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My latest blog posts can be found here, but plenty of other articles are to be found elsewhere throughout the website – I suggest using the Country List as a starting point!

East German Pioneer Railways

Work in progress…

An interesting feature of the former Eastern European countries – particularly East Germany – were the “Pioniereisenbahnen” (“Pioneer Railways”).

The Pionierorganisation Ernst Thälmann was a youth organisation in the GDR for children between the ages of 6 and 14.  Founded in 1948, the majority of such children in the country were “Pioneers” by the mid-1950s.  They took part in interesting activities, although there was a strong political slant to the movement as these activities were often crafted in such a way that emphasised the ideology and principles of socialism to the keen young minds of its members.  In the Summer, the Pioneers spent time in special Pioneer activity camps situated across the GDR and other socialist countries.

Many of these Pioneer camps were home to Pioniereisenbahnen.  These were narrow-gauge railways that were operated as far as practicable by the Pioneers themselves.  As well as a fun activity, the serious side to this was to prepare them for a career on the railway in later life, as an industry that required not only specialist skills, but – in the specific case of the GDR – a strong sense of loyalty to the regime, given, for example, that duties could involve routinely crossing the Iron Curtain with the corridor trains (and so on).  As they had seen in December 1961 with Harry Deterling (article to follow!), railway staff given an opportunity to cross the inner-German border could not always be relied upon to return.

The children were generally permitted to carry out all duties involved in running a railway short of maintaining and driving the trains.  The older children were given the opportunity to work towards these grades, however.  They wore railway uniform and largely worked to the “big railway” rule book.

In contrast to similar railways in the other socialist countries (and the reason why I have given the Pioniereisenbahnen their own separate article here), the East German ones were not generally museum operations and were thoroughly modern railways, both in terms of traction and signalling – in some cases more so than parts of the Deutsche Reichsbahn that the Pioneers were being primed to work on.  Indeed, the Pioniereisenbahn at Plauen was actually overhead electrified!

The Pioneer Railways Today

The Pioneer organisation dissolved with German reunification; its reason for existing being removed.  With it, went the need for the Pioneer camps and their railways.

However, many of the camps have found a new purpose as parks for more general enjoyment, with many of the railways forming an interesting centrepiece to them.

They tend to now be known as “Parkeisenbahnen” (“park railways”), their political heritage removed from the names to reflect their current usage.  Although some retain the involvement of children, many are now operated by adults.

Below is a list of all of the GDR’s Pioniereisenbahnen, and over time I will add individual articles for each of them covering how you can experience the remaining ones yourself.  Even now, they are certainly not “toy railways” and have something to offer to even the most stubbornly grown-up enthusiast!

 

Pioniereisenbahnen in the GDR

Parkeisenbahn Chemnitz

Parkeisenbahn Cottbus

Ferienlandeisenbahn Crispendorf

Dresdner Parkeisenbahn

Parkeisenbahn Gera

Parkeisenbahn Görlitz

Parkeisenbahn Halle

Parkeisenbahn Krumbholz

Parkeisenbahn Lauchhammer

Parkeisenbahn Leipzig

Pioniereisenbahn Magdeburg (closed)

Parkeisenbahn Plauen

Pioniereisenbahn Prerow (closed)

Parkeisenbahn Vatterode

Parkeisenbahn Wuhlheide

Tarnów station – where World War 2 began?

This relatively unassuming junction station in south-east Poland is definitely not on the tourist trail.  But it was the scene of one of the most significant events in 20th century history.

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This is the first in a series of articles that I intend to write that encompass not specifically the traction that can be experienced on the continent, but some of the interesting and noteworthy places that you can visit whilst travelling behind them.  This one isn’t so much to encourage you to specifically make it your destination – as, frankly, there’s not a lot to see! – but purely to inform you of the significance of one of the stations your train may briefly stop at.

