Brussels loco bashing help please!

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by Techniquest, 2 Jan 2017.

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  1. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    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!
     
  2. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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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!
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2017
  3. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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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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  4. Peter Mugridge

    Peter Mugridge Established Member

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    I think he wants to ride them rather than just watch them...
     
  5. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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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.
     
  6. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    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.
     
  7. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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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?! :lol::lol::lol:
     
  8. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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    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!
     
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2017
  9. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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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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  10. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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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.
     
  11. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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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_rail_photos_ii/20171728324/in/datetaken/

    As far as boundaries go, look at this map: http://www.stib-mivb.be/irj/go/km/d...ments/Plan_reseau/Plan_Metro_Train_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!
     
  12. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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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?
     
  13. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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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.
     
  14. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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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?
     
  15. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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    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.
     
  16. 87015

    87015 Established Member

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    If is a Sunday I really would be looking to mark something up with what's hauled as there probably isn't enough to just jump around on, and you'll know when the same locos are coming back from earlier. Particularly if there is just a handful on 21s - but keep an eye on the board for any EXT reliefs that get thrown out, although January probably isn't the most likely time...

    Less engines should make it less manic and able to keep a clearer eye on what's about. If it's a couple of years since you last went a fair few 28s on the Amsterdam should be fresh as well, they've turned a few over between the pools.
     
  17. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Not a bad shout, I'll try to get just that done soon.

    Can the 28s be scored? I assumed they were strictly speaking international trains and not bashable on leaps Midi to Nord.

    317666: Cheers, I'll have to have an explore and let you know if there's any decent takeaways.
     
  18. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    28s are hauling international trains indeed but these can be used for domestic journeys within Belgium and SNCB tickets like Brussels to Antwerp are valid on them.

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  19. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Good to know, many thanks!
     
  20. Suraggu

    Suraggu Member

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    Brilliant thread. I am thinking of a day trip in Feb 17 on the FIP card special fare with E* for a bit of Belgian bashing and this info is extremely helpful.
     
  21. Please Explain

    Please Explain Member

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    Hi Tech,

    I read your Benelux 2013 thread with great interest. Belgium is indeed good fun for bashing, beer, chocolate and frites! Hoping to get back over myself soon.

    About takeaways and the like around Brussel, there I can help you. At Zuid you have a Carrefour Express to stock up on booze and munchies just by the main concourse, plenty of Belgian beers to stock up on here before you head back (I'm assuming your taking E*?) and much cheaper than from any of the tourist shops in the centrum.
    I can vouch for Quick, I quite enjoyed their stuff in Luxembourg and it beets macci D's / Burger King any day. Try their shakes! :p
    Also be sure to visit "Friterie Tabora" on Taborastraat in de Centrum! By far the best frites in Brussel, try the mafia sauce!!

    For "interesting" drinking establishments around Noord, take a walk out onto Aarschotstraat on the east side of the station but keep your wits about you! Its the heard of the RLD and not all of the "bars" there are actually bone-fide bars!! Do not expect to be served a drink in any of these places though!<D
    Do check out "Den Bureau" though for a break between trains, come out the station onto Aarschotstraat and bear right over the road, it has saltire flags on the blue canopy and of course is Scottish themed, cant miss it. They have Juplier (love that stuff too and kriekbier!) and its legit! :)
    You also have "Atlas" kebab shop right next door for some grub to jump back on the trains with.

    I can confirm that the 28's on the BeNeLuxtrein can be bashed no problem from Zuid - Noord, at least it could be with FIP coupons anyway.

