Belgian Rail Freight— March 22, 2013

 

Making the most of a Belgian Rail-Freight Hotspot.

Mid-Morning on Friday March 22, 2013, I took a SNCB (Société National des Chemins de fer Belges—Belgian National Railways)  local train from Antwerpen Centraal to a suburban station at Antwerpen Noorderdokken. This is an important junction north of central Antwerp, where routes toward Amsterdam diverge from the principal freight line to Antwerp Port.

Belgian Railways.
An SNCB InterCity train led by a Class 18 Electric (built by Siemens) passes the station at Antwerpen Noorderdokken on March 22, 2013. While something less than a garden-spot, this busy junction is a great place to watch and photograph trains. Canon EOS 7D.
Railway junction near Antwerpen, Belgium.
SNCB diesels working light-engine pass Antwerpen Noorderdokken on the morning of March 22, 2013. In the foreground is the link to the new Antwerp-Amsterdam high-speed line. Lumix LX3.

I was following the recommendation of a friend who had previously explored this junction. As one of Europe’s busiest ports, Antwerp is a large source of rail freight, and this route is famous for both its volume and variety of traffic.

An SNCF Fret (French National Railways Freight) diesel leads a grain train toward Antwerp port. Canon EOS 7D.
An SNCF Fret (French National Railways Freight) diesel leads a grain train toward Antwerp port. Canon EOS 7D.

Crossrail_freight_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2604 2 Crossrail_freight_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2609 2 SNCB-banking_into_curve_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2730 1

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In addition to SNCB’s freights, open access arrangements allow for a variety of private rail operators and other national railways to serve customers. In a little more than 4 hours, I witnessed nearly 35 freight moves (including light engines) under partly sunny skies. In addition I also photographed a dozen or so passenger trains.

SNCB passenger train at speed.
An SNCB Class 18 electric with double-deck push-pull train races through Antwerpen Noorderdokken. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens set at 120mm, 1/60 second at f25.0. ISO 200. Hand-held pan with image-stabilizer disabled.

My preferred locations were in a field about a 15 minute walk from the Antwerpen Noorderdokken station. Here, the freight line makes a sweeping ‘S-bend’ that allows for a variety of angles favoring the light.

After 4 hours of intense photography, I was cold and hungry, so I retraced my steps and headed back toward Brussels. In addition to digital images exposed with my Canon EOS 7D and Lumix LX3, I also made a number of color slides with my Canon EOS-3.

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A pair of CFL (Luxembourg National Railways) electrics lead a train carrying structural steel.

Class66_w_containers_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2679 1 Class66_w_mineral_train_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2555 1 Container_train_Antwerpen_Noorderdokken_IMG_2563 2

 

SNCB Vossloh diesels work a mixed freight toward Antwerp port.
SNCB Vossloh diesels work a mixed freight toward Antwerp port.
SNCB local glides towards its station stop at Antwerpen Noorderdokken.
SNCB local glides towards its station stop at Antwerpen Noorderdokken.
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