Some of the steam locomotives look just like outsize toys. Or exactly like Emma, the locomotive in Michael Ende’s fairytale about Jim Knopf and the train driver Lukas. But as soon as smoke begins to pour from the chimney and the whistle blows, it becomes quite clear that this is the real thing! The historic narrow-gauge steam railways belonging to the Dutch "Museumstroombahn" run between the old Zuidersee stations of Hoorn and Medemblik, pulling in their train lovingly restored passenger and goods wagons. On their way they stop for a while at picturesque stations like Wognum, Twisk and Opperdoes, to let their passengers have an unrestricted view of the windmills, meadows and blossoming fields of tulips. There is a further attraction in Medemblik: the local railway museum. This contains wonderfully restored locomotives and wagons, as well as two amazing tramway box-cabs, a large collection of historical luggage and original signals. And if you’ve still got enough energy for a short boat trip, in Medemblik you can go on board the "Friesland" historical ferry and steam along the coast of Lake IJessel to Enkhuizen.
When the era of narrow gauge steam railways came to an end in the Netherlands quite a few of the old locomotives and wagons were turned into places to live, or used as sheds, even dovecotes. It was not until 1968 when the Hoorn-Medemblik museum steam railway was set up, that people began to realise how valuable they were as a living testament to the region's industrial history. From the very start the Museum's express aim was to restore the wagons and locomotives that still existed and put them back into action. This is why the historic collection does not simply consist of "parked" vehicles, but also of station buildings and signal boxes along the local railway line used by the museum trains between Hoorn and Medemblik. The result is a stimulating journey back in time through the history of Dutch narrow-gauge railways, which were extremely important for the development of the country between 1879 and 1966. One of the outstanding exhibits in the museum is a steam locomotive named "Bello", built in 1914, that used to run along the seaside line between Alkmaar and Bergen aan Zee. In addition there are two outstanding steam-driven tramway box-cab locomotives, one of which – "Leeghwater" - was built by Henschel in Kassel in 1921 and passed into the hands of a sugar factory in Roosendaal in 1937. For the next 30 years it was used as a shunting engine there. Such cab locomotives are as characteristic of the Dutch narrow-gauge railways as the few remaining examples of passenger carriages made of teak that date back to the turn of the 20th century. The major part of the collection is devoted to wagons, locomotives and equipment from the period around 1926. The exhibits are placed in a historical context by a huge amount of documentary material that allows visitors to get a very good idea of the development of narrow-gauge railways in the Netherlands. Between March and November the museum trains are put into operation on a regular timetable. The attractions are rounded off by a trip on a historic steamboat.
|Recommended duration of visit:||4 Hours|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||None|
|Infrastructure for children:|
|Gift and book shop on site:||yes|
July, August: daily 10am-6pm
15 April to June, September: Tuesday - Sunday 10am-6pm
15 March to 15 April, October to November: Saturday, Sunday 10am-6pm