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MÄRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

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Event : "Terug Naar Toen" - 2012

POI - Points Of Interest
Please download my POI-kmz-file ( Google Earth kmz-file ) for The Netherlands with many interesting photo-spots, locations and things to see.
Latest version: 2014-01

Previous page : Terug Naar Toen - Main page with links to all my visits to "Terug Naar Toen".

My visit in September 2012

( All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them )

I don't really remember why I decided to visit the "Terug Naar Toen" event in 2012. I had never been there before, in fact never even heard of it, but Herman from the Märklin Bar & Grill ➚ maillist mentioned it in an email to the list and told about the event.

When I heard that there would be 6-8 different steam-locomotives, and that they would run from 07:00 til 19:00 and that at any given place along the railroad I could expect to see a steam-train pass every 15-30 minutes I was very impressed.

At least in Denmark, where I live, steam trains are a rare thing to see. There ARE steam-excursions but then you see the train at 10:00 in the morning and then again, when it's going back, at 16:00 in the afternoon.

Compare that to seeing a steam-train pass by at least every 30 minutes, and I think you'll be able to appreciate the quality of the event.

Planning the trip

Of course such a trip is not cheap, but surprisingly the quickest and cheapest way was to fly from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and then rent a car to drive to Beekbergen where the VSM HQ is.

But before I could even book the flight, the hotel and the car, I had to plan the trip. People who know me will agree when I claim to be quite a planner. I love to check websites, Google Earth and prepare my trips.

My planning is not in order to make a complete itenerary that must be strictly followed. I plan in order to make sure that my (valuable) spare time is used wisely; what I would absolutely "hate" is to come home only to find out that there had been something interesting 100 meters from where I were.

Google Earth

I must confess that I use Google Earth a lot, and Google Streetview where it is implemented by Google.

I don't think that Google Earth, as a program, is very logical or use-friendly, but I've managed to get enough practice to make it work.

Beekbergen Station I started my planning by setting all the POI's regarding the "Terug Naar Toen" event; stations - railroad line etc.

I found out that the train station "Beekbergen" in fact was in the community called "Lieren" or "Beekbergen-Lieren" while the actual town "Beekbergen" was 1,5 km west of "Lieren".

That could confuse a GPS or while reading maps.

Then I found the various hotels in the neighborhood; websites like, and are a great help, but you should remember that not all hotels are shown on i.e.

So I checked on Google Earth for the hotel sign :hotel
- remember that you have to zoom IN and OUT to get all icons to show on Google Earth. Some icons will only show when you are really zoomed in.

Finding good photo-spots

Finding good photo-spots Next I checked the railroad line for good photo-spots. Curves and railroad crossings are always good places to be. The many photos on Panoramio are also a great help; you don't have to re-invent the wheel. I log good photo spots with a POI marker.

These photo-spots need to be checked out on location; you can never know how accurate (or old) Google Earth is, or, depending on the time of year, how high the crop is in the fields.

Then I decided on for how long I wanted to stay in the Beekbergen area. I knew from Herman and from the internet, that, even though the event would take place Saturday and Sunday, there would be some action Friday and Sunday afternoon / evening.

The time-schedule ( "Dienstregeling reizigerstreinen" - "Dienstregeling goederentreinen" ) can be downloaded from the VSM website months before the event, but the actual list of which locomotives will pull each train can be had from about Friday before the event at the Beekbergen station.

Finally there

Next step was to book flight, car and hotel. As said before; the flight was amazingly cheap, the smallest awailable car also cheap and the hotel was at least affordable although I got the distinct feeling that the hotel had up'ed the price for that weekend, knowing that there would be many out-of-town guests.

So I soon found myself driving out of Schiphol Airport towards Beekbergen. The Netherlands is a small country, but there are many cars on the highways and several speed-traps. It is perhaps also the only country where I have seen moveable bridges on a highway. But then again - there are a lot of water-ways and kanals in the Netherlands.

I had decided to check out the only nearby Märklin dealer; "Bentink Modelspoor" in Apeldoorn. Unfortunately they were re-docorating that Friday afternoon, but I got the impression that it was a well-stocked shop with many Dutch items. I didn't find the prices very appealing, but perhaps you would be able to haggle.

I had to continue to Beekbergen, because I wanted to catch the transfer lok-train from Beekbergen to Loenen, since all trains would, during the event, stay the night in Loenen.

The country-side. Maps and a GPS

Rural area It is a very rural area between Apeldoorn and Dieren but also a very diversified area. The railroad runs through industrial - suburban - rural - forrest and kanal areas.

All main roads are mainly crossing the railroad-line, so you cannot transport yourself from one photo-spot to another just by following the railroad. Here a GPS comes in handy especially if you can transfer your POI's from Google Earth to your GPS or at least to your iPad or iPod.

