Scarcely anyone will be able to remember this name right away. „De Zuid-Limburgse Stoomtrein Maatschappij“: in English „The South Limburg Steam Railway Society“. But that´s not important, for visitors will certainly remember one thing: the gently rolling landscape of South Limburg in the Netherlands gliding peacefully past the window of their historical rail bus, or the authentic first-class wagon built in 1934 and still drawn by a steam locomotive.
The South Limburg Steam Railway Society (or ZLSM for short) was set up in 1988, immediately after Dutch Rail had shut down the passenger line between Simpelveld and Kerkrade. The relatively dense rail network in the extreme south of the Netherlands had been gradually closed down because the region´s key industry, mining, had slowly become less and less important. The ZLMS took the initiative to reactivate some of the stretches of rail as a museum line. As a result steam engines now run to and fro on the 16 kilometre long stretch of line between Kerkrade and Schin op Geul, and on a 6 kilometre stretch of line between Simpelveld and Aachen-Vetschau on the German side. As a tourist railway it has a special wagon, which can also accommodate bicycles. You can not only set out on a cycle tour from every station, but also go on some fine hiking expeditions in the neighbourhood. A brochure entitled „Spoorzoekers“ will give you more information.
The station in Simpelveld, the domicile of the ZLSM, is a particular draw. Here guests can recuperate in the nostalgically equipped station restaurant or simply enjoy a cup of coffee. Directly next door there is a souvenir shop, where you can look around for gifts. You can also find out more about the history of the South Limburg Railway in the society´s museum. Outside on the station site there are quite a few historical treasures, like the turntable pit, an old water tower and the locomotive workshop. But a family trip through the beautiful South Limburg countryside on one of the historic trains run by the ZLSM provides the most pleasure..