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Old 2nd January 2017, 13:37   #1
Techniquest
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Default Brussels loco bashing help please!

Afternoon all,

Those who've been following my TPP Discussion thread (revived for 2017!) will be aware I'm off to Brussels later this month (22nd January, returning 23rd January) thanks to some bargain fares. £29 each way is just amazing! I've now re-read my trip reports from my first Brussels visit in January 2013, and also the Benelux InterRail one of March 2013. Hard to believe those trips were 4 years ago now...

Anyway, I note during the re-read that I had no idea what was loco hauled and what wasn't on those trips. This time I'm taking no prisoners, I want to fill my book as much as possible! Yes it'll all be little leaps around the city centre, but I'm not worried about that. So my question is this:

What services should I be looking for to get my loco bashing done on? Not all IC services are loco hauled of course, the Luxembourgs sure aren't unless you're leaving from Liege. I like the 18s and 19s, as they remind me of 92s, but the 21s are particularly hellfire and I'd love to get some more of those in. They remind me massively of 87s which I sorely miss and wish I'd known what I know now back then. 27s are great too of course. Now if a SNCB 55 turned up I'd be in heaven!

My other plan is to go track bashing. Not fussed about the trams, but I may find myself on the Metro as I like that system. Done the Metro and pre-Metro in 2013 of course. I'd like to try out a DB ICE or a Thalys set if possible, although I don't know what does the SNCB stuff to Amsterdam now. I'd be happy to just go as far as Antwerp if those services still turn out anything worth doing (I think it was 28s in 2013).

Obviously I'll only be going for a Jump card, as I intend to enjoy some Belgian beers too. I know I've been warned off Jupiler, but I fell in love with it in 2013 and I want some more! However, I'll also try some other stuff too. Problem with the Jump card is that I don't know the exact boundaries and recall this was difficult to find out before. Especially useful for the P trains after all!

Any help more than appreciated!
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Old 2nd January 2017, 15:02   #2
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http://www.beluxtrains.net/ The best place to start! I'm also a big fan of the 21s and 27s, the 21s are largely peak-only these days but the 27s have a little more all-day work. Just bear in mind that punctuality in the North-South tunnel can be pretty appalling, so I wouldn't plan it too intensively!

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Old 2nd January 2017, 15:27   #3
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Just be at the south end of the track n°12 platform during the afternoon peak (as of 4PM) and you will see plenty of loco hauled trains pass by.

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Old 2nd January 2017, 16:55   #4
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I think he wants to ride them rather than just watch them...
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Old 2nd January 2017, 18:15   #5
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Can't go wrong with creating a simplifier, especially in the peak when it always ends up as a case of doing it on the fly as any pre-planned ideas are kyboshed by late running, winners on the wrong trains or anything else that happens. Brussels peak is always hard work!!

Depends how much effort you want to put in - get (or make) a timetable and mark it up with what you are after. I tend to do station lineups from Bahn.de or local equivalent and highlight/delete trains as required although recently this is more in theory than reality.
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Old 2nd January 2017, 18:16   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Mugridge View Post
I think he wants to ride them rather than just watch them...
Correct, I do indeed.

I keep seeing ads about travel insurance (goes to show they do work sometimes!) and in light of the modern day we live in, I'm strongly considering looking into that. Maybe something to do after tea, I want to look at that link 317666 kindly provided first of all.

I don't normally plan a bashing trip this carefully, so it will be interesting to see how things go.
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Old 2nd January 2017, 18:18   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 317666 View Post
http://www.beluxtrains.net/ The best place to start! I'm also a big fan of the 21s and 27s, the 21s are largely peak-only these days but the 27s have a little more all-day work. Just bear in mind that punctuality in the North-South tunnel can be pretty appalling, so I wouldn't plan it too intensively!
Cheers good sir, I'll have a look shortly!

Shame it's mostly peak only for the 21s, no matter as long as I get to get some of them in.

Punctuality can't be bad as on Southern surely?!
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Old 2nd January 2017, 21:47   #8
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Cheers good sir, I'll have a look shortly!