I can recommend an APP called Maps-With-Me. The beauty of this app is that it works off-line. You don't have to be connected to the internet to get it to work. You can send all your Google Earth POI's to Maps-With-Me.

With a regular GPS you can mark all your photo-spots and then be guided around the country-side.

I will recommend that you take some time driving around the area to see which roads are accessable and which ones are closed for cars. In the Netherlands a road that is marked as "normal" on a map might in fact be a trail in the forest. Some of these trails you can drive on; others are closed for cars or too narrow.

The rural roads are also very narrow and not really logical in a geographical sense. You might have to swing left in order to, further on, swing right.

Friday afternoon

So I found myself driving on a narrow road with fields to the left and to the right when I suddenly heard steam whistles from behind. I stopped the car and looked back and there the train was coming; 4 steam locomotives with some passenger cars behind.

I quickly got out my camera and got some shots only to see that the train had almost stopped 100 meters further down the railroad line; Why ? because there was a crossing - and it was the road that I was on that crossed the railroad.

Locomotives at Loenen There was a much better photo-op at that crossing ! But that is what happens the first time you are in a place. You don't really know your way around.

Therefore : Check the maps and make sure that you know the area - but even better : Drive around the day before to get to know the area on the ground level. It is time well spent.

The rest of the Friday I followed my own advice and checked which of the photo-spots that would work, and whether they would work just as well in the morning as in the afternoon (sun-wise).

Loenen was very busy Friday afternoon / evening. The VSM volonteers were at work setting up the tents and the locomotives.

It was easy to see that thet had tried this many times before, so each locomotive had its own place; good planning.

Steam details When it was getting dark I returned to Beekbergen to check into the hotel Smittenberg. It is a typical rural hotel.

Nothing to write home about but then again I would be out watching trains from 06:30 to 21:00, so - as long as the room was clean ( which it was - even though it had that strange smell that comes with dry-cleaning ).

I decided to check out Beekbergen town, which was done quickly. A main street with all the usual kind of shops.

Beekbergen is just south of Apeldoorn and could be considered a kind of suburb to Apeldoorn. Again nothing much to write home about.

But - it is strange how the town ends very suddenly and then the country-side begins, but it is also part of the charm.

Saturday morning

Since the first trains were running before the hotel started serving breakfast I would have started on a empty stomach Saturday morning if I hadn't shopped on Friday afternoon.

I quickly drove through the empty streets and the empty country-side to reach my first photo-spot within 5 minutes driving. The mist and the morning fog was still visible and the sun had at that time barely risen above the horizon.

At the photo-spot - a small rural railroad crossing - I met a couple of guys who obviously were even earlier morning-risers than me. Photografers early in the morning before 07:00

As is the custom with rail-fanners and railroad-photographers you soon get to talk. Waiting in complete silence is simply not possible for the homo trainaticus.

My impressions from this first meeting with railfanners at "Terug Naar Toen" event would be confirmed the whole weekend through.

The railfanners were all Dutch, coming from all parts of the Netherlands, some would start at home at 05:00 in order to be in place on 07:00, and they mostly only spoke Dutch.

The "Terug Naar Toen" would more and more appear to be a regional, if not local, event. There were not many spectators from Germany or other countries. That really surprised me. Given that Germany is less than 100 km away I would have expected a lot more Germans, but looking at the cars, you could see that they were almost all Dutch.

Of course I am exaggerating regarding the language; most railfanners also spoke a little English, but taking into consideration that Dutch hardly can be considered a world language, it was a surprise how few of them could actually have a conversation in English.

German language ? FORGET IT. WW2 is apparently still very present even though WW2 ended about 70 years ago.

Many Dutch spectators were surprised, but impressed and positive, to learn that I came all the way from Denmark to see the event. Again - they viewed the event as a local / regional event. Sort of a well-kept secret.

Trains Saturday morning

It was still Saturday morning - a beautiful morning in fact - the weather would be great the whole weekend; not too warm, but dry and sunny.

We were waiting for the first train to pass. It would be a long freight train. There would be other freight trains during the day, but passenger trains would outnumber freight trains by about 10:1.

Steam train approaching We could see the sun begining to lurk in the horizon; would it break through the morning mist / clouds before the freight train would pass ? A steam train in the mist is quite a view, but a steam train with morning sun shining directly on the black metal is better !

Then as the sun broke through the mist we could hear a faint steam whistle far away; well 3,5 km is far away early in the morning. We checked our cameras for yet another time and took our positions.

Railfanners have some very strict rules that just about everybody, in Europe, follows. First come - best place and you never stand in a place that will ruin another guys picture.

Only thing that most railfanners forget is that while those taking still-photographs can talk and chatter at will, those taking video will appreciate when other photographers will refrain from talking and making comments.

