EUROPE TRIP/SUMMER 1978

Netherlands Railways
June 21, 1978


My parents and I checked out of the hotel in Leiden, and we agreed to meet at Haarlem at a certain time. My train riding first actually took me through Haarlem to Amsterdam, where the previous day I had taken a couple of color photos.


The Amsterdam Centraal Station is a classic old building. And Amsterdam has streetcars.


And taking place since we had lived there ten years earlier, was the invasion of McDonald's.

From Amsterdam, I rode a train through Utrecht and S-Hertogenbosch south to Eindhoven. This train was part of a half hourly service between Zandvoort and alternately Maastricht and Heerlen. Zandvoort is on the North Sea west of Haarlem. Haarlem and Amsterdam were intermediate stops for those trains. And Maastricht and Heerlen are in Limburg province at the southeast corner of the country.

These were some of the few electric locomotive hauled trains in the Netherlands. At the time, the Netherlands Railways primarily had 3 groups of electric locomotives. The 1100 series had 4 axles and the 1300 series had 6 axles, both groups were built by Alsthom of France. I myself liked the 4 axle 1200 series, built by the Dutch company Werkspoor, but designed by the U.S. companies Baldwin and Westinghouse.


For many years, Eindhoven was the headquarters of Philips, the electrical products manufacturer which perhaps has been as big in the Netherlands, as General Electric has been in the U.S. All of the major stations had signs on the platforms which were centrally controlled and displayed train information using electrically powered roller signs.

Returning north, I made stopovers at S-Hertogenbosch and Utrecht, before meeting my parents at Haarlem at the prescribed time. From there we all rode north to Alkmaar. There we were met by some people who had lived down the street from us ten years earlier, when we had lived in Leiden. But in the meantime, they had bought a new house between Alkmaar and the North Sea, and that was where we would stay the next two nights.

That evening at their house, we watched a World Cup game on TV. A semifinal game, Netherlands vs. Italy, and the Netherlands won. The Netherlands lost the final game against the host country Argentina, we were in a hotel room in London watching that one. That sport which the Dutch call "voetbal" is of course popular there, voetbal literally translates into football. Which most of the world calls that sport, but for some reason Americans call it "soccer".