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.
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…
I’ve always liked the idea of creating modules or cameos where you need to look through or around the scenery to catch a glimpse of the trains just as we often have to do in the real World. If you’re not sure what I mean I think the picture below sums it up nicely:
It would be a real challenge to create trees and water realistic enough to pull this off and keep viewers interested until a train appeared but I think it would be worth the effort involved.
Unfortunately, whoever uploaded this image to Pixabay didn’t include enough information to find out exactly where the bridge is, but based on the livery of the carriage it looks like somewhere in Germany.
If German railways aren’t you’re thing I’ve seen similar pictures from locations across Europe and North America and the bridge is generic enough to be anywhere in the World really.
If you’ve visited the site before you may have noticed one of the background images is a fairly typical North American rural grade crossing.
It’s another example of a photograph I found on the public-domain photo sharing website Pixabay. I choose to use it not only because it’s a particularly nice photograph but because it also reminds me of a similar crossing, although perhaps not quite so photogenic, that I stumbled across whilst out for a drive in Tennessee.
I’d always thought a simple grade-crossing scene like this could make a great module to watch-the-trains-go-by.
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…