2017-03-24 Last Call for Hoek van Holland

I travelled the railway line from Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam. Once a bustling international connection from England to destinations as as far as Moscow it is now to be converted to a local overland tramway and integrated in the Rotterdam transit system. I rode it for the first and last time.
DSC02461  This album is made on the occasion of the conversion of the Hoek van Holland railway line to tramway operation. Of once three railway lines to the beaches of the Netherlands only one remains: Haarlem - Zandvoort. Rotterdam Scheveningen has already been converted to tramway operation in 2006. This line is now also a part of the Rotterdam transit system Hoekselijn 1 Hoekselijn 2  It was conceived in 1875 as a competitor for the very succesful boat - railway route from England via Vlissingen (Flushing as the English speakers say, but I am lost as to what English are flushing in Vlissingen). It was completed in 1893 and made a connection to the ferries from Harwich. Electrification followed in 1935. Hoek van Holland Haven (Harbour) is the main reason for its extistence, but there is a small extention to Hoek van Holland Strand (Beach) to take people on a day out as close to the North Sea coast as possible. DSC02117  This is how this integration makes sense, with on the far left the new tramway line to Hoek van Holland
HVH Historisch 1910  In 1910, short of twenty years after its opening Hoek van Holland Haven (Harbour) looked like this. A modest design but traffic soon took off and the connection proved to be a star. HvH Historisch 1958  International trains went from "The Hook" in many directions. This photo must have been taken by the end of the fifties or early sixties.   I do not remember where I found it, if anyone finds I am offending his or her copyright please contact me. HVH Historisch 1960  The numerous tracks were often crowded with international trains. Destinations like Berlin, Warsaw and Moscow were perfectly normal in those days. By the end of the sixties the general decline of international railway travel hit hard. The airplane had won. The last international train left Hoek van Holland in 1993. The last (national) train connecting to a boat service ran in 2007. The line survived solely on the regional trains bringing commuters from Maassluis and Vlaardingen to Rotterdam. Starting from April 2017 railway operation will cease altogether. The line will be converted to an overland tramway line and integrated in the Rotterdam mass transit system. DSC02050  Good, after this orientation let's turn to my ride. This is the Class SGM in Rotterdam Centraal that will take me on the ride to Hoek van Holland. The  SGM  is an inconspicuous and modest design, a bread and butter class really, earning its keep in regional stopper service. In a way it is the last of its kind. This class' technology is essentially the same as all previous electric classes from Class '24. From this class on the designs entered the thyristor and digital era. Built in between 1975 ans 1983 and refurbished between 2003 and 2006 there are 30 two car sets and 60 three car sets. The class is reaching its life expiry and withdrawal is likely after the arrival of the new sprinters from CAF.
DSC02051 DSC02052 DSC02053  Leaving Rotterdam via the extended depot area DSC02065  After Schiedam Centrum we passed "the spot" where the Netherlands' second largest train disaster happened.
Treinramp Schiedam 1a  The line Hoek van Holland - Rotterdam recorded the second largest railway disaster in the Netherlands. On 4 May 1976 the driver of SGM 2008 (right on the photo) left Schiedam Centrum despite a red signal. The oncoming intenational boattrain from Hoek van Holland with its heavy 1300-class locomotive (1311) obliterated the first coach killing 24. A third train passing on the other track struck the wreckage, it can be seen on the left, a Class '64. The aerial from the other side shows the locomotive which already has been pulled back to help the rescue operation. The arrow indicates the location of the drivers cab of the SGM after the crash. I went there to look. Chances are that I am in the spectator crowd on the photo, 17 tender summers young.  See  Documentary Treinramp Schiedam 2 DSC02068  Station Schiedam Nieuwland, a later addition to the line, is a design with the least amount of amigination. DSC02071  Mirroring
DSC02073 DSC02076  Inevitably there is a mill in the Dutch landscape ;-) DSC02079 DSC02080
DSC02085 DSC02086  Another unimaginative hut. Vlaardingen Oost. DSC02087  Vlaardingen Centrum is somewhat older but is not the original station Vlaardingen  The original station looked quite different. It stood from 1890 to 1911. The second station building lasted until 1969 and the canopy was retained and is still standing today.
