THE railway between Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) and Rotterdam closed on March 31 for six months during which time it will be rebuilt as a light rail line.
Special farewell trains operated with historic rolling stock running on March 26.
The Hoek line is closely associated with ferry services to English ports, especially Harwich in recent years.
For many years boats trains ran to and from Liverpool Street and in the 1980s BR still ran ‘The European’, connecting Glasgow Central and Harwich Parkeston Quay.
In the Netherlands, Dutch operator NS ran dedicated Hoek van Holland to Amsterdam boat trains, latterly operated by EMUs, until 2006.
The branch line from Schiedam, north of Rotterdam, to Hoek opened in 1891 and was electrified before the Second World War, in 1935.
A wide range of international destinations were served by boat trains, which connected with the ferries from the UK until the 1980s; the last international service from Hoek was to Warsaw via Berlin and this ceased in 1993.
The opening of the Channel Tunnel and the advent of low-cost airlines led to reduced international traffic on the line.
Connections with ferries remains possible and will continue to be once the line reopens in October as a light rail route connected to the Rotterdam metro.
Previous stations in Hoek van Holland will be replaced with a new one for the light rail line.
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