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Belgian trains in the 1940s

#1 · Posted: 7 Sep 2007 12:15
Hello, I hope it's the right place to ask. I am looking for pictures (photographs, or just any graphic resources) of Belgian trains in the 1940s. I would also appreciate images from any other time, if there aren't any from the 1940s. =)
#2 · Posted: 7 Sep 2007 13:15 · Edited by: Balthazar
The opening page of The Seven Crystal Balls, drawn in 1943, features a train. It's travelling, we assume, from Brussels, since this is where Tintin lives at the time, and it stops at a village station which (in Hergé's French language original, where it's called Moulinsart rather than Marlinspike) is also in Belgium. So it seems probable that the train shown is a Belgian one (unless it's from a neighbouring country and is making its return trip from Brussels).

At this point in his career, Hergé was a stickler for getting the background details accurate, so it seems likely that this train is drawn very accurately from life or from research photos, and that the engine, carriages and interiors accurately portray a Belgian train of this period.

That said, the war and the Nazi occupation may have made it harder for Hergé to have gone round railway yards sketching trains without attracting suspicion, so it may not be a bang-up-to-date 1943 train. But even if Hergé based his drawing on a photo of a pre-war train, I'd imagine plenty of them still being used in 1943 anyway.

In Tintin's Belgium of the 1940s, the war and the German occupation are entirely absent, so any specifically wartime details from train travel of this period (German soldiers patrolling platforms, extra travel pass regulations, etc) are missing.

Hope that helps.
#3 · Posted: 7 Sep 2007 13:55
Thank you, Balthazar, it's perfect!
I feel really silly now, as I just read the story a few days ago, but apparently repressed the scene for some reason.
#4 · Posted: 7 Sep 2007 18:02
No problem, darkpetals. I find my brain often has difficulty remembering things I read just a few days ago (whereas it can often recall the details of books I read years ago, as a child).

If I'd known you had the book, I wouldn't have bothered describing the circumstances of the scene in so much detail. I couldn't work out from your post whether you were a Tintin reader or just a train enthusiast wondering which book to start looking in.

What do you want the 1940s Belgian train images for, by the way? I'm intrigued now.
#5 · Posted: 7 Sep 2007 20:12
It's the same with me, actually, that I remember clearly what I have read as child. Only, I've read The Seven Crystal Balls around half a year ago for the first time. I've been collecting the Tintin books over years, and I just do it to save some of them for later, as I am enjoying them too much to read all of them at once (which most people find strange).
I re-read The Seven Crystal Balls this week, though. (Sorry, I really should have mentioned that!)

And oh, I was looking for that picture for a Tintin fanart. Though I'm also generally interested in European vintage trains.

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