In September 1879, the first private line concession was granted in Belgium at the instigation of Senator Joseph-Emmanuel Zaman (nicknamed “the Baron”), an industrialist living at Château de Wasseiges who had built his fortune by founding the Ambresin sugar refinery. This was the birth of the Zaman train! Running on a 9.5 km line between Noville-sur-Mehaigne and Ambresin, this narrow-gauge train, initially intended for transporting beet to the region’s sugar factories, was granted its concession on condition that it also carried passengers.
Belgian in design, the Zaman locomotives had no tender, so they could run as easily forwards as backwards. This train was very popular, with people coming from Brussels and abroad to discover it. The cars had narrow doors that prevented overweight passengers from entering.
Rails and engines were dismantled during World War I.