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Railway line 74

Railway line 74

War ruins along the 'Frontzate'

The Frontzate, the former railway line 74 connecting Diksmuide with Nieuwpoort, suddenly played a leading role as a front line during the First World War.

After German troops marched into Belgium in 1914, the Belgian army retreated behind the Yzer River and opened the sluices at Nieuwpoort. As a result, the water gushes into the Yzer valley up to the railway embankment, which serves as a flood barrier.

Villa Bertha

The German advance was stopped thanks to the artificial inundation of the Yzer. Meanwhile, the Belgian troops built a tangle of trenches, observation towers and bunkers along the railway line, including Villa Bertha, a Belgian machine gun post just behind the railway embankment, and a Red Cross post.

Ramskapelle station was one of the observation posts along the railway line and was reinforced with concrete slabs.

Observation tower

Further away, the Belgian army built an observation tower, such as this 14-meter-high leaning tower on the remains of the parsonage in Pervijze.


Several monuments commemorate the victims who fell here, such as the Belgian military cemetery of Ramskapelle. Six hundred fighters from the First World War are buried here.


After the Armistice in 1918, the railway, built in 1868-1869, found its second breath. The iron bridge over the Nieuwpoort-Diksmuide canal was being rebuilt. This 21-meter-long specimen dates from 1920.

Tourist line

The 15.8-kilometer-long line took tourists from Diksmuide to the sea until 1952. Freight transport would remain there until 1974. In 1977, the tracks were broken up, and the railway ended.

Posts, bridges and even a rail (processed as a support beam in a bunker) from 1904 from the Cockerill steel plant in Ougrée remind us of the railway.

In the 1980s, there were plans to build a tourist tram line on railway line 74, but after the installation of two buffer blocks at Ramskapelle station, the idea was buried.

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