Ostend to Brugge

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SeanCurrie
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Ostend to Brugge

Post by SeanCurrie » Sat Jul 31, 2021 21:21

Hello everyone. Apologies for the interruption, but I know you guys know roads. I am an American novelist writing a story set in 1963.
I have looked at your excellent US Army 1959 map, but it's not quite detailed enough. Does anyone know the road from Ostend to Bruges (now called the N9, I believe)?
If you could point me at a map, or just tell me, I would be very grateful.
Regards
Sean

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exiled
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by exiled » Sat Jul 31, 2021 22:03

Welcome aboard.

It really depends on what you want. Belgium has been a first adopter for infrastructure since the creation of the Kingdom of Belgium in 1830. The route of the N9 is probably the best one to imagine although it will have been improved. One thing I would check is the language. The sixties are when Flemish really started to be used by the Belgian state.

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Vierwielen
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by Vierwielen » Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:35

Although this does not answer your question, Ostend was an important port for links to the UK. One got off the ship, went through passport control and onto the station platform. I did this trip many times in the late 1970's.

WHBM
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by WHBM » Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:19

We went on holidays to Ostend in 1962-3, and standard then was an afternoon coach excursion to Brugge, a quick run down this motorway. It was also used on another day for an all-day excursion to Brussels. Quite new then, of concrete construction with expansion joints between the blocks, it was quickly notorious, even in Britain, for slight sinking at the joints giving a bam-bam-bam progress. Having observed the Autobahn developments in Germany, I think the land was bought in the late 1930s for Ostend to Cologne, a major Belgian axis, but construction was not completed until the 1950s. Eventually it was resurfaced.

In the bilingual-ness of Belgium, even in the 1960s Flemish was the universal language in Ostend and Brugge, and French was not known, apart from those senior and more educated staff who dealt with tourists and spoke Flemish, French, English and German with equal facility.

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ravenbluemoon
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by ravenbluemoon » Sun Aug 01, 2021 18:08

Related but on a slight tangent - have the UK-Ostend ferries completely disappeared now? I was looking at going via Belgium to get to Sweden in a couple of months as it seems like a more reliable option that going via France/Netherlands. Looks like the only route open now is Hull-Zeebrugge.
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c2R
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by c2R » Sun Aug 01, 2021 20:21

ravenbluemoon wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 18:08
Related but on a slight tangent - have the UK-Ostend ferries completely disappeared now? I was looking at going via Belgium to get to Sweden in a couple of months as it seems like a more reliable option that going via France/Netherlands. Looks like the only route open now is Hull-Zeebrugge.
The infamous Seabourne freight were going to reopen Ramsgate to Ostend, but there's currently no operator on that route, nor on Dover to Ostend.

You can do Harwich to the Hook still on Stena, and Dover to Dunkirk on DFDS. P&O do Hull to Rotterdam. Hull to Zeebrugge was cancelled at the start of this year.
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ravenbluemoon
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by ravenbluemoon » Sun Aug 01, 2021 20:48

c2R wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 20:21
The infamous Seabourne freight were going to reopen Ramsgate to Ostend, but there's currently no operator on that route, nor on Dover to Ostend.

You can do Harwich to the Hook still on Stena, and Dover to Dunkirk on DFDS. P&O do Hull to Rotterdam. Hull to Zeebrugge was cancelled at the start of this year.
Oh, so nothing at all serving Ostend, or indeed Belgium!

I did Harwich-Hoek last year. Going on current restrictions I wanted to avoid Netherlands and France, but things may change in the next month :)
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:21

In the 1980's there was still a ferry service between Folkestone Harbour and Ostend. In 1959 the train from London ran down from the town along the Tram Road to the Pier where you walked off the train and onto the passenger ferry. The RORO car ferry came many years later. This GSV shows the pier.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.07713 ... 6656?hl=en

The ferries run British Rail at the time were passenger only, the Maid Of Orleans operated from Folkestone to Boulogne between from 1950 until 1972. As RORO ferries came into service they were all retired. These were relatively small vessels and were quite lively in rough seas. I travelled on that route in the 1970's with my dad, who was a veteran of the Dunkirk evacuation, and on the return trip the sea was so rough the ship spent and hour circling outside the port until the weather moderated enough for us to dock. Luckily both he and I were good sailors but a large proportion of the passengers were very seasick indeed. As I understand it they were built on the basic hull of a C Class WW2 Destroyer
https://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.u ... d-present/

