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MÄRKLIN & RAILROADS : A personal view by Christian Vinaa

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Event : "Terug Naar Toen" - 2014

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 2014

( All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them )

You can watch my videos from "Terug Naar Toen" 2014 on my Youtube channel.

Going back to Apeldoorn - Beekbergen

When I left the Beekbergen area in September 2012 I knew that I wanted to visit the "Terug Naar Toen" event again. The shear amount of steam-trains within 48 hours was well worth another visit.

The good thing about the "Terug Naar Toen" is that you know well in advance when it will be; - first weekend in September. This makes it much easier to arrange vacation-days and the trip in-itself.

The earlier you book - the lower the price. So I had the trip booked already in December 2013 and got some really good offers on both flight and rental car.

Rental car ? - Yes, it is a nice thing to be able to get from one photo-spot to another quickly. However I must admit that a bike could be used in most circumstances. Then again - if it's raining it's nice to have a shelter, and the train fare from Amsterdam to Apeldoorn is not cheap ( about € 35,00 return ticket ).

Friday - checking photo-spots

You'll find it usefull to down the kmz.-file ( See above ).

Again this year I had decided to arrive on Friday in order to catch the "transfer" of locomotives from Beekbergen to Loenen.

I also needed to check out the possible photo-spots that I'd missed in 2012. I had used Google Earth and seen the pictures on the internet that other photographers had taken to get ideas for good photospots.

Dieren - Eekberg

Starting at Dieren, the station in itself is a good place. There are 2 crossings and the Dutch railways use Dieren for their regional trains. However there will "only" be 5 passenger steam-trains and 5 freight steam-trains pr. day. Between Beekbergen and Loenen there will be almost 30 steam-trains pr. day.

The stretch between Dieren and Eekberg looks nice on Google Earth but at least in September, due to vegetation, there are not a lot of good photo-spots. I had hoped that the "D-3" photo-spot ( check KMZ-file ) would be good, but the vegetation was to high. The road also had a lot of traffic making videos difficult. The D-4 curve was also no good due to high vegetation. I didn't check D-1 and D-2.

Eekberg - Loenen

Between Eekberg and Loenen I had already in 2012 found C-1 and C-2. A new possibility is C-3 depending on how understanding the farmer is.

Generally I found out, also by speaking to several Dutch trains-fans, that it is acceptable to walk into a field as long as you don't disturb any animals and you don't damage ANY crop.

Corn, wheat etc is easy to spot as a crop, - BUT grass is also a crop, so if the grass is long, you should expect that the farmer will harvest the grass at some time, and therefore you shouldn't walk on it.

If possible walk along a fence or hedge. Close all gates and wire-fences each time you pass. If you are in a group, please make sure that ONE in the group will close the gate. Way to often there is no individual responsability within a group.

C-4 was a good spot too but the road is more busy and noisy.

Loenen - Beekbergen

The most trains will run between Loenen and Beekbergen. B-6 proved to be a nice surprise with a good view across a field. Normally you could drive all the way down to B-6, but during the "Terug Naar Toen" a gate has been put up so you have to walk the last bit.

B-4 is still a very good spot, but it is very close to the Camping site, so there might be a lot of last-minute spectators, which can ruin an otherwise good shot.

B-1, B-2 and B-3 are probably the best places, but it depends on the crop-situation.

Corn seems to be the typical crop on these fields and corn is harvested in that region from middle to late in September, so during the "Terug Naar Toen" you should expect all corn fields to be high and obstructive in regards to taking photographs. Unless you can get local first-hand information, you just have to wait and see how the views are.

Beekbergen - Apeldoorn

Between Beekbergen and Apeldoorn A-1 and A-2 are the better ones as long as you want rural scenery. The crop there seems to be grass, and there could be cows in some of the fields.

Closer to Apeldoorn you can get some nice shots along the kanal but it is also an industrial neighborhood, so you have to be carefull with the background.

One favorite video to shoot is to drive your car along the train beside the kanal. This obviously works best if one person drives and another takes the video.

Apeldoorn station is busier than Dieren and there there several foto-spots.

Friday - getting settled

Arriving Friday afternoon I checked into Hotel de Stoppelberg ➚, which is about 5 minutes by car from foto-spots B1, B-2 and B-3.

Hotel de Stoppelberg is quite nice and quiet and IMHO gives you good value for money. It is family-owned ( by the family "van der Schaaf" ) and I was very well treated. When the kind lady at the reception found out that I would be leaving very early in the morning, to watch trains, even before the breakfast started, she offered to have a breakfast basket delivered to my room the evening before.

Then it basically was a question of waiting for the first train.

