OVERSEAS VISIT REPORTS
Sweden to USA
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Howard Forster July 2009.
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Visit Report. Allan Baxter reporting.
Friday 19/09/14. At St. Pancras train 9116 at 08.58 to Brussels was called at 08.36 and was set 373.205/6 leaving from platform 10. Transit of tunnel took 19 minutes. Occupants of Lille Fives yard included BB 66115, two BB 25500 and a Y. Some of the new Eurostar stock was in view at Forest depot and 374.002 was identifiable. Arrival at Brussels Midi was on time at 1205. I was spending one night in Namur and the 1233 Luxembourg was formed of sets 515/505. Before we left I noted an absence of standard 2-car emus, although there were certainly some on my return later on. There was slow running for some of the distance because of on-going works out as far as Ottignies. I was booked into the Grand Hotel de Flandres opposite Namur Station and after depositing my luggage I came back to Platforms 4/5 to observe the on-goings. Not long after my return Akiem 186s 186/184 came through at the head of a westbound freight service. Freight quantities were not enormous and were Class 13/CFL Class 3000 in the main. There were two Class 28 interlopers 2822 and 2828 and no SNCF BB36000. On the passenger side EC97 Brussels to Basel turned up 75 min late with 1348 as traction. EC90 may have appeared while I was away having my evening meal and EC96 was absent at 2140. The two Brussels-Liege/Dinant which are loco-hauled produced 1893(fore) and 1824(aft) at 1718 and 1890 and 1823 an hour later. There were more of the new 08 units about this year than last and one peak-hour service to Jemelle was formed of 08546/557/552. There were therefore fewer standard two-car sets seen, half of them being from the refurbished CityRail batch 961-999. The 800 quads have a regular hourly run through Namur to Jambes, some of them are in woebegone condition and surely must be on borrowed time. What will replace them? It must be noted that the Break sets are also 30+years old, they were originally delivered as two-car sets until someone had the idea of adding a centre car to them. Although some of them have been repainted, most have not and look distinctly scruffy.
Saturday 20/09/14: I was on my way to Chur, first of all
in EC91 at 0841 to Basel. This arrived on time at Namur behind 1347, and
was formed of six SNCB vehicles, that for 1st Class being compartment stock.
We had right hand running soon after leaving Namur, and there were two other
lengths of 2-way working also on the Brussels-bound track later on. There
were 2 NL6400 locos at Jemelle in red livery with DB logos, of which one
was identified as 6513. 08578 was waiting for custom at Libramont, this
is one of the latest of the class which should now be all in traffic by
early next year. 2001 was at Stockem with standard emu 204 and some other
objects. BB26165 was waiting for us at Luxembourg where there is now a 24
minute hiatus before continuing towards France (previously 10min). Some
of the new KISS Class 2300 emus were on Luxembourg depot.
Sunday 21/09/14. The timetable change in December 2013
resulted in Chur losing both its EC services to/from Hamburg. There is an
EC206 at 1108 off Chur but I suspect it goes no further than Basel (see
a later part of my correspondence).
Monday 22/09/14. It was off to Tirano today, but as usual
by normal service trains. The five single voltage RhB Allegras 3101-3105
are now all in service and are working the S-Bahn trains around Chur. 3510
took out the Bernina Express at 0832, and I followed in the 0858 RE to St.
Moritz as far as Samedan which was headed by 650. The first part of this
run, as far as the Ems Werk chemical plant, has dual gauge on the left-hand
track and 11360 was waiting to pick up a freight from the sidings at this
Tuesday 23/09/2014. Normally I would have gone to Weil-am-Rhein
to have a look at some freight but there was engineering work happening
on the line into Germany and as a result there were no trains serving Weil.
I decided instead on a look in at Olten and then on to Basel.
Wednesday 24/09/14. Chur was over for another year and I was now moving on to my next resort, Brig, for two nights. A trip on the Glacier Express was in prospect. Before that particular service arrived I sat in the sunshine and watched the passing traffic. Now that all the Allegras are in traffic the former railcars of series 511-516 are no longer about, although 514 and its stock had been seen at Landquart and is presumably reserve stock for the Chur S-Bahn services. There was a departure at 1108 where the announcements, and indeed the departure board, indicated that the train was for Hamburg, however the stock was a standard rake of DD which is not passed for working into Germany and so passengers expecting to go to Freiburg, Mannheim and Köln etc would have had to change at Basel. The Glacier Express was attached to one of the hourly St. Moritz trains when it arrived in Platform 10. Usually it runs separately from St. Moritz, and after the normal stock was separated 626 came on at the other end of the train to take the 6 vehicles on to Disentis. It was a full train and we went away in beautiful weather. I have been lucky with the weather on the Chur-Brig run over the years. MGB101 was waiting for us at Disentis, the first scheduled stop and then the next stop was at Andermatt but we had to pull into passing loops on occasions to await on-coming trains. The Glacier Express is treated no differently from a stopper, if it is first to arrive at a loop then it has to go inside and wait! Beyond Andermatt there were two scheduled stops, at Oberwald and Fiesch, for setting-down purposes only, but nobody wanted to get off and so we rattled through these places without stopping. Arrival at Brig was on time and I removed myself and my luggage to the Hotel Europe which is on the far side of the narrow gauge platforms from the SBB station. After depositing my luggage I came back to Brig SBB Platform 9 to observe the traffic. On the way I noted that MGB have taken delivery of emus 2023-2026 in the last twelve months and they work the hourly stoppers to Zermatt. The hourly services to Domodossola were push-pull worked by 11118 and 11154. Some additional Kolibri sets have been added to Class 560 4xx and 415 was recorded on a stopping service to Sion. Freight was a mixture of SBB, BLS and Crossrail, and it was noted that the last-mentioned was using the old line via Kandersteg. 186 596/592 came down the 1 in 37 with a container train and 186 901/903 went the other way with a service for Germany. Eventually I felt in need of food, and the Channa Brig restaurant, in Furkastrasse about 10min walk from the station, satisfied my requirements. A good glass of Dole, the local red, the grapes for which are grown in the Valais, washed everything down quite nicely.
Thursday 25/09/14. Today I was going up to Zermatt to
see if the Matterhorn was coming out to play.
Friday 26/09/14. I was leaving Brig to make for my next
stopping point, Wilderswil. There are one or two different ways of going
between these places, and I had decided to go to Montreux then the MOB to
Zweisimmen and then to Interlaken.
Saturday 27/09/14. A trip to Bern was the plan for today
and then a run on a line I hadn't done before.
Sunday 28/09/14. I intended to go up to Murren to see
whether there was a service on in the Reformed Church. I walked down to
Wilderswil Bhf and MOB304 came in at the head of the combined train for
Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald which divides at Zweilutschinen. Please note
that anybody who gets into the wrong part of the train has no time to change
at this place as the Lauterbrunnen portion is uncoupled and away in no more
than 45 sec! At Lauterbrunnen the cable car was waiting and we made the
5 min ascent to Grutschalp where BLB31 was the power for the 15 min run
along to Murren on a maximum gradient of 1 in 20 and with an intermediate
stop at Winteregg. The sun was shining and the big hills were in full view
as we pulled into Murren which is nearly 500 feet higher than Grutschalp.
It is a short but stiff climb up to where the Reformed Church is and yes,
there was a service, a Sacrament of Baptism, no less, which was most enjoyable
- and I got a shot on the organ afterwards!
Monday 29/09/14. Today I was moving on to my last Swiss
location, Neuchatel. There are a number of ways of getting from Interlaken
to Neuchatel but in order not to arrive there too early, I was going via
Bern and Lausanne.
Tuesday 30/09/14. Still on the look out for new lines, I had found another in the west of the country, the Nyon-St. Cergue-Morez line. I first had to get to Nyon, between Lausanne and Genève. The direct Neuchatel-Genève ICNs run fast from Yverdon, and the alternative of going to Genève and coming back out is to go to Lausanne and catch an RE to Nyon. The leg to Lausanne was accomplished within 500 013 which had 500 033 coupled ahead of it. 511 104, one of the 4-car versions of this class, formed the next RE to Genève and when we made the first stop at Renens I noticed TL558 218/9 in the bay platform on the left. As the original TL sets only go up to 217 I guess that this must be two of the former Class 550 which previously worked Genève-La Plaine-Bellegarde and which are almost identical to TL558.. The line on to Nyon is busy with all kinds of trains and when I disembarked I found that I had 50 min to wait for the hourly service on the metre-gauge NStCM. Plenty passed in that time including an IC headed by 460 049 and 460 108 on the rear. The NStCM goes from an underground bunker at right angles to the main line and was formed of set 201. Emerging into daylight we passed the depot and headed for the Jura brooding in the background. The line is single track with passing places and gradients as steep as 1 in 16. The southbound service was passed at Les Muids and was unit 202. In ever more hilly country we called at St. Cergue, where some peak hour extras terminate before, after about 50 minutes and 17 miles, we arrived at the terminus at La Cure, which is, near enough, in the middle of nowhere. The line terminates at a buffer stop a short distance beyond as the section to Morez in France was closed as long ago as 1958! The train returns to civilisation after 4 minutes, a pretty run and we picked up a number of people on the way back to Nyon. I returned to the main line platform to get a train to Genève (460 023) where I intended to ride in some trams. The Genève tram system was almost moribund in the 1970s with only one line left of a more extensive service (line 12), but in the 80s line 13 was constructed and the city took delivery of 46 new standard Duewag trams. 22 of these had extra sections added to them in 1997-99 and then in the new century more building work took place to link the existing lines with Genève Gare Cornavin and beyond. In 2004 the city then got itself a batch of 21 Flexity 7-section trams and a further 18 of these vehicles followed from 2009. Finally some more Flexity vehicles, 19 in number with 6 sections were put into traffic from 2011. There are two tram stops at Cornavin, one in front of the station and one in the underpass at the west end where the trams to the CERN laboratories leave. I took car 889, one of the second batch of Flexity vehicles, on the 15 to Palettes in the southern suburbs of the city, and changed there onto the 12 for Mouillesaz (is this the correct spelling?) on the border with France in the SE of the city. This service was formed of one of the original Duewag vehicles coupled to one of the extended sets and as they are single ended they have to use a turning circle at termini. They no longer appear at Gare Cornavin. I then came back to one of the major junctions(Bel-Air?) and got 898 on the 18 (a CERN service) back to Cornavin. Back in the station 22400 was arriving with a train from Lyon and the La Plaine services were being worked by 522 202/202/213/214 following re-electrification of the line to Bellegarde at 25kV ac which had been completed a month previously. 562 000 was also present with a peak hour service to Bellegarde which went from Platform 7. Two TGVs 4708/24 were also in the station and ETR 610 105 before I went back to Lausanne in 511 116. The station restaurant beckoned and I ate and drank my fill before 500 009 took me to Neuchatel.
Wednesday 1/10/14. I had a spare day on my Global Interail
pass and I was using it for a run to Lyon in France.
Thursday 2/10/14. My stay in Switzerland was done for
another year and I was making for Königswinter for the next 6 nights.
I went to Basel in 500 039, noting that the BLS 515s have found their way
to Biel where 515 011 was sitting. There was also another of the former
RM sets 526 261, and at Grenchen Nord we were crossed by 500 010/030 on
the next westbound service. BLS 165 and 169 were at Delemont where the train
reversed. The next ICN making for Lausanne/Genève was waiting in
the passing loop at Liesberg, which is the booked crossing point. At Basel
522 212 and 205 were working on S-Bahn line S3 where they don't get to use
their 25kV ac capability. One would suppose that they will be shuffled off
to Genève when the CEVA project has been completed.
Visit Report. Allan Baxter reporting.
Saturday 15/09/12. Arrival at Basel was about 5 mins late. After a bowl of soup in the brasserie I went for the 1533 service to Chur which is fast to Zürich and only Sargans and Landquart thereafter. This was formed of the usual DD set with 460 012.
A steam loco with number JS35 was noted at Sissach, and one of the new 6-car Class 511 emus was seen approaching Zürich. Later on RhB 3101/3 were in the yard at Landquart, they are two of the five single voltage version of the Allegra which will take over Regio services from Thusis to Schiers when the new timetable commences in December. Arrival at Chur was on time at 1752 and I took a taxi to the Hotel Freieck which was my base for the next four nights.
There were two lines in Aarau which I had not previously visited, the WSB metre gauge system. I planned to get there by the long way round via St. Gallen.
A most peculiar sight sitting in Chur's Platform 7 was a Class 450 Zürich S-Bahn set, 450 081, which looked most incongruous alongside the 12 vehicles of EC102. The reason for this very much off-limits appearance was made clear shortly. Sargans now has two new platforms numbered 6 and 7 on the Buchs side of the layout. At Buchs ÖBB 1116 092/026 were on shed and there was a DB 185 among the SBB locos in the yard. At Heerbrugg everybody had to bail out onto a bus because of engineering works between there and St. Margrethen. One of Mayor Boris's hated bendybuses took us the short distance to St. Margrethen where another S-Bahn set 450 036 was waiting for the run-in to St. Gallen.
Goldach (one station beyond Rohrschach) to St. Gallen is now entirely double-track. The connecting service to Zürich HB was 460 003 with DD stock and then 450 103 formed an RE service to Aarau. The WSB services go from platforms 11-12 at the south side of the layout at Aarau. I sampled the longer of the two lines first, that to Menziken which is 14 miles long and takes 37 minutes to complete. Shortly after leaving Aarau, in EMU 29, we came up alongside Suhr station, which is on the Lenzburg-Zofingen line. One of the new class 923 shunters, 002, was stabled here with 843 094.
We continued with roadside running in the main, but one section of street running at Unterkulm, on a rising gradient to the terminus at Menziken. The other branch of this line is 6 miles long and goes to Schoftland. It used to be that the two branches were worked separately but the same unit now works through. There is a diagonal crossing with Lenzburg-Zofingen on the flat on the way to Schoftland, again mostly roadside running and the terminus is reached in 20 minutes from Aarau.
At Schoftland one may catch a postbus to Sursee on the Olten-Luzern line as well as to some remoter places. Back at Aarau the next service to Zürich HB was a scratch rake with 11164 which was forming the 15.47 off Basel. EC101 was running behind this (16.07 off Basel) and arrived in the HB shortly after with 11120. 460 033 backed on to the other end of the train for the run to the Graubunden capital. On the way we passed 11207 with the stock of EC7 forming a Chur-Basel service. The Swiss are not slow to use the stock of international services on their internal workings, particularly when, as in this case, it is their own stock!
Today it was a run over the Bernina Pass and down to Tirano. As usual I used ordinary service trains rather than the Bernina Express, whose six vehicles went out behind Allegra 3509, locked out of use. The 0858 to St. Moritz, which I took as far as Samedan, was headed by 642. The weather was fine this year, in stark contrast to this same third Monday in September 2011 when we had snow all day in the hills.
Baby Crocodile 407 used to be plinthed alongside the station access road at Bergun/Bravuogn, but has now been moved to sit on its own length of track within the station. At Samedan I dismounted and caught the shuttle to Pontresina which had 630 in green livery advertising 100 years of Chur-Disentis at the rear. Allegra 3510 was at the head of six vehicles which is the maximum load for the Berninabahn.
There were two pairs of the former railcars, 51/52 and 53/54 helping out the Allegras, and 49 was in the sidings at Poschiavo. At Tirano there were two ALe803 emus in the FS station then E633.215 came in with a freight. Yard pilot was D245.2138. The return journey was in 51 and one wonders whether RhB will get itself some more Allegras to replace 51-56. There was no sign of the two electrodiesels 801/802, they may have been in the shed at Poschiavo or up at St. Moritz.
630 was again the motive power for the shuttle back to Samedan where the station is being rebuilt and one of the two island platforms was out of use. 651 was at the head of the train back to Chur. It was noticeable how much the trees on the spiral section from Preda to Bergun have been cut back over the years so that there is a good view of the other levels of line. When I first did this line in 1995 there was hardly anything visible, except the viaduct over the top at the bottom end of the second spiral.
To Weil-am Rhein to see progress there. 460 033 was on the 08.16 to Basel as the fast train in this hour goes only as far as Zürich but connects with a TGV into France. Next year there will be a new way of getting from Basel SBB to Weil thanks to the extension of tram line 8 which is due to open in December 2013. No sign yet of a turning circle at the Weil end which may be adjacent to the station. For the present it was 521 004 to Basel Bad and then 146 109 the short distance to Weil.
There was a decent amount of traffic either using the yard or passing through on the main line. EC6/7 has returned to being DB motive power and 101 105 was the Chur-bound train with 101 112 making for Hamburg. There was a good amount of private stuff, 185 575 of HGK, 189 286/999/983/104/936 in Mitsui black livery on passing freight, and 145 Cl 031 in a lime green livery with containers making for Muttenz in the first instance. DB locos on freight were mainly Class 185 but three 152s turned up and also two 145s. No 151s or 155s were seen.
Return was with 146 116 as far as Basel Bad and then 101 073 with EC101 which sat for at least 10 minutes on the connection from Bad round to the SBB station awaiting a platform. 11132 came on the other end as far as Zürich and it was a class 460 the rest of the way into Chur. RJ162 from Wien to Zürich with ÖBB1116 in mid-train and at the rear came past as we restarted from Wadenswil. Wednesday 19/09/12. It was time to leave Chur and head off for my next destination which was Andermatt, so a trip on the Glacier Express was in prospect.
The 511-516 series of RhB emus were vey much in evidence in their last few months of traffic before being retired. Eventually the 12 vehicles of the Glacier Express arrived from St. Moritz and 650 ran round to attach itself to the other end of the train before we set off on a non-stop run up to Disentis. Here the train divided and MGB3, one of the former BVZ locos, came on the front portion while MGB105 prepared to couple up to the rear portion. A pleasant journey on to Andermatt ensued in somewhat cloudy weather and arrival was on time at 13.44.
My base for two nights was at the Hotel Monopole, about 200 yards from the station with a view of the 1 in 10 into Andermatt from my bedroom window. Afterwards I went down to Erstfeld to see some freight. 11164 in charge from Goschenen. Erstfield has a large depot and additional stabling point for non-SBB locos which included some DB 185s and some Mitsui types. After a slow start activity improved with many of the freights having Re10/10 power. Two of these stopped to add bankers to the consist, 11329 banking 11685 and 11327, and 420 165 at the rear of a train hauled by 420 346 and 11677. A freight from the south rumbled down the 1 in 38 with Mitsui 182 597 and 189 992, and the lead engine uncoupled before moving off to the stabling point.
The train sat there for more than half an hour and in the meantime northbound traffic had to use the outside of the island platform on that side of the layout. There was a pair of Crossrail 185s, 581/597, on southbound freight and BLS 486 505 required banking for which 185 099 was provided, as BLS and DB Schenker work together. Another BLS working had a pair of brown BLS Re4/4s. Passenger services are one an hour in each direction with additional non-stoppers passing through which were mainly ICN sets. There is also an hourly Regio service to Baar-Wildpark (north of Zug) which is worked by an indiscriminate mixture of Classes 521 and 523. Eventually 11223 arrived to take me up past the Wassen loops to Goschenen from where MGB54 was in charge up the 1 in 5 to Andermatt.
Off to Locarno/Bellinzona today to see some freigfht. MGB53 down to Goschenen and then 11149 to Locarno. Four class 185s passed light engine at Airolo, 133/131/098/116. There is trackwork going on at Giubiasco, beyond Bellinzona. After a quick look-in at Locarno I returned to Bellinzona with 524 003 and sat in the sunshine to watch the passing traffic. There was more variety in the motive power at Bellinzona than at Erstfield because this is where Classes 474 and 484 may be found, they do not normally go north of Bellinzona and tend to work the line to Luino and into Italy.
Class 474 is the Swiss version of Class 189 and originally 18 locos were due to be delivered by Siemens to SBB but they were late and SBB refused to accept six of them which are now earning their corn elsewhere. Class 484 is a 186 by any other name, Bombardier having delivered 21 of them at about the same time as the 474s appeared. Occasionally a 484 may be found on passenger. Other freight workings had pairs of DB 185s, and the inevitable Re10/10s which would be going towards Lugano/Chiasso.
A pair of Mitsui 182s, 597/599 turned up on freight as did BLS185/190 and 186 904/907 of Crossrail. Passenger services nomally go no further than Lugano and are worked by ICN sets from Basel/Zürich. The connection from Lugano on to Chiasso is by Class 524s which work through into Italy. The first series of Class 524 are 3 short at the moment, they are to be found working Genève-La Plaine! The second series of class 524 are six-section units numbered 101-111 and seem to mingle indiscriminately with the four-section sets and neither series seems to wander north of Biasca. Eventually it was time to leave with a train to Basel headed by 460 067.
The dump of Ae6/6 at Biasca has all but disappeared and only two locos were left, 11417 in red and an unidentifiable green machine. What will happen to the mountain section after the base tunnel is opened in 2016? My guess would be something similar to what works over the Lotschberg as connections need to be made to the MGB at Goschenen, thus an hourly RE between Arth-Goldau and Bellinzona as these stations have extra platforms which can accommodate terminating services. Back at Goschenen BLS486 505 was being piloted by DB185 139 on a southbound container service. The DB loco had banked the train up from Erstfeld before transferring to the front end for the run on to the yard at Chiasso. Then MGB94 took me up the hill to Andermatt.
Moving on to my next destination, Martigny. Rather than hanging around for the Glacier Express - which doesn't arrive Andermatt until 13.44(!) - I took one of the all stations Regio services from Andermatt to Brig which had MGB 94 at the rear. Transit of the Furka-Tunnel took 16 minutes with no stops. The first of the eastbound Glacier Express sections was waiting for us at Bitsch, with MGB108 at its head, and the second section was at Brig with MGB106 as we arrived.
An IR for Genève Aeroport drew into Platform 1 of the main station from the sidings headed by 460 027,and curiously enough the trains on this route continue to be neither DD nor push-pull (anybody know why?). Track improvement was going on at Ardon, where the station is also being rebuilt. Arrival at Martigny was on time where I noted one of the two new emus TMR71 which are working the Chamonix line. This was operating only as far as Le Chatelard-Frontiere because of engineering works on the French side of the border.
My accommodation for two nights was at the Hotel Forclaz-Touring, a new building not far from the station. Afterwards I took a trip along to Bex to do the BVB (part of the TPC set-up), 460 019 to Bex. BVB92 was waiting in the street outside Bex station like a tram and we had a good rumble along some of the streets in the town before passing the depot and engaging the rack for some sections of 1 in 5 before arrival at Villars.
The section on to Bretaye is worked separately and Swiss Pass holders get a 50% discount. On the way back down the train nearly wiped out a car which had decided to move off as the train was leaving a crossing loop at a station. Returning to Martigny (460 044) I decided on a visit to Le Chable (where I had been last year), but this time sampling a post-bus up to Verbier.
610 439 came through Martigny heading for Lausanne with one of the typically very long freights which were once upon a time staple diet for this class. TMR527 511, one of the three NINA sets which were bought for this line, and are festooned with pictures of St. Bernard dogs, formed the next service up to Le Chable while sister 527 512 provided the connection from Sembrancher to Orsieres.
The postbus on to Verbier takes 35 minutes up a steep road with hairpins and breathtaking views down to the valley floor far below. It is not the sort of road you want to be travelling in the depths of winter with snow on the ground, and there is the alternative of a cable car up to the ski resort. After a quick run up and back the return service to Martigny was formed of CFF's 560 411, reduced to two cars in length. It was being used because of absence of 527 513, presumably away at works, and was seen working branch trains for the remainder of my stay.
For my last full day in Switzerland I opted for a visit to Bern and then a grand circle via Lausanne and Brig and then back to Interlaken. 460 064 to Bern. The Bern trams were running to a revised timetable because the Helvetiabrucke was closed for repairs, this affecting Lines 3, 6, and 8. Line 6 is the former RBS Line G and now runs to Fischermattli in the west of the city. The vehicles which operate this service are double-ended unlike the rest of the Bern fleet which are single-ended. From Bern I took a Geneve Aeroport train with 460 086 at the rear.
A new Flirt emu with TPF logos and numbered 527 193, was observed leaving Fribourg on a service for Neuchatel, also seen was 567 316 which was a TRN set but has been on hire to TPF for a number of years. The descent into Lausanne down the 1 in 55 from Chexbres, with the view of the lake and the French Alps behind, is one of these views of which Switzerland has so many. The continuation on to Brig was at the other side of the same platform at Lausanne and was SD stock with 460 108 leading.
We hear that the new 511s are going to operate an RE service from Geneve to Vevey and Romont on alternate half-hours from the timetable change in December so that will mean additional services on these busy stretches of line. 560 411 was again noted in the Le Chable bay platform at Martigny. 11424 was in the freight loops at Sierre and a freight for Brig emerged from the tunnel as we approached Visp, doubleheaded by 11345 and 11682. The 1536 over the Lotschberg Pass was BLS535 111/120 but there seemed to be rather fewer walkers waiting at Lalden and Ausserberg although we did pick up about a dozen at Hohtenn, the last of the four stops before Goppenstein. We changed to right hand running through the Lotschberg Tunnel and entered Kandersteg at the southbound platform, which is the one nearer the village.
Shunters at Kandersteg were 402 and 936 134. No freight was noted on the mountain section and I continued back to Thun to see what was there. 11464, which was probably the loco which had taken the daily freight to/from Interlaken was in the sidings at Thun and left with its train shortly after I arrived. Then Crossrail's 185 597 girded up its loins as 185 577/591 approached with a container service, most of the containers were Ewals Cargocare.
Has anybody seen this service and can tell us whether it is routed via the pass? The presence of a banker suggests that it is. The Rola trains which work into Germany now carry the logo Ralpin and BLS485 001 passed with such a service northbound. Finally 460 015 was at the rear of the train which took me back to Interlaken.
The Swiss leg of my holiday was over for another year and I was relocating myself to Konigswinter in the Rhein Valley, Germany, for the next 6 days. Firstly I had to get myself and my luggage to Basel to catch EC100, and this was done by the 0906 from Interlaken West which was 460 015. Crossrail's 436 114 was parked up at Thun until later in the day when it would be called up for banking duty. 11421 was outside the depot at Olten. There will be even fewer of these machines around at this time next year.
Arrival in Basel was at Platform 7 so I had no distance to go as EC100 was arriving at Platform 8. This appeared early with 11211 in charge and 101 130, one of the two locos which was in gold livery for a while for hauling a Metropolitan service from Koln to Hamburg, backed on to the other end of the train as I heaved myself on board.
Departure into Germany was on time at 1218 and the first unusual item I noted was 181 218 at Basel Bad. 182 572 and HGK 185 585 were also there. Some of the buildings on the east side (nearest the main lines) of Haltingen depot have now been demolished and the loco holding sidings lifted. The first section of the new NBS will be brought into use in December, this misses out stations such as Istein and Bad Bellingen on the sinuous bit of line beside the Rhein, and includes the 5.8 mile Katzenberg Tunnel. BB37023 was stabled at the south end of Mullheim station, and sister loco 37026 was approaching with a container service about to take the right turn towards Mulhouse.
There is now a plan afoot to avoid the junctions at Rastatt, south of Karlsruhe, by construction of a 10 mile section of NBS which will include a 2.6 mile tunnel under the town. Vossloh diesel 274 101, also bearing number ESG7, was seen at Karlsruhe.
We arrived Mannheim on time but as usual there was congestion on the next section to Mainz and eventually I had less than 5 minutes to get from Platform 3 to 104 at Koblenz to catch the next RB27, which I did as it was about to be whistled away. Plenty of freight passed between there and Konigswinter including HGK 185 606, a service double headed by class 189 and another with a pair of 185. Afterwards I watched the traffic at Konigswinter and could see the new signalling in action.
The level crossing at the station has been removed for now, and the signal guarding it is a simple red/green job without the additional distant aspect which used to light up when the main light changed to green. This meant that if two freights were closely following each other the second one would get a red aspect and consequently had to crawl towards the signal until it cleared. On the northbound road the signal beyond the station has four aspects, red, yellow, flashing green and steady green. The flashing aspect is accompanied by the orange number 7 below it, presumably this means 70kph. Both tracks through the station are now signalled bi-directionally.
It was quite busy for much of the time and although most of the traffic was Class 185 there was a good representation of SBB Cargo Class 482, and there were three pairs of Class 140, 805/806, 838/843, and 772/789! OBB1116 156 passed and private stuff included 2016 908, 186 107 and Rurtalbahn's 185 684. The SNCF got a look-in with BB37008 and 37015 working through. EC6 had been diverted north of Koblenz with 101 052 and would have been sent via the Sudbrucke to regain its rightful route without having to reverse at Koln Hbf.
A Ruhn-Niederrhein circuit was planned. A pre-breakfast session at the adjacent level crossing was fairly busy with seven freights in about 40 minutes, including one train for the Saar double-headed by 189 047/046 and another with 151 059/075. Before the 0909 to Koln came in a southbound freight was headed by 139 287. The RB27 to Koln had 142 822 at the rear. All other trains on this route had the 143 at the north end of the formation. Another freight went past double-headed by CFL4012 and another. Approaching Koln-Kalk a new ICE 407 015 was in the sidings. This was seen again later at Rheydt.
The Class 442 have now entered traffic on route RE9 Aachen-Siegen and are sharing the workload with Class 111+DD stock. The latter will be displaced when the timetable changes in December. For the present route S6 is still Class 143. I took the 1021 RE7 to Hamm which was 112 162+DD and runs via Wuppertal and Hagen. Opladen sidings were empty. The Hagen-Hamm area local services are operated by private operators such as Albellio, Eurobahn Keolis and RRX with emus in 3, 4 and 5-car formations.
The vast marshalling yard at Hamm was taken out of general use around 1997 but parts of the yard are still used by private operators and there is a DB stabling point. Hamm was fairly busy on the passenger side but some freight wnt past on the north side freight lines including 185 508 and WLB22 which has an EVN in Class 223. I then took an RE11 which was formed of 2xClass 425 to Monchengladbach. This runs via Essen and Duisburg before branching off to the right for Krefeld. Duisburg was full of NWB dmus numbered in Class 648, and south of the Hbf 182 560, 185 573 and ITLs 185 650 were stabled.
At Krefeld there were some more new 407 sets in the works plus some Class 420 being dismantled. At Monchengladbach I took service RE4 with 111 118+DD to Aachen and brand-new 189 451/459 were stabled at the south end of the Hbf. There was a lengthy stretch of single-line working on the left hand track before Aachen West yard where SBB Cargo Re482 028 and 421 385/386 were stabled at the north end. SNCB2843 was in the yard with a freight, and 185 600/580 of CrossRail and private 2016 908 which I had seen the day before, was also present. RE1 with 146 029+DD took me back to Koln and in the yard east of Aachen were two interesting Items, one a 203 type with logo Uwe Adam 9, and the other a Taurus numbered 183 704.
Another pair of CrossRail 185s 578/597 were waiting to join the main line between Horrem and Koln. Back at Koln one of the new Hamburg-Koln expresses was seen with 182 526/534 topping and tailing a five-coach rake of stock in a special livery. Then it was back to Konigswinter again with 143 822. Again Konigswinter was fairly busy in the evening and among the interesting items was 185 399 in its non-standard livery. This was supposed to be last of the class untill 185 401-406 got built as well! 140 838/843 turned up again and private Items included CrossRail 185 524, Railpool 185 683 and Mitsui 189 995.
Notes from a Swiss Trip June 2011 by Richard Franklin
Sat 18/6: On the first full day of the trip whilst en route from Olten to Langenthal with EMU 560.238, noted an unmarked DB 01 pacific marshalled in a freight train near Rothrist. Changed at Langenthal onto BLS EMU 526.260 for the run to Huttwil. Here joined a railtour run by the Historische Eisenbahn Emmental with ex DB 64.518. Routing was via Ramsei, Langnau, Wolhusen (RR) and Zell. A long break was taken at Trubschachen to visit a biscuit factory. Your scribe decided not to go munching but travelled out and back to Konolfingen behind BLS loco 465.004 to watch the working and noted 2-8-0T BSB 51 (SLM 1726/06) in the shed. In a factory siding between Willisau and Gettnau ex SOB railcars 576.049 & 576.056 were positioned either end of wagons and at another siding between Gettnau & Zell, 576.057 was noted.
Afterwards travelled with another BLS 526 to Luzern thence with EMU 500.026 to Lugano changing to EMU 524.101 (first of the 6 car FLIRTS) for an overnight stay at a hotel near Paradiso station. En route DB 185’s 101, 102 & 104 were noted at Biasca.
Sun 19/6: EMU 524.012 Paradiso to Capolago for the first steam of the season up to Generoso Vetta with 0-4-0RT 2 (SLM 604/90). A water train followed up behind with a diesel and a break of around 45 mins was taken at Bella Vista where service trains crossed and overtook. The train was due to stay up at Vetta until 1511 but your scribe had heard about a possible paddle steamer working on Lake Como that afternoon so a service train with EMU 14 was taken back down to Capolago.
To Chiasso with 524.012 (again) changing to a FS service behind loco E264.289 for the few minutes across the border to Como. No sign of the paddler just most of the inhabitants of Como walking about on a blistering hot afternoon. Just before 1600 a ship’s hooter was heard and the P.S. Concordia hove into view. It then worked a 1615 half hours run to Torno and back managing to lose almost 20 mins on the schedules because of the sheer number of people trying to embark/disembark at the intermediate stops.
Returning to Lugano on 524.003, MRCE Dispolok 189.998 was noted in Chiasso Yard and G2000 840.004 in the depot. 0-6-0WT 8463 (SLM 1623/04) noted at the Club del San Gottardo sidings at Mendrisio. 6 car 524’s 103/106/108 were seen during the course of the day.
Mon 20/6: Back to Chiasso with 524.015. This plus 016&017 noted still working in the area having been borrowed from Luzern until the 6 car 524’s arrived. Because of a van train stabled between the platform and the yard, the only freight locos to be seen were DB 185’s 112, 119 & 132 and SBB 474.103. ES 64 U2 097 noted in the depot and 843.022/025/043 around the station. Back to Lugano with 524.102 and a ride on the metre gauge Ferrovia Luganesi to Ponte Tresa and return with EMU 25 before heading to Bellinzona on 524.108 for a couple of hours. The only mainline freight loco stabled here was E474.015. Other 6 car 524’s 104/105 & 107 were seen during the afternoon.
To Locarno on the hourly IR service behind loco 11125 and a journey on the very scenic ‘Centovalli’ line in EMU 21 to Domodossola followed with a very quick change of trains at the latter owing to retimings in connection with unscheduled engineering work at or near Iselle. The train to Brig is shown in the timetable at 1810 but was retimed to 1751 allowing only a five minute connection. Power was loco 11199 for the 29 minute journey. Locos 484.001/011 with BLS 485.004/007/016/019 in Domo yard. At Brig two of the new SBB electric shunters were noted 922.011&012. Before heading to base at Olten at 2020 on ETR 610.008 on a Milan to Basel service, the following freight movements were noted:- BLS 465.009+010 with 184 o/r north at 1950, 11354+841.038 north at 1953, Crossrail 186.902+905 south at 2008, an Re4/4+Re6/6 north on a short train at 2014 and 841.009 north on an engineers at 2017. Crossrail locos 185.592+601 were seen at Thun.
Tue 21/6: Headed to Neuchâtel with loco 460.114 changing to 560.005 at Biel to see the three class 527 FLIRTS working for Transport Régionaux Neuchâtelois. Only 527.331 seen which worked the 1032 from Buttes. Most other regional services were in the hands of refurbished class 560’s. On to Lausanne with 500.011 continuing to Morges with EMU 523.023. Then followed a journey on the Bière-Apples-Morges metre gauge line. Travelled to Bière in car 12 crossing car 14 en route and connecting at Apples with car 15 which arrived from L’Isle-Mont-la-Ville. At Bière, car 11, shunter 41 and loco 21 were in the depot whilst loco 22 was stabled on stock in the station.
As there was no return service from Apples to L’Isle-Mont-la-Ville for a couple of hours, car 15 followed empty to Bière for (I presume) maintenance/changeover. A very pleasant line climbing up into the hills following the contours of the land with great views of Lac Leman with snow covered mountains in the background. Continuing south on the main line with 460.101, a stop was made at Nyon to travel on the Nyon-St.Cergue-Morez metre gauge line to La Cure right on the French border. The section from La Cure to Morez was closed in the fifties. The 1501 service was formed of one trailer and power cars 211 and 202. 203 was berthed at Nyon station with one of the older vehicles 231 in a siding behind. Another older car, 232, together with shunter 261 were noted in the depot at Les Plantaz. At Le Muids, track vehicle 251 was in a siding and we crossed 201+205 on the 1456 La Cure.
Car 204 was in the shed at St.Cergue. A very scenic line to ride but the appreciation of this on the return journey was completely ruined by noisy school parties getting in at the first station totally wedging out all three cars. The next 45 minutes back to Nyon were agony! Onwards to Geneva behind 460.087 to see what was working the La Plaine and Bellegarde services. The 1715 to La Plaine was 524.010 and the 1745, 524.009. The 1800 to Bellegarde was formed of EMU’s 550.002+000 with the 1900 being 550.003+001. TGV’s noted were 12, 32 & 745 and loco 7267 stabled in the yard. Returned to Olten behind 460.012 to Lausanne, changing to 460.069 to Bern and finally 460.096.
Wed 22/6: Out with EMU 540.057 to Aarau and the Wynental-und Suhrental-Bahn (WSB) to sample yet more metre gauge lines to Schöftland and Menziken. These used to be separated but now there is through running with cars built in the seventies and nineties jointly working the services. The line to Schöftland has much street running and the main depot is here. There used to be a depot at Aarau but no more, just a few rusty sidings after rebuilding took place through to Suhr on the SBB where there is now cross platform interchange with the Zofingen-Lenzburg service.
At Suhr two of the three Em 831 shunters were stabled, nos. 000 & 001. Only one unit was stabled at Menziken. Returning to Suhr it was off to Lenzburg with EMU 520.005 changing onto 520.011 for the run to Luzern via Hochdorf where shunter 16391 was working. New electric shunter 922.015 was at Luzern and EMU’s of classes 520, 523, 560, 561, BLS 526 & ZB 130 were in and out. To Rotkreuz with 523.034 changing to 523.005 and on to Wohlen to sample the new units on the line to Bremgarten & Dietikon. So new are some of these that no identification could be found on one of the units on the train apart from a piece of paper stuck on the drivers cab with 5014 typed in large numbers! Another unmarked unit was in the depot sidings at Bremgarten.
All services seemed to be worked by the new units in pairs apart from the 1728 RE service from Dietikon which was a single unit. Now heading for Pratteln for some freight watching, 540.022+ 540.067 were taken to Turgi, thence 450.075+043+100 to Brugg. Whilst waiting here for the 1842 to Rheinfelden it was announced that this service was five minutes late. At 1843 11426 trundled through on a freight! 460.041 then to Rheinfelden changing on to EMU’s 522.205+209 to Pratteln. This class has been built for the reopening of the line through to Belfort and for working to Mulhouse. During the evening five of these units were seen working services to Frick and Laufenburg but not on the Olten line. Pratteln is still good for freight movements with 29 seen in two hours with a variety of loco classes. Returned to Olten with EMU 521.024.
Thur 23/6: Firstly out to Aarau again with 540.048 and on to the WSB along to Suhr to photograph loco 831.001. Returned to Olten on 500.043 changing to 460.038 to Spiez. An unmarked loco 185.576 noted stabled at Thun. At Spiez changed to the BLS with 4-car “Lötschberger” units 535.103+109 for the run to Brig via the original Lötschberg tunnel. BLS shunters 402, 235.092 and 936.134 were at Kandersteg and DB 185.107+109 passed at Goppenstein. BLS loco 843.502 stabled at Brig.
To Visp behind 460.060 transferring onto the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB) for the climb up to Zermatt with EMU’s 2022+2013 crossing 2021, 2011, 2052 and loco 3 on the way. Locos 4, 5 & shunter 72 were stabled at Zermatt with 2051 & 2053 on the Täsch shuttles. Over the road on the Gornergrat Bahn 3003 was berthed in the station, 3062 could be seen in the shed whilst 3051-3054 & 3081-3084 covered the passenger service. Travelled to Zermatt in the gloom but 30 mins after arrival the sun appeared and just had to marvel at that piece of rock called the Matterhorn! Returning through to Brig on the MGB, the (mostly) single line got rather busy with four loco hauled Glacier Expresses passing together with the stopping service.
Before making for the excellent Spiez station restaurant behind 460.020, the following freights were noted at Brig:- BLS 465.017 north at 1727, BLS 485.003+486.501 north at 1742, 11238+620.061 north at 1746. After abendessen at Spiez the following freight movements were made:- BLS 485.018+014 arrived from the south at 1958, detached 018 and went forward at 2015. 11605+11341 arrived from the south at 2021 departing 8 minutes later. 11266+11680 arrived from the north at 2042 going forward at 2045. Back to base at Olten on the Milano to Basel EC departing at 2054 with ETR 610.014. Watched the working at Olten for 45 minutes which was quite intensive with 15 freights passing.
Fri 24/6: A DB ICE ride with 401.073+573 to start with as far as Bern changing to 460.001 to Interlaken Ost. Then on the metre gauge Berner Oberland Bahn to Lauterbrunnen with units 310 & 307 as far as Zweilütschinen where the latter was detached for Grindlewald. At Wilderswil, Schynige Platte Bahn (SPB) locos 12, 14 & 63 were at the station. Arriving at Lauterbrunnen, Wengernalpbahn cars 109 & 131 were noted before ascending to Grütschalp in the cable car (was a funicular until 2006) for a ride on the isolated section of metre gauge line to Mürren. Just over 4kms in length, car 22 was taken for the 14 minute journey crossing car 23 at the intermediate station of Winteregg. Returning in car 31, historic car 11 (built 1913) was noted in the workshop/depot at Grütschalp.
Backtracking to Interlaken with 310 again, an attachment was made on the front at Zweilütschinen to 307. More trains had appeared at Wilderswil on the SPB with locos 14, 16, 18, 20, 61 & 62 present. From Interlaken Ost the 1404 IR service was taken to Meiringen behind loco 110.022 of the Zentralbahn (ZB). Two class 130’s of that company, 001 & 010 are based at Meiringen for working the hourly stopping service to Interlaken and both were seen. At Meiringen, a ride to Innertkirchen was taken in the regular passenger vehicle car 8 built in 1996. The line is owned by the local hydro-electric power company, Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG. At Innertkirchen 1949 built railcar MIB 5 is stuffed & mounted and recently bought from Chemins de Fer du Jura loco De4/4 402 now numbered 12 was in the sidings.
Returning on the ZB towards Interlaken behind 110.022, a stop was made at Brienz to watch some steam action on the Rothorn Bahn. 16 worked the 1428 Rothorn then 1636 back, 2 worked the 1528 Rothorn and 14 the 1628 Rothorn. A quick look in the shed revealed 6, 7, 12 & 15 with diesels 9, 10 & 11. At Interlaken Ost 0-4-0RT 1067 was in steam outside the shed, being made ready for, I presume, a charter. Thun was then chosen for some freight watching and the evening meal which was taken in the station restaurant. Disappointing as only three freights were seen in an hour. Crossrail 185.600+591 went south at 19/41, BLS 465.009+188+173 south at 20/03 and BLS 170 south at 20/18. 185.576 still stabled here.
Changing trains at Bern new shunters 922.009, 010 and 020 were in the carriage sidings. ETR 610.005 was on the EC from Milano to Basel which was used back to Olten.
Sat 25/6: Firstly a journey to Basel behind 460.009 and to the Lost Property office to retrieve my notebook which I had left on the EC the previous evening! It had been handed in by the train staff after a very helpful member of the Control Office at Olten had made a phone call. Good old Swiss efficiency. Decided to head for Luzern and motive power was 500.040. Observed the working at Luzern for a while before catching the 1238 ZB service to Hergiswil with 130.004, changing to 130.007 to Stans changing again onto the Engelberg train with loco 101.965.
With the new tunnel near Engelberg being opened recently, the schedule has been cut by about 12 minutes. There are two passing loops in the tunnel which is just over 4000 metres long and took 11 minutes to pass through. Returning to Luzern on the same train, it was then off to Arth-Goldau in 560.103 passing the Verkehrshaus en route where 11413, 0-6-0T WB 6, 0-4+6T “GENF” and ex Bern Neuenberg Bahn railcar 727 could be seen. Before changing onto the Südostbahn (SOB), ETR 470.002 came in on a Zurich to Milano service and Crossrail 186.901+906 passed through on a southbound freight. A cross country journey all the way to Frauenfeld took up most of the rest of the afternoon using stopping services. SOB EMU 526.046 was taken on the very scenic line to Wädenswil, changing to 526.045 at Biberbrugg and 526.041 at Samstagern. There is a depot at the latter and shunters 236.008, 236.009 and 846.033 were noted.
At Wädenswil before catching 450.003+073 to Pfäffikon, OBB 1116.217 tore through on the 1640 Railjet service from Zurich to Wien. From Pfäffikon it was back on SOB 526.051 across to Rapperswil where quite a few SBB class 514 EMU’s were stabled for the weekend. SBB 560.108 was taken to Uznach thence SOB 566.075 to Wattwil thence THURBO 526.704 to Wil. Another change onto another railway this time the Frauenfeld-Wil Bahn with unit 15. A metre gauge line 25kms in length with much street running. It was time for the evening meal, unfortunately most of Frauenfeld was closed but I was lucky to find just one restaurant open. Back to Olten for the night with 460.102 to Winterthur where the third loco of class Em 831.002 was seen in the yard. 460.003 through from Winterthur noting OBB 1116.208 & 215 stabled on Railjet stock outside Basel.
Sun 26/6: This was a steamy day. The Oensingen Balsthal Bahn were running a steam special from Balsthal and I joined at Oensingen travelling in 521.024 from Olten. Formation was 4-4-0T 5469 (Essl 2498/91) running as JS 35, three coaches and 0-4-4-0T 7696 (Maff 1710/93) running as 196. The route was Solothurn, Wiler, Burgdorf (reverse), Ramsei (reverse), Huttwil (reverse), Langenthal, Olten (reverse), Oensingen and back to Balsthal where there was to be a shindig in the afternoon. I left the train at Olten and Plan A was to go to the Schinznacher Baumschulbahn where two steam were planned to operate this day.
As it was a very, very hot day I thought twice about the 30 min walk from the nearest rail station to site so travelled behind 460.018 to Bern where the steam tram was operating. Running on selected Sundays, it makes six journeys (starting at 1100 and then on the hour) of approx 50 mins duration varying the route each time. This day the 1500 trip went out and back on tram route 9 to Guisanplatz. Afterwards just managed to get the RE service at 1553 to Neuchâtel with BLS 420.501. These hourly semi fasts are worked by ex SBB Re4/4 locos. No sign of the elusive 527 class of EMU so on to Biel/Bienne with 560.120 to look in at a metre gauge line that runs from a single platform underneath the main station to Täuffelen and Ins, part of the Aare Seeland mobil set up. The units have a central power car with a driving trailer on either side. A fifteen minute service operates to Täuffelen Monday to Friday with every other train running through to Ins. Basic half hourly to Ins on weekends.
Headed back to Olten firstly on a stopper with 560.242 to Solothurn changing to 460.117 for the final leg.
Mon 27/6: On the last day it was time for a Swiss paddler so to Nyon via Bern and Lausanne, the first part of the journey being on DB ICE 401.580+080. Picked up the ‘SIMPLON’ on the 1015 Geneva to Lausanne. Only got as far as the first stop at Nernier when an announcement was made (in French only of course!) about a technical problem. Nothing more was said and then off we went now 30 minutes late. Didn’t make up anything on the way so it missed its run over to Evian and back and berthed until booked departure time of 1535 back to Geneva. By the metro on car 247 from Ouchy to Delices for some photography then by 248 up to the main station for the 1520 to Bern behind 460.031.
At Fribourg noted new FLIRT 527.191 in Transports Publics Fribourgeois livery. Changing at Bern it was back to Olten with 460.049, picking up the bag from the hotel then with 460.105 to Zurich Hbf. The final run on SBB was with 500.001 for the short run to the Flughafen. Another very enjoyable wander around a country with excellent transport links.
Visit Report. Continuing Alan Baxter’s
report from September 2010
Saturday 25 September. A grand circular tour,
Interlaken-Bern-Brig-Spiez-Interlaken, was on today's agenda.
460 011(!) to Bern. The Swiss Capital is in the process of taking
delivery of a new batch of 7-section Combino trams, numbered 651 upwards
(at variance with the Swiss Platform 5 handbook), while two trolleybus
routes in the west of Bern are being converted to tram operation and
there are also plans afoot for RBS Line G which enters the city over
the urban tram tracks.
Sunday 26 September: It was time to move on again,
to Rapperswil on the Zürichsee. There are a number of ways
of getting from Interlaken to Rapperswil and I decided on the Brünig
line to Luzern and then the Voralpen Express to Rapperswil.
Firstly it was a 5-minute run on an ICE set from Interlaken West to
Ost. The ICEs have always run with their 1st class vehicles
at the rear going towards Ost and it is be probable that SBB
have decided that their IR trains will now run the same way round.
Pity the poor 1st classers trudging to the end of a 14-vehicle train
Monday 25 September: First part of the day's outing
was a religious trip (!) to see the monastery at Einsiedeln.
SOB 526 041 was waiting at Rapperswil for the run across the causeway
to Pfäffikon before taking to the hills to call at Wollerau and
Samstagern (where one of the SOB depots is) and then the junction
station at Biberbrugg. From there it is just a short run uphill to
Tuesday 28 September: There are two narrow-gauge lines within the
boundaries of Zürich. One is the Forchbahn which exits
the city from Stadelhofen via the urban tram tracks, and the other
is BDWM Transport from Dietikon to Wohlen in the western suburbs.
I had decided to do the latter, and so started with a Line S5 train
as far as Wetzikon, changing there to S3 which serves Dietikon on
its way to Aarau. It calls at Ruti which is the southern terminus
of a Thurbo service to Winterthur, then at a place called Pfäffikon
in Canton Zürich which is not to be confused with the better
known Pfäffikon in Canton Schwyz.
Wednesday 29 September: For my last full day in
Switzerland I decided on a trip to Austria!! I had passed through
Innsbruck in 1999 but not since, so I was going to make use of the
Railjet service from Sargans. 460 088 was in charge of
the 07.47 Basel-Chur from Pfäffikon to Sargans. RJ163 arrived
about 12 minutes later with 1116 204 at the head and 1116 217 in the
middle of the train. We left Sargans via the loop constructed
in 1980 to eliminate one of the two reversals which Austria-bound
trains then had to make within 20 minutes of each other.
Thursday 30 September: Time to leave Switzerland
and head for Konigswinter in the Rhein Valley. EC100 Chur to Hamburg
calls at Pfäffikon at 10.19 and arrived on time with 460 047,
and the 1st class coaches at the front. This service makes all
the stops of the semi-fast Chur-Basel as far as Zürich from where
it then runs fast to Basel. 11157 was at the head of the train
on this leg. We were held up on the Olten avoider to allow 401
088, forming ICE374 from Interlaken Ost to Berlin Hbf, to get in front
Friday 18 September: 08.34 Eurostar London to Brussels.
