by Ian G Hunt
Decided to take Ryanair up on one of their cheapo flights to Köln in order to photo the National Express 110 and if a class 143 came my way then that’ll be a bonus. What I tend to do, which some people would probably consider a little mad, is travel after a late shift. So I’d get home at around 0100 from work (work being 1530-0030) then have a little something to eat, a shower then head out again (all without disturbing the wife, very impressive haha). At around 0245 to get the N3 from Beckenham to Horse Guard Parade then walk to remainder to Liverpool Street for the 0440 train to Stansted. On this occasion the Köln flight was booked off at 0750 but due to ground staff issues we didn’t leave until around 0830!
Once I arrived into Köln i managed to get through passport control in around 10 minutes then down to the DB ticket machine (which I usually struggle to know what ticket to buy) on this occasion I purchased a city area day ticket for under €9. So down the escalator where 146274 was heading to Minden fast to Köln HBf, I could have joined this train but it was Messe Deutz I actually wanted to go to. Messe Deutz station itself isn’t too bad for photos with anything from S Bahn, loco hauled and ICE units passing through but on a sunny day you’d only have about an hour before the sun turns head on so you’d probably want to move away from here. Before moving on around the 143263 almost caught me out working RE12515 Rommerskirchan – Koblenz HBf Departing around 1107. What is usually do is head to Köln Süd for freight but on this occasion, as mentioned, 110469 was on the cards so I chose Köln Mülheim however I did have to wait for it to go into HBf first as the loco is on the Wuppertal end. Whilst waiting 101070 passed through working IC2226 Regensburg HBf – Kiel HBf, plenty of 101s, 146, Nat-ex Hamsters, ICE units and S Bahn pass/stop here. To waste more time I went into the local supermarket next door to the station for breakfast (ah yeh fancy isn’t it haha) and some water. I found a shot for the 110469 working RB32446 Köln HBf – Wuppertal Oberbarmen dep 1301 round the back of the supermarket near the delivery area which provided me with a decent enough departure picture- job done.
After this I headed off to Köln Süd (journey time of around 30+ minutes) for a freight session. Seven freight trains seen in around 70 minutes). After 1530 then sun moves round enough for you to go the the proffered location of Köln West which is more open rather that Süd station which has ugly graffitied up sound barriers as a back drop. 23 photos were taken (22 freight + 1 of 110469 again) in the space of just over 3 hours which is not too bad but on this occasion the types of train was a little under par for my liking.
At Köln West there is a half decent kebab shop which will suffice also there is a supermarket in between so all good.
On this occasion I left earlier than previous as England were playing Croatia so I wanted to watch that haha.
Type of freight
Well you’d expect most things from Steel, Coal, Intermodal, Tanks, Cars, Cargowagons and Wagonloads.
Rhein Cargo provide a lot of the freight locos as they are based in Köln. Obviously DB are very busy here with passenger and freight as expected. NorthRail, MRCE, BLS, Railpool, Chemion and ELL were seen on this day.
Class 101 110 151 155 146 186 189 182 192
Class 261 265 271 272 275
The same day return flight is 2150 off Köln which generally speak most of the time 1+ hour late. On the occasion I made the 2345 Stansted express back to London then onward home which is pretty good going given the flight was around 90 late leaving Köln Bonn.
On a final note Köln Bonn airport can be disastrous in terms of how easy it is to use!! You go through security which generally takes around 15min…all good. BUT after this you go through to duty free and all the rest of it (also a pub with a small screen TV) passport control 2-4 staff are used to cover 15 or so gates so when a few flights are called at the same time expect its to be very busy and extremely unorganised!!!! You have been warned.
Over all I’d say it’s worth a go (I have done it 3 times).
Köln Messe Deutz
143263 on RE12515 Rommerskirchan – Koblenz HBf Dep 1107
110469 RB32446 Köln HBf – Wuppertal Oberbarmen
MRCE pair 182525 + 182527 on Coal Eastbound
European Rail Site
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