The VSM headquarters is in Beekbergen but the night-quarters during the "Terug Naar Toen" event is at Loenen, so Friday afternoon all locomotives and cars must be brought from Beekbergen to Loenen.

There is no public available schedule for the trains on Friday so it's anyones guess what and when there will be trains.

So I took up position near the track and waited. Luckily I was soon joined by some other train-photographers.

I could hear from nearby Beekbergen Station that the VSM volonteers were busy preparing for the event; whistles and horns signalling shunting was heard every 5 minutes and each time we thought that now the train would come.

An excavator on wheels and a lonesome diesel went down the line untill finally around 19:00 when the steamlocomotives come.

Watch my video on YOUTUBE of the 9 locomotives coupled together - what a beautiful sight and sound.

This sight makes it well worth arriving on Friday.

Friday evening Loenen

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
buying train ticket Schiphol NS Amsterdam Centraal
I drove down to Loenen and watched how the VSM volonteers were busy shunting the locomotives and preparing for the weekend.

The other participants had also arrived and were putting up their tents, model-railroads, steam-engines.

The VSM-guys were clearly very busy, so I talked with a guy who had made a scale 1:2 copy of the steam-roller. Everything worked just as on the original.

The most difficult thing was not the metal work, he told me; he had plenty of machines; but the rubber-tires were rather expensive and hard to get.

As you can see from the many videos and photos on the internet there is a lot of action going on in Loenen.

Various steam-driven machines. Model-railroads in all sizes.

The aerial foto from Google Earth actually very clearly shows the activity going on in Loenen.

The lighting and the surrounding trees usually makes it difficult to get good photos in Loenen Friday afternoon / evening.

Saturday morning

Saturday I was up very early before 06:00 to get ready for the first train; the long freight train. I drove out to my favorite photo-spot at the "Ruggeweg" crossing and found that several other photographers already was in place.

I had just bought a tri-pod for my camera. I had found out that I usually only saw the trains through the camera, and was too busy holding the camera steady instead of watching the trains. I put up my tripod and did a few test-shots.

Each photografer has his own style, but I've noticed that the calm shots where I didn't move the camera at all would be the better ones. Trying to zoom in / out or try to follow the train, almost always ended up in confusing and unsteady videos.

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
The weather-forecast had in the days up to the weekend promised thunder and heavy showers during the weekend.

Luckily the forecast promised less and less rain as the weekend approached so Saturday turned out to be without any rain at all, but also with no sun at all.

This meant that the morning was dull and grey and with no mist, but not cold.

A morning sun - or a morning misty - photo of a steam train would have to wait till another day.

A little about photographers - amateurs and professionals

You always tend to make new friends / acquaintances while you wait for a train to arrive. Studying the various photo equipment that people have is always interesting.

I am not a "serious" photografer. I just like to watch trains and take photos of trains. Some of my photos turn out to be good; others not so good.

While I just have a normal "hobby" camera, some of the other photographers have some real pro cameras with different lenses etc. Some have several cameras or a video camera and a still photo camera.

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
Most have tripods for their video-cameras but the still-photo guys normally just hold the camera themselves.

From time to time a guy will appear with a small step-ladder and will climp the 2 or 3 steps in order to presumably get a better shot.

I've never really understood why. Yes - if you were in a big crowd you could get a clear shot if you climped 2-3 steps up a ladder, but here we all stood in one line; there was no-one in front of us.

Standing on a ladder, at least for me, doesn't give the most stable shot. So I just can't see the bright idea of being 2 steps higher.

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
One thing however that did impress me was a guy who had brought an expandable pole; like some real-estate agents use to take aerial photos of a house.

He put the camera on top of the pole, raised the pole to the desired height, almost 8 - 10 meters, and then adjusted the camera from his tablet on the ground.

When the train arrived he would watch it on the tablet and then take the picture at the "right" moment.

That way he took some really interesting photographs from an unusual angle.

Another guy used the latest technologi; drones in order to take videos of the trains. ( The videos can be seen on websites like youtube ).

The only drawback is that the sound of the drone engine drowns the sound of the steam-engine. So you can have a nice video but no steam-sounds unless you put in a fake soundtrack afterwards.

Finally there was this nice guy from Hamburg who had brought his Hasselbalch and shot photographs on real Kodachrome film; i.e. making slides. He too just took one single shot pr. train, just like the old famous train photographers like Carl Bellingrodt etc.

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
Of course the "modern" guys will take an avalanche of continuous shots, which of course is their choice. I'd only wish that they would turn off the click and spool sounds.

Digital cameras, mostly, don't have a motor that winds the film and don't have a shutter that clicks.

And these sounds are a bit annoying to get on video, but I guess that still-photo-photographers and video-photographers will never really agree on this.

