Thursday, July 13, 2006


There are a number of themes that always find their way into my various trips; history, stamp collecting, automobile racing and trains. In Utrecht, a city south of Amsterdam existed two of the four. A stamp store that I have returned to a number of times and the National Railway Museum. The museum is located in the former 125-year-old Maliebaan station in East Utrecht. In an area filled with museums and galleries. Opening hours are: Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Ascension Day, and public holidays from 11.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Monday, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, White Sunday, Christmas Day and the Queen's Birthday the museum is closed.

The museum has a shop, guided tours, a restaurant and library. The library of the Dutch Railway Museum contains about 15,000 books and magazines on railways and tramways in the Netherlands and abroad. If you really want to splurge the Dutch Railway Museum lends out various railway carriages and locomotives to transport you all over the Netherlands. Renting your own train as you tour the countryside will make you feel as if you are the King of Prussia during the 19th century.

It seems that you can reach about any place in Holland by train. The Dutch Railways consist of a network of some 2600km, of which 2000km is electrified with 1500V= overhead wire. On the Dutch Railways you can find about 140 electric locomotives, 125 diesel locomotives, 100 diesel shunters, 500 EMUs and 150 DMUs.  The trains cross the country in all directions and not a moment goes by that you don't see a train on its appointed route. The museum itself is less than 10 years old and plays host to many schoolchildren. Though not as large as the  National Railway Museum in York, England I still found it well worth my trip. The exhibits are well arrayed and show many fine examples from the railway's history. The next time I visit Holland maybe I'll rent my own train, then again maybe I'll have to save up some more!


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