Photo  Transport
Home of bus, tram, ferry and lorry photographs


July 2003
Travelogue - River Schelde Day Trip
A visit to far flung bits of The Netherlands

Zeeland is the most southerly province of The Netherlands.   It is split in two by the River Schelde which runs from Antwerp in Belgium into the North Sea.   The only means of reaching this part of the Netherlands is by road through Belgium or by sea across the Schelde.   Until recently two ferry routes operated across the river - one from Vlissingen to Breskens and the other from Kruiningen to Perkpolder.   However in March 2003, the Westerschelde tunnel was opened which means all the car ferries operated by PSD are redundant.   Two fast ferries have been ordered to provide a passenger link on the Vlissingen service from 2004.   While I lived in Amsterdam I took a day trip to this outpost of the Dutch empire, sampling trams, trains, ferries and buses in the process.

Koningin Beatrix from PSD on the River Schelde in July 1995.
tram-713-621.JPG (74084 bytes)
GVB tram 621 on the (2) route to Sloten at Amsterdam CS in August 1995.

Old South Amsterdam – Amsterdam
Sleepy tram ride.

Amsterdam – Roosendahl
International trains are one of my favourite types of transport.   There is nothing quite like stepping onto a train in Switzerland on a journey from Belgium to Austria, mingling with dishevelled bag packers, smartly dressed business people and locals on shopping trips.   The Benelux train that plies hourly between Amsterdam and Brussels serving Rotterdam and Antwerp though is a slightly different affair.   The Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium blend almost into one at places, so travellers barely know which country they are in.   The service is operated by a Belgian locomotive hauling a mix of Dutch carriages (how organised) and is fast, comfortable and efficient.   Proper coffee is also available from a proper coffee machine wheeled up and down the train by friendly staff.   And the toilets are always immaculate.   I bought a return ticket from Amsterdam to Antwerp and broke my journey at Roosendahl, almost at the Belgian border.

zwn.gif (2071 bytes) psd.gif (33870 bytes)
benelux-brussel-zuid-feb95.JPG (53882 bytes)
Benelux train at Brussel-Zuid in February 1995.
breskens-zwn-knokke-delijn-brugge-jul95.JPG (36270 bytes)
ZWN and De Lijn vehicles at Breskens in July 1995.

Roosendahl – Yerseke
I caught one of the so-called MAT64 class of EMU trains from Roosendahl.   As I was crossing the platform, I suddenly realised that I didn’t have a valid ticket for this portion of the journey – and I had no time to buy one.   I decided to risk it, and sat down on one of the flip-up seats at the door.   This service stopped at a lot of major lamp posts and a few minor ones too.   Eventually, with one stop to go a beefy, burly ticket inspector appeared.   However, she was not impressed with my enormous ticket (for some reason all international tickets are the size of computer punch cards).   Despite pleas in English (the old tourist trick, even though I’d been resident for nearly three years at this stage), she demanded an excess fare of 40NLG (about £15).   Thwarted, I duly paid up.

Yerseke – Perkpolder
Still reeling from the stupidity of my train fine (my stupidity not their’s), I managed to miss my connecting bus for the ferry.   Somewhat unhelpfully the bus destination was “Zelzate” in Belgium.   But after careful consultation with a map and the omnipresent bus stop timetable, I deduced that this was indeed the bus for me.   I therefore waited for an hour, at Yerseke station, beside the lamp post.   Once on the bus, to my disbelief, it boarded the ferry at the Kruiningen terminal, and all the passengers got out.   Once on the other side of the River Schelde, all the passengers got back on the bus and it disembarked and headed for the bus stance.

perkpolder-zwn-5345-vj20vg-3808-bv21tj.JPG (40334 bytes)
ZWN 5345 (VJ-20-VG) heading to Breskens and 3808 (BV-21-TJ) making for Zelzate at Perkpolder in October 1996.
zwn-hulst.JPG (60579 bytes)
The ZWN service to Breskens at Hulst in October 1996.   It is a standard DAF/Den Oudsen vehicle.

Perkpolder – Hulst
The service to Perkpolder had been operated by a mid 1980’s Den Oudsten bodied DAF from ZWN (South West Netherlands).   It was one of the last delivered to this design, being coach seated with bonded glass, and was a travellers delight.   The vehicle to Hulst was a standard modern DAF/Den Oudsten and had a clock at the front that told the correct time.   At Hulst I had a slap-up lunch (by Dutch standards) of a ham and cheese toastie with chips and fritesaus (mayonnaise is mandatory).

Hulst – Antwerp
BBA operate a truly international bus service from Hulst (NL) to Antwerp (B) to Breda (NL).   I caught the Berkhof/DAF coach and paid my fare in Dutch Guilders.   No sooner had it left Hulst, than the driver was accepting Belgian Francs from the next passenger as it had crossed the border.   One language (Flemish), two countries, two currencies, no problem.   The service stops at the central bus stances in Antwerp which is where I got out.   Antwerp is often overlooked by tourists, despite its variety of cafes and restaurants, its old town full of specialist shops and its abundant transport systems (buses and trams everywhere).   I passed several hours there till I caught the train back to Amsterdam from the most impressive central railway station.

Antwerp – Amsterdam
Sleepy train ride

Amsterdam - Old South Amsterdam
Sleepy tram ride

antwerp-zwn-429-vn05dn.JPG (66838 bytes)
ZWN 429 (VN-05-DN) at Antwerp en route from Hulst to Breda on the (19) service in October 1996.
Location, Location
schelde-map.gif (28000 bytes) benelux.gif (18340 bytes)
Click to enlarge photos and maps
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS)
GVB Trams (Amsterdam)
Connexxion Buses (formerly ZWN)
Breda to Antwerp timetable
Enthusiast Links
PSD ferry histories
NS train photos
  Buses See more photos here Lorries See more photos here
  Ferries See more photos here Trams See more photos here
  Search photo-transport website here Home photo-transport home page
  New Features published every month. See next month's preview here
    Copyright 2001-2006, Ray Ward