Of course some still-photo-photographers will also talk all the time while taking their photographs, making it impossible to get a nice soundtrack on your video.

Only remedy is to either educate ad nauseam or to move away from these photographers.

First trains

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
While the day slowly began we could hear sounds coming down from Loenen. Sounds of trains being shunted, whistles and other train-related noises. It couldnt be long now.

The VSM really should be congratulated regarding the time-schedule.

They actually DO keep their own schedule, so if a train is supposed to arrive at 14:55, it does arrive at 14:55; - well at least for 95 % of the time.

Freight trains and trains that consist of only one or more locomotives can be ahead of schedule.

Another nice things about the VSM, ( I'll come later to the things, they could do better ), is that the track from Apeldoorn to Dieren has quite a lot of crossings, where the train has to slow down and whistle.

This way you can get good still-photos of slow-moving trains as well as good video with good soundtrack.

The "Rugge-weg" crossing is different, because it's a very small rural crossing, so you have to get the engine-drivers to pull the whistle cord in order to get the whistle sound there.

So when the long freight train finally arrived we were ready. The train had almost stopped at the crossing before "Ruggeweg" and it was picking up speed with the typical choo-choo sound.

Smoke was coming out the chimney and steam from the cylinders - what a sight. Watch my video on YOUTUBE

What the VSM could do better

I'll just as well get it over and done with.

I and several other photographers have one or two wishes that the engine drivers could fullfill :
  • let the smoke get out of the chimney more often or at least when there are photographers ahead.

    Photographers love pictures with steam-locomotives and a heavy cloud of smoke coming up from the chimney.

    Way too often the locomotive would pick up speed far away and then as the train approached the photographers the engine driver would cut speed and then the locomotive would just roll with almost no smoke coming up the chimney.

  • likewise regarding the sound.

    A few engine drivers would let the locomotive "work" while approaching and passing photographers, but way to many would just let the locomotive idle past with some very faint choo-choo sounds.

Watch my videos on YOUTUBE

Getting to the next photo-spot

After the freight train had passed we were all in a hurry to get to the next photo-spot on the other side of Beekbergen to get another sight of the same train. More wants more. :-)

In all honesty I am a bit ashamed of the speeding that takes place at the "Terug Naar Toen" event. When photographers in their cars have to get from one photo-spot to another, it really isn't speed-limits that are their primary concern.

In fact in the USA I had seen several police cars from the County Sheriff offices out on the roads forcing photographers to adhere to the speed limits; and yes - speeding-tickets were sometimes issued.

But it was hardly 07:00 in the morning in this peacefull rural area of the Netherlands and an army of photographers was on the move.

Even though the shortest way from "Ruggeweg" to the photospots on the other side of Beekbergen-Lieren was through Lieren, I chose to drive out to the "Kanal Zuid" main road. Yes - it was longer in meters, but I could drive, legally, 80km/h on the Kanal Zuid.

So I in fact arrived at the photospot on "De Els" before many of the other photographers.

Later on during the day there is no question that it will be much quicker to go on the Kanal Zuid instead of trying to drive through Lieren, when there will be a lot of visitors.

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
The nice thing about "De Els" is that there very often are cows in the fields around the railroad. I for one think that its nice to have cows in a picture / video with steamlocomotives.

"De Els" is also at a smaller crossing, where the trains don't stop, so you will see and hear the trains, while they accellerate towards Apeldoorn.

On the way back from Apeldoorn the trains, however, will drive rather slow and with barely any noise since it's downhill.

"De Els" is on the stretch Beekbergen-Lieren - Apeldoorn, which means that there are several freight trains during the day and also diesel-locomotives.

Compared to the steam-locomotives the diesels from VSM are rather dull - it's not fair to the diesels, but I have to say it like it is.

The VSM-diesels are all from the 1950'ties.

I could wish that the VSM would invite a NOHAB from Luxembourg or from Denmark. The NOHABs have a very special, and nice sound with its 16 cylinders.

At Beekbergen-Lieren

At Beekbergen-Lieren there was plenty of action. This is where the locomotives are turned on the turn-table and where the coaches, that run between Beekbergen-Lieren and Loenen, get new locomotives.

Basically the same set of coaches run between Beekbergen-Lieren and Loenen and likewise with the coaches that run between Loenen and Dieren, and the coaches between Beekbergen-Lieren and Apeldoorn.

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
The locomotives gets changed at Beekbergen-Lieren and Loenen according to the lok-schedule, which you can get, when you buy your day-tickets, which will get you access to the activities at Loenen and Beekbergen-Lieren, and will get you free rides the whole day through on any train except the freight trains.

Both Beekbergen-Lieren and Loenen are very crowded during the day, but you'll be able to watch a lot of shunting and work on the turntable at Beekbergen-Lieren.

I mostly enjoy Beekbergen-Lieren and Loenen, when they are less crowded. Sometimes it can be a litte too much, and it's not easy to get a good detaillled picture. On the other hand; if you want pictures that show the crowd and the action - go there between 12:00 and 15:00.

One thing that I, so far, have neglected to mention, is that the name of the event "Terug Naar Toen" ( Back to the old days ) have inspired several other groups to participate; officially or just by being in the neighborhood.

Several old, and rare, cars and lorries are on display.

People dress like it was 1955. Many car clubs use especially Sunday to drive around the neighborhood just driving and showing their cars.

It is fun to see 5 - 10 almost identical, but for the color, cars driving down a field road.

Rest of Saturday - Sunday

Basically the "Terug Naar Toen" event is about seeing as many trains as possible.

You decide if you want to drive up and down the tracks like a maniac, or if you stay in one place and just enjoy the trains passing every 20 minutes or so.

Or you can do both. Just remember that the time, you spend in the car driving to the next photo-spot, can mean that you miss seeing a steam-locomotive.

Sunday or Saturday. Which is the better / best day ?

How is Saturday different from Sunday ?

The trains are practically the same. There might be some constellations between coaches and loks that will only happen on one day and not the other.

The spectators are different. Sunday is much more family-orientated, which means that even photographers bring along their children or grand-children, making videos a bit more difficult to make; sound-wise.

Saturday is more for the focussed enthousiast and is generally more calm and relaxing.

Placing coins on the rails

I have to say this.

It annoys me, when parents let their children place coins on the rails, so the wheels of the train will flatten the coins.

Sure - it seems harmless fun - BUT :
  • Children should not be accustomed to play on railroad tracks, no matter how deserted they seem, and even though it is obvious, when the next train will arrive.

    The railroad is NOT a playground. Period.

  • While most of the coins are found just next to the rail, several are forced into orbit, when the wheel touches the coin on the rail.

    In military terms it would be called "shrapnel".

    And no - not every coin was found that Sunday afternoon at the "Ruggeweg" crossing.

  • Last but not least - it can harm the locomotives.

    Oh yeah - sure - many would say in dis-belief, but try talking to any lok-driver or the people who repair the steam-locomotives.

    It is NOT good for the bearings and the axles.

Therefore - just don't do it.

But, - if you absolutely want to put coins on the rail - tape or glue the coin to the rail and place a similar coin on the other rail too, so the 2 wheels on the axl will hit the coins at the same time.

This way the harm to the bearings and axles is reduced.

Special trains

Friday evening

I have already mentioned the special transfer train on Friday late afternoon. That is worth seeing.

Saturday evening

On Saturday late afternoon the locomotives must also return to Loenen for the night. So there will be a transfer train Saturday late afternoon too. At least in 2014 it was divided into 2 trains.

The first train was announced officially on the schedule; the 19:00 from Beekbergen to Loenen; and it soon appeared, but there were only 4 steam-locomotives coupled together; no doubt due to safety regulations.

I knew that there had to be more steam-locomotives in Beekbergen-Lieren, so while the other photographers left I stayed behind with a nice German couple. We waited and waited and had in fact given up and was on our way to our cars down the road, when we heard a whistle.

Back to the railroad again and putting up the cameras as quick as we could, and there it came - a single steam-locomotive driving back to Beekbergen - not at all what we had expected.

We were sure that at least THAT single steam-locomotive would drive back to Loenen, so we waited and talked and waited and finally we gave up. We exchanged email-adresses and said goodbye.

I drove back to Beekbergen-Lieren to check out what was happening there, and I saw a row of steam-locomotives ready to roll.

So I drove quickly back to "Ruggeweg", placed my tripod with the camera, and sure enough; within a few minutes the second part of the transfer train came down the tracks - and there I was all alone with my camera enjoying that sight.

So the transfer train(s) Saturday evening are also worth staying behind to see.

Sunday evening

Sunday evening locomotives must return to Beekbergen-Lieren from Lounen; another transfer train to watch.

I must confess that the Sunday train is less impressive and less important than the Friday and Saturday trains, so if you have to hurry home on Sunday, I don't think that you will be missing much.

Finally some photographs from Amsterdam Centraal

Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
There is always something about the geometry of tracks that fascinates.
Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
The command-center is still very much working.
However it does look something out of a "Star Wars" movie.
Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
Trains at Amsterdam Centraal.
Terug Naar Toen 2014 VSM
Correct me if I am wrong - but, if one tram is running on "green" electricty,
doesn't that mean that all trams run on "green" electricty ?
It would make much more sense if the sign said :
"Our trams run on "green" electricty".

Copyright © Christian Vinaa
2014 -
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