DSC02088  My train leaving Vlaardingen Centrum. I stayed behind to take few shots of the station and to wait for the next train that would take me all the way to  Hoek van Holland Strand. DSC02093 DSC02095 DSC02109  The generous yard layout shows how important this line once was.
DSC02111 Spoorwegongeval bij Vlaardingen (1980)  On 15 september 1980 a driver probably overlooked a signal that the bridge was not locked yet. The train derailed on the bridge and was left dangling over the water in a most precarious situation. (c) Hans van Dijk / Anefo (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license) DSC02115  The gates and payservices were already out of service. DSC02116
DSC02118 DSC02120  My next train appraoching from Rotterdam DSC02128  Maassluis. DSC02132  The old electicity substation that was built in the thirties for the electrification of the line. I suppose it will be demolished after the conversion of the line to tramway operation.
DSC02135  A huge offshore platform under construction in the harbour area of Rotterdam DSC02140  The line now runs parallel to the Nieuwe Waterweg, a wide and deep canal for seagoing ships that connects the Rotterdam harbour area to the sea. DSC02144 DSC02148  Preparations are underway for the conversion to tramway operation.
DSC02149 DSC02156  The Maeslant barrier, a floating storm surge barrier. It is normally open but it is closed when storm and high tides threaten the hinterland. See  Wikipedia article DSC02162  The other half of the barrier on the opposite side DSC02188  Ferry ships at Hoek van Holland Haven, once the pride, glory and source of existence of the railway.
DSC02199  Clearly the track layout shows the former grandeur of this station, notwithstanding that already half of the tracks has been broken up. DSC02210  Hoek van Holland Haven DSC02223 DSC02224
DSC02227  Leaving for the last leg: to Hoek van Holland Haven, no more than a few hunderds of meters. DSC02230  End of the line: Hoek van Holland Strand. DSC02234 DSC02238
DSC02243 DSC02248 DSC02249 DSC02251  Being in Hoek van Holland I walked to the beach and the long jetty that protects ships exiting the Nieuwe Waterweg.
DSC02264 DSC02268  Km 1031 from the waterfall of Shaffhausen. The Nieuwe Waterweg is essentially the last stretch of the Rhine DSC02271  I walked to the end of the jetty DSC02276
DSC02281 DSC02282 DSC02285 DSC02291  A tug going out to sea
DSC02292  oops DSC02295  The end of the jetty DSC02310 DSC02315
DSC02316 DSC02319 DSC02340  I returned to the station after a lovely sunny walk. Not a bad day for March: 16 degrees. The wind is still chilly but away from the wind the spring is making itself felt. I did not return to Hoek van Holland Strand but walked on to Hoek van Holland Haven. DSC02349
DSC02372 DSC02377 DSC02378 DSC02380  I wonder how many people have gone through this door with their luggage to embark on a railway adventure
DSC02381  The former signalling box DSC02384 DSC02385  A sad emptiness DSC02386
DSC02387  Sic transit gloria DSC02388 DSC02392 DSC02398
DSC02402  Well, I guess this is the last train I see returning form Hoek van Holland Strand DSC02412 DSC02418 DSC02426
DSC02428  Her comes my train from Rotterdam. It will not continue to Hoek van Holland Strand but turn here at Haven. DSC02433 DSC02436 DSC02438
DSC02439 DSC02445 DSC02452  A last photo. Next year when the tram services have started I will come here again to see what has changed. DSC02466  Back in Rotterdam
DSC02247b  Thank you very much (for travelling with us) and goodbye.  As of 1 April there will be no more train services on this station.