The war in Ukraine has faced us with an immediate shortage of coal for our steam locomotives. It has led to an increase of prices and interruption of the supply chain. In the Netherland ‘Historisch Railvervoer Nederland’ as umbrella organization for all the Dutch heritage railways, has taken the initiative to bring together all the railways to combine the buy of decent coal. It enables us to come with a reasonable volume to make it interesting for coal suppliers.
However, the total volume of coal for steam locomotives in The Netherlands is too small to develop a long-term perspective. Coal suppliers and coal transporters must get guarantees for bigger volumes to make it interesting for them to bring ships load of coal to Europe. The amount of money for buying and transporting that volume of coal to Europe bring risks to the firms involved in buying and transporting the coal. So, for the long term we must combine our efforts to create a bigger volume with which we can get competitive quotations out of the international market for coal.
The interrupted supply of Russian gas to Europe means that coal gets again in the focus for making electricity. Coal heated power plants are now again very much needed. This also brings more pressure to the international market for coal. On the other hand, it makes clear that we cannot work without coal for the coming years until renewable energy has taken over a big part of the role of gas, coal and oil.
We call on the European Heritage Railway organizations to work together on a European scale to combine our need for coal in the coming years. If you are interested to take part in this, please send an email to [email protected]
Pieter van der Ham, chairman
Historisch Railvervoer Nederland