    Not all of the Brussel - Luxembourg's are AM96 "rubber rings", there are a few booked for loco + double deck stock and according to BeLux Trains there is an out and back Sunday working with an interesting composition of both double deck and Eurofima stock, but a rubber ring showed up when I went for it in the summer :-x

    Anyway, have a great trip and look forward to reading the next report! :)
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Bonsoir / Goedenavond Marc :)

    Sad to hear that, I love the NMBS/SNCB Voiture standard européenne I6 / I10. I had much fun riding them on the EuroCity Iris / Vauban (EC/EX/IC 90/91/96/97) before they were deleted last April.
    Am I correct in thinking that they are maintained in Ooostende?
    I know from Belux trains that I6 cars are still used on the Liers - Luxembourg via Gouvy and a single I10 is usually marshalled in the Ooostende - Eupen rakes behind the locomotive but would you happen to know if they have any other regular work?
    And would you know where the I10 cars with the compartments can be found now, if indeed they still have any booked work? Le Vauban et Iris were usually mainly made up of these cars.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2017
  22. HA25322

    HA25322 Member

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    Just be careful. There are many armed police on Zuid, Centraal and Noord due to the ongoing problems that happened there. I was in Brussels last October and they were everywhere.
    Anyway of course there are loads and loads of hauled trains. 13s on the Lux services, 21s, 27s and of course the many 18s & 19s some of which are top and tailed to some degree. Particularly the ones that go to Knokke/Blankenberge and split en-route.
    And yes the 28s on the Amsterdam service. One point to note here though is I believe that the line is closed to Amsterdam when you are there, so possibly not as many 28s out as you may normally get.
     
  23. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    Please Explain: That was incredibly helpful so my many thanks! I'll re-read your post again after coffee, but I will be sure to take up your advice on the beer sourcing and food. Quik I'm sure I visited in 2013 but not sure. I do recall it being nice though!
     
  24. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Looks like there is some confusion in the above, so here is the full story :

    I6 cars are genuine "Voiture Standard Européenne", also known as "UIC Type Z", built in 1977 for 6 European rail companies. They are compartimented and air conditioned. SNCB bought 80 of them, 60 second class and 20 first class.

    They were an immediate success, which also quickly revealed their most important problem : capacity.
    Indeed, those cars only seat 54 people in first class and 66 in second.

    So a second batch of cars was ordered, which is not VSE/UCI Type Z anymore, because of the differences. They still use the same car body, but lack the under floor protections of the I6, making them less aesthetically pleasant.
    And they are not compartimented anymore, but have an open plan seating, with 4 seats abreast instead of 3 in second class, thus offering 88 seats instead of 66.

    They are numbered I10 (I7 to I9 were cancelled projects) and came in two variants : 35 air conditioned 2nd class coaches to supplement the I6 ; and 60 non airco, 45 2nd class and 15 first, for short international trains like Liège-Luxembourg.
    You can tell the difference between airco and non airco cars by looking at the windows: the non airco ones have a small opening section at the top.

    I6 and airco I10 partly lost their mission when TGV was introduced on Paris-Brussels. Some I10 were overhauled to allow 200 km/h operation on the Oostende-Eupen trains. 4 airco ones were transformed into restaurants and bar-dancing cars. The remaining ones are used on Liège-Luxembourg and on fast rush-hour trains.

    15 out of the 60 I6B cars were transformed into couchette cars, used today on special trains only since SNCB abandoned all night traffic.

    Today, I6 cars are 40 years old, and because of their limited capacity, somewhat felt in disgrace by the SNCB management. They could continue to be used provided they get an overhaul, but that will not happen, so they will be removed from service and scrapped as soon as they reach their overhaul limit.

    I10 cars on the other hand are still going strong and keep their regular overhaul, as they offer a correct capacity for the belgian rail context. So the airco ones will continue to supplement the I11 stock and the non airco ones will remain on the Liege-Luxembourg and rush hour trains.
     
  25. Please Explain

    Please Explain Member

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    I've passed through so many times in the past year or so and taken plenty of pictures and not once have I had any hassle from them or the soldiers. They don't seem to have scared away any of the fools who like to prey on arriving the tourists with their "speak English?!" nonsense either!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    No problem, be sure to write up another trip report this time. I do enjoy reading about your adventures on the rails!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Merci beaucoup Marc. :)

    Very informative, it would seem I mistook the I6 for I10. I'm still getting to know your country and its rail network.
     
  26. Techniquest

    Techniquest Veteran Member

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    PleaseExplain: I will definitely have a trip report up by next week, Sunday's report will be up by Monday evening :)
     
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