Tarnów station lies on the main line from Kraków, through Rzeszów and Przemyśl to the Ukrainian border.  It’s not a major station by any stretch of the imagination and it’s fair to say that many people will pass through it, even call there, without particularly registering the fact.  Yet, at 23:18 on Monday 28th August 1939, something happened there that, it has been argued, led to the deaths of approximately 3% of the world’s population, by triggering World War 2.

The political situation in Europe was worsening by the day, and nowhere more so than Poland.  Its capital, Warszawa, was preparing for war, with defensive measures already being put in place.  The Treaty of Versailles had given Poland access to the Baltic Sea in the form of a corridor through West Prussia, which cut off East Prussia from the rest of Germany.  Hitler had reneged on his word regarding Czechoslovakia, and it was feared that he would do the same regarding the non-aggression pact between Germany and Poland by attempting to take both this corridor and the semi-autonomous city state of Danzig (present day Gdańsk) by force, having asserted that ethnic Germans in Poland were being persecuted.  The German warship SMS Schleswig-Holstein sat just off Danzig, on permanent standby to launch the Nazis’ first attack.  It was still hoped that war could be averted, though.  On the morning of the 28th, Sir Neville Henderson, the British ambassador to Germany, flew to Berlin to hand-deliver a message to Hitler in response to his claims on Danzig and West Prussia.

Meanwhile, a half-German-half-Polish locksmith from Bielsko-Biała by the name of Antoni Guzy was making a journey of his own – to Tarnów station.  Its status as a junction station, on routes that were seeing large-scale movement of troops mobilising for the possibility of war, meant that it had assumed a particular strategic importance.

Guzy, unemployed in his native Poland, had joined the Gewerkschaft Deutscher Arbeiter (“Union of German Workers”) with the aim of finding work within Germany, and it is thought that he had been “groomed” within it to carry out this task.  Certainly, on the day of the attack, he met with a German by the name of “Neumann” who led him to two heavy suitcases in a vault in Kraków and had given him his instructions.  He was to travel to Tarnów, leave the cases, then return to Kraków and report back.  Following “Neumann”‘s instructions, Guzy deposited the two suitcases in the luggage room at the station and went to catch the 23:02 “Luxtorpeda” express railcar back to Kraków.  However, this train was delayed, meaning that he was still at the station when the time bombs in the two cases exploded at 23:18.

20 people died in the blasts, and a further 35 were injured.  About a third of the station building was destroyed.  The dead did not even include many (if any) soldiers, a troop transport having departed a few minutes before.  Guzy was easily identified as the man who had left the cases, apprehended and – it is thought – executed by firing squad shortly after.

That is pretty much the extent of most of the information on this incident that you’ll find online.  What isn’t necessarily explained is “why”, or “what happened next”.

Aside from aiming to disrupt the flow of troops across Poland, the motive is perhaps not entirely clear.  However, it formed part of the Nazi strategy within “Operation Fall Weiss” outlining the process by which Poland would be invaded; the invasion would in fact start before the declaration of war.  This “invasion” was to not merely take the form of boots on the ground but also an invasion of the Polish psyche.  This act was one of several intended to discredit and demoralise the Poles.  It is highly unlikely that “Neumann” would have been waiting for Guzy’s return.  Guzy’s status as a Polish-born man would surely have suppressed the suspicion he was doing the Nazis’ bidding.  More than that, it gave credence to Hitler’s claim that he would be invading to protect the German-born Poles.  In these respects, it was considered a “success”.

At 04:48 on Friday 1st September 1939, the SMS Schleswig-Holstein finally opened fire on Danzig.  Two days later, the British, French, Australians and New Zealanders entered the war.  The rest really is history.

East German “Taigatrommeln” in North Korea

With the Koreas in the news headlines at the moment, I thought I’d take the opportunity to explore a story that has interested me for some time.

Elsewhere on this site I have asserted that the remaining class 143 electrics are the only (standard gauge) locos built for the former East Germany that remain in passenger service – however this is a little disingenuous on my part!  It’s almost certain that there are more.

