25th April 1988 – ME 1535 and the Sorø accident

It’s true that an inordinate amount of the historical articles on this site are related to railway accidents.  However, often these are some of the most noteworthy events to occur to a class during their careers.

It looks hopeful that the Danish Henschel-built, GM-engined diesel-electric class ME might just about clock up its 40th year in front-line service before withdrawal in favour of new Siemens Vectron electrics.  Although the class has not been defined by involvement in accidents – so far, not one machine has been withdrawn as a result of a collision – they have been involved in their fair share.

Probably the most significant of these occurred at Sorø on Monday 25th April 1988, when a Fredericia to København IC train hauled by ME 1535 derailed at speed (link to a 28-minute documentary, in Danish, here).  8 people died.


ME 1535 pauses at København H, 20/03/17 (JW)

Due to engineering work at Sorø, the train was diverted ‘bang road’, but took the crossover at an estimated 100 km/h instead of the prescribed 40 km/h.  Due to its low centre of gravity, the loco remained upright, but destruction reigned further down the train.  The driver was convicted of gross negligence.

This accident is largely credited with forcing through the development of automatic train control on Danish railways, although this did not happen quickly.

Just something to have a think about the next time you catch up with ME 1535 in Denmark!

Denmark’s last passenger train ferry

There are only three remaining passenger train ferries in Europe: one between mainland Italy and the island of Sicily; one from Sassnitz in Germany to Trelleborg in Sweden; and one from Rødby in Denmark to Puttgarden in Germany.

The idea of putting a whole train on board a ferry to cross an expanse of water is one largely confined to the past, at least in Europe.  This is predominantly due to the creation of numerous fixed links, such as the Channel Tunnel between the UK and France or the Øresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden, and also the proliferation of low-cost air travel making the rail routes themselves redundant in a number of cases.

Even the three survivors are under threat.  That between Villa San Giovanni in Italy and Messina on the island of Sicily is mooted to be getting a bridge replacement (although this is a very much on/off affair, most recently being declared “off” for the time being); that between Sassnitz and Trelleborg is an overnight, summer-only operation which has been suggested for closure on a number of occasions; and that across the Fehmarnbelt between Rødby and Puttgarden is being replaced by a fixed link for which the construction contracts have already been signed.


The proposed fixed link across the Fehmarnbelt will take the form of an 18 kilometre long immersed tunnel encompassing a four lane motorway and a double track railway, and will be the world’s longest immersed tunnel upon completion.  It will take 7 minutes to cross from one side of the Fehmarnbelt to the other by rail, and 10 minutes by road – whichever way you look at it, a significant saving on the current 45 minute crossing time by ferry for either mode of transport.  In addition, it will be far less susceptible to weather-related disruption.  The shortened travel time from Hamburg to København is expected to drastically increase traffic between the two cities.

It’s fairly clear that the pros of the fixed link far outweigh the cons, which are largely sentimental.  However, the good news if you’ve yet to visit, is that the construction work has not yet started.  It is expected to begin in 2019 and take 8½ years.  However, the route between Neustadt and Puttgarden will close in 2022 until the tunnel is completed, so it is to be assumed that the train ferry will cease at that time too.  Puttgarden station will not reopen.


Sadly, loco haulage on this train ferry has long since ceased.  All trains are formed of Danish class MF “rubber ring” DMUs, and are Eurocity premium services between København and Hamburg.

Happily, however, it is possible to travel between København and Rødby – at least for the time being – with Danish class ME diesel locos, and from Puttgarden or Fehmarn Burg on the German side of the water to Hamburg at weekends in the summer with class 218 “rabbit” diesel-hydraulics.

The journey

I last took a journey on this train ferry in summer 2007, travelling from Denmark to Germany, and I found it very interesting indeed if, indeed, it felt like something of an anachronism even then.

As befitting the nature of Denmark, the journey from København to the port at Rødby is one of numerous islands linked by bridges.  After travelling via Roskilde, Ringsted and Næstved to Vordingborg (all on Sjælland), the train crosses first to Masnedø, then to Falster, and finally to Lolland on whose coast Rødby is situated.

