2010-01-29 Wandeling Limburg

CompleteMap  This weekend Coen and I took two days for walking. We chose to follow the trackbed of the former tramwayline from Maastricht Railway station (at Wijck on the map) to Vaals. This tramwayline had a short and unfortunate existance between 1922 and 1939. Costing way too much and built 25 years too late this line simply had no reason to exist but for the political will to make it exist. The line more or less followed the pre-existing road (now N278) from Maastricht to Vaals via Cadier en Keer, Margraten, Gulpen, where it had a triangle stub to Wijlre, and Nijswiller. Garratt-LTM51-0001  The tramwayline Maastricht to Vaals has major points of interest for me. First it was a line with steep grades, almost mountainous, which is very uncommon in the Netherlands. Second it was the line on which the only ever Dutch Garratt operated. Built in 1932 by Henschel this loco had a brief life. When the line was closed in 1939 it was sold with all other loco's. It was stored for further use on a scrapyard. It seems have been sold to Germany in 1941 were it disappeared without a trace. The loco was unique. It was the only ever Garratt with inside cylinders!! On the photo, on which it seems as good as new, it is shown with the hatches open that give access to the inside motion. DSC08530b Kaart01  The same area via Google Maps. The hotel is somewhat to the left. North of the road you can see a line of trees heading dead east where the line bent away from the the road to follow its own route over the incline towards the Margraten plateau. The Weg van Heer naar Bemelen is laid on the former trackbed of the tramway.  See:   Google
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DSC08566  Blankenberg (White Mountain) Castle   See:   Google DSC08567b DSC08571b DSC08576b
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DSC08594b DSC08596b DSC08598b Kaart02a  If we take a more distant look though, discoloration in the green field seems to indicate the course of the trackbed. You lose track when reaching the light colored field (after the third arrow). The fourth arrow indicates the restart of the recognisable part of the line.
DSC08601b Kaart03  A. the smal viaduct B. Breach in the embankment C. Abuttment of the Gulpdal viaduct DSC08604b DSC08605b
DSC08607b Gulpdal01  I could only find this photo on the internet. This is the viaduct over the Gulp valley, 600 m long and 22 m high. DSC08608-12b  The embankment on the other side of the valley, the bridge is on the right hand side.   See:   Google DSC08616b
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DSC08630  Snow travelling on Coen's backpack DSC08652  Our lodge for the night, nice and cosy. Home at the end of the world, quite litterally as it is about 1 km away from Slenaken, out in the open.    See:   Google DSC08653b DSC08649b
DSC08639  Our room DSC08631 DSC08641  Coen calling home DSC08660b
DSC08663  The next morning brought another pack of snow. Yesterday the temp hovered around zero, now it was clearly freezing. DSC08666-69b  View from the lodge DSC08671b DSC08672
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DSC08686b DSC08688b DSC08690-93b  Panorama DSC08695  Ow, ah, eh, yes. We thought it wise to step this out of the way ;-)   See:   Google
DSC08689b DSC08700b DSC08702  At a border"stone", dating from 1848 when the Dutch-Belgian border was determined DSC08703  Me
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DSC08718b DSC08721b DSC08723 DSC08727  View toward Epen over the Valley of the Geul.    See:   Google
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DSC08769 DSC08770 DSC08774  Some buildings catching a ray of sun DSC08785-88b  View over the valley of the Geul
DSC08792b DSC08795  SMS-ing DSC08799 DSC08801b
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DSC08817b DSC08818  And mine DSC08820b DSC08821
DSC08822  Time for lunch DSC08826b DSC08824 DSC08830b
DSC08837b DSC08840b DSC08846  One the very few remaining fords in the Netherlands DSC08847  Look back to the church
DSC08857b DSC08860  and descended to Nijswiller DSC08866  ...here we crossed the N278 again and consequently found one last time a remainder of the tramway line. Left is towards Vaals DSC08870b
DSC08871b DSC08876  ...giving very rewarding views DSC08881  dramatic even DSC08888  errrm, very dramatic
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