Vectron power from Nürnberg

Something gaining a fair amount of interest from haulage enthusiasts at the moment is the use of class 193 “Vectron” electrics on a brand new main line in south-east Germany.

10th December 2017 saw the latest section of brand new high-speed line under the Verkehrsproject Deutsche Einheit 8 (VDE 8) programme – the 107 km between Ebensfeld and Erfurt – open.  The project in its entirety is planned to create a high-speed line linking Berlin and München, and the idea dates back to the very earliest days after German reunification – although it is only really starting to bear tangible fruit now, nearly 30 years later.

It is not only ICE high-speed EMUs that can be seen on the new high-speed route (which crosses the former inner-German border) – there is also a loco-hauled presence.

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193 806 awaits departure from Nürnberg, 10/02/18 (JW)

Nürnberg to Sonneberg RegionalExpress

With the new line was inaugurated a two-hourly service between Nürnberg, in the former West Germany and Sonneberg, previously in the East, as part of the “Franken-Thüringen-Express” network.

Currently, this is operated by two rakes of four double-deck carriages, each sandwiched between two class 193 “Vectron” electric locomotives (used as they are fitted with ETCS which is required to work on the new route).  Both locos in a top-and-tail formation power at all times.  It is reported that late March/early April 2018 is expected to see one of the 193s on each set replaced by a double-deck driving trailer, released by the introduction of Twindexx EMUs on formerly loco-hauled routes elsewhere in December and themselves fitted with ETCS in the months since.  However – as we’ve seen with the class 102 saga – deadlines for traction introduction in the Nürnberg area have form for slipping!

The 193s run from Nürnberg to Bamberg, and then via the high speed line on the section between Unterleiterbach and Creidlitz, then through Coburg to Sonneberg.  Aside from Nürnberg itself, Bamberg is the stand-out town on the route – being a UNESCO World Heritage site and its flourishing beer tradition.  Unfortunately from a bashing perspective, you only have a +11 there from one set onto the other if travelling from the Nürnberg end!

The Locos

These are drawn from the pool of 193 801193 802193 804193 805 and 193 806, all leased from Railpool to DB Regio – consequently four of the five can be travelled behind in a day, whilst the fifth is a maintenance spare.  What happens to the pool once the extra driving trailers are available is still the subject of conjecture, but if your interest is travelling behind as many of these locos as possible, my advice would be go to sooner rather than later.

193 801 and 193 804 each worked on the München to Kufstein “Meridian vice turn” which operated between May 2016 and December 2017, although it must be said that – in the great scheme of things – prior to the commencement of these workings, these were previously very rare locomotives for haulage.

The Diagrams

These can be found in the members’ files section of European Rail Gen.  However, please take note of my usual friendly reminder that if you benefit from this information, please post your sightings to the group!

What you can combine it with

From a railway point of view, Nürnberg is home to the DB Museum (note: not open on Mondays) to which entry is a very reasonable €6.  Crossing the city, of course – and via Steinbühl station providing an interesting way to reach said museum – is the S2 S-Bahn route upon which most trains are powered by the only locomotives still in passenger traffic that were built for East Germany: the class 143.

Away from the railway, the city of Nürnberg is one of my favourites in Germany, and probably comes closest to stereotypical quaint Germany with timber-framed buildings and a castle looming over it.

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