Information and Publications from FEDECRAIL


News from FEDECRAIL


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Günther Steinhauer VDMT leaves a great gap behind

Günther Steinhuaer, May 2017. Photo: John Crane

The chairman of VDMT (Association of German Museum and Tourist Railways), Günther Steinhauer, has died on 21 July 2017 at the age of only 64, following a short illness. With his passing, the German museum railway community loses one of its most significant members. His expertise in technical and operational matters across all gauges was remarkable and highly esteemed in railway circles. Having previously been deputy chairman since 1999, Mr Steinhauer served as chairman of the VDMT since 2012. The basis of his dedication was his love for museum railways, which was his calling and, in the case of his Selfkantbahn near Aachen, his career and life’s work. Günther Steinhauer leaves a void which will indeed be very difficult to fill. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

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Richard Tapper passed away

The sad news reached us that Richard Tapper had died suddenly at home. Richard has been a life long promoter of Europe wide cooperation between heritage railways. I met him first in September 1985, and active as he was, in 1986 he came over to see my steam railway. In the following years we worked on the first international conference at Utrecht (NL) in 1989, and at Hameln (D) in 1991, where he attended.

Subsequently he became the Minutes Secretary of the Morgan Commission, which prepared the constitution of FEDECRAIL. As a true guest to practically every FEDECRAIL Conference he was well known for his sales of books about railways in former Communist countries, which he carried in large and heavy suitcases - of course carried by rail. The profit went to New Europe Railway Heritage Trust (NERHT). No one should be surprised that he became Board member of NERHT, where I met him last in May. We lost a real friend.

Livius J. Kooy, NERHT Secretary and retired Fedecrail Secretary

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Heritage Operations Group (HOG) has Good News

At the FEDECRAIL annual general meeting 2017 Steve Wood, chairman of the Heritage Operations Group (HOG), gave an overview on the activities of the FEDECRAIL working group. The main topics of their work were ERMTS (European Rail Traffic Management System), the directive for the engine driving license, access to service facilities as well as the 4th train package. In particular, two successes are arising: With regards to ERMTS funding from Denmark seems possible. Furthermore, FEDECRAIL could secure an exemption for Heritage workshops providing service facilities for main line operators. This is due to the efforts of Andres Wedzinga. In this context, it also has to be highlighted that in the GRB (Group of Representative Bodies) FEDECRAIL has the same status as for instance CER, DB or SNCF.

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The New Tramway Operating Group (TOG)

The Tramway Operating group (TOG) is a new FEDECRAIL working group. Mimmi Mickelsen presented the results of the first TOG meeting, held on 4th May, with representatives from the Nordic Countries, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The main objectives are:

1. To support initiatives to broaden the base of TOG participants

2. To collect and collate information about operators of heritage trams

3. To show the contribution of heritage trams to local cultural and economic activities

4. To support business activities that diversify the appeal of trams to different demographic groups, especially young people

5. To support a program of adoption of best practices by heritage tram operators and tram museums.

New participants in the Tramway Operating Group are welcome.

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Conference ‘Belgium 2017’ in Antwerp

MTUB museum at Woluwe.

Informative updates, excursions and FEDECRAIL’s annual General Assembly were, as usual, the fixtures of the conference ‘Belgium 2017’ in the first half of May in Antwerp. With this choice of location, FEDECRAIL has brought the congress back to the country of its inception two decades ago: the first ever conference took place in 1994 in Brussels.

As usual, the business sessions and the excursion programme came together seamlessly. The core topics on the main conference day, featuring distinguished speakers, included on the one hand the collaboration with external organisations and on the other hand the current issue of coal and environmental protection, especially with a view to reducing emissions.

Among the most important institutions for FEDECRAIL is the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), of which our European association has been an advisory member since 2014. Its executive director Josef Doppelbauer used his presentation to stress the importance of making full use of the potential for innovation in rail transport and of usings its strengths in order to avoid being outpaced by road traffic and other modes of transport. He stressed that EU-wide rail transport as the backbone of the economy requires co-operation, competitiveness, regulations on the EU level and technological harmonisation such as ERTMS. Doppelbauer then responded to critical questions from the audience and welcomed the collaboration with FEDECRAIL.

