“Die Lückenfüller” – temporary Deutsche Reichsbahn timewarp

8th January 2018 to 2nd March 2018 saw an interesting temporary loco-hauled passenger diagram operate in the former East Germany.

Erfurter Bahnservice (EBS) stepped into the fray to provide a public service on the Pfefferminzbahn route, which lost a sizeable proportion of its (already limited) passenger services at the end of 2017 amidst great controversy, when the contract was re-let from DB Regio to the similarly-named Erfurter Bahn.  The decision to cut the number of services along the line was ostensibly based on low passenger utilisation, but a fightback from the locals – including a petition signed by over 4,000 people – gave rise to two additional services (one each way) each weekday under the semi-official title of the “Lückenfüller” (literally, “gap filler”).

The above is a link a to 23-minute video uploaded to YouTube by Stationsvorsteher Roßwein forming a nice souvenir of the final day’s operation (including the “control relief” to Naumburg).  A couple of good friends of mine – and possibly of other users of this site – can be seen and heard within it!!

The diagram

From 8th January 2018 to 2nd March 2018, EBS operated a Monday to Friday loco-hauled commuter service on the 22.5 km (14 mile) stretch between Buttstädt and Sömmerda as follows:-

DPE6600 07:43 Buttstädt – Sömmerda 08:16
DPE6601 16:45 Sömmerda – Buttstädt 17:19

Operation

The main enthusiast interest in this operation came from the variety of locomotives used, all of which came from EBS’s stable of ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn diesels.  Four such machines featured during the course of the diagram, from class 232class 202 and latterly class 228:-

Monday 8th January 2018 – Thursday 25th January 2018 – 232 690
Thursday 25th January 2018 – Tuesday 13th February 2018 – 232 334
Tuesday 13th February 2018 – Tuesday 27th February 2018 – 202 738
Tuesday 27th February 2018 – Friday 2nd March 2018 – 228 719

Travel in the service’s final week was free when a donation to the local food bank was made – as per a news article here.

Last day

The afternoon working on Friday 2nd March 2018, hauled by 228 719, was extended from Buttstädt to Großheringen and Naumburg as a “control relief”, upon which travel was free, departing at 17:30.  This was essentially the ECS move taking the carriage “home” to Karsdorf at the conclusion of the operation, and covered the route between Buttstädt and Großheringen which no longer sees a booked passenger service.  Upon arrival at Naumburg, 202 738 joined in the fun, coupling up to the rear to lead the formation empty up to Karsdorf.

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