Following the withdrawal of the final examples by the nascent Deutsche Bahn in the mid-1990s, 31 class 220 diesel-electrics – Russian-built “M62” locos formerly known as Deutsche Reichsbahn class 120, not to be confused with the former Deutsche Bundesbahn class 220 diesel-hydraulics – were exported to North Korea, where by all accounts they remain in front-line service.

DPRK_M62_Naeyeon_706

An ex-DR M62, now numbered 내연 706 at Pyongyang on 05/10/13 (Photo: Clay Gilliland from Wikipedia used under Creative Commons licence)

North Korea

The country known as North Korea – officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – came into existence as a result of Japan’s surrender at the end of the Second World War; when the USA occupied the southern half of the Korean peninsula and the USSR the north.  Separate governments were established in 1948, with North Korea under the leadership of Kim Il-Sung – although it is still not universally recognised as a state, notably by France.  Korean hostilities have continued ever since, but if the headlines are to be believed, a peace treaty can be looked forward to later in 2018.

We in the West have an image of the “hermit kingdom” as a very secretive and possibly even paranoid land, but really we know very little about it, and that certainly fuels a great deal of interest in it.  The UK government currently advise against “all but essential” travel there – although accompanied guided tours do occur, including ones tailored to a railway interest.

North Korea does have a fairly extensive railway network, a lot of which was constructed during the years of Japanese occupation.  It certainly suffered in the same way as Poland, East Germany et al in terms of the Russians dismantling infrastructure to transport it back to the USSR to use it there.  On top of that, extreme damage was caused to what remained during the Korean War.  Although the Russians did not play an active role in that conflict, they played a very major one in North Korea’s post-war reconstruction, and this included its railways.

M62s in North Korea

As briefly touched on in this article (ostensibly about the Swedish-built NoHABs supplied to Hungary in 1963), the standard Russian medium-power diesel locomotive from the early 1960s was its “M62” type – 2,000 hp diesel-electrics with Kolomna power units.  Comecon rules dictated that this rugged, spartan design was to be a “one size fits all” solution for any of the Comecon nations’ railway administrations that wanted a diesel loco in that power bracket.  Consequently, they were supplied to Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Mongolia and Cuba as well as domestically.  North Korea was not a Comecon member, but it did hold official “observer” status, and as part of the Russian effort to help rebuild the North Korean railways, they had a fleet built too.

Between 1967 and 1974, 64 class “K62” (the Korean version of the M62) locos were built in Voroshilovgrad for North Korea – 59 standard gauge, and 5 broad gauge to be used on the routes around Tumanggang at the Chinese border.  The Koreans named these new locos “Sinsŏng”.

In the 1970s, the North Koreans reverse engineered one of the K62s, and then set about building their own “ersatz” version, the Kŭmsŏng class.

In the late 1990s, as a result of severe economic problems (brought about in no small part by the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe) partly restricting the availability of fuel for diesels and partly also prohibiting the repair of some of the diesels in the poorest condition, some members of both the Russian and North Korean-built fleets were converted to electric locos – the Kanghaenggun class (see photo here).

European Exports

With a requirement for diesel locomotives, but the economic situation prohibiting the construction of new ones, North Korea employed a creative solution.  With the post-1989 age seeing many of the Eastern European M62s laid up in favour of newer traction, and this type being the existing basic diesel traction of North Korea, they looked to import some of the recently-withdrawn machines.

Between 1996 and 1998, 31 class 220s were sent from Germany to North Korea (220 008 / 043 / 048 / 086 / 087 / 114 / 119 / 159 / 180 / 211219 / 234289 / 290292 / 296 / 305 / 317318 / 319322 / 332 / 334 / 335 / 342 / 345 / 362 / 367 / 371 / 372 / 375).

In 2000, 13 Polish class ST44s followed – (ST44 72 / 103152325518 / 549649673 / 840 / 929 / 937 / 947 / 999).

