I’ve been a fan of Lance Mindheim’s industrial switching layouts since I first saw his Downtown Spur in the US magazine Model Railroader. When I became interested in European railways I wondered if it would be possible to create something similar based on European practice and locations.
I’ve been able to find rail-served industrial areas just by searching maps using OpenStreetMap or OpenRailwayMap but frustratingly it’s not always possible to easily find photographs of the buildings or operations at these locations.
Then I found the railgoed.nl website after browsing the links page of railtrash.net.
Railgoed.nl is a website about European railways with a focus on industrial railways in the Netherlands. It was put together by Rudi Liebrand and while it hasn’t been updated recently (the last update was 2015), it’s a real treasure trove of videos and images of European industrial railway operations.
It’s not the easiest site to navigate if you don’t speak Dutch and aren’t familiar with the locations listed as some of the elements of the website don’t translate completely with an in-browser translator. If you want to quickly view the pictures and videos you’ll find them grouped by numbered themes/locations down the left-hand side of the homepage.
Once you click on a theme/location from the menu you’ll see an expanded set of choices that includes information (informatie) on the location, photographs of the local railway infrastructure (infrafoto) and photographs and videos (foto & film) of the industrial switching operations at the location.
Some of the captions contain really interesting information about the site or operations there so it’s worth viewing the site with Chrome or Chromium (open source) browser as this should be able to translate these captions on the fly.
While the locations featured on the site are mostly in the Netherlands, the industries and operations look similar to what I’ve seen in other European countries, so if you’re interested in finding out more about rail-served industries and industrial switching in Europe then I’d recommend that you take a look at www.railgoed.nl.