Sunday, July 17, 2016

Antwerpen, Brugge, Oostende

Today I'm leaving Netherlands and heading to Belgium. 
 Starting the day at Amsterdam Centraal. One of entrances is leading from IJ river.
 The train I'm taking is "Intercity Brussels", a slower version of Thalys service.
From end of 2016 there are plans for this service to start using the High Speed Line between Rotterdam and Antwerpen, thus skipping stops in Dordrecht and Roosendaal, but adding a stop in Breda.
 Bombardier Traxx F140 MS is operated as locomotive for this service.
 The coaches are of type Intercityrijtuig (ICR) from 1980's and refurbished in 2006. Both dutch NS and belgian SNCB/NMBS logos are attached on the coach here.

 Inside ICR A (first class) coach
 Passing by Den Haag Centraal and RandstadRail tram-train service (light rail) from Zoetermeer to Hague. RegioCitadis tram from Alstom can be viewed here.

 We are passing by Den Haag Centraal which is a terminus station and instead heading to Den Haag HS (Hollands Spoor) which is the oldest station in the Hague, from 1843.
 A train from Rotterdam is turning to Den Haag Centraal.
 Inside the ICR coach.

 Den Haag HS station.
 Rotterdam Centraal
 At Roosendaal there is a possibility to switch to Belgian Stoptrein (just like in Maastricht).

 Arriving to Antwerpen.
 Antwerpen Centraal
 This day there was a food festival in Grote Markt square.

 Albatross tram in Antwerpen, manufactured by Bombardier in 2015.

 An older tram (from 1960's) is also rolling on the streets of Antwerpen. This is a PCC streetcar, originally developed in USA.

 The main shopping street - Meir.

 Another PCC, here with "Studio Brussel" radio station livery.

 My next train is a Belgian Intercity to Gent, where I will change trains for a trip to Brugge.
 Belgian railway application is very useful, providing a "real time" timetable.
Another useful service is where compositions of trains are published. It is possible to know in advance what type of train will be used, since it is a bit difficult to know in Belgium. According to the website it would be an AM96.
 And it was.
 AM96 is an EMU from Bombardier manufactured in 1996. The train has a similar coupling capability as Swedish/Danish Öresundståg. Here is a picture from inside a 1st class coach.

The advantage of this coupling is that it is possible to pass through two coaches.
 This is how it looks inside.
 The train makes some stops along the way, here is Sint-Niklaas.
 Getting of Gent Sint-Pieters, which is the main railway station in Gent. My next train is a bit delayed.
 Another train is leaving Gent. Most of the coach trains are hauled by Class 18 locomotive

 Finally my train is arriving, 9min delayed.

 Inside I11 coach

 SNCB Class 77 which is a diesel locomotive from Vossloh.
 SNCB Class 21
 There are messages hanging around the train teaching the passengers how to behave.
 Both in french and dutch.

 I have now arrived to Brugge.
 After a short check in at nearby hotel (the view is from the hotel window), I'm heading back to train station.
 Where I'm taking an IC train to Oostende.
 I'm taking AM08 (Desiro ML) train
 It is here used as Intercity, even though it looks more like a commuter train to me.
 The back seat is specially a sad view, which by the way is a 1st class part.
 I'm arriving to Oostende, which is the end stop for the line here. Oostende is the largest city on Belgian coast.

 AM08 at Oostende station.

 The railway station is being modernised with new station hall.

 Citizens of Oostende

 "There is no need for additional feeding"

 The beach in Oostende
 Back to station, and the train back to Brugge
 Inside M6 coach type BD, with a little bit unusual seating
 I'm in Brugge or Bruges, which is one of the most cosy towns in Europe and a Unesco world heritage. Here is sculpture "Zeus, Leda, Prometheus and Pegasus Visit Bruges"
 Famous Belgian beer is available in most tourist shops. The owner was very angry of me taking this photo.

 Beers and a russian box

 City hall
 Grote Markt and Bell tower of Bruges
 Onze-Lieve-Vrouw Brugge

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