These locos have been renumbered into the 내연 7xx series, although I haven’t (yet) seen any details of how their new identities correspond to their old ones.

In addition, nine Slovakian class 781s made the move in 2000, which along with some ex-Russian machines are numbered in he 내연 8xx series.

Although travelling to experience these locos is not the easiest or even perhaps the wisest thing to do, it is at least nice to think that they are continuing to ply their trade long after they would otherwise have been cut up.

 

Have you ever been to North Korea?  (Even better, have you travelled on any of the trains over there, or have any further information on these locos?).  Please do leave me a comment below!

19th May 2018 – V200 007 “farewell” tour

Saturday 19th May 2018 sees the Historische Eisenbahnfahrzeuge Lübeck‘s V200 007 work its final planned railtour prior to its eight-yearly overhaul.

This won’t be the end for the loco, but there is currently no date for its return – so if you’re keen to ride behind it, I’d strongly recommend you try to do this one.

IMGP3076.JPG

V200 007 is seen on service train use at the seaside terminus of Dagebüll Mole, 04/08/12 (JW)

The loco is not a Maybach-powered machine and in recent years has been fitted with Caterpillar power units.  However, despite this, it still sounds pleasant and is well worth making the effort to ride behind.

The tour

Details for the tour and how to book on it can be found here.

Timings are very much provisional but the tour is expected to depart from Lübeck Hbf at 07:30, picking up at Bad Oldesloe, Ahrensburg, Hamburg-Rahlstedt and Hamburg-Harburg, then running via Uelzen, Gifhorn and Braunschweig to Goslar, arriving at approximately 12:00, with the return expected to set off around 17:30 and arriving in Lübeck at 22:10.  The second class fare for the day is €115 with first class being €135.

What you can combine it with

The other standout event in Germany that weekend involves a classic twin-engined diesel-hydraulic from the other side of the Berlin Wall – ex-Deutsche Reichsbahn class 228 no.228 721 which is making an exceptionally rare working on the steeply-graded Rübelandbahn not a million miles away from Goslar on both the Saturday and the Sunday of the weekend (details in an article here).

In fact – as long as the actual times match the planned ones – it should even be possible to cover the 228 during the layover at Goslar.  The 12:05 DMU from Goslar reaches Wernigerode at 12:39, connecting nicely into the 13:00 no.250 bus on to Blankenburg.  This gets you to Blankenburg approximately 20 minutes prior to the departure of the 228.  From Rübeland it is just 20 minutes by taxi back to Wernigerode (or, depending on the arrival time of the 228, you may even make the 15:21 no.260 bus) and then the 16:18 DMU from there reaches Goslar 36 minutes before the currently projected departure time of the V200.

Help save an NIR 80 Class DEMU

Although this site is predominantly concerned with locomotives and not multiple units, I do feel that there are a small number of the latter that are far more interesting and popular than many locos.  Prime examples are the English Electric-powered DEMUs used in Northern Ireland between 1966 and 2017.

Comparable to British Rail’s “Thumper” DEMUs in that they were powered by above-solebar English Electric 4SRKT power units, very few examples of the three classes of these units survive.  All of the 1966-built 70 Class power units were disposed of – due to asbestos, they were shrink-wrapped and submerged in Crosshill Quarry, County Antrim; their power equipment being reused in the initial batch of 450 (“Castle”) Class units built in the mid-1980s.  Just one unit of that class survives – no.458, at the Downpatrick & County Down Railway, south-east of Belfast.

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A very recent photo of 80 Class driving trailer vehicle no.749 undergoing a repaint into its original livery at Belfast York Road (copyright and courtesy of Robert Gardiner)

The third class of NIR DEMU was the 80 Class, built from 1974 to the basic BREL Mark 2 carriage design.  Their final withdrawal from passenger service being in 2011, just four of the 22 power cars remain extant – one of them for spares recovery (only) at the East Lancashire Railway in England, and the other three which were granted a stay of execution by their use on sandite workings – duties that ended after Autumn 2017.

