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M.B.S. diesel-electric trams D I, D II and D III with wood gas traction in wartime 1941 - 1944 

The last day of exploitation September 17, 1944

The period 1940 - 1945, or the last five years of service between Nijmegen, Gennep and Venlo, were heavy for the M.B.S. company.

Partly because the line lay completely between the Maas (west) and the German border (east), after June 1944 with the airborne landings of the Market Garden plan, the situation became increasingly difficult to arrive at a good timetable.
With the start of the liberation of Nijmegen on September 17, 1944, tram D I EL 106 - AB 13 was on the station square of Nijmegen, D II El 105 was for overhaul in Gennep, of which control car AB 12 had crashed in Malden Noord on June 19, 1944 and D III EL 104 - AB 14 was also located in Gennep.


The purchase and installation of Imbert wood gas generators from 1941

Back to 1940, shortly after the Germans occupied the Netherlands.
Daily life went on as usual, many things remained as they were before May 1940, but many government affairs were taken over by the Germans.
This meant for many private individuals, but certainly also for businesses, that fuels such as petrol, diesel oil, petroleum, etc. were no longer or hardly available anymore.

So alternatives had to be found, such as driving on anthracite gas, wood gas or peat gas.
For the M.B.S. Wood gas generators have proven to be the best, they have already been used on buses with varying degrees of success.
Wood gas generators were also purchased for the trams, with Imbert being chosen as supplier.
In 1941, the first tram set EL 106 - AB 13 D I was converted with an Imbert installation in the workshop in Gennep on the instructions of the Imbert company.
Tram EL 105 - AB 12 D II followed in 1942 and tram EL 104 - AB 14 D III in 1943.
The diesel engines were modified for this purpose, whereby the injection device was removed, a thicker copper plate was placed between the cylinder block and valve head for lower compression, a carburetor was placed on the intake manifold and a complete ignition mechanism with spark plugs was installed in place of the injection valves.
To gasify the spools of dry wood, a high double-walled bunker with a capacity of 1.6 m3 was placed in the luggage compartment (the largest installed in the Netherlands at that time by Imbert).
The filling opening was accessible via a small narrow ladder that was mounted on the side of the railcar, not exactly without risk with a basket of wood spools on your shoulder...

The gas coolers were also located on the roof of the railcar, the pre-cleaners hung under the railcar, between the bogies, for better accessibility while cleaning the tar filters, a dirty job..

In addition to the bunker between the many gas pipes, there was also a cyclone catcher by Van Tongeren, a Dutch invention.
In this cyclone catcher, the small soot particles were 'thrown' out of the gas flow, so that clean flammable gas remained.
Likewise, the pre- and post-cleaners under the railcars in which tar and other impurities were filtered from the gas flow had to be cleaned regularly, a not very good job for the person who had to carry it out.

To be continued.


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