The Germans are usually good at this. The Dutch - ah - well - not good at all. Of course it doesn't help being the only guy shooting video amongst 10 Dutch guys shooting stills; but still ... ( pun intended ).

Saturday morning - still

Another good thing about the "Terug Naar Toen" is that the trains don't run with ICE speed. There are many rural ( unguarded ) crossings where the train must slow down and check for crossing traffic and at these crossings trains must use their steam whistles. Just like I like my videoes. Slow moving steam trains with plenty of steam sounds.

Long freight train You actually have to be there to feel the sheer joy from watching a steam train exit the forest and run through the fields with the morning sun shining onto the black metal.

No matter how many times you have seen and heard a steam train - it still is wonderfull.

So the freight train had passed and many of my new friends quickly drove off in hot pursuit in order to catch it again further up the line.

I decided against it. It wouldn't be long till the next steam train would pass by and it was only 07:05. A long day was ahead of me and I was in no hurry.

And the photospots I didn't visit today I could always visit on Sunday.

Long steam train Most of Saturday I drove around staying at various photo-spots for 1-2 hours. I had acquired the lok-schedule, and I studied it carefully in order to see what was feasable and what was not feasable.

I made sure to make a note of when the trains would be a the various photo-spots.

The schedule only said when a train would leave a station, but it turned out that since the stations were quite close the times on the schedule were perfect markers during the whole event.

The only thing that I had to take into consideration was the fact that there were quite a lot of bicycles on the roads; mostly elderly couples / families enjoying cycling shoulder to shoulder filling up the road.

Not everyone would feel obligated to let a car pass, so getting from one photo-spot to another could take longer than expected.

Beekbergen and Loenen stations

The 2 main stations to visit are Beekbergen and Loenen. Beekbergen is where the depot and the turn-table is. Loenen is the night-quarters for the trains and where there is a lot of other activities.

Noticing that there was a lot of people at the Beekbergen station, I decided to visit Loenen station. I had been there Friday evening and watched how the VSM volonteers and others were preparing for the event.

Vintage tractors There were a couple of nice photo-spots very near Loenen station and on the positive side, while parking near the station can be difficult, parking at the photo-spots was easy.

At Loenen station there was the usual activities for children, but there were also some older steam-engines that would work as a sawmill or a stone crusher etc etc. Not to forget the proverbial vintage caroussel.

There were 3 small-gauge garden ride-along railroads for children and adults. You could see old lorries and other items from around 1930 - 1950.

In a tent there were several guys selling second-hand model-railroad locomotives and cars; 95 % Dutch models. Various railroad and model railroad societies had stands where they tried to enroll new members and / or sold / gave promotional items. I got for free all copies of the 2010 Dutch railroad associations magazine. I forgot that I was flying out of Amsterdam and my luggage shouldn't weigh more than 23 kilos.

At Loenen there were the usual sausage, soft-drink/bier and bread sellers. Prices were reasonable, but then again food and beverages at these kind of events are neither cheap nor interesting. I always have some bottles of water in the car and whichever food that can survive in a warm car.

Since each train changes locomotive at each station there was a consideral amount of shunting taking place, which at Loenen is a special treat, because the shunting takes place across the road.

Regarding photographs; if you don't want any people in the photo; don't be at the stations, but you can get quite a lot of good "ambience" photos at the stations.

Surprise in Beekbergen

When the last train had passed late Saturday afternoon I was rather tired. I had for 12 hours been waiting for steam trains and then seen the steam trains pass by.

I had talked with many other railfanners; some I could remember vividly - some I'd already forgotten.

It was time to get something to eat and then head back to the hotel to check the photos and videos and to recharge all batteries; including my own body !

I am ashamed to say that I chose the easy option; the near-by McDonalds, but I wasn't really in the mood to sit in a local restaurant and eat a "proper" meal. I wanted to relax in my hotel room.

But that was not to be - at least not right away. Coming back to my hotel I noticed that someone quite near was having a very loud party. It turned out that "someone" was the Beekbergen village; they had their annual village party that Saturday, so when in Rome ...

After having walked around main street and seen the sights; watched the open-air disco; had a beer and checked when the party would end ( 24:00 ), I went back to my room and went to sleep. Ear-plugs are a good thing to have in your travel kit.

Sunday morning

Sunday morning. Again I was out watching the very first train. Sunday was not that different from Saturday, but there were a lot more families with children out watching the trains.

VW Samba It also seemed that many oldtimer car-clubs were out driving their old cars in the Sunday sun; again a sunny but not too warm day.

I met a guy who had an old VW Bus - model Samba - from around 1968. He told me that on some of the previous events the VW Club and the VSM had teamed up to drive some VW Beetles onto 2 flat cars and then have the flat cars be part of the freight trains. I later checked the internet and there are plenty of pictures of that sight. [ Search words : VSM+VW+train ]

What a wonderfull idea. I got the impression that it was due to insurance problems that this didn't happen any more.