It must be said that the scenery en route is not necessarily fantastic – although I thought that the views of the water from the bridges – in particular the Storstrøm Bridge – were memorable.  Lolland is also known by the nickname “Pancake Island” as a reflection of its flatness, and the railway is as good a way to appreciate this facet of its geography as any!  It is therefore something of a surprise to finally reach Rødby Færge station, its pylons and floodlights reaching higher into the sky than even the turbines of the surrounding wind farms.

Switzerland 07 252.jpg

The ferry connection between Rødby and Puttgarden commenced operation on 14th May 1963 – completing a direct link between København and Hamburg.  This was dubbed the “Vogelfluglinie”, or “bird flight line”, as it roughly follows a common migratory route used by birds.

The route briefly took on international significance in late 2015 during the EU-wide refugee crisis.  Large numbers of illegal immigrants, predominantly from Iraq and Syria, were trying to reach Sweden which was displaying a more welcoming attitude to them than most EU countries.  As a result, the Rødby to Puttgarden ferry and associated railways and motorways ended up being closed on police orders.  Reports described “chaotic scenes” where well over a thousand refugees disembarked from ferries arriving at Rødby, some “disappearing” to evade capture by the police, others attempting to walk up the E47 motorway in the vague direction of Sweden.


Both ports painted a sad picture of emptiness and desolation, and had certainly not only seen better days but had been constructed with the intention of handling much higher volumes of rail traffic than now pass through; indeed international railfreight via this route has ceased.  Rows and rows of overgrown and rusty sidings lay empty in and around the terminal as we edged our way towards the ferry.  Saying that, however, it is clear that the dearth of rail traffic must be more than compensated by the proliferation of lorries and cars, as the intensive ferry shuttle service is clearly supported by something!

The ferries themselves are operated by Scandlines and can carry both cars and trains.  Ferries depart each port at broadly 30-minute intervals, 24 hours a day – however only three in each direction convey trains.  There are four train ferries in the fleet, all dating from 1997 – two under the Danish flag (Prins Richard and Prinsesse Benedikte), and two under the German flag (Schleswig-Holstein and Deutschland).  It was the latter onto which my train rolled.


It’s slightly unnerving to be on a full size train just feet away from lorries and cars, not least for it to cross from land onto a vessel!  The train slowly drew to a stand on the ship’s single railway track within the car deck, and passengers were instructed to disembark and make their way up to the passenger area, mingling with the motorists who had just parked their own vehicles.

The crossing itself was admittedly something of an anti-climax. The Deutschland has all the amenities you would expect from a modern short-distance passenger ferry – shops, restaurants, etc – and the 45 minute journey passed quickly and without incident.  Before long, an announcement was made for train passengers to make their way back to the train, and after docking, the engines were restarted and the train slowly emerged from the darkness of the ferry’s car deck, back onto terra firma and into Puttgarden railway station.


Puttgarden was broadly similar to Rødby, in that it featured relatively nondescript 1963-vintage architecture simultaneously being heavily used and being slowly reclaimed by nature, depending on whether you looked at the road or rail parts of the terminal.  With a harsh wind blowing straight off the Baltic, seagull droppings everywhere (I have never seen so much in one place!), rust and foliage everywhere, it was not a place to remain in for long.

Indeed, it’s kind of the point of Puttgarden that nobody every does stay there for long.  The port complex (as distinct from the tiny village of Puttgarden, some distance to the west, from which it takes its name) exists solely to tranship people, goods and their vehicles from land to sea, and from sea to land, as efficiently as possible.  When the Fehmarnbelt fixed link is finally commissioned, will likely disappear from the map, its purpose negated.


You can’t help but feel that although – again – it will undoubtedly be a step forward when the tape is cut on the Fehmarnbelt tunnel, that it will be sad to see the end of something which has been a thriving, now almost unique, operation which has quietly gone about its business for well over half a century.

If you haven’t yet experienced the train ferry from Denmark to Germany, I would recommend building it into your travel plans before that day arrives.

DSB ME 1503 – air pollution experiment

The Danish ME class General Motors diesels are nearing the end of an almost 40-year career.

The introduction from 2002 of a fleet of air-conditioned double-deck carriages – which have now replaced all of the single-deck, opening-window stock – gave rise to a problem.  Ultra-fine particles from the locos’ exhausts enter the carriages’ ventilation system and then circulate within the saloon.  This is caused wholly by the greater height of these vehicles than the ones they replaced.

