The Betuweroute (A European Freight-Only Railway)

The Betuweroute is a modern, freight-only railway line in the Netherlands that connects the internationally important port of Rotterdam to the Rhine-Alpine freight corridor via the town of Zevenaar near the German border.

Metrans E186 182-2 With A Prague Shuttle by Nicky Boogaard – Own Work,
CC BY 2.0View Image

Like all contemporary infrastructure projects the Betuweroute was mired in controversy about it’s cost and viability but since opening in 2007, the number of trains using the line has been rising year-on-year. ProRail (the organisation responsible for Dutch rail infrastructure) report that the line now carries over 500 freight-trains a week making it a key section of the Rhine-Alpine freight corridor.

The Betuweroute is still something of an anomaly in Europe, having been designed and constructed solely to carry freight. So if you’re looking for something unique to model, the Betuweroute could be just the thing. Combine that uniqueness with the potential to incorporate some interesting scenes, modern architecture and a wide variety of potential freight rolling stock and I think there’s scope to build some interesting modules or cameos…

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Sliedrecht Station and the Betuweroute (Netherlands)

I thought I’d introduce a location that at first glance might seem a little bit of an unusual choice for a module and that unusual choice is Sliedrecht station in the Netherlands.

20141230 LTE 186 237 + 238, Sliedrecht by Bert Hollander – Own work, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, View Image

You can just about make out the platforms and building of Sliedrecht station in the centre of the image above. The local, mostly single-track line serving the station is on the left and the double-tracks behind the sound barrier on the right are the Betuweroute; the international, freight-only rail line mentioned in the title of this post (more on the Betuweroute in future posts).

Despite being quite a run-of-the-mill location, Sliedrecht has always struck me as a great location for an unconventional (freight-only routes are a little more uncommon in Europe),  watch-the-trains-go-by module with the added interest of a separate single-track line with passenger service and local freight workings…

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