Ignacio Barron de Angioti, Director for Passengers and High Speed, presented the International Union of Railways (UIC) and Project Manager Vanessa Pérez introduced the new UIC project TopRail (Tourism Opportunities for Railways). As part of this project, FEDECRAIL, WATTRAIN (World Alliance of Tourist Trams and Trains) and UIC have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which aims to promote rail-based tourism. The “Association Internationale d’Histoire des Chemins de Fer” was introduced by its President Henri Jacolin and is a recently-established, transnational and transcontinental organisation (founded in 2002) in the field of historic railways, which is dedicated in particular to issuing publications.

Council during the General Assembly.

In his presentation entitled “Reduction of Emissions in Steam Locomotives – Problems, Improvements and Solutions,” Roger Waller of the Steam Locomotive and Engine Factory Winterthur (Switzerland) provided an initial response to the difficulties that museum and tourist railways face as a result of the move away from fossil fuels and an increasing environmental awareness. Dr René van de Broeke reported on how the Dutch Stoomtram Horn Medemblik faces the challenges of the present day, how it treats its engines and uses different types of coal, and how it fosters communication, including through activities for children. The chairman of the Dutch umbrella organisation for museum and tourist railways ‘Historisch Railvervoer Nederland’ (HRN), Kees Wielemaker, demonstrated the benefits of a national register for rolling stock, which was initiated by HRN, and showed the advantages that have arisen from a co-operation with other historical transport organisations.

The General Assembly saw, along with the usual formalities, the adoption of the Strategic Plan 2017-2020. In addition, the Heritage Operating Group (HOG), FedecYouth and the newly-established Tramway Operating Group (TOG) reported on their activities.

Selfkantbahn in Germany. Photos: John Crane

The excellently organised excursion programme not only led the participants through many parts of Belgium, it even went as far as Germany and the Netherlands. Tramway enthusiasts were in for a treat with trips on historic rolling stock in Antwerp, Thuin (Wallonia), Brussels and Rotterdam. Other destinations included the “Stoomtrein Dendermonde-Puurs,” the “Stoomcentrum Maldegem,” the museum of the “Association pour la Sauvegarde du Vicinal,” the “Chemin de Fer à Vapeur des Trois Vallées,” the museum “SNCB Train World” which opened in Brussels only in 2015, and the tramway museum in Brussels. Across the border, the programme also led participants to the narrow-gauge railway “Selfkantbahn” and the South Limburg Steam Train Company (ZLSM).

The annual programme for delegates’ partners and for “Friends of Fedecrail,” who support the association as private individuals, completed the conference with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Bruges and a guided tour through Antwerp. – The next annual conference is anticipated to take place in the second half of April 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Vice President Heimo Echensperger re-elected

At the last annual general meeting, Vice President and treasurer Heimo Echensperger was unanimously re-elected for three years. Furthermore, Jaap Nieweg retired General Manager of „Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik“ in the Netherlands was unanimously elected as new member to the Council. He is supposed to take over the FEDECRAIL Presidency from David Morgan at a Council meeting in Hoorn in July this year.

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Three new FEDECRAIL members

Three new members joined FEDECRAIL. They were introduced at the 24th annual general meeting, which took place at Hof van Liere-Conference Centre at the University of Antwerp/ Belgium on 6 May 2017. The organisations’ names are „Fundación de los Ferrocarriles Españoles“, „Dampfbahnverein Zürcher Oberland“ and „Fedrail SA“, the „Federation of Heritage Railways of Southern Africa“. This means FEDECRAIL now has 43 members representing 655 trains/trams.

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Last call for youth exchange

Last call for participants of the Fedecrail Youth Exchange 2017 in Italy. The deadline for applications has been moved to Friday 26 May. The 11th FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange takes place from 28 July to 6 August at two locations in Northern Italy. There are still some free places for young people between 16 and 24 years. Contact youthexchange@fedecrailyouth.eu.

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Memorandum of Understanding

Photo: Vanessa Pérez

As part of the TopRail activities (Tourism Opportunities for Railways) of UIC (Union Internationale des chemins de fer) David Morgan, President of FEDECRAIL and WATTRAIN (World Alliance of Tourist Trams and Trains) and Jean-Pierre Labinoux, General Director of UIC, have signed a memorandum of understanding at the end of April in Paris (Photo). The common objective is to make train tourism opportunities more visible, to convey its potentials to the public and to increase the share that trains are holding on the tourism market.

At the annual general meeting 2017 in Belgium, Ignacio Barrón de Angioti, Director of the departments Passengers and High Speed, and Vanessa Pérez, Manager of TopRail, presented the train organisation UIC with its world-wide activities and their TopRail project. As one of its main objectives the union of train companies which was founded in 1922 is looking to improve the conditions for constructing and operating trains on an international scale by standardisation.