ME1503 at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

ME 1503 at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

This issue had been identified early in the days of the double-deck carriages and numerous attempts have been made to find a solution.  All 33 locos remaining in traffic in 2010 were fitted with an “emissions kit” which aims to give cleaner internal combustion; this has been successful with an estimated 30% reduction of such air emissions reached.  The locos are also driven according to a in-cab “green screen” computer system which instructs drivers on how to drive, matching the train’s progress to its schedule whilst also considering both emissions and fuel consumption.  Intake filters were also fitted to the carriages.  It is claimed that these two approaches taken together more than halved the amount of harmful pollutants detected within the carriages.

Two variants of catalyst were also tested on the MEs, however neither were successful (one was found to actually increase nitrogen dioxide emissions), so were not rolled out across the fleet.

2015 study

The Institute of Public Health at Københavns Universitet (København University) conducted a study in 2015 that concluded that staff working within ME-powered carriages were exposed to a higher level of air pollution than if they were on traffic-clogged city streets, and were therefore at increased risk of lung cancer, bladder cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“The impact on DSB employees working in the train carriages is considerably higher than if they were exposed to a highly-travelled traffic jam. So, of course, that’s not good. However, it is not acutely hazardous and does not give immediate effects. But there is a good reason to accelerate the electrification of the network”.

Professor Steffen Loft, Head of the Institute of Public Health, Københavns Universitet, 2015 (quoted in a news article in July 2017).

ME 1503

Consequently, as of June 2016, a spoiler was experimentally fitted to locomotive ME 1503, effectively deflecting the exhaust up and over the carriages by forming a “roof” between loco and stock.

This makes it identifiable from the other class members as it is a unique fixture.  It is only fitted as one end as the MEs now exclusively work on the western end of their trains.


ME 1503, spoiler detail (JW)


ME 1503‘s spoiler has been found to be effective, but not as effective as had been intended (link).

Ultimately, any solution will be just a case of “damage limitation” as the MEs will be replaced from 2020 by a fleet of new Siemens Vectron electric locos.  The Vectrons had initially been intended to work on the Nivå – København – Køge – Næstved route, but the replacement and withdrawal of the MEs is seen as such a priority that they will instead be put to work on the Nordvestbanen (to Kalundborg) in order for that aim to be realised.

The section of this line from Roskilde is yet to be electrified, but the project to do so has been signed off as part of a 1.2 billion DKK scheme, and some work has commenced.

December 2017 and May 2018: Two multi-loco “NoHAB” celebrations in Hungary

Two separate events have recently been advertised, both intending to feature multiple Swedish-built “roundnose” NoHAB diesel-electrics in and around Hungary.

The history and background of the fleet of General Motors-engined diesel-electrics supplied by the Swedish firm of Nydqvist & Holm AB (“NoHAB”) to Hungary has previously been explored in an article on this site – and it’s an interesting tale, lurking in the iciest depths of the Cold War.  May 2018 marks the 55th anniversary of the arrival of the first machine – M61.001 – and therefore it’s appropriate that they get some time in the limelight.

30th December 2017, Budapest to Tapolca

The first event is on Saturday 30th December 2017 and is a variation on something that has become a bit of an annual institution – similar events having occurred on 30th December 2016 and 22nd December 2015 – taking 8 NoHABs (all 6 surviving M61s and 2 former Danish MYs, one of which has just celebrated its 60th birthday!) from Budapest to Tapolca and return.

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user Gábor Szőcsényi of 2016’s 8-NoHAB event.

The 2017 event, however, will have something of a twist.  Whereas in the past, all 8 locos have been the head of the same train simultaneously (although not all powering at the same time, causing some headaches for the haulage enthusiasts…), this year will see two separate trains each with 4 machines on the sharp end.

One, named the “Vulkán”, will be powered by M61.019, 459 021 (ex-DSB MY1125), 459 022 (ex-DSB MY1156) and M61.017.  The other, named the “Panorama”, will be powered by M61.001, M61.006, M61.010 and M61.020.

Both depart from Kelenföld station in the Budapest suburbs at 08:55 and run to Székesfehérvár, from where there will be a parallel departure of the two trains at 09:55.  From there, the “Vulkán” takes the route along the north shore of Lake Balaton, whereas the “Panorama” heads around the south side – the two trains converging on the M61s’ spiritual home of their later years of Tapolca.  Each train will return to Kelenföld via the opposite route.

