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European Railroad Discussion > Inside and Out: Dutch Rail’s VIRM double deck EMU

Date: 03/02/20 20:17
Inside and Out: Dutch Rail’s VIRM double deck EMU
Author: F7sForever

Like most other places in Europe, the Netherlands found a solution to its growing ridership by building up, not out. Double decker train sets are the standard all over Europe, and the Netherlands is no exception. When I was in Amsterdam and Rotterdam last year, I was impressed by the variety of equipment. But one model stood out: the venerable VIRM double deck EMUs. Looking into them later, I found them even more interesting than I originally expected.

VIRM stands for Verlengd InterRegio Materieel, or Lengthened InterCity Cars. The name stems from the first batch, which were rebuilt from DD-IRM, or DubbelDeks InterRegio Materieel class cars. Those, built in 1994-1996, were originally built as three- and four-car sets. They were quickly rebuilt in 2000 as four- and six-car sets by having additional coaches added to the sets. (Hence the Lengthened name.)

Additional orders of four- and six-car sets between 2000 and 2009 rounded out the fleet at 178 sets - 98 four-car sets, and 80 six-car sets. They are by far the most plentiful cars in Nederlandse Spoorwegen’s Intercity fleet. As previously mentioned, they were everywhere, and over half of the Intercity trips that I took in the Netherlands were aboard VIRM sets.

Starting in 2015, NS began a five year, 450 million euro program to rebuild the first generation of the VIRM fleet, including new interiors, new electrical upgrades, improved aerodynamics, and new paint. And to be completely honest, it took me reading a few articles and then combing back through my photos to figure out which was which. And I am still not 100% sure.

Photo 1: Set 8616 is a six car first generation set, or VIRM-1, shown here leading a second six car set into the station at Leiden. The six car sets seat 144 first class passengers and 442 in second class.

Photo 2: Set 8676 is another six car VIRM-1 set, shown leaving Amsterdam Centraal

Photo 3:  Three different VIRM trains at Amsterdam Centraal. The two at center and right demonstrate the differences between rebuilt VIRM-1 and unrebuilt models. The center set is a rebuilt set, and the blue stripe drops down from the door onto the lower windows, compared to the original paint, where the blue strip jumps up and crosses through the upper windows. If you look at the back of the lead cars, you can see some additional aero shrouds around the pantograph.

More to come!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/20 20:25 by F7sForever.

Date: 03/02/20 20:18
Re: Inside and Out: Dutch Rail’s VIRM double deck EMU
Author: F7sForever

Photo 4: second class upper level seating on a newer set. For short jaunts, it didn’t seem worthwhile to spend the money on a first class upgrade. And we weren’t ever on the trains long enough to roam around.

Photo 5: lower level seating has more facing seats, several tables, and luggage racks.

Photo 6: A four car set in the underground station at Rotterdam Blaak. To be completely honest, I have no idea where the numbers are on the unrebuilt trains, so I can’t tell you what generation these are.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/20 20:26 by F7sForever.

Date: 03/02/20 20:23
Re: Inside and Out: Dutch Rail’s VIRM double deck EMU
Author: F7sForever

Photo 7:  Rush hour at Amsterdam Centraal means a lot of VIRM trains coming and going.

Photo 8: A pair of four-car sets roll toward Amsterdam Centraal

Photo 9: Three trains are visible in this view from Leiden, all VIRM sets. A twin four car set waits to head toward The Hague, while a single six car set arrives. Beyond, a twin six car set rolls toward the station as well. Out of view behind me, a fourth VIRM set rolled up while I was taking this photo, meaning that all of the platforms at the small Leiden station were occupied by VIRM trains.

The interesting train activity was a small part of what was a very enjoyable first trip to the Netherlands. And mark my words: I will be back! Don’t know when, yet. My next two European trips are already being planned: a trip to Spain and Morocco next fall, and a trans-Atlantic cruise out of Barcelona in winter of 2021. So my dream of springtime in Holland will have to wait a few years. In the mean time, I hope you enjoyed this look at a unique piece of railroad equipment.

Thanks for reading!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/20 20:27 by F7sForever.

Date: 03/03/20 03:20
Re: Inside and Out: Dutch Rail’s VIRM double deck EMU
Author: andersonb109

The views from the back of the Ibis hotel are outstanding. 

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