British visitors at Belgian gala spectacular

BELGIAN heritage railway Stoomcentrum Maldegem (Maldegem to Eeklo), located between Bruges and Ghent, held a successful gala on May 5-6, with the theme being the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The location of the line was occupied by the German Army from 1914 to 1918 and some Belgian historical re-enactors came dressed in German uniform.

0-4-0T No. 9 Jack (Barclay 1871/1925), originally used at the Granton Gas Works, Edinburgh, was one of the visitors from the UK. It is seen on the narrow gauge line in the suburbs of Maldegem on May 5. The bridge it is passing under was built for the former standard gauge line that closed in 1970. KEITH FENDER

Plans to run trains into the main station at Eeklo – giving cross-platform connections to mainline trains from Ghent – have been delayed until all of the necessary infrastructure is in place and the paperwork finalised.

Standard gauge locos in use included both British-built saddle tanks that are based on the line (Hunslet 0-6-0ST No. 75196 [ex-WD No. 196]) and Avonside 0-4-0ST Fred, plus 1893 vintage 040T Yvonne, which worked a special non-passenger train, incorporating a large poppy sculpture as part of the ‘Last Post’ remembrance celebration each day.

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