Additionally, the cab of M61.004 will be able to be seen at Tapolca.  It has been on display in the vicinity of the station since the 2015 event.  This loco was a devastating loss; having already been earmarked for preservation, it struck a fallen tree, derailed and was written off at Badacsonylábdihegy on the north shores of Lake Balaton on 4th June 1999.  A memorial stone to the loco has stood at the trackside at the accident site since the 5th anniversary, in 2004 – and, of course, both charters will also pass this spot during the day.

Fares for each train are 5,990 HUF (£17.10 at current prices).  It does appear that if you wish to travel behind all 8 during the day, you will need to purchase a separate ticket for each train, but I’m sure you will agree that even then that would still represent superb value for money.  More details here.

10th-13th May 2018, Hersbruck to Budapest

A separate event for those with a significantly larger budget has been advertised by the German firm of IGE Erlebnisreisen; a multi-day affair stretching from Thursday 10th May 2018 to Sunday 13th May 2018, featuring 5 of the 6 surviving M61s (the only absentee from the plan as currently advertised is M61.017) along with Altmark Rail’s ex-DSB loco MY1149.

Above is a link to one of Kaspertog‘s videos of MY1149 at work for Altmark Rail in Germany in 2014.  This loco will work the trunk sections of the IGE tour in May 2018, it being a long way from its Danish homeland when it rolls into Budapest…

Kicking off from Hersbruck (near Nürnberg) with MY1149, it runs via the main line through Regensburg, Passau, Linz and skirting Wien as far as the Hungarian border at Hegyeshalom, where it is joined by M61.001 for a mainline blast to Budapest.

On the Friday, MY1149 is joined by M61.010 and M61.019 for a circular trip around the lake with a break in Tapolca – out via the north shore and back via the south.

The Saturday sees M61.006 take the train from Budapest Nyugati to Balassagyarmat, on the Slovakian border, and then back to the railway museum in Budapest whereupon there will be a photographic gathering of “as many NoHABs as possible”.

The return on the Sunday is as per Thursday’s outward, but the pilot loco to Hegyeshalom is M61.020.

The total fare for train travel only (not including accommodation) for the four days is €949 (£843.10 at current prices).  The organiser has stated that a minimum number of 130 participants signed up by 28th February 2018 is necessary in order for the tour to run.

More details here.

Other Charters

Additionally, Continental Railway Solution – the Hungarian company that used ex-British Rail class 47, 47375 on a ground-breaking railtour in May 2017 – have recently posted on their Facebook page (link below) that they are hoping to run a charter from Hungary to Kosovo and back using GM power all the way in 2019, the implication being that NoHABs will feature for at least parts of the itinerary.

This idea is reminiscent of a railtour that ran in August 2009 from Augsburg (in south-west Germany) to Kosovo and return that was intended to feature NoHAB power throughout – although sadly MY1125 had to be piloted by Serbian locos (electrics and also a GM class 661 “Kennedy” diesel) when in that country.  Additionally, the main train only reached Zvecan, as the contentious political situation in Kosovo prevented it going any further – passengers were conveyed south into Kosovo by road transport in order to travel behind the former Norwegian class Di3 NoHABs eking out their life there.

København …In A Day

EA3022 and ME1513 at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

EA3022 and ME1513, Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

I woke up in my own bed in Birmingham, travelled behind 18 mainline diesel locomotives and 1 electric (equating to exactly 50% of a country’s passenger locomotive fleet) and returned to my own bed that same night. All for half the price of your average enthusiast railtour.

København, or Copenhagen, is the capital city of Denmark.  It is very much the engine room of the country, containing approximately a quarter of its entire population, and contains some true architectural gems.

View from the top of the Rundetaarn, 15/02/16 (JW)

The view from København’s Rundetaarn, 15/02/16 (JW)

The city sits on the west side of the Øresund Strait, which separates Denmark from Sweden.  Since 2000, the two countries have been connected by a fixed link across the Øresund that is in fact part suspension bridge and part tunnel, carrying both a railway and a motorway.  With the journey time by rail between København and the Swedish city of Malmö being just a shade over half an hour, cross-border traffic is heavy.