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Project “Study & Work International”

The Project “Study & Work International” is interesting for trains and museums that would like to take students for work placements or as volunteers. The Website www.study-work-international.de is run by the public and ecclesiastic universities in Bavaria. The project supports students of all subjects (engineering, languages, economics...) with their search for practical experience outside Germany.

All German organisations can post their work placement offers on Hochschuljobbörse (http://www.hochschuljobbörse) which is for placements in Germany.

Organisations from all other countries can send their placement description to susanne.stoever@hochschule-dual.de (coordinator Study & Work International). Your offer will then appear on the website for placements outside Germany. The students are supposed to apply the theory of their bachelor’s or master’s studies and get practical experience. They are looking for compulsory internships (four months or longer), additional work experience (up to one year) or bachelor’s or master’s thesis in cooperation with you. The payment of a salary is not expected. The students receive Erasmus bursaries.

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Heritage railway pioneer David Woodhouse dies at 84

David Woodhouse died at 84 in Aberystwyth after a short illness. He was the first Chairman of the Fedecrail Operating & Safety Working Group, the forerunner of today’s HOG (Heritage Operations Group) and played leading roles in the development of heritage railways in Britain. His railway life began in 1951, as a volunteer on the Talyllyn Railway; the first railway in the world to be re-opened by volunteers. He joined the railway’s management team in 1966, where he remained for 26 years. He was among other things a founder member of the HRA and a member of several railway and tourism groups and organisations. He helped forge links between the heritage railway sector and tourism. David Morgan: “David Woodhouse had a lifelong passion for railways, particularly those operated by steam. It was our good fortune that he developed this by dedicating his career and free time to the service of heritage railways in the UK and Europe. He will be sadly missed.”

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Two Swedish locomotives for sale

Two Swedish standard gauge locomotives are for sale: SJ E4 1827, former BJ N3 66, built in Motala, works number 495/1914 and SJ G9 1842, former GDJ N3 58, built in Trollhättan NOHAB, works number 996/1912. Both are in unrestored but reasonable condition. For more details contact svartlok@fedecrail.org

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Urgent: Booking for the FEDECRAIL Conference 2017 in Belgium

The deadline for registration for the FEDECRAIL Annual Conference 2017 in Belgium is Friday, March 17th, less than two weeks away, so please make your applications urgently. The Business Sessions subjects will include presentations by major European bodies with whom Fedecrail works, such as the European Union Agency for Railways and also on coal and environmental issues, focussing on practical methods of reducing emissions. The General Assembly is followed by a varied programme of visits in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. All members of FEDECRAIL or associated organisations are welcome to participate. Enquiries and bookings via E-Mail conference@fedecrail.org .

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FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange 2017 in northern Italy

The 11. FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange will take place in northern Italy at two different locations starting on the 28th July 2017 to Sunday 6th August 2017. Hosts are member-organisations of FIFTM, the Italian umbrella organisation for heritage and tourist railways: Società Veneta Ferrovie in Primolano and Museo Ferroviario Piemotese in Savigliano. Participants can expect a varied programme consisting of several railway related visits and also some work experiences at the host heritage railway associations. Also getting in touch with the cultural characteristics of this part of Italy as well as having an international exchange between the participants will be part of the planned programme.

Invited are volunteers on a heritage railway between 15 and 24 years old. Contact and registration – the latest by the end of February 2017 – youthexchange@fedecrailyouth.eu . Further details will be soon available online at: www.fedecrailyouth.eu

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Details and Booking Forms for “Belgium 2017” Conference

Railway station Antwerp. Photo: Ingrid Schütte

The FEDECRAIL “Belgium 2017” conference (from 4 May – 9 May) will be based in the Diamond City of Antwerp, located north of Brussels in the region of Flanders and close to the Dutch border. There are excellent public transport services and extra days before or after the conference for further private exploration are recommended. At the end of the main conference programme, we offer our traditional add-on tour to both Germany and the Netherlands.

Details and booking forms are available.

Enquiries should be addressed to: conference@fedecrail.org . Details as soon as possible see “Conference”.

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Livius Kooy to organise FEDECRAIL Archives

Following his decision not to put himself forward as Secretary again after 20 years and now that his role has been taken on by Kees Wijnnobel, Council has asked Livius Kooy to take on the organisation of Fedecrail’s archives. He is in touch with Dr Christian Hanus of Danube University in Krems, Austria, who can give him valuable recommendations on how to digitalise the available documents.