Time is therefore of the essence if a set is to be saved for future generations to enjoy.

The above is a link to the official video of the railway’s fundraising appeal, on the Downpatrick & County Down Railway‘s official YouTube page.

The Downpatrick & County Down Railway have launched an appeal to raise funds by the end of April 2018 to secure two of the former sandite train vehicles – 69 and 749 – for passenger use on their heritage railway, as well as 90 and 752.  69 and 749 are already in the process of repainting into their handsome original maroon and blue livery (see photo) by Translink at Belfast York Road, but there is a need to raise more money in order to transport them – necessarily by road – to Downpatrick, and to make them fit for use there.

How you can help

I personally have no connection with the railway, but I have been an enthusiast of both these units and the railway for nearly 25 years, and I’d very much like to encourage you to donate to this very worthwhile project.  The railway have set up a crowdfunding/pledge-style donation scheme where rewards are available upon donation of particular amounts – please see here for more details on that.

Alternatively, of course, you could share this article – or one of the railway’s Facebook posts – on social media in order to spread the word.  This really does seem to be the last chance saloon to secure an 80 Class unit for operation into the future.

July_to_September06 144.jpg

Power car no.99 “Sir Myles Humphreys” returned to England in 2006 when it was acquired by the East Lancashire Railway for use for spares for its BR Class 207 DEMU.  Soon after arrival, it was fired up – as seen here – but it is very unlikely to run under its own power again.  If the Downpatrick appeal does not raise enough money, then that indeed may be ‘game over’ for the whole class.  (JW)

Monday 21st May 2018 – Railtour with German MaK hydraulic 800011

Update 10/05/18 – this tour was unfortunately cancelled due to insufficient bookings.

If, like me, you used to pass the scrapyard of the Galway Metal Co. at Oranmore, look at the remains of ex-GNR(I) diesel-hydraulic 800 (CIÉ K801) – used as a stationary generator there since 1976 – and wonder what it would have been like to have travelled behind it, then you have a chance to find out on Monday 21st May 2018.

The 800hp MaK-engined diesel-hydraulic K801, or what was left of it by that time (photo on page 4 here), was cut up in 1999 – but although it was unique in Ireland, it had been built by MaK in Kiel in 1954 to a design that was in fact sold to several countries.

Alongside this machine – works number 800028 – on the production line was a virtually identical machine with works number 800011, built for the Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen (OHE) based in Celle, not a million miles away from its birthplace.  Whereas K801 was withdrawn in 1967 and only returned to traffic for about an ill-fated month or so several years later, 800011 clocked up a 40-year career with the OHE and then passed into preservation, the only one to do so.

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user seppl hochlader showing it at work during a brief period of hire from the museum to Delta Rail in 2006/2007 for use shunting at Geseke.

It is now in the collection of the Süddeutsches Eisenbahnmuseum in Heilbronn.  A very rare mainline passenger outing has been advertised for Pfingstmontag, Monday 21st May 2018, from Heilbronn to Schwäbisch Hall and return (details here).  It’s very sociably timed at 10:30 from Heilbronn, arriving back at 16:46, and the adult return fare is equally sociable at €39.

19 & 20 May 2018 – 228 power on the Rübelandbahn

A weekend in May 2018 sees a rare opportunity to experience classic East German diesel traction on the very steeply-graded “Rübelandbahn” in the Harz mountains.

The Rübelandbahn is a very steep adhesion-worked branch line from Blankenberg into the Harz mountains.  Notable for being electrified in the 1960s at 25kV ac 50Hz (and not the 15kV ac 16.7 Hz as used elsewhere in Germany), this route lost its remaining passenger service in 2005, but retains freight traffic operated by HVLE.