Aside from via this bridge, Denmark’s only land border is with Germany, although travel between the two countries via this route is time-consuming.  A far quicker way of reaching Germany is via the through train (sadly, formed of a DMU these days) to Hamburg which uses one of the last three passenger-carrying train ferries in Europe: that between Rødby and Puttgarden – however construction of a fixed link replacement is expected to commence in 2019.

Loco Haulage on Passenger Trains

To the UK enthusiast, one of the most attractive aspects of the København railway scene is the intensive loco hauled passenger service that it enjoys, and so this will form the core of this article.  The Danish state railway operator, Danske Statsbaner (DSB), operates two classes of main line locomotive: one diesel (class “ME”) and one electric (class “EA”).

ME1528 and ME1521 at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

There are currently four MEs painted in the new “helrød” livery – here, two of them (ME1528 and ME1521) sit side by side at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

The MEs were built by Henschel in Germany and entered traffic between 1981 and 1985.  They are six-axle, 175 kph (109 mph), 3,300hp diesel-electrics with 16-cylinder General Motors 645-series power units.  37 were built (numbered ME1501 to ME1537), with 33 remaining in service.  ME1502, ME1507 and ME1510 have all been scrapped, and the doyen ME1501 is in the collection of the Danish railway museum at their facility in Randers.  Their days are now sadly numbered; DSB announced last year that they will be purchasing 26 new electric locomotives with the express aim of replacing the MEs from 2020.  When that sad day comes, it will not only mark the end of the type in DSB service, but also the end of the bond between DSB and GM which dates back to the procurement of the first “MY” class Nohab loco in 1954.


ME1522 departs København H, 20/03/17 (JW)

As someone who spent a lot of his formative years travelling on the railways of Ireland, the MEs immediately bring to my mind the sound of the “traditional” big GMs over there.  The booming roar is reminiscent of the 071 Class machines of Iarnrod Eireann and (particularly) their Northern Ireland Railways 111 Class cousins, although the MEs have the 16-cylinder version of the 12-cylinder power units of the Irish machines.  If, like me, you are still mourning the loss of regular passenger work by these fine machines, then a trip to Denmark will be very rewarding indeed!

EA3022 at København H, 20/03/17 (JW)

EA3022 at København H, 20/03/17 (JW)

Built to a largely identical exterior design as the MEs, the EAs are 5,400hp electric locos and appeared on the scene at roughly the same time, to coincide with Denmark’s first main line electrification project.  Initially comprising of a fleet of 22 machines, 16 have been exported (12 to Bulgaria and 4 to Romania) and one has been scrapped, leaving just 5 in service in their home country (EA3004, EA3007, EA3010, EA3020 and EA3022).


EA3022 departs Høje Taastrup, 20/03/17 (JW)

Denmark has had a largely multiple unit-operated railway for many years, the remaining loco haulage being concentrated on a small number of routes radiating from the capital on predominantly commuter-based traffic.  There are no longer any hauled overnight services.  The MEs handle most of the services on two lines, that from Østerport to Holbæk and Kalundborg, and that from Østerport to Næstved, Nykøbing and Rødby Færge (see map below).  The remaining EAs see use on the route from Østerport to Slagelse.

All of these services cover the section of line between Østerport and Roskilde, therefore this route sees a very intensive loco-hauled service.  The three easternmost stations – Østerport, Nørreport and København Hovedbanegård (Copenhagen Central, usually shortened to “København H”) – are situated very closely together in the city centre area, with Nørreport being actually underground.  Consequently, this section of line is useful to travel behind a large number of locomotives in a short period of time, should that be your primary area of interest.

ME1529 at København H, 20/03/17 (JW)

ME1529 at København H, 20/03/17 (JW)

However, this would not allow you to experience the machines really being put through their paces.  The “racing stretch” from København through Valby and Høje Taastrup is excellent for this, with the locos’ maximum speeds being taken full advantage of.  However, it’s worth bearing in mind that fuel economy is a key consideration for DSB and, as a result, its drivers do not drive purely in accordance with the linespeed, but also with the guidance of an in-cab computer system that matches a train’s progress to its schedule.

All trains are worked in push-pull mode with the locomotives on the “country” end, and are formed of double-deck Bombardier-built stock of the same type found in Germany, Luxembourg and Israel.  This stock is air-conditioned with no opening windows, however it’s still perfectly possible to hear an ME from inside the train, even two or three coaches away!

