Posts Tagged ‘PlanV’

Trains: Nederlandse Spoorwegen Plan V


Our oldest son Nicky (10) likes trains, he likes watching them, reading about them and learning about those he sees and understand why they are built like they are. He is fortunate in that my father is also a big train fan, he has a model rail layout in one of the big barns that takes up the whole barn ! Opa (grandfather) knows all about trains from most countries to one degree or another. As my dad had no sons we daughters acted as stand in sons and learnt about trains from him – you would be amazed at just how much I know about trains ! Now father has a total of three grandsons and they have been infected with the train bug.

NS Plan V pulling into Geleen-Lutterade on a foggy morning.

Recently a dear friend of ours from Norway, Karl, informed us of a programme on Norwegian TV that followed a 10 hour train journey in real time from Trondhiem to Bodo along the beautiful fiord coast. Nicky can now tell us all about every aspect of the Nordland Railway linking those cities, the design of the locos and trains and why everything is engineered the way it is.

As a little thank you to Karl Nicky has drawn his favorite Dutch train for Karl and now he is going to tell you all about the Plan V trains.

Judith vd R.


NS Plan V

After WW2 much of Dutch Railways (NS) rolling stock was damaged, worn out or stolen by the occupying forces and it was recognised that Holland needed new equipment so a series of long term investment plans were drawn up. Part of the plans was to continue with electrifying NS, which had been started before the war. Holland is a country with little coal, not much wood and no oil so electrifying railways made sense. The country is also small but with densely populated city areas which the government planned to grow quickly following the war so more efficient trains were needed.


The first were the  the “Material 54” sets called Plan F, G, P, , M and Q, all based on a design that at that time were modern and stream lined. Very quickly they became known as “Hondekop” or “Dogs Heads”. They were comfortable units but rather heavy so when ten years later NS wanted more units the same basic design shape was kept, thought more effort made to reduce their weight, these were the The NS Mat ’64 or Materieel ’64 electric multiple units and were built by Werkspoor and later by Duwag and Wagonfabrik (later to become Talbot, then Bombardier) between 1961 and 1976. They were built in several batches from V1 to V13.


They have served all over Holland for over 50 years, carried millions and millions of people, bikes, school parties, soldiers and holiday makers. They have covered several million kilometres each in all sorts of weathers but they are wearing out. Many have now been taken out of service to provide spare parts to keep others running and in rail yards like Amsterdam, Amersfoort, Zwolle and here in Maastricht their are now long lines of them retired. Some have been rebuilt and sold to other countries like the Balkans but here by 2015 they will all be gone.


Now new trains with better and more energy efficient technology are being built. The new trains have much better steps that can extend and retract so that my disabled sister can use the trains more safely. You can see from one end of the train all the way to the other when you are inside. They have features like Monitors in them that show the train name, number, departure and arrival times, the route and if there is a problem so for those like my Mother and I who cannot hear train announcement still learn what is happening. They have brakes that do not make toxic dusts and that generate electricity to put back into the wires ! But they do not have the character of the Plan V’s. Perhaps character comes with age and so when I am my Opa’s age I will think the same of them. I will see.

Author: Nicky vd R.