Saturday 25th August 2018 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.
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. Last August, it was partnered by one of its Czech cousins – T435 0145 (ČD 720 145) – some of Ian Ross’s excellent photos of the day can be found on his website here. It will again be paired with T435 0145 on the 2018 tour.
Fittingly for a train hauled by DR and ČD locos, this one runs from the former East Germany into the Czech Republic. Last year’s tour did similarly and headed for the small town of Chyše for a brewery visit, engineering works having necessitated a diversion from the originally intended destination of the beautiful spa town of Mariánské Lázně.
This year’s tour, therefore, is another effort to get to Mariánské Lázně, but the train also continues the short distance further to terminate at Chodová Planá, again ostensibly for a visit to a brewery.
Times and fares
Tickets are €88 (€82 if only travelling to Mariánské Lázně) and can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tour departs from Schwarzenberg at 07:25 (arrive back 21:19), calling at Antonsthal at 07:40 (21:00) and Johanngeorgenstadt at 08:02 (20:26), running over steeply-graded routes via Karlovy Vary to Mariánské Lázně (11:20/16:15) and ultimately Chodová Planá (11:35/15:50).
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.
Mariánské Lázně (website here) is an excellent place to spend a few hours and turns this tour into a viable family day out.
Chodová Planá (website here) is best known as the home of the Chodovar brewery (“the oldest in west Bohemia) and this is indeed where participants are encouraged to spend their time, with the fare to this destination including a tour of the brewery and a beer tasting session – although this is limited to 100 participants.