DSB double deck stock interior (JW)

DSB double-deck stock interior, 20/03/17 (JW)

Route Map


DSB loco hauled routes, March 2017 (JW)

Before you go

Denmark is not in the Eurozone; it is still using the krone.  The exchange rate at the time of writing (March 2017) is £1.00 = DKK 8.58.  I found it was certainly worth exchanging my money before I travelled (DKK 300 was more than enough for me, in terms of my travel ticket, snacks and drinks) as cash machines do charge you to withdraw money when you’re there.

The official language spoken is (predictably!) Danish.  However – as horrendously “Little Englander” as this sounds – it is not imperative to learn the language to get by.  English is widely spoken and understood, particularly around the capital, and the majority of station signs are in both Danish and English.  However, as with any foreign travel, it doesn’t hurt to learn a few key words of the local language before you travel.

ME1503 at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

ME1503 at Østerport, 20/03/17 (JW)

Getting there

København is very easily accessible by air from the UK, with flights generally taking approximately 1½-2 hours. My criteria of a “day trip” is that it should not be necessary to book any overnight accommodation, and therefore the only airports that would currently provide an early outward and late return service to København are Heathrow, Luton and Stansted.  However, there are also direct flights from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle among others.

The routes from the UK are well served by a number of the low cost carriers (chiefly, easyJet and Ryanair) and, perhaps unusually given this, the airport is very close to the city that it pertains to serve!  It takes just 13 minutes on the train from the airport station to København H; trains (all worked by multiple units) depart from platform 2 every 10 minutes or so during the day.  Alternatively, the metro station is upstairs and Nørreport can be reached this way in 15 minutes.

Validity in København

For a day trip, the best ticket to use to travel around is a 24-hour all-zone ticket.  These are rovers which cost DKK 130 (£15.15 as of March 2017) and are valid from the airport into København, out as far as Roskilde on the loco-hauled route, and on the unit-only lines north of the city.  It is also valid on local Metro and bus services in the city area.

The easiest place to purchase them from is from a large bank of red ticket machines immediately outside “Arrivals” at the airport.  These take cash (in the form of notes and coins) and also cards.  They are touch-screen and handily have an “English” option!  It’s literally a 10-second process to get yourself a ticket; you can select the DKK 130 day rover by pressing the buttons on screen as shown below:




Day rovers, easy to purchase! (JW)

Should you wish to travel further out of København than Roskilde, your best bet would still be to purchase one of the rover tickets as above (it works out cheaper than an airport to Roskilde return!) and then rebook from Roskilde, although the price does begin to ramp up – for example, a return from Roskilde to the end of one of the branches at Kalundborg will set you back DKK 200.

If you are lucky enough to be eligible for FIP travel, then one of the boxes on your DSB coupon will cover you on all loco hauled trains mentioned here.  However, FIP is not valid on the trains between the airport and the city, nor on the Metro.


I mentioned in the introduction to this article that this was a relatively cheap day trip to make, so here are some numbers to back that up.  Flights were booked approximately two weeks prior to travel on the Ryanair website.  I travelled on a Monday in March – flights on weekends and in school holidays do tend to be more expensive.

Outward flight ticket (Ryanair) = £21.00

Rover ticket = £15.15

Return flight ticker (Ryanair) = £13.00

Total = £49.15

I’ve elected to leave petrol, parking and sustenance out of the equation, as these would be costs associated with most days out regardless of destination.  I’m sure you’ll agree that £49.15 compares favourably with a day on a UK railtour!

My Day

A day trip to København can cater for a variety of railway interests, and I would certainly not be presumptuous enough to expect that everyone would wish to approach their day in the same way I might.

ME1518, Ringsted, 01/09/07 (JW)

ME1518, Ringsted, 01/09/07 (JW)

However, my intention on my most recent trip on Monday 20th March 2017 was to spend my time purely in search of loco haulage within the boundary of my rover, and I certainly felt I was successful.  In order to give the day some structure, I elected to spend the first half of my time in the city area travelling behind as many different locomotives as possible, and the second half enjoying them at full speed on the “racing stretch” of the main line out of the city.

