HSL Discovery - July 2004
During a random bike tour with my son we stumbled upon another part the High Speed Link. This time on the southern side of Rotterdam.

This report is the first in a series of five expeditions to the HSL. You can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

My son and I were on one of our "random bike trips". We started out at the "Brainpark", but other than one steep cycleable hillside we found nothing exciting. So we crossed the Van Brienenoord bridge to the south, enjoying the distant skyline.
Our plan was to take a close look at the water tower of Ridderkerk (or Barendrecht?). It was built in 1912 and has an interesting castle design (BTW: 1912 is not old at all - the adjoining church is from 1600 or so). And eventually we saw the tower - but first we made a few interesting discoveries.
Just behind the bridge we found a whole district with derelict appartment buildings. They would be demolished soon - and some local people tried to help by smashing the windows and setting fire to a few appartments. Unfortunately we haven't found the time to explore them - and they're probably gone by now.
A bit further is the most drain-like thing in Rotterdam. But you would need a reubber boat to traverse it. And it's not long anyway - it only passes under the highway.

We also discovered a pool of green slime where alien heads were slowly growing - surely waiting to take over the world - but that's another story.

While driving over the topside of this viaduct we saw a building site and a wide open gate - actually, no gate at all. We took a closer look - and we didn't see a "do not enter" sign. So in we went.
A busy railway site with lots of concrete and huge machinery. Towards the south were new tunnels with heavy dangerous train traffic. We didn't go there.
We turned left (North) and followed this track. On the left- and right side was a long cable (?) tunnel. You could traverse it while crouching. The sun shining through the cracks created interesting lightshows.
Unfortunately the tunnel ended quite soon in some king of mini-swimming pool. You could traverse it by climbing the handrail, but I didn't want to give a bad example to my son. - In the mean time we were plainly visible to the many trains that were speeding by on the parallel tracks.
I love these beautiful temporary structures. They look like "land art".

We amused ourselves by throwing stones and observing the splashes. I was amazed at the amount of plant-life that was colonizing the dry sand.

We could look down into the tunnel, but there was no easy access - nothing that I would allow my son to do. We could only follow the stairs and pass over the tunnel. Still we had fun climbing and descending the steep side of the viaduct. It was harder than it looks here.
On the other side of the viaduct we saw a wide expanse of railway construction. It looked interesting, but we were too conspicuous - we would have to come back in the evening.
A bit further on the new rails were being used by freight trains. The old tracks had been blocked end would be demolished soon. We were looking at both the future and the history of the Dutch rail network.
From here we went on towards the water tower. But you've seen it already.
Urban Adventure Home Petr Kazil

May 2005