However, since May 2010, 2-10-2T class 95 steam loco no.95 027 has been homed at Blankenburg to work relatively frequent tourist specials on the route in the warmer months.  This loco now requires its eight-yearly overhaul, therefore alternative traction has been sought for the tourist excursion work in its absence – there is not really another steam type that would be appropriate for this particular route, so the answer has been a diesel.

Consequently, class 228 twin-engined diesel-hydraulic 228 721 will work a round trip (13:50 Blankenburg to Rübeland and 16:15 return) on both Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May 2018.

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user knarfemheob showing 228 721 in action on the main line in 2013.

This is unlikely to be repeated – at least not for another eight years – as the 95 is likely to be back in traffic before any more excursions are due to run.

Of interest is that 22nd May 2018 will see the 20th anniversary of the final passenger working of the class in DB service, when long-scrapped sister loco 228 751 took charge of RB7580 between Erfurt and Mühlhausen, so this will be a nice, if unintentional, way of marking that.

How to get there

Blankenburg is served by passenger trains on a branch from Halberstadt (which are all DMUs, as is everything else in the area now).  The 13:04 from Halberstadt (12:08 from Magdeburg) reaches Blankenburg at 13:30.

The nearest airports are Hannover and Leipzig-Halle, both of which are rail-served and from which Blankenburg can be reached within three hours by train.

Tickets

Fares for a one-way journey are €10 and €20 for the return.  They are available from info(AT)arbeitsgemeinschaft-rübelandbahn.de (replace spam trap with @) or from on the platform at Blankenburg or also on board the train.

What to combine it with

The most obvious other railway attraction in the vicinity is the Harz metre-gauge railway network based in Wernigerode (15 minutes west of Halberstadt by train) which sees copious amounts of steam working and stunning scenery, and is highly recommended for a visit.  Aside from that, sadly, the Rübelandbahn sits within a loco-hauled desert.

Various dates in 2018: The Reblaus Express

May 2018 will see the return of the popular Summer loco-hauled nostalgic train on the branch from Retz to Drosendorf, in the far north of Austria near to the border with the Czech Republic.

The “Reblaus Express”, as it is known, makes three round trips from Retz to Drosendorf (24.75 miles each way, and quite steeply-graded in places) each Saturday, Sunday and public holiday between April and October.  These trains depart from Retz at 09:25, 13:25 and 16:25 and return from Drosendorf at 11:55, 14:55 and 17:55 (full timetable here).

Motive Power

The Reblaus Express actually began on Saturday 31st March 2018 and runs until the end of April with a diesel railcar, making just two round trips per day.  However, from Tuesday 1st May 2018 (a public holiday) to Sunday 28th October 2018, loco-haulage and the full three-trip timetable will be the order of the day.

I am informed in mid-April 2018 that the motive power planned for the Reblaus Express during May and June 2018 is ex-ÖBB class 2143 diesel-hydraulic, 2143 070.

However, from July 2018, a Czech class 742 diesel-electric may take over.  This has not yet been formally confirmed, however.

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user Andreas Suck of 2143 070.

Tickets

A single ticket costs €14 and a return (which acts as a day rover) is €19.  Children under 6 are free and adults over 62 qualify for a concessionary rate.  There is no UK rail staff travel privilege fare and Interrails etc are not valid.  More detail can be found in a PDF here.

Getting there

Retz lies just 3 miles from the Czech border, and is on the route from Wien to Znojmo, which sees an (electric) loco-hauled service to a roughly two-hour frequency.  Wien to Retz is about an 80 minute journey.

Combining it with other haulage opportunities

This is not the only regular nostalgic train that operates in Austria this Summer.  The “Nostalgieexpress Leiser Berge” (to be the subject of a separate article in the near future) operates also with ex-ÖBB class 2143 power and makes a round trip from Wien Praterstern (depart 09:14) to Ernstbrunn every Saturday between 5th May and 27th October.