Freight cars

The freight car aspect is yet another thing that makes the "Terug Naar Toen" a special event well worth visiting.

It seems to me that when you look at museum railroads, at least in Germany, it is all about locomotives and passenger cars. Even though the number of freight cars in real life outnumbered and still outnumbers passengers cars by roughly 10:1, in the museum world the passenger cars outnumber the freight cars by again roughly 10:1.

Of course museum railroads have an income transporting passengers; not freight; so there is a reason for this, which makes vintage freight trains all the more special.

Last special train

Steam locomotive Sunday was soon over, and I was at my favorite photo-spot waiting for the very last train to pass. The last train would be the same as the very first train late Friday afternoon. The transfer of locomotives - the lok-train.

Friday they ran from Beekbergen to Loenen. Now Sunday afternoon they would run back to Beekbergen from Loenen.

We were perhaps 5 guys standing and waiting. We knew what was coming. Other people would come up and ask us why we were still waiting. Didn't we know that the event was over by now. We smiled and explained that we were waiting for a special train and we didn't know exactly when it would arrive.

In fact we didn't know when it would arrive and as time went by, some gave up and went home. They had to be home in time for whatever-they-had-to-do-at-home. Some had up to 2 hours drive home, so I can understand why they left when the clock turned 17:30 and then 18:00.

But the special train did arrive at last and the remaining of us were rewarded by the sight of 5 steam-loks coupled together.

What a sight and the sounds ...

Back to Amsterdam

When the last train had passed it was time to pack up and head back to Amsterdam. Since it is unclear when the last special train will run, and since the traffic Sunday afternoon / evening could cause problems I had decided to not fly back to Copenhagen on Sunday evening. The flight would leave Schiphol around 20:30 which meant that I would have been very pressed for time.

Instead I drove back to Schiphol in time for returning the rental car and then checked in at a cheap airport hotel that had a free shuttle bus to and from the airport. Always choose a hotel with a free shuttle bus to the airport !


Schiphol Train Station Monday morning I went to the airport, checked my luggage which even with the many free magazines was below 23 kilos and then took the train to Amsterdam Central Station.

Monday was a relaxing day where I was rail-fanning at the Central Station and buying some tulip-bulbs for the garden.

Nothing to do but to enjoy a sunny day in Amsterdam and get the train back to Schiphol in time for the flight to Copenhagen.

I really needed a calm day after all the railfanning Saturday and Sunday.

Amsterdam bridge FYRA train in Amsterdam Central Station

Amsterdam Central Station Regional train in Amsterdam Central Station

Final thoughts and ideas

Q. - Was the "Terug Naar Toen" event worth the trip ?
A. - YES - for sure - it was worth the trip.

Q. - Can the trip be shorter than Friday to Monday ?
A. - YES - it can, but it means that you have to see fewer trains. You can arrive Saturday morning, still see a lot of trains, stay till Sunday and leave sometime Sunday afternoon depending on your own schedule. You will have to do without the special trains late Friday afternoon and late Sunday afternoon.

Q. - Can the trip be an one day trip ?
A. - Everything is possible and it IS the same trains and locomotives that run Saturday and Sunday. If you want to see a particular "set-up" - 2 particular locomotives in double traction or with some special cars, you probably need to be there both days.

Q. - What about camping ?
A. - Sure, there are at least 2 camping sites just next to the railroad line.

Q. - Do I need to rent a car ?
A. - No - but it makes getting to the photospots outside the stations a lot quicker and easier. Walking along the railroad tracks is not exactly allowed - even though some do it. ( I even saw one guy trying to bike along the railroad line - I doubt that the chippings were good for neither the bike-tires nor the guys butt ). You can take the train from Schiphol to Apeldoorn; takes about 1,5 hour; and I guess you can rent a car in Apeldoorn.

Q. - What transport options are there ?
A. - By train to Apeldoorn. In 2014 the fastest train connection from Copenhagen is about 10 hours with 3 changes and at a price of almost double the airline-ticket. Driving by car from Copenhagen is 750 km and takes 8 hours.

Q. - Why arn't there more Germans / foreigners at the event ?
A. - I really don't know. Perhaps I just didnt meet them. Perhaps it is not well known in Germany. The VSM only advertizes in Dutch. Perhaps there are other events in Germany during that weekend. Generally it is a weekend in Europe with many train events.

Last pictures

Locomotive 1200 series at Loenen station Locomotive 636 at Loenen station

Steam locomotives at Loenen station Locomotive 64 415 at Loenen station

Diesel train Double steam


Copyright © Christian Vinaa
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