Belgium was the home of the first railway in continental Europe, but its steam trains were largely forgotten in history.
The old locomotives that helped build Europe’s Industrial Revolution are getting their own museum.
Train World, the vintage train museum due to open next year in Brussels’ Schaerbeek station.
Belgium built continental Europe’s first railway line in 1835 and still has the world’s densest rail network. The country ran the world’s longest passenger train, which had 70 cars. Now, 178 years after Le Belge puffed 15 miles from Brussels to Mechelen, a memorial project is on track.
Train World will be a tribute to the trains past, present and future. The reason so many old steam trains are still available to show is due to the care or ‘avarice’ of the employees.
When Belgium’s last regular steam service came to an end convoys of condemned steam engines were earmarked for the junkyard, but before they got there a number of enterprising SNCB employees disregqrded their orders and furtively steamed off with their favourite locomotives and hid them in remote sidings and dusty corners of rail sheds.
Many of these gems will be the stars of Train World.