RB48 – Heritage traction in Nordrhein-Westfalen

For observers of the German railway scene, the loss at the end of 2017 of “the Kufstein” took away a valued piece of variety.  Happily, something similar has now started elsewhere – although with less scope for such a diverse selection of traction!

The substitution of a Meridian commuter train diagram between Kufstein and München between May 2016 and December 2017 occurred as a result of a fatal collision between two of its EMUs in February 2016 which had written both off.  This “vice turn” continued until new-build replacement units entered traffic.

Sadly, history repeated itself somewhat on the evening of 5th December 2017 at Meerbusch-Osterath, near Krefeld, when a National Express Bombardier “Talent 2” EMU collided with a freight train, causing startling visual damage to the unit and most certainly breaking its back.  Some footage in the aftermath of the accident can be seen in a news report here.  Most importantly, this time there were no fatalities.  The cause is still under investigation by the EUB, but the point pertinent to this story is that National Express have consequently had one fewer unit in their fleet than previously.

Loco hauled solution

As a result, Monday 29th January 2018 saw the introduction of a modest loco-hauled operation for National Express, on the RB48 “Rhein-Wupper-Bahn” route which runs from Köln, through Solingen to Wuppertal.

This is not exactly a novel development, as National Express used locos and stock between February and May 2016 – in fact, from the same provider on exactly the same diagram…

The above is a link to a YouTube video uploaded by user leeseisenbahnen showing 110 469 in action on the last occasion (2016) that National Express hired in this combination of locomotive and carriages.


The loco-hauled set will be in use from Mondays to Fridays, and there is not currently a scheduled end date for its use.  The diagram is as follows:-

RB32508 (RB20170) 06:08 Bonn Hbf – Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 07:45
RB32423 (RB20157) 08:13 Wuppertal-Oberbarmen – Köln Hbf 09:05
RB32428 (RB20158) 09:52 Köln Hbf – Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 10:45
RB32441 (RB20159) 11:13 Wuppertal-Oberbarmen – Köln Hbf 12:05
RB32446 (RB20160) 12:52 Köln Hbf – Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 13:45
RB32457 (RB20161) 14:13 Wuppertal-Oberbarmen – Köln Hbf 15:05
RB32458 (RB20162) 15:52 Köln Hbf – Wuppertal-Oberbarmen 16:45
RB32519 (RB20163) 17:13 Wuppertal-Oberbarmen – Bonn Hbf 18:44


Traction for this will be class 110 electrics from TRI Train Rental working in push-pull mode with a rake “fresh air” carriages from the same provider.  The operation has kicked off with 110 469, a 51-year-old Henschel-built electric that is now in a pretty variation of the Stahlblau livery that it entered traffic in.

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