My total score for the day was 18 different MEs and 1 EA – exactly half of DSB’s 38-strong passenger locomotive fleet – although it’s fair to say that if I’d made my trip on a weekend, these figures would have been significantly lower.  Two more MEs (ME1515 and ME1534) were also seen in traffic on the day.

For interest, my “move” and the loco numbers involved is shown below.  At the time I travelled, DSB’s fleet of “IC4” multiple units had been taken out of traffic, so there were a number of their usual services which were worked by MEs – some of which I travelled on.  However, this did not seem to affect the total number of MEs that were in service.

Luton Airport 0840 EI-EVJ FR7404 08:40 Luton – København
København Airport 1130
Københavns Lufthavn 1204 EMU R1351 12:04 Lufthavn – Nivå
Østerport 1228 1234 ME1505 R1549 12:34 Østerport – Kalundborg
Nørreport 1236 1246 ME1503 R4549 12:43 Østerport- Holbæk
København H 1250 1259 EMU S 12:10 Frederikksund – Klampenborg
Østerport 1305 1314 ME1516 R2553 13:14 Østerport – Holbæk
Nørreport 1318 1321 ME1521 R1532 11:46 Kalundborg – Østerport
Østerport 1325 1334 ME1528 R1553 13:34 Østerport – Kalundborg
Nørreport 1335 1346 ME1511 R4553 13:43 Østerport- Holbæk
København H 1350 1355 ME1529 R2232 11:59 Nykøbing – Østerport
Nørreport 1357 1403 ME1532 R2253 14:00 Østerport – Nykøbing
København H 1407 1418 ME1530 R1536 12:46 Kalundborg – Østerport
Nørreport 1420 1426 ME1533 R1257 14:23 Østerport – Nykøbing
København H 1430 1438 ME1517 R2536 13:35 Holbæk – Østerport
Nørreport 1440 1446 ME1535 R4557 14:43 Østerport – Holbaek
København H 1450 1455 ME1509 R2236 12:59 Nykøbing – Østerport
Nørreport 1457 1503 ME1521 R2257 15:00 Østerport – Nykøbing
København H 1507 1524 ME1513 R1240 13:47 Nykøbing – Østerport
Østerport 1531 1543 ME1503 R4561 15:43 Østerport – Holbæk
København H 1550 1555 ME1518 R2240 13:59 Nykøbing – Østerport
Nørreport 1557 1603 ME1517 R2261 16:00 Østerport – Nykøbing
Høje Taastrup 1625 1633 ME1522 R2244 14:59 Nykøbing – Østerport
København H 1649 1710 ME1518 R2265 17:00 Østerport – Nykøbing
Høje Taastrup 1725 1733 ME1527 R2248 15:59 Nykøbing – Østerport
Valby 1743 1757 ME1503 R4548 17:05 Holbæk – Østerport
København H 1802 1827 ME1530 R2573 18:14 Østerport – Holbæk
Høje Taastrup 1841 1856 EA3022 R4354 18:04 Slagelse – Østerport*
*via Hvidovre – Ny Ellebjerg – Sydhavn
København H 1913 1918 ME1509 R1556 17:46 Kalundborg – Østerport
Nørreport 1920 1941 ME1537 R2556 18:35 Holbæk – Østerport
Østerport 1945 2000 ME1532 R2277 20:00 Østerport – Rødby
Nørreport 2002 2013 metro M2 route
Lufthavnen 2028
København Airport 2200 EI-DHA FR7407 22:00 København – Luton
Luton Airport 2300


Note (March 2018)2018 has not got off to an auspicious start for the class, with the discovery on 26th January of cracks in two ME wheelsets resulting the grounding of all 33 machines and the sending of each axle to the workshop in Aarhus for detailed examination; a process that is taking a long time as there is simply no room for all 198 ME axles to be in Aarhus at the same time.  Currently, most of the fleet remain out of traffic and some of the wheelsets have been found to be write-offs, and Bombardier may not be able to supply new ones until September.  A number of MEs remain in traffic (those which have been examined and signed off as OK), but currently their availability – and consequently the number that are in use each day – is considerably less than the plan requires.  It should be pointed out – although without comment – that the damaged axles found in January are said in various news reports to be from ME 1532, which had failed in some style between Holbæk and Regstrup on 13th September 2017 (with an axle defect) whilst working a passenger train, and was then dumped in Roskilde for some months.