Time travel machines only exist in comics and 'Back to the Future', right? Wrong! A trip on the Hoorn-Medemblik Steam Tram Museum also turns you into a time traveller. The beautiful carriages and old stations create a time capsule that transports you to a world beyond social media. What a luxury!
Truth be told, as we whisk you away to Twisk: the beauty strikes you little by little. The numerous farms lining the cobbled village road merge seamlessly into the entourage of the old station at Twisk. The station is one of the pearls that are strung together to create a railway line through West Friesland. We alight and notice how everything here is tended with love and care.
This season, the buildings beside the railway are under the spotlight, with the theme 'Please alight!'. During the summer, travellers are invited to participate in a treasure hunt to discover the stations. Director René van den Broeke says that although the railway is a unique monument, the corresponding buildings are equally special. The Steam Tram Museum now owns five, plus the workshop in Hoorn. “Our latest addition is Abbekerk-Lambertschaag. The money for our railway was raised in 1887 by wealthy individuals and prominent citizens in various villages. And he who pays the piper calls the tune! Which is why the railway line also meanders so beautifully through our landscape. Way different than modern railway lines.
The stations were sometimes located miles outside the villages. Benningbroek, where Abbekerk-Lambertschaag station is officially located, gives you a prime experience of that, because it is situated right beside the A7." The new acquisition is still being restored. There is always something to do and the steam tram would be nowhere without its volunteers.
Jan Doosjen is one of the many volunteers and is a proud resident and station master at the station in Opperdoes with his wife Monique. “We were living in Enkhuizen and had recently undergone a major renovation.
Just as we finally got to enjoy our home, we got this offer! There was no doubt, we acted right away.” Jan and Monique have been living 'in the museum' for three years now and everyone feels welcome. “We really make it special. We put nice things outside, wear a uniform, and serve our fried eggs sunny side up. We want to have something to offer when passengers get off the train. In Opperdoes we’ve achieved that with Pancake Station, where you can enjoy a meal. It’s a great combination.''
As you meander through the landscape, you’re bound to forget the hard work being done in the locomotive. Fireman Thom Meendering likes getting his hands dirty. Thom is the 'Max Verstappen' of the museum railway. That’s because he got his fireman’s diploma before his driving license. The 17-year-old student lives fifty metres away from the track, at Wijzend in Nibbixwoud. “I grew up with the steam tram. I was a fan of Thomas the Steam Locomotive (a popular animated series featuring a talking blue locomotive), and when I saw a blue one driving in real life, I thought: wooooowww, I want to do that!''
He scoured YouTube and couldn't wait until his 16th birthday. That is when you can start training to be a fireman. He prepares the locomotive and ensures that the journey runs smoothly. Not a simple job. “Obviously, there is a lot of technology involved, but safety is also very important.” Unfortunately, passengers are not allowed to enter the locomotive during the journey, but once Thom stops working he loves talking about his work and the history. "That interests me. It's my hobby. I’ve already seen a lot of steam trams in Europe." Beaming: "But ours are the best."
All information on timetables, events and packages is available at www.stoomtram.nl.
Steam tram in numbers