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“Belgium 2017” Conference: Altered Base Venue

A quick news update on developing plans for the 2017 Fedecrail Conference and General Assembly. As with the 2016 conference (and also some previous years) we have encountered difficulties in securing suitable hotel accommodation at the right ‘star level’, locations and - above all - prices which we know from experience members and delegates expect.

As our result, it is now planned that our main base for the conference will be Antwerp instead of Bruges. We appreciate that the beautiful city of Bruges is a very popular location and it will still feature in the programme with a full day Partners Programme visit. It is likely that we will also have a ‘Bruges Area Day’ to relevant locations of rail and tramway heritage in and around the city.

Key point is that dates and business programme remain unchanged: Thurs 4.5 - Sat 6.5 for the business activities, Working Groups and opening reception (Thu 4.5), main Business Sessions (Fri 5.5) and General Assembly (Sat 6.5 morning) with the customary visits programme for period: Sat 6.5 - Wed 10.5

It is envisaged that more comprehensive details and booking forms should be available early/mid December.

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21 young people at Youth Camp 2016 in Germany

Photo: Bernd Furch

For the second time in Germany, the 10th international youth exchange took place at the end of July/ beginning of August 2016 in cooperation with Verband deutscher Museums- und Touristikbahnen e. V. (VDMT - Association of German Museum and Tourism trains). The young enthusiasts for museum trains had already met there in 2009. This time the hosts were the Deutsche Dampflokomotiv Museum (DDM - German Museum of Steam Locomotives) in Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg and the Dampfbahn Fränkische Schweiz e. V. (DFS - Steam Train Fränkische Schweiz) in Ebermannstadt. 21 youngsters from England, Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Rumania, Austria and Germany - amongst them three girls - and five supervisors arrived on Friday afternoon 29 July at DDM. From there they went to the youth conference house Wirsberg.

For the ten days of the youth exchange, the organisers had prepared a colourful programme varying between work and visits without forgetting to include sufficient time to get to know each other and to reunite with old friends from previous youth camps. The programme started with construction work on carriages in the steam loco museum. They took off the rotten wood boards of the side walls on a former ambulance carriage for the transfer of wounded soldiers during World War I (gauge 750mm). The work progressed so quickly, that they could derust the first metal struts already on day one. On the following days they continued derusting and painting before finally mounting the new wooden boards.

In the meantime, the programme included a visit at the steam loco Fränkische Schweiz in Ebermannstadt, at the DB Museum and the tram depot St. Peter in Nuremberg as well as the scanning of sketches of carriages at the district administration in Kulmbach, in order to demonstrate the young people, that these tasks are also important for the conversation of historic railways. The youngsters from Ukraine were delighted to find a passenger carriage at DFS labeled KIEV. With equal joy, the co-organiser of the camp, Marco Meusburger was welcomed on the second weekend.

A hiking tour on the Schiefe Ebene, an extensive guided tour around the DDM with a look behind the scenes and the fare well evening with Heimo Echensperger thanking the participants for there enormous contribution completed the 10th Camp.

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Louis Poix "Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur"

The award ceremony of the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur insignias to Louis POIX, Unecto President, took place in Les Hôpitaux Vieux, the village of which Louis Poix is Mayor. The ceremony happened on 9th July, and the insignas were presented by Claude Jeannerot, French Ambassador to the International Labour Office in Geneva, a former Senator, and a former President of General Council of the Doubs region.

In front of an assistance of some 300 people, a number of speeches have underlined the work done by Louis Poix in the areas of volunteering and service to the population. Claude Steinmetz, the Unecto Vice President (and also the Veolia Transdev Rail Dept Director, and the Président of the Association Française du Rail ) highlighted the work of "Loulou" in support of tourist and heritage railways. - Five members of the Unecto Council attended the ceremony.

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FEDECRAIL “Belgium 2017” Conference

Preliminary notice that the 2017 Conference and General Assembly will be held on Friday 5.05 – Saturday 6.05, preceded on Thursday 4.05 meetings of our Working Groups and and Opening Reception in the evening. Our base will be the historic city of Bruges/Brugge in Belgium. A post-conference tour programme Saturday 6.05 - Wednesday 10.05 will include visits to a range of heritage railways, tramways and museums in Belgium, including the new SNCB/NMBS Train World Museum in Brussels. More detailed information of business themes and visit programme will be available in early/mid autumn.


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updated 24.01.2016