Being in the the east of the country for other reasons we happened to have a few hours to spare. Enough for a quick visit to the Industrial Narrow Gauge Museum in Erica in the province of Drenthe See: http://www.smalspoorcentrum.nl/
1 The Industrial Narrow Gauge Museum is themed around the former peat industry that was extensive here in the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. The last peat processing company closed in 1983. The industry made extensive use of narrow gauge railways to transport the peat to the mills. The museum has recently been relocated to this new main building.
2 Loco no 81 is plinthed in front of the main entrance. 81? Yes, the museum owns over eighty locomotives and the remains of more, totalling over one hunderd. In terms of number of locomotives this may very well be the largest railway museum, most certainly in the Netherlands and I suppose far beyond.
3 All locos are listed on the museum's website with all details of them individually. The site has no English translation so above a crash course Dutch with a translation of the most common terms. You may also try this automatic translation by Google, which may in many cases be somewhat amusing.
4 As simple as simple can be.
9 The workshop. Recently built and well equipped. A lift, much akin to a car lift in a garage, provides a work pit.
14 A "new" bonnet
16 and the poor remains of a discarded one, I guess beyond salvation.
22 A home grown locomotive. Forestries in the US where known for their own contraptions, after all that is how the Shay came to be, but the Dutch peat industry was obviously very inventive too.
23 Remains of a B17 bomber aircraft from WWII that crashed nearby.
24 Lest we forget
41 A diesel with an identity disorder.
46 The children are kept busy by giving them the opportunity to drive one loco themselves on a special track
47 Monorail! I never thought there was something like that in the Netherlands but as it turns out one of the peat industries in the area actually operated a monorail system.
49 An this must be the only monorail vehicle in the Netherlands.
53 Our train for the day. Included in the museum admission fee is a train ride around the terrain, which includes a tour around the only remaining peat mill in original condition.
60 We set out for a tour around the museum grounds, the yellow line approximates the track. We drove counterclock wise.
64 Our tour guide and driver
65 A display to show the various gauges in use by the peat industry: 500, 600, 700 and 900 mm respectively.
66 Another train. This loop railway runs on 900mm gauge.
68 Many an exhibit is parked in the forest tracks.
71 This one has a special history. It was brought along with allied troops by the end of WWII to serve in the building industry during the period op reconstruction immediately after the war.
73 In need of some restoration. Funding for just that is underway. The locomotive will however not operate on the tracks of this museum because it simply is too heavy for the soft ground under the tracks.
82 A rustin' Ruston
85 The only peat mill that retains its original character. Most mills still in existence have been redestined as restaurant, lodge or conference center. But this one was bombed in the war and reconstructed with a concrete inner structure which makes it impossible to give it another destination. So it remains
87 In the peat mill. White peat was unsuited as fuel and was ground to be used as ground cover and soil improvement.
93 At the left the one remaining tipper which rotated the peat cars and emptied their content onto a conveyor belt.
94 A rare electrical loco. It originates from Germany (1925)
96 The orginal locomotive workshop of the peat factory, dating from 1910, and now a listed building.
97 The location of the old shed
101 On returning to the museum main building I ventured into "the garden" to take a look at te numerous exhibits
102 The garden, here still relatively open, but by now fully overgrown and matured.
109 Via "the garden" I came to the new locomotive shed.
110 On this Google aerial the new shed is not yet present
111 The multiple gauge traverser
125 I chanced upon one of the volunteers who was kind enough to let me in.
127 This pair probably workes in some kind of fun park.
141 Well, if you are interested in industrial narrow gauge, this is the place to be!