Shame it's mostly peak only for the 21s, no matter as long as I get to get some of them in.

Punctuality can't be bad as on Southern surely?!
Indeed, when I first started doing NMBS in 2014 it was the other way around, 21s had a few all-day routes and 27s generally only came out in the peaks! One important thing I forgot to mention, the first batch of 21s (2101-2130) have been withdrawn except for: 2105, 2108, 2114/5, 2118 and 2123/24. Information on that from: http://www.bfoto.be/index.php. I can't see any more withdrawals happening until the new M7 double-deck units start to enter service in (provisionally) 2018 - then that's it for all 21s and 27s!

As far as punctuality goes, remember you've got twenty-odd platforms at Zuid going down to just six tracks through the tunnel, one small delay can have surprising knock-on effects!

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Old 3rd January 2017, 07:48   #9
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When new M7 stock will be in revenue service, it will be the end for HLE 21 & 27, but also for M4 and I6 carriages. And in the mean time we will probably see the end of the trains hauled by HLE 13, once HLE 18/19 are approved by CFL. And certainly too the end of the last twin EMUs.

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Old 3rd January 2017, 19:06   #10
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Twin EMU?

Lots of big changes next year and no doubt a lot less cranks will be heading to Brussels! Glad then that I'm going when I am to be honest.

Finding the exact boundaries of the Jump pass (Zone Brussels is all fine and well, but that's not helpful) is proving difficult!

Fair point on the platforms and track bottleneck, I think I'll just go with the flow as usual.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 19:41   #11
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Twin EMU = the classic two-car sets, only some of types AM66/70/73 remain in use: https://www.flickr.com/photos/max_ra.../in/datetaken/

As far as boundaries go, look at this map: http://www.stib-mivb.be/irj/go/km/do...ain_201604.pdf Stations written in black are valid, stations in light grey aren't. Apart from Noord - Centraal - Zuid, the only one that may prove useful for locos (apart from possibly Schuman and Luxemburg) is Schaarbeek, where a lot of peak extras start before making their way south. Even then though, it isn't much good for tunnel leaps, but if you're doing a longer move on one train and want to get a good seat it's usually worth heading there to start!

It will take time for the M7s to enter service, they'll be a big fleet and it's anyone's guess which will be withdrawn first - the AM66/70/73s or the 21s/27s. So I'd say you've got a fair bit longer than a year!
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Old 3rd January 2017, 19:58   #12
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Ah thanks, it will be a shame to see the end of the AM66s etc, the AM08s just aren't as much fun!

I just looked in my Benelux book, I've had 5 27s and 3 21s so far. 18s, 7 of them and only 2 19s. I suspect those numbers will be rather different before the end of the month!

Talking of, as the bulk of my visit is on a Sunday, am I likely to find much in the way of locos?
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Old 3rd January 2017, 20:14   #13
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According to the site I linked earlier, 27s don't appear to have any booked weekend work, 21s have a handful of services. Should still be plenty of 18s/19s around, but if you're serious about red penning then a weekday is far more ideal.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 22:56   #14
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Quote:
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According to the site I linked earlier, 27s don't appear to have any booked weekend work, 21s have a handful of services. Should still be plenty of 18s/19s around, but if you're serious about red penning then a weekday is far more ideal.
Aye fair game, it's been very difficult ro get time off organised at work so having to fit this trip into my days off!

Any decent takeaways, preferably reasonably priced, near Midi, Centraal or Nord?
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Old 4th January 2017, 16:22   #15
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Aye fair game, it's been very difficult ro get time off organised at work so having to fit this trip into my days off!

Any decent takeaways, preferably reasonably priced, near Midi, Centraal or Nord?
There's a few places at Zuid, including a Quick (one of those at Noord too), but I haven't ever used them so can't say what they're like. Not ventured into the areas around either of those two stations as they're a bit grotty to say the least! Panos (one at all three stations) are quite good for pastries and coffee, and you're sure to find some traditional Belgian 'friteries' in the more touristy city centre near Centraal, but I can't name any in particular or where they are.
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