Museum Steam Tram or Museum Stoomtram is a former goods and marshalling yard with existing old railway tracks dated back to 1887. It is located right next to Hoorn Train Station. It is a fully operational museum that makes purchases, restores and maintains a collection of trams and wagons. Museum Stoomtram owns nine steam locomotives, around 20 coaches and nearly 40 different freight wagons. Nowadays, this museum attraction is really about taking a 20-km tram excursion from Hoorn to Medemblik.
My kids and I arrived 45 minutes before departure time. This was such a blessing because we were able to explore the station. The main station hall itself was small with sections for ticketing, museum shop and café area. We walked out onto the platform area and immediately felt a journey back in time. We were greeted by old wagons and locomotives with conductors and staffs went about their daily routine wearing traditional uniforms. We climbed up the Hoorn signal box to learn how these trams would be re-directed and operated safely. Next, we strolled along the railway track towards the workshop to watch mechanics at work repairing and servicing beautiful old trams. We were encouraged to walk in and ask questions. Watch out for grease!
The children were able to take part in a treasure-hunt (speurtocht in Dutch) called ‘Steam Safari’ by answering questions and doing role play such as help the porter load suitcases. It was a cold morning with drizzle so I decided to skip that and board the tram early instead. We were directed to get on the first passenger wagon which was actually a third-class-seat carriage with wooden bench right behind the engine. This enabled us an uninterrupted view along the way!
The steam tram ride from Hoorn to Medemblik was an hour and twenty minutes with 3 stops. Not long after we started chugging, a service cart came by to offer hot and cold drinks and snacks such as chocolate, chips and candies. Another staff came later to announce the availability of mini pancakes, otherwise known as poffertjes for €3,50 per portion. If interested, we had to place our order, make a cash payment and wait for the poffertjes to be served after departing next station.
The first stop was Wognum Tram Station. We were allowed 15 minutes to roam about. As it turned out, our tram ride was filled with tour groups. There were barely enough time to have a look around the crowded station and the queue to the ladies restroom was impossible. However, the kids were happy trying out old-fashioned walking on stilts and hoop-rolling games provided at the station. The following two stops Twisk and Opperdoes stations were a passing through with no stopping time.
Sitting on the first wagon was the best! We were allowed to stand on the saloon-deck just an arm’s length away from the locomotive. I experienced first hand the loudness of a chugging locomotive and felt the steam licked my face. We enjoyed unrestricted view of the windmills, meadows, farm animals and endless fields of flowers. We watch the conductor in awe jumping on and off the tram to operate the road barriers. He was no young chap.
I took a video while on the saloon-deck capturing what could have been, a beautiful scenery at the peak of spring time.
Video link: https://www.facebook.com/iBecomingDutch/videos/1134100189973436/
Literally, this is a museum on wheels travelling from village to village across the lovely west Frisian countryside. The tram rides run from the end of March till early November. It has a daily departure scheduled at 1040hrs from Hoorn and arriving at 1200hrs in Medemblik. It is possible to venture further with a boat ride from Medemblik to Enkhuizen. Frequency of return trams back to Hoorn may vary according to season. Check website for details. Otherwise, a 30-minutes bus ride is the alternative. While you are at Medemblik, be sure to visit Bakery Museum and Castle Radboud.
Admission: One way ticket Hoorn – Medemblik or vice versa cost €12.40 for adults and €9.10 for kids age 4-12 years. Free entry with Museum Card.
– Be there at least 30 min before departure time to explore.
– Board the tram early to be on the first wagon.
– Bring snacks if you are with kids (just in case).
– Play the game of ‘waving at strangers’ when at rail crossing.
Hope for blossoming flower fields along the way.