Brian’s Belgian Rail Marathon, Liege and Beyond

Getting the most from My SNCB ‘Railpass’.

At Leige (Liège-Guillemins) I boarded an InterCity train for Brussels and glided along in comfort along perfectly maintained track. At Bruxelles-Nord/Brussel-Noord (French and Flemish names appear randomly applied to Brussels stations—so far as I can tell) I changed to another express, this one destined for Antwerp.

View from the train, Belgium.
Gazing east from a westward SNCB InterCity train bound for Brussels. Lumix LX3 photo.

I was aiming for Antwerpen Noorderdokken, a location I explored in March, where freight trains access the port of Antwerp. Another change of trains at Antwerp Central brought me to this station. As I walked toward my desired photo angle, I noticed a dark wall of clouds rolling in off the North Sea. (It had been clear and cloudless at Liege!)

Yet, I managed to photograph six freights before the sun vanished—mission accomplished. Boarding my eighth train of the day, I aimed to ride around Antwerp and then back toward Brussels.

By the end of the day, I’d visited eight locations and traveled on ten trains. Not too shabby for the first day of my August visit to Belgium.

Freight train.
A French freight diesel leads a container train from the Port of Antwerp near Antwerpen Noorderdokken. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Electric freight train, Belgium.
Belgian Class 13 electrics crawl along with an empty freight train near Antwerpen Noorderdokken. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Electric freight.
SNCB class 28 electrics lead a train of tanks from the Port of Antwerpen. Canon EOS 7D.
Train with dark clouds.
Dark clouds rolling off the North Sea signal the time to head back toward the station. Canon 7D photo.

 

SNCB passenger train.
Departing Antwerpen Noorderdokken on a local train, another SNCB passenger train was rolling along on an adjacent track. Lumix LX3 photo.
SNCB Class 27 electric at speed.
Many SNCB passenger trains work with locomotives at both ends. Here a class 27 electric works the back of a train accelerating toward Antwerp Central. I’m on a local that will run around Antwerp on a different route. Lumix LX3.

 

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