ARRIVA in the snow

In Februari 2021 the Netherlands experienced a snow storm for the first time in over a decade. The extremely heavy snowfall, strong winds and freezing temperatures made running trains almost impossible. Switch heaters could not handle the snow drifts, only causing ice blocks to further lock up the system, and switches that were manually cleaned often snowed over again in a matter of hours. For a whole day, no trains ran at all. Late at night a few were sent out on the tracks to clear the snow and check the line. Hundreds of railway workers throughout the country worked day and night to clear the snowed in tracks and stations. ARRIVA was one of the first to get their trains running again. Although switches froze up and had to be burned into working order from time to time, eventually something of a service crawled to its feet on the second afternoon. Three brave DMUs, 255, 261 and 262 dutifully worked together to keep the line running. They and their colleagues ran deep into the night.

On the third day, snowing stopped and the wind had mostly subsided. Still the drifting snow, white world and gentle sunshine made for beautiful images. Here’s my favourite.

Vorden, 9 February 2021

Here are some videos from the previous day, when the snowstorm was still in full force. Services were only just starting to crawl back into action. I filmed 262 Dames Jolink, 261 Flipje and 255 Harm Edens in their battle with the elements.

Vorden, 8 February 2021

Brave 261 Flipje, alone out in the snow. He braved the snowstorm alone for a while when a frozen switch prevented travel past a certain station, and was the first to head the way when traffic as regular resumed.

Apologies for the wind noise here, however it does demonstrate what the storm was like. The wind made temperatures feel 10 degrees C below what the actually were and the snow often ‘fell’ horizontally.