about anything else, Arie Wander will take care of the first part and the departure from Kijfhoek. The first supply of information will be received from the train service leader of Kijfhoek.

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