The N9 still basically follows the same route as shown here on Google maps although the main route now is the A10.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/51.23 ... !3e0?hl=en

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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by roadtester » Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:31

KeithW wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:21
In the 1980's there was still a ferry service between Folkestone Harbour and Ostend. In 1959 the train from London ran down from the town along the Tram Road to the Pier where you walked off the train and onto the passenger ferry. The RORO car ferry came many years later. This GSV shows the pier.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.07713 ... 6656?hl=en

The ferries run British Rail at the time were passenger only, the Maid Of Orleans operated from Folkestone to Boulogne between from 1950 until 1972. As RORO ferries came into service they were all retired. These were relatively small vessels and were quite lively in rough seas. I travelled on that route in the 1970's with my dad, who was a veteran of the Dunkirk evacuation, and on the return trip the sea was so rough the ship spent and hour circling outside the port until the weather moderated enough for us to dock. Luckily both he and I were good sailors but a large proportion of the passengers were very seasick indeed. As I understand it they were built on the basic hull of a C Class WW2 Destroyer
https://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.u ... d-present/
You'd like to think that something based on the hull-form of an RN destroyer would have better sea-keeping abilities than that!

I made the crossing several times with my parents when they worked for the forces in Germany in the sixties and seventies. The Sealink ferries had quite a low reputation. I think my dad told me that one of them was actually a converted cattle ship - he became a firm convert to the Townsend Thoresen service via Zeebrugge, which had much more modern kit and offered an all-round nicer experience. They were, I have to admit, a shining example of the benefits of free enterprise (proudly proclaimed in many of the TT ferries' names) compared with the state-run Sealink.
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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by WHBM » Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:56

The N9 Ostend to Bruges etc is the "old road" through villages etc, the A10 is the replacing motorway. The old N9 between villages was a typical Belgian straight, 3-lane road with a poor accident record. Nowadays it has been restriped down to an S2 2-lane road with bicycle tracks on the outside.

The railway ships were commonly built by William Denny of Dumbarton, long regarded as the experts at short sea passenger vessels and hull design. Notably, they had their own water tank simulator to test hull designs, which they were known for. Their ships of this type were exported as far away as Canada. I've generally believed that the principal cause of poor seaworthiness across the Channel is that you are operating at right angles to the prevailing wind and swell, the latter gets exacerbated by the surprisingly shallow depth, to the extent that any ship sunk even in mid-channel has to be guarded against others striking them before they are raised from the bottom - something which cannot be readily overcome.

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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by KeithW » Mon Aug 02, 2021 14:15

roadtester wrote:
Mon Aug 02, 2021 13:31

You'd like to think that something based on the hull-form of an RN destroyer would have better sea-keeping abilities than that!

I made the crossing several times with my parents when they worked for the forces in Germany in the sixties and seventies. The Sealink ferries had quite a low reputation. I think my dad told me that one of them was actually a converted cattle ship - he became a firm convert to the Townsend Thoresen service via Zeebrugge, which had much more modern kit and offered an all-round nicer experience. They were, I have to admit, a shining example of the benefits of free enterprise (proudly proclaimed in many of the TT ferries' names) compared with the state-run Sealink.
As I understand it the problem was that putting a large but lightweight superstructure on an existing hull made them very stiff. A stiff design means they roll much less in heavy seas which is good from the point of sea keeping but they also roll much faster which is less so for passenger comfort. The result is rather akin to riding in a motor vehicle with ineffective shock absorbers. Its opposite is a 'tender' hull which will roll through a greater angle but do so more slowly. At the end of the day the most important aspect of a destroyer hull was to be stable gun platform rather than crew comfort. However when these ships were built in 1949 the yards were still tooled up to build escort vessels and very likely a number of incomplete hulls were left on the slips.

I can well believe the use of an old cattle ship, some of the early RoRo ferries were decommissioned tank landing ships.

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Re: Ostend to Brugge

Post by SeanCurrie » Tue Aug 03, 2021 21:18

Thank you all so much. These might not have hit my question head on, but they give good indications. For your information, I have used Southend to Ostend by Freddie Laker's British United Air Ferries, then returned (because the hero cannot stay in Belgium) on the Calais-Dover Townsend ferry "Free Enterprise". I used the N9 in Belgium and the coast road, which I believe was name 72 (according to my research). Again, thank you all.

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