You can have both locos on the same day, either as a (fairly long) day trip from Wien if you so wish, or as an interesting way to get from Wien to the Czech Republic.  The “Nostalgieexpress Leiser Berge” can be caught from Wien Praterstern to Korneuburg (arrive 09:43), going forward after a bit of a wait on the 11:20 regional express to Retz (arrive 12:12), from where the “Reblaus-Express” can be taken to Drosendorf and back at 13:25, arriving back at Retz at 16:05 – sadly too late to get back to Korneuburg have a second run with the Ernstbrunn train back into the capital, but it does connect nicely onto a regional train across the border into the Czech Republic should you be moving on there.

Combining it with a family holiday

Clearly the shuttle nature of the operation lends itself quite nicely to permitting a day trip to one of the stations along the line; heading up on the first round trip, having a few hours there away from the trains and then returning on the Reblaus Express later.

The most obvious destination for this would be the end of the line at Drosendorf itself, a historic town and the only one in Austria with a fully-preserved city wall.  As the town’s website itself states: “Drosendorf has all the ingredients you need to dream; a lot of nature and a bit of town, a castle and a river, sunny meadows and shady avenues, blooming gardens and wooded rocks. But also inns with beautiful terraces, solid accommodations and many ideas for the future“.

However, the train also makes stops at various other points along the way, many of which have merits of their own – check out this official PDF (in German) for some detail on this.

11th-15th April 2018: V100 service train haulage on Rügen

Although it is many years since the former Deutsche Reichsbahn V100 type centre-cab diesel-hydraulics had any proper regular passenger workings, there is an annual event of interest on the island of Rügen in north-east Germany that provides a bit of a timewarp.

Each April, the single-car DMU shuttle used on the branch from Bergen auf Rügen to Lauterbach Mole is replaced by top-and-tail Pressnitztalbahn 202s sandwiching two coaches.  2016 saw 202 565 and 202 703 hauling the trains, whereas 2017 saw 202 565 and 204 425 in charge.

2018’s locos have been advised as being 202 565 and 202 708.

Above is a link to a YouTube video uploaded by user KadanToMi showing 112 565 (ex-DB 202 565) in action on charter duty.

Further details

More details on these workings can be found (in German) in this PDF document.

Various dates in 2018: NSB El11 haulage on dining charters

A series of dining trains over two itineraries in Norway will give the opportunity to travel behind 1954-built electric locomotive no.El11 2098.

Above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user Khanet Phokaew showing El11 2098 departing from Hønefoss on a charter in 2015.

Nordmarka Rundt

The “Nordmarka Rundt” tour operated by Historiske Togreiser will run on twelve Thursday evenings between May and October 2018.

It will depart from Oslo Sentral at 17:00 and runs via a circular route: up to Roa, then via the non-passenger line to Hønefoss – run round – then back via Hokksund and Drammen.  Arrival back in Oslo is 21:00-22:00.

The downside is that this is not come cheap – the train is full dining, and the ticket for the train plus four-course meal comes to 2500 NOK – £226 at current prices.  However, it may well come in handy perhaps as way of shoehorning a railway interest into a romantic city break to Oslo!

Dates: Thursday 03/05/18, Thursday 10/05/18, Thursday 24/05/18, Thursday 21/06/18 and Thursday 28/06/18, Thursday 16/08/18, Thursday 30/08/18, Thursday 06/09/18, Thursday 13/09/18, Thursday 20/09/18, Thursday 27/09/18 and Thursday 04/10/18.

Bergensbanen

The El11 will also twice be given the opportunity to stretch its legs on a much longer journey, from Oslo to the North Sea coast at Bergen along the stunningly scenic Bergensbanen.

These will each from Oslo to Bergen on the Friday and return from Bergen to Oslo on the Sunday.  Inclusive of breakfast, a two-course lunch and a three-course dinner, a single is 2850 NOK (£258 at current prices) with a 50% discount applied to one leg if you book a return.

Dates: Friday 25th/Sunday 27th May 2018, Friday 14th/Sunday 16th September 2018.