Winter at Valkenburg

Ted Polet

On Sunday 21 January 2001, a thin crust of frozen snow covered the area around the town of Leiden where I live. Going out cycling with my son, we came past the narrow gauge museum at Valkenburg where to my surprise there was a loco in steam standing outside. Later I returned with a camera and despite the bad light I made the photos shown below. It was bitterly cold, with more snow forecast for the evening.

The loco proved to be intended for a specially chartered train. Since the works shed is fitted with a heater the steam locos do not need to be emptied from water during the winter. For the crew it was a novel experience to roast in front and freeze in the back. The loco proved to use much more coal than usual in the cold weather.

Despite the failing light I managed to make a few passable photos at extreme exposure times, at any rate good enough to scan and reproduce here at reduced size. It was a magical experience, seeing the little train work its way around the lake and through the frozen fields, shrouded in thick white clouds of vapour.

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