If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


14 JAN 2018

DELFT - My welcome to 2018 is drying out like a Christmas tree. Days are getting longer, but it is by minutes each side. Still, that counts. What gnaws at me are the days when it does not seem really to become very light. That is an observation, not a complaint.

Ah, but there are big doings coming to Delft. About 100 years ago, Delft carved out a way through the west end, put down railroad tracks and built a fancy station. It was done in the style of grand old Holland's Spoor in Den Haag. About 50 or so years later, a raised track was put up. From it, passengers could look down and across Delft. A few years ago, train travel moved into the modern, high-speed phase. Clever Holland decided to build a tunnel from one end to the other for this.

Small Things dopz-2018-01-14w

I walk this canal on my way to the center and look around as I go. Maybe it was the very small, neatly parked, deep-red car that got me to notice the curtains - red too. I do not think that means its a brothel. But, curtains upstairs are also red. Nah. Sure, it could be, this being Holland and all.

I actually saw this happen one day. First problem was the passenger needed to get off the train. Two full-figured, capable women in Station uniforms were waiting when the train pulled in. They hoisted him down, cheerfully - everyone enjoying themselves. Then they carried him down the stairs.

In the tunnel, there was a bench of a sort and on it, every day I traveled, sat two Gypsies. One played an accordion, and the other had a tambourine. They sang corny songs, all the while showing wide smiles: a mask of world-loving happiness. They were old, wore the same clothes no matter the weather, and were always gleeful as if you just handed them 20 euro. Being jolly is a hard way to make a living.

The news is that it is done and ready to be tested. If it works, luxury train travel between very important capitols, carrying equally important people, will take less time. I prefer my train travel above ground, so I can look about.

Delft's track and station were swept up in the improvements. Ground was cleared, things dug and things lifted and put aside (the old windmill). Crossing between West Delft and the Center was often an obstacle course.

Those who decide did not tear down the old station, thinking of a restaurant, shopping and social clubs perhaps. The track was overhead and is now underground. A huge bike park is also underground, with another planned.

When the track was above, arriving from the north meant going down stairs, through a tunnel, and then up another set of stairs. Forget about wheelchairs. Need help, call the Station. They'll carry you.

They are gone from Delft, new station has no place for such. I hope that somewhere, in an old train station, they are still pumping a squeeze box and belting out old songs. And grinning their joy at being here.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen