The International Steam Pages

Narrow Gauge Steam Railways in Holland

James Waite reports:

Narrow Gauge Railway Museum at Valkenburg:

This operation was originally based at Katwijk before moving to its present site at Valkenburg. There's a large modern museum building where the static exhibits are kept, an operating line of 700mm gauge which runs most of the way around an old gravel pit and an older engine shed at the eastern end of the line which was not accessssible at the time of my visit. Altogether seventeen steam locos of several gauges are preserved here and numerous i/c locos, divided about equally between the museum and the engine shed. Particularly noteworthy are the two 750mm gauge steam tram locos in the main museum building, one of them on loan from the national collection at Utrecht. Unfortunately the museum exhibits, particularly the two tram engines, are hemmed in and photography is difficult. There are several good phot spots on the running line.

Valkenburg is near the coast north of The Hague and west of Leiden. There are fast trains from Amsterdam airport to Leiden Centraal which is about one mile away and there's a turning off the A44 motorway close to the museum. There are extensive bulb fields close by, very colourful when the bulbs are in flower which is usually late in April. The district also contains several of the country's more historic windmills.

0-4-0WT No. 9, (Linke-Hofmann 2174/1920). 900mm gauge. Worked for Zanen-Verstoep, a construction company and preserved there after she was withdrawn from service. One of the few Linke Hofmann locos to have worked in Holland. 

The two steam tram locos, no. 607 in the foreground with no. 13 beyond. No. 607 'Vrijland” (Henschel works no. 6848/1904) is a 750mm gauge 0-4-0Tm. Henschel supplied 129 locomotives to the Dutch tramways, most of them of similar appearance to “Vrijland”. Originally no. ZE7 of the Zutphen Emmerik steam tramway, a 42km long line opened in 1902. In 1926 the line was extended to Deventer and the Gelderse Tramwegen took over operation in 1934. The loco was used for freight traffic and, on withdrawal in 1957, was acquired by the Dutch national railway museum at Utrecht. Arrived on loan to the NSS in 2003. No. 13 “Silvolde” (Backer & Rueb 182/1900) is also a 750mm gauge 0-4-0Tm. It spent its working life on the Gelderse Tramway and was acquired by the NSS in 2000. It's the only Dutch-built loco in the museum. 

0-4-0WT no. 1 “Marijnke” (Orenstein & Koppel 11684/1928) running round her train. 700mm gauge. Worked in the construction industry in Holland and later was preserved at the Dutch national motor museum at Leidschendam before becoming the first loco to be preserved by the NSS in 1970. She was first restored to service in 1972 and her most recent overhaul was in 2003. She is currently the museum’s preferred loco for operation and is painted in what is believed to be her original shade of green.


0-4-0WT no. 6 “Ijsseloord” (Orenstein & Koppel 11735/1928) outside the museum. 700mm gauge. The loco spent her working life at the Ijsseloord brick factory where she was nicknamed 'Duveltje' ("little devil"). When withdrawn from service and acquired for preservation by the NSS in 1977 she had become the last steam loco in commercial service in Holland. After many years of disuse her restoration was completed in December 2006 and she is currently rostered as a reserve loco to no. 1.


No. 1 with its train north east of the museum.

Museum R.T.M. Ouddorp

Ouddorp is in the south west of the country, about one hour's drive from Rotterdam. There's no main line train service anywhere near though there's a frequent bus service. The Rotterdamsche Tramweg Maatschappij ran a network of 3ft 6in gauge rural tramways in the islands and countryside south east of Rotterdam. The outlying islands were connected by ferries – some of which were train ferries and some carried wagon bodies as containers which the museum now claims to have been the world’s first example of intermodal transport.

The first line opened in 1881 and the last tram ran on 14th February 1966. A museum was set up at Hellevoetse which opened on 4th April 1966 and ensured the preservation of a good number of the engines, trams, carriages and wagons from the old system. The museum moved to the present purpose-built site at Ouddorp in 1989.

There's a large, modern museum building and a running line about two and a half miles long. Starting from the station alongside the museum a double track line extends about two thirds of a mile eastwards to a balloon loop at Bezoekerscentrum. In the opposite direction a single track runs for nearly two miles alongside the road across a newly built dam. When I was there in 2005 this ran as far as Port Zelande, roughly midway towards the next island to the south but it has since been extended. There are now four steam locos, one Henschel and three Orenstein & Koppels, one of them on loan from the national collection at Utrecht. The restored locos and trams, both steam and diesel, and especially the large number of varnished teak carriages from the old tramway make this a most interesting place to visit.

Diesel electric tram no M1602, built by the RTM in 1950, in the museum building.

0-6-0Tm no. 54 (Orenstein & Koppel 8065/ 1915) approaching the museum station on the line from Bezoekerscentrum.

No. 54 in the museum yard.

At the museum station.

Rob Dickinson