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

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

DSC03461.JPG

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.

DB Class 101 “Werbeloks”

The majority of loco-hauled Intercity trains in Germany are handled by class 101 electrics, but not all of them are in the red corporate livery. 

In the past, there have been large numbers “Werbeloks” in the 101 fleet – “advertising locos” carrying full body wraps advertising everything from early Agfa digital cameras to Mini Coopers to Zetti chocolates – indeed, only around a dozen of the 145-strong fleet have never been so-adorned.

Nowadays, however, the eye-catching liveries are generally more limited to historical commemorations or long-term formal tie-ups between DB and commercial partners, as opposed to using them simply as 200km/h billboards.

From a bashing perspective, colour obviously makes little difference (except for possibly saving you a long walk up a platform to read a number!), however as most German railway enthusiasts are predominantly interested in photography, their movements get reported – for example, on DSO Live Sightings – far more frequently than the red examples.

Here is a look at the 101 “Werbeloks” to be found across the German (and Austrian) rail networks in 2018:-

101 004 and 101 023 – BahnBKK

Above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user regiosprinter-tv showing 101 004 in BahnBKK livery departing Karlsruhe Hbf in November 2017.

In August and September 2016, two previously red 101s gained a black livery advertising the railway health insurer BahnBKK, bearing the strap line “wir gehören zur Familie” (“we belong to the family”.

101 042 – CO2 / Ecophant

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user ICE 91 Prinz Eugen showing 101 042 arriving at München shortly after it gained the livery.

Since October 2011, 101 042 has been carrying the “Ecophant” livery, trumpeting CO2 emission savings that can be made by employing DB Schenker for logistics.  An “Ecophant” – or, more accurately, an “ECO2phant” – is a unit of measurement invented by DB Schenker’s marketing partners that equates to 5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, on the reasoning that 5 tonnes is roughly what an adult elephant weighs.

101 071 – #ZeitFuerGold

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by Deutsche Bahn Konzern about 101 071’s unveiling in a gold Olympic livery.

DB AG is an official partner of “Team Deutschland” and the German Paralympic Team for Pyeongchang 2018 (the Winter Olympics) and Tokyo 2020 (the Summer Olympics).  To mark this, 101 071 emerged on 29th January 2018 – a few days before the start of the former event – in a gold livery with the hashtag #ZeitFuerGold (“time for gold”).

Indeed, Germany finished joint second in terms of gold medals (14) in the Pyeongchang Olympics (at the time of writing, the Paralympics are yet to start), so the message conveyed by 101 071 was obviously influential…possibly.

You have plenty of time to catch up with this loco, as it is intended to remain in this livery until after Tokyo 2020.

101 076 – Cewe Fotobuch

Above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user BahnFan99 showing 101 076 departing Frankfurt Hbf in February 2016.

The most “red” of the true advertising liveries (as opposed to corporate-liveried 101s that simply carry a branding) is that carried by 101 076 since May 2014.  Quite simply, it advertises CEWE’s photo books.

101 112 – Rheingold

The “Rheingold” was a famous premium express train that ran from the Netherlands, into Germany and along the course of the Rhein river into Switzerland.  Discontinued in 1987, it had first run almost 90 years ago, on 15th May 1928.

Unveiled in Dessau Works on 27th April 2017 was an interesting new livery for a 101 – a variation on the beige and cobalt blue colours worn by the “Rheingold”‘s dedicated class 110s when delivered in the early 1960s.  The machine in question was 101 112.  This was a sponsored livery by the model railway dealer association w13plus and, indeed, H0 and N-gauge versions from Märklin, Piko, Tillig and Minitrix followed swiftly!

Amusingly, this was not the first locomotive to emerge in the Rheingold colours in April 2017, as w13plus had also engineered an April Fool by repainting prototype class 103 no.E03 001 in the colours on the first of the month!

The Rheingold colours are expected to be worn by 101 112 for a three-year period.

101 144 – Hertha BSC

Hertha BSC, the football club from Berlin, have been in partnership with DB since 2006 as its official carrier and shirt sponsor.  Since April 2009, 101 144 has carried a series of advertising liveries in their blue and white colours.

The newest of these was unveiled at Dessau Works by Paul Keuter of the Hertha executive board on 24th November 2017 and proclaims “die Zukunft ist am Zug!” (“the future is on the train”).

Recently Reliveried

There are a few other 101s that have lost their unique liveries only within the last few months.  Here are a couple:-

101 055 – Schauinsland Reisen

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101 055 at Hamburg Hbf, 07/04/17 (JW)

From September 2015 to December 2017, 101 055 advertised Schauinsland Reisen, a German tour operator predominantly engaged in package holidays from Germany to “sunny” destinations.

Presumably, the December 2017 timetable change marked the end of the contract, as this loco has now reverted to the corporate red livery.

101 119 – 500 Jahre Reformation

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by Deutsche Bahn Konzern regarding the wrapping of 101 119 in the “500 Jahre Reformation” design.

For the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, DB held a competition for young people to design a commemorative livery to be carried by a 101 (the loco in question was 101 119).  The winner was 18-year-old Ileana Berning, from Nordhorn in Niedersachsen.  The loco was wrapped in the fetching design at Berlin Rummelsberg and then presented to the public at Berlin Hbf on 5th April 2017.

Ileana’s design featured Martin Luther, Johann (Jan) Hus and Johannes (John) Calvin, three of the leading Protestant Reformers in Europe in the 16th century; German, Czech and French respectively.  The 101 was not the only recipient of a Reformation-related embellishment; an ICE4 was also named “Martin Luther”.

101 119 carried the livery for eight months – until 5th December 2017 – and is also now once again an anonymous red member of the fleet.  However, 185 589 of RheinCargo still carries a “500 Jahre Reformation” livery.

Sunday 1st April 2018: Mainline “Warship” on a budget

If you’ve wanted to experience sole mainline Maybach-engined Deutsche Bundesbahn V200 (“Warship”) V200 033 on a charter, but are limited in the amount of time or money that you can throw at it, then you may be interested in its booked workings for Easter Sunday.

On Sunday 1st April 2018, this famous machine will haul a series of four trains on the mainline in the south-east of the Ruhr area as follