Saturday 26th August 2017: German V75 railtour

Saturday 26th August 2017 sees an unusual railtour operated from the former East Germany into the Czech Republic and return, featuring the sole surviving ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn class 107 diesel loco and a Czech sister machine.

With an urgent need to replace its fleet of 21 inherited class 80 steam locos, and without a proven home-grown diesel design, 1962 saw the East German Deutsche Reichsbahn procure a fleet of 20 type “V75” diesel-electric locos from the Czechoslovakian manufacturer CKD (Ceskomoravska Kolben Danèk).  These were identical to the type T435.0 “Hektor” design which had been successfully supplied by CKD to the Czechoslovakian state railway, ČSD.

These 750hp, six-cylinder Bo-Bos operated primarily in the Leipzig and Halle area, almost exclusively on local freight work.  Under the renumbering scheme of 1970, V75 001 to V75 020 became 107 001 to 107 020.

The 107s were largely ousted by class 106 in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the majority were then scrapped.  However, two – 107 004 and 107 018 – passed into industrial use at the Karsdorf cement works, giving them a stay of execution that took them through German reunification, and they then passed to the KEG (Karsdorfer Eisenbahngesellschaft) in 1991, who used them on works trains on the main line.

107 004 was cut up in 2011, but 107 018 now belongs to Railsystems RP GmbH and spends most of its time on engineers trains across Germany.

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by the user LudmillaPOWER featuring scenes of a railtour hauled by 107 018 in 2015.

The railtour

Roughly once a year – usually in late summer – as befits its lack of train heating capability – 107 018 ventures out on railtour duty with the Eisenbahnmuseum Schwarzenberg.

In 2017, this tour is advertised for Saturday 26th August 2017, and sees 107 018 paired with one of its Czech cousins – T435.0145 (ČD 720 145).  Fittingly, this tour runs from East Germany into the Czech Republic.  Initially, the destination was advertised as the beautiful spa town of Mariánské Lázně, but engineering works have necessitated a switch to Chyše.

Times and fares

Tickets are €84 (€50 for children) and are available from the Eisenbahnmuseum Schwarzenberg website.

The tour departs from Schwarzenberg at 07:25 (arrive back 21:20), calling at Antonsthal at 07:40 (21:00) and Johanngeorgenstadt at 08:00 (20:25), running over steeply-graded routes via Karlovy Vary to Chyše, where it arrives at 12:30 and departs at 16:15.

Getting to the tour

Schwarzenberg is a fairly large town, however its location in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) is perhaps not the best to base yourself.  However, it is possible to access this tour from Zwickau, the fourth-biggest city in Saxony (via RB23857, the 06:09 ex-Zwickau which is a +30 onto the tour); equally there is a +40 off the tour onto RB23888, the 22:00 to Zwickau.

Zwickau is no longer on the Intercity network – in fact, it has no booked loco hauled services at all any more – but is easily accessible from Leipzig, Chemnitz and Dresden, as well as across the erstwhile Iron Curtain into Bavaria.

One thing which may be of interest is that by doing this tour in just one direction, it can be combined with the “Rakovnický rychlík” which is also booked to run that day.  You can travel on the outward leg of the tour, followed by Os16711, the 13:08 DMU from Chyše to Rakovnik, which gives a +73 onto the “Rakovnický rychlík” to Praha at 15:32.  Alternatively, the outward “Rakovnický rychlík” can be travelled on from Praha to Rakovnik (arriving 10:30), for a choice of DMUs to Chyše, for the return leg of the railtour.

The destination

Having a population of only 585, Chyše – Chiesch in German – may at first glance be an odd choice of railtour destination.  This town, situated on the river Střela 5 miles north-east of Žlutice, is probably most well known as the location of a Baroque castle, entry to which is included in the price of the tour ticket.  The castle is home to a brewery, which tour participants are also encouraged to visit during the 3¾-hour layover.

Chyše also has a ruined synagogue, a tragic reminder of the events of 1938-1945, when this area was part of the “Sudetenland” ceded to Germany.  Indeed, the 1930 census saw the town with over the twice the number of citizens than it has today.  There is certainly plenty of history in the country through which this tour passes.

 

 

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