The Paris train leaves at 08.32 and was called at 08.06, with the
Brussels 2 minutes later, so there were two sets of passengers on
the ramps for platforms 7-8 at the same time. I don’t ever recall
trains leaving from adjacent platforms so close together at Waterloo.
Saturday 19 September: “One of our locos is
missing”. EC91 has become a through train to Chur this year
and duly turned up behind 2004 departing 08.41. Stockem Yard had 4xClass
55 in the main bit and a line of Nohabs adjacent to the depot. Arlon
station did not have the usual collection of freight locos, there
were 3x23, 2x77, 2x20 and 2x13. There was two-way working over the
Luxembourg-bound track from Arlon to the border, while the other track
is being re-electrified. At Luxembourg there was no sign of the SNCF
loco meant to take over – normally EC91 gets the loco off EC296
but that had not been seen either. A delay ensued until they found
an engine for us and eventually 26165 appeared and coupled up before
leaving 52 down. Thionville was stacked out with 27000/37000, as it
was a Saturday, including a Veolia example 37515. Slow running on
right-hand pair of tracks from Thionville as far as the entrance to
Woippy yard before crossing to fast tracks. No time was gained on
the remainder of the French leg and at Mulhouse it was announced that
we were terminating at Basel. No freight locos at Mulhouse Ville,
and the loco-hauled 16500 sets have been replaced by some of the later
examples of Z27500.
Sunday 20 September: Still on the lookout for border crossings, I had discovered another one across the Rhein between Koblenz and Waldshut in the north of the country. To get there I had to take a Chur-St. Gallen train which was hauled by 11198, one of the six examples which had an ÖBB pantograph fitted many years ago to allow it access to Lindau. Buchs has become a weekend gathering point for motive power and there were several SBB and ÖBB locos sitting in the yard. At St. Gallen I changed to a Genève train hauled by 460 051 as far as Winterthur. Winterthur-Bülach is Zürich S-Bahn service S41, alternate trains being extended to Waldshut. This service is Thurbo-operated and another of this company’s tentacles extends north of Schaffhausen to Thayngen. 526 761 formed the 12.36 to Waldshut, which runs initially parallel to Winterthur-Zürich on the 3rd track which was laid a few years ago, before bearing off to the right, passing some suburban back gardens and some industrial premises before running into hilly country. It passes through the mile-long Dettenberg Tunnel before swinging round to enter Bülach, on the Zürich-Schaffhausen line. Bülach is another stabling point and a good collection of Re4/4 and Re6/6 were sitting idle waiting for Monday’s traffic – used to be Ae6/6 stabled here! From Bülach the Waldshut train continues towards Schaffhausen for two stops to Eglisau, where it bears left while the main line singles to cross the most impressive viaduct. Now also on single line we trundle along with the Rhein on the right and eventually enter Koblenz. As far as I can see the only thing it has in common with its much larger German namesake is that both are beside the Rhein. Once upon a time it was possible to continue on to Stein-Sackingen but this line is freight-only as far as Laufenburg, which is the terminus of Basel S-Bahn S1. To access Waldshut involves a reverse and swing to the right over a line which was electrified only about 10 years ago, then curving to the left through a tunnel, passing over the Eglisau-Koblenz line and then the Rhein, before rising to run alongside the non-electrified Schaffhausen-Basel Bad line terminating at a buffer-stop at the end of Platform 5, an extension of Platform 1. Customs were not operating and so I was free to wander about. Services are mostly DB class 641 single car dmus, helped out by Class 628 two car sets, all based at Haltingen. There is also a 2-hourly IRE service Basel Bad-Ulm which is operated by Class 611 tilting sets. These gave no end of trouble when introduced on Basel-Lindau in 1998, replacing a class 218+stock service, and from time to time emergency timetables had to be introduced to cater for tilt failure. From 2005 the service has run to Ulm instead of Lindau with passengers for the latter place having to change at Friedrichshafen. From Waldshut I returned to civilisation on 526 720, which goes back to Koblenz and then on to Baden. It joins the Baden-Brugg line at Turgi before running into Baden and an S12 service got me back to Zürich HB low level. Upstairs platforms 6-7 are currently out of use. A refurbished 560 set numbered 560 202, which is one of the Glarus line sets, was seen before EC101 arrived to take me back to Chur. A former RM set, 526 262, now under BLS management, was an unusual sight at Wadenswil.
Monday 21 September: To Tirano today, by ordinary
train rather than the Bernina Express which as usual was fully booked.
The train to St. Moritz was headed by RhB 641. At Thusis there was
an Engineering train double-headed by701 and 243 the latter a shy
beast which has escaped my notice until now. The Landwasser Viaduct
is undergoing repairs to its structure and is shrouded in red material
until the works are complete (end 2009 I believe). Similar work is
going on at one of the Albula viaducts between the Tuoa and Zuondra
Tunnels, this time the covering is white rather than red. Bergun/Bravuogn
station is wearing its alternative name of Madruns again, which it
was given for the film The Directrix which was shot about 10 years
ago centred on the village. Could we be getting The Directrix 2? At
Samedan I caught the connection to Pontresina (RhB622) where there
was a train bound for Tirano, but with only one motorcoach(RhB55)
and consequently a reduced loading which led to overcrowding, at least
as far as Poschiavo. The trip was as wonderful as ever and was blessed
with fine weather and I noted that the Bernina motive power was six
pairs and two singles. No sign of 52, 54 or 801. At Tirano E633 208
was at the head of a freight train in the platforms in the FS station.
The platforms form a kind of headshunt for incoming freight and they
have to start from there in order to get out.
Tuesday 22 September: It was off to Weil-am-Rhein,
near Basel, today, to see whether there had been any changes in workings
since this time last year. 460 014 plus DD stock formed the 08.09
to Basel. At Basel I got an S6 (Class 521) round to Basel Bad, these
services now run half-hourly before going off to Lorrach etc. Then
it was a short hop in DD stock pushed by 146 110 to Weil. There appears
to be less going into the yard nowadays and more passing by on the
main line, much of this through traffic was SBB Class 482 and Crossrail’s
fleet of Class 185. In the middle of this year, Class 145 was put
on Rhein Valley freight, and several examples of this class, previously
unknown in Basel, were noted. Other classes seen were Class 152 and
DBs own 185s, mostly from the batch approved for Switzerland, and
a 189 Dispolok, 189 998, also appeared. Curiously DB Class 189 has
not been noted here although the Dispolok version is a regular visitor.
No diesels were seen on containers, but it may have been the wrong
time of day for these as they were certainly seen later on (see Konigswinter
notes). Passenger traffic was ICE1 and ICE3, with the occasional Class
101, with Class 146.1 on the hourly Offenburgs and Class 111 on the
occasional RB to Freiburg.
Wednesday 23 September. Change of base today, using
first of all the Glacier Express at 11.38 off Chur. 648 was in charge
of the first leg, taking 12 well-filled vehicles non-stop to Disentis,
where the train divided and MGN1, one of the former BVZ locos but
identical to 101-108 which normally work this route, backed onto the
front portion which then stopped only at Andermatt to pick/up set
down, although there were other stops too, for crossing purposes.
Again the weather was wonderful (I seem to have been lucky with the
weather on this trip in recent years) and arrival in Brig, over the
new faster approach, was on time at 15.23. That left me 13 minutes
to catch the train to Spiez via the pass (who would ever want to go
through the base tunnel except someone in a hurry), which was formed
of 2 of the new BLS Class 535 emu stock. The pass route is a favourite
one for walkers and a large crowd of them squeezed on board at stations
such as Ausserberg and Hohtenn, so that we were quite full by Goppenstein
at the top of the hill.
Thursday 24 September: Although Interlaken West has a crossing loop, most trains use Platform 1 going east and west. The crossing moves are between stopping trains each hour, and the IR trains cross at the three other loops between here and Spiez. It was off to Olten today to see some freight, and the first bit of activity was a few minutes after leaving Interlaken. 11502, with Tm9656 on the other end, was heading a short freight at Darlingen. 460 053 was the motive power with Mark IV stock to Olten. This major junction has plenty of traffic, passenger and freight, going through it plus movements on and off the depot. Part of the carriage works seem to have closed and the two tiny shunters which operated at the traverser are no more. Anybody expecting to see long trains with Ae6/6 power would have been disappointed. Only one such, with 11469 in front, came through and only eight examples of the class appeared in the 4 hours I was there. Many of the freights have gone over to Re4/4 or Re6/6 haulage and some of the new BLS 486s passed. A pair of DB class 185 passed as did two Crossrail machines of the same class and two of Crossrails Re4/4III, formerly RM, were at the head of another freight. The passenger side was mostly class 460, with Re4/4II on trains between Basel and Luzern. Class 522, which SNCF refused to accept because of crashworthiness aspects (do they still have their 25KV equipment?) are sharing Basel S-Bahn services with Class 521, and a class 523, which looks identical to 521/522 but is only configured for working within Switzerland, arrived with a stopper from Luzern. Return to Interlaken was again in Mark IV stock with 460 076 at the rear. 11502 was now in the sidings at Thun, where it remained for the next 2 days.
Friday 25 September: Pratteln was the intended viewing place today to see what was going over the Gotthard. 460 076 was in charge to Basel and 610 508 was on a freight at Thun. Basel now has platforms numbered up to 17, the highest-numbered being east-facing terminal platforms next to the through freight lines. There was a reminder of Great Britain as the SBB staff tried and failed to get 522 004 and 521 026 to couple together, and eventually I left them and went to Platform 1 to get to Pratteln within 521 025. It must have been a quiet period because activity was hardly what might be called constant. There was some interest in a pair of Crossrail 186s, 902/903, and there was also 185 595/7 which have Crossrail branding, and one SNCF 37000, but no Ae6/6 so eventually I shuffled off to Olten again to see if there were any more of these venerable machines about. No such luck, but something even more venerable in the form of a 2-10-0 52 8055 which ran in from the Upper Hauenstein direction with a 3-coach special. There were only 4 Ae6/6 seen this time with 11480 at Langenthal on the way back to Bern via the old main line. 460 064 was the motive power to Interlaken.
Saturday 26 September: To Langenthal to ride the
branch line of the ASM to St. Urban, having done the main line from
Solothurn via Niederbipp at this time last year. 460 064 to Bern,
and then after a visit to the bear-pits (currently closed while the
new bears are being quarantined) and a bowl of soup from the underground
restaurant, 460 079 with DD stock to Langenthal. The ASM island platform
is on the north side of the station, and one of their new twin-car
articulated sets 110 was forming the branch shuttle. The branch is
so short (about 4 miles) that two return trips can be done in an hour.
It leaves the platform and runs past the depot, and a short distance
further on it branches off to the right. It passes an industrial estate
then crosses over the top of the line from Olten, and leaves the built-up
area behind, but only briefly as we enter Roggwil and then St. Urban,
where alternate trains terminate. My train ran on a couple of hundred
yards further to the terminus at Ziegelei where there is a stabling
Sunday 27 September: Time to move on, next destination
Luzern. After 5 minutes in an ICE set, 101 967 was at the head of
the Golden Pass stock. Alternate through services to Luzern have this
branding. It is a pretty run along Lake Brienz and I noted BRB12 in
steam at Brienz. 101 964 came onto what had been the rear of the train
at Meiringen for the rack section up to Brunig-Hasliberg, and down
the other side to Giswil, another bit great for scenery, before some
faster running past the bottom of the Pilatusbahn, through the tunnel
to Hergiswil and finally down into Luzern. Accommodation was 2 nights
at the Waldstatterhof (an Alkohol-frei establishment!) adjacent to
Monday 28 September: I decided to do a trip to Lugano
today, where I had not been for a few years, to see what the freight
situation was on the Gotthard. 11152 brought in the train from Basel,
and a sister loco came on the other end. The Gotthard line services
leave the Luzern area via Rotkreuz, as they have done since 1996,
although this is about 5 miles longer than the lakeside line via Kussnacht.
Two new stations have opened before Rotkreuz, one of them with the
enigmatic name of Root D4, which serves a technology park. At Arth-Goldau
there was a delay waiting for a FS ETR470 set forming a train to Milano,
the ICN to Lugano was behind that, and the Locarno, which I decided
to remain with as I was not in a hurry, followed third in the queue.
Freight heading north was not excessive. There were 2 of the BLS class
486 on shed at Erstfeld – since when has Erstfeld become a BLS
shed? The mountain section via Goschenen was wonderful as always and
one wonders what services will operate this route from 2017 when the
base tunnel opens. There will obviously have to be something to cater
for the walkers and cyclists who abound on this route. At Biasca there
was the unwelcome sight of approximately 25 Ae6/6 in a line, awaiting
a call to the breakers. In no particular order, I noted 11458/505/490/504/515/432/497/431/465/454/511/441/515/444/445/476/443
which makes 17 but there were others. Does anybody have the full list?
Tuesday 29 September: My last Swiss resort was Lausanne,
which is easy enough to get to from Luzern as since 2004 there is
a through service to Genève Aeroport operating via Zofingen
and the NBS to Bern. 460 050 was providing power to Mark 4 stock from
the rear. An Ae6/6, 11456, was shunting at Sursee. At Puidoux-Chexbres,
at the top of the 1 in 55 down to Lausanne there is the sudden panorama
of the lakeside villages and the lake with the mountains of France
behind, another of these views of which Switzerland has so many. Accommodation
was 2 nights at the Hotel Ala Gare, a short walk from the station.
Thursday 1 October: It was time to leave Switzerland
and make for Konigswinter in the Rheinland of Germany. The first part
of the journey, Lausanne-Basel was in an ICN set at 0845 off Lausanne.
At Yverdon there was a newly refurbished Kolibri set sitting in the
yard. This had TRAVYS logos and I assume that this is one of the two
sets sold to the PBr in 1989 and renumbered 568 384/5, which I note
have been returned to CFF stock and have acquired the numbers 560
384/5. At Biel the line of Ae6/6 which had been there on the previous
Saturday had gone. A Dispolok 182 600 passed the other way with a
Visit Report June 2010. Roger Sanders reporting.
Monday 20 September: To Tirano today but not in
the Bernina Express which was full as usual. I followed behind in
the St. Moritz service which had 642 for haulage. On the way out of
Chur we passed 3507 in the yard. These new dual-voltage Allegra sets
will number 15 in the current batch being delivered and will take
over Bernina services, the Arosa line and Landquart-Davos, thus allowing
retirement of motor-coaches 41-49 and the Ge4/4 601-610. Another five
sets, this time 11kV ac only, will run the Thusis-Chur-Landquart-Schiers
S-Bahn service and allow motor-coaches 511-516 to be withdrawn.
Wednesday 22 September: It was time to leave Chur
and head for Wilderswil, using the Glacier Express as the first leg.
Visit Report. Keith Chambers August 2012
Howard Forster May 2009
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TURKEYVisit Report. Peter Longstaff reporting.
At Izmir work on electrifying the suburban routes is very advanced with both Basmane and Alsancak wired up. The latter reopened for long distance trains during my visit after being closed for refurbishment and, presumably, electrification works. All suburban trains continue to use Basmane.
At Konya construction of the high speed line from Ankara appears to be substantially complete, at least as far as a point a few miles short of Konya. Here the track and OHLE end abruptly at a construction depot with a temporary connection into the existing line. There is no electrification work being undertaken onwards into Konya station and no sign of a new station being constructed where the high speed line at present ends.
Reports seen that suggest that the new high speed service will commence sometime in 2010 may therefore be premature ( unless high speed trains are going to be diesel hauled for the last few mils into Konya - this would be a novelty!). Anybody planning to go to Turkey should be warned that whilst trains are modern and comfortable, punctuality is terrible, with delays of 3 or 4 hours not uncommon, and apparent connections unreliable.
Preservation News. Peter Longstaff reporting
The following notes update or amend the LCGB "Preserved Locomotives and railcars of Turkey" booklet. The museums at Ankara and Camlik, the station plinths at Adana, Afyon, Akhisar, Amasya, Ankara, Balikesir, Eskisehir, Haydarpasa, Sirkeci, Izmit, Konya, Manisa, Selcuk, Sivas, Tavsanli and Usak, and the depot plinth at Konya were as listed in the book.
The dumps at Konya, Soma and Halkali depots were as listed, however in the latter case, after a fruitless walk to the depot, the loco was actually found adjacent to the station between the rear of a building and a fence. At SAMSUN a search of the area around the station failed to find 2-8-0 45004. 3317 remains plinthed outside the station.
At KAYSERI 0-8-0 44019 is now plinthed outside the station. 34058 remains plinthed at the depot. At IZMIR 0-8-0 44062, together with a carriage, is exhibited at Basmane station (not at Alsancak as the recent report in CRJ would suggest, although that may have been correct at the time it was written). 0-4-0T 97 is now plinthed outside Alsancak station. The dump at YESILKAVAK contains 5 locomotives with wheel arrangements matching the list but lack of number plates on several makes confirmation of identity difficult.
At USAK 2-10-0 56512 could not be found however there was an 0-10-0 loco there fully plated with the number 55013. This loco does not appear anywhere in your list. 44071, 46105 and 56508 were found stored at the back of the shed, not in the yard. At ALESEHIR 13 locos were found (12 listed), one without a tender. As at Yesilkavak lack of number plates and the condition of the locos made identification difficult. The following were identified from number plates - 34060, 45165, 46226, 56142, 56153, 56912, 57005, 57010 and 57025. The 13th loco appears to be a 2-10-2 of which there are 5 (4 listed).
At KAVAKLIDERE, between Yesilkavak and Alesehir, there is an Uerdingen 4 wheel railbus trailer, No Rm3014, dumped with its interior gutted.
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UKRAINEVisit Report, Tim Gilbert reporting. Monday 31/5/2010. Border formalities were completed at Mostiska. Don't you find that it's a bit unnerving when they take your passport away and disappear? However, all was well, our passports were returned and after an hour or so we were on our way. First Ukrainian sightings were a ChME3 (are you surprised?), an ER2 and a VL11M. Arrival in Lvov was just before midnight.
Tuesday 1/6. The main depot at Lvov is adjacent to the station but on a lower level behind a set of freight lines. A convenient footbridge runs across the whole layout from near the end of the platform farthest from the main station entrance. Plinthed at the entrance to the depot is 0-6-0T, 9P 460.
As usual our guide hadn't quite got the concept of needing to see all the locos! Several times we had "seen all", only to "discover" more locos around the corner! Some were missed but not, I think, many. The tally was 9 VL10s; 7 VL11M; 1 VL40U; 1 VL80k; 5 VL80T; 1 ChME3; 2M62 1232/1257; 2M62U 0175/0177/0180/0182/ 0209/0294/ 0295A.
After our visit we were shown into the palatial Depot Manager's office where we were given tea. We showed interest in a huge map of the Russian railway system on his wall and he told us about how he had spent 20 years with the military building a strategic line in Siberia in temperatures of -30 degrees! He gave us 20 minutes of his time which was a great privilege as he was clearly an important and busy man. He had to leave and he swept out of his office, brushing aside the throngs waiting for an audience whilst we trailed in his wake!
We were escorted over to the diesel depot, about a ten minute walk away. The round house contained a selection of "historic" items: steam locos b 2137 & L 3535, diesels ChME2 515 & TGK2 7019. Dotted around the rest of the depot were 8 * ChME3; 2 * TEM2U; M62 1603; 2M62 0771/0795/0891/0892/1002/1168/1255; 2M62U 0098/0163/ 0181/0230 and 3 DR1A DMUs. We spent a bit of time at the lineside between the depot and the station, which was quite busy with VL11Ms and VL80s on freight and light engine moves; VL10s and VL40s on passenger and ChME3s shuttling up and down. Stabled outside the Works were VL8s 273/277/472/525/1201; VL11M 077/161; VL11 8 663 and the body of electric mine loco.
Our afternoon excursion was to Strii which has a small depot. First of all we had to find where the train went from. Not from the main station as one might expect but the suburban platforms which are a 5-10 minute walk away! So it was out of the main entrance down the road, right at the next main road and a couple of hundred yards on. Our motive power was EPL2T 030. We hadn't quite got the hang of the tickets and were sitting in a fairly comfortable, if 3+3 seating, part of the train - the cost 8 hryvnia (hv). There were 11 hv to the pound and this was a journey of 75km and 1 hour 10 mins. The ticket lady wasn't too happy and told us to move into the next coach - we were travelling in 2nd class with a third class ticket! Would it be possible to upgrade? Yes, another 5 hv - oh the shock of it!
As expected only a few locos on the depot at Strii but with the adjacent Wagon Works and passing traffic we saw 3 * ChME2; 7 * ChME3; 2M62 1062 (which was said to have come from Chernobyl, although we were assured that it had been decontaminated); 5 * VL11M; 3 * ER2 EMUs; 2 * EPL2T EMUs and a D1 DMU. On the return journey we decided to treat ourselves to 1st class! The same unit as before with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. 1st class had 2+2 seating with a small buffet area complete with attendant. The cost? A scary 15 hv. Wednesday 2/6.
Our chosen train was the 09.36 to Zdolbunov (arr 11.54). We had checked on the main departure board the previous day and all seemed well. However today there was no sign of it? The board which detailed all departures showed the 09.36 running days as 1,2,4,5,6&7. This was Wednesday. Not to worry! There's a 10.01- which takes 4 hours and 22mins. How long?!! Now those of you are frequenters of the Ukrainian railway network will understand that the service is fairly sparse and thus any clever last minute re-planning is probably not going to happen.
So it was the 10.01. We asked for 1st class but "computer says no". You think I'm joking? She was the spitting image and had exactly that attitude. She didn't look at us once, just stared into the distance. Our motive power was ER9M 195 - with wooden seats, seats which were made of just wood. Did I mention that the journey was 4 hours and 22 minutes? Then again, it did only cost 48 hv - bargain!?
Observations along the route were pretty thin with 3 ChME3s at Dubno being the "highlight". The depot at Zdolbunov is next to the station, which was welcome as the temperature was pushing 30 degrees.
However at the depot we weren't welcome! This is a "special" depot. ChME3s and DMUs didn't look too special to us but a no is a no! Not even a no! no, well alright then. Now I think you might have gathered by now that the day wasn't going according to plan. Indeed the plan was to visit Shepetovka depot but with our late arrival in Zdolbunov, that part of the plan had to be ditched too and the only thing left was to press on to Kiev where we were staying that night.
Now the journey to Kiev is 6 hours and 20 minutes from Zdolbunov! Is there first class on the train? Yes! Thank goodness for that! Cost - 136 hv. The train turned out to be another unit, ER9M 541 but this was comfortable 2+2 seating and was probably the best journey from a comfort point of view that we had. So £12 for over 4 hours of first class travel was a good result.
En route steam L2309 was plinthed at Kazatin station and K 15776 at Boyarka station just outside Kiev. Before heading off to our hotel we checked the train for the following day with another rude information office woman.
Thursday 3/6. Tube to the station (1.70 hv - not quite London tube prices!) then train 047 Moscow - Moldova as far as Zhmerynka. A 3 hour 50 min. run for the unexpectedly high price of 370 hv! As with most of the long distance trains in the Ukraine the coaching stock was sleeping compartments.
An attendant takes your ticket and directs you to a compartment. Our attendant took the tickets and said nothing. So which compartment are we in? A grunt gave us a clue. Later on he came round saying we had only given him 3 tickets. No we didn't, we gave you 4. Off he shuffled only to come back saying it was 3. We held our ground and didn't see him again. I don't know if this was some attempt at a scam or just a cock up!
Each car has a coal fired boiler at the end and so we enjoyed a cup of tea, in a glass with a "silver" holder. Did we want vodka in it? Thank you, no.
Zhmerynka depot was a case of no, no, no, well ok then! The depot chief and his deputy were away but eventually a brave engineer who understood what being interested in trains was about took the responsibility of showing us round. Good man!
The depot stables electric locos and does minor servicing on them. Present: 6 VL40u; 1 VL60 mk; 6 VL80; 6 ChS4; 1 ChS8. However the main raison d'etre of the depot is the diesel fleet for the area and particularly the line to Moldova. 2TE116s are the mainstay of the service, working in pairs or singles. Indeed the train we had come in on was taken forward by 2TE116 1435A.
On the depot were 20 individual 2TE116s; M62 1645; 2M62 0618/0953/ 1150 & 1050B; 2M62U 0068B/0219; 3 ChME3; ChME2 425 (depot pilot) and TGM3A 1643. Finally, plinthed at the station end of the depot was steam Su251 27.
Making our way back to the station we only had a few minutes before our train left and our guide asked one of the attendants if this was the right train. Are you stupid, of course it is came the reply! Now I don't want to give you the impression that all Ukrainian people are rude because they aren't but the vast majority of Ukrainian railways staff desperately need to go on customer care courses!
In contrast, our coach attendant was a pleasant lady who tried to be helpful. In fact we abandoned her and spent the whole journey in the dining car, which was more comfortable than the sleeping compartment and better for spotting. Strangely the return fare was 233 hv?
Friday 4/6. Kiev Passenger depot next to the main station was busy with 47 ChS4; 14 ChS8, plus one half of ChS8 022 decidedly out of use; 7 DS3; single car DMU 610M 001and pilot ChME2 310. Soaring over it all on its huge steel plinth was steam loco FD20 578. We took a taxi to the diesel depot at Darnitsa, where we saw 28 ChME3; ChME2 322; 2M62U 0279/0298/0348; 2TE116 1451/1465 & 1365A and 6 VL80.
From the point of view of the road system, the depot is a dead end. On our way back we came across a long queue. This was some cause for concern as we were now heading for the airport. Our driver was having none of it and he charged down the outside of the queue (fortunately there wasn't anything coming the other way) until we came to the source of the problem which was a level crossing with barriers down.
A crush of vehicles waited at the crossing. It was clear that this had been the situation for a while and tempers were starting to fray. After we had been there a few minutes two of the motorists started to raise the barriers by hand! The lady crossing keeper tried to stop them but they pushed her out of the way and immediately cars started making their way over the crossing. There was nothing she could do. Our driver went straight for it, much to our discomfort! We got on to the crossing and had to wait there a short while whilst the queue of traffic in front moved forward. Then we were over and on our way!
Phew! As we crossed we could seem an overhead maintenance trolley and crew working a few hundred yards down the line. I guess that what had happened was that they had gone past the striking in point for the crossing and then stopped to do work. Of course as they hadn't isolated the crossing it was still waiting for the train it thought was coming.
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Visit Report: Howard Forster reporting
California. Caltrain electrification to go ahead.
Cut operating expenses, increase ridership, boost capacity and
reduce carbon footprints.
|17.09.2010 BM &LP E60C 6001
50kVac Co-Co at Grand Canyon
Railway shed Williams AZ
|17.09.2010 AT & SF 3759 4-8-4 at tourist
information centre Kingman AZ
|18.09.2010 GCR 4960,239 & 295 on
15:30 from Grand Canyon Depot AZ
|20.09.2010 D&S NG RR 481 on 8:15
from Durango CO climbing through
Animas River Gorge
Flagstaff, Arizona, SWFI 25 2-8-0 was plinthed by the depot
Saturday 18/09/10 Flagstaff Pioneer Museum, SWLM 12 2-6-6-2 was plinthed outside the entrance. Grand Canyon Village, 4960 had been attached to F40PH 239/95 on the daily tourist train. While heading east at dusk, a Black Mesa to Lake Powell coal train passed travelling in the opposite direction hauled by four E60Cs.
|20.09.2010 D&S NG RR 481 on 8:15
from Durango CO climbing through
Animas River Gorge
|20.09.2010 RGS 42 in the D&S NG RR
Museum Durango CO
Monday 20/09/10 Durango, Colorado, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. K-36 481 2-8-2 was on the 8:15 to Silverton and 486 on the 9:00 departure. Heading north from Durango where the sandstone mountains were replaced by the granite mass of the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains which rise to more than 14000ft, the line followed the course of the Animas River, and climbed 2800 ft in 45 miles to Silverton at an altitude of 9318ft.
|20.09.2010 Silverton Northern 1 railcar
at Freight House Museum Silverton CO
|20.09.2010 D&S NG RR 481
on 14:00 dep at Silverton CO
As it was ‘the fall’, the journey was quite colourful, and spectacular where the river had carved a narrow gorge through the granite, which resulted in the railroad clinging to the almost vertical rock face. Silverton sits on a plain where the valley has widened. At the Freight House Museum were C-18 315 2-8-0, restored to working order and sheeted over, K-37 493 2-8-2 and Silverton Northern 1, a railbus constructed from a Model T Ford in 1915, originally named Casey Jones and used as an ambulance at Sunnyside Mine Eureka CO.
Back in Durango C-17 42 2-8-0 and K-28 473 2-8-2 were in the museum part of the roundhouse. In service were K-28 476/8 and K-36 480/2. Out of use in the yard were K-37 498 2-8-2 and 9 Bo-Bo diesel,. 11 Bo-Bo diesel was pilot at Durango and 1 & 7 Bo-Bo diesels were passed on the way to Silverton. The trip to Silverton which lasted from 8:15 until 17:30 was a most enjoyable day well spent.
Thursday 23/09/10 Las Vegas, Nevada There are now four monorails available to help transportation in this city. The original 1993 system on the east side of the strip running north from MGM Grand Hotel, after a journey of 3.9miles, ends at present at the Sahara Hotel. It is envisaged that it will be further extended to Fremont Street at some time in the future. Fares are charged on this system. On the west side of the strip there are now three monorail systems which confusingly are called trams in Las Vegas (presumably the original one has the monopoly right to the name) At the south end, one operated from Mandalay Bay Hotel to Excalibur Hotel. Further north is one from Monte Carlo Hotel to Bellagio Hotel and north of that one is the shortest one from Mirage Hotel to Treasure Island Hotel. These three monoraile are cable worked and travel on them is free.
Barstow, CA Western America Railroad Museum is based at the former AT & SF depot. On view were AT & SF VO 1000u 1460 Bo-Bo, UP SD40-2 9950, AT & SF FP45 95 Co-Co and an unidentified GE44 ton Bo-Bo which appeared to have arrived from industry.
Sunday 26/09/10 Pomona, CA In the compound were: AT & SF 3450 4-6-4, Fruit Growers 3 3Tr Climax, OHT 2 0-6-0, SP 5021 4-10-2, UP 4014 4-8-8-4, 9000 4-12-2 and DDA40X 6915 D-D; also present was US Potash 3 2-8-0 (3’ 0”gauge).
USA News. Ross Middleton
reporting. The Federal Railway administration has released
the first funds for High Speed Rail. Florida has received $66m which
will enable design work and contract preparation for a design build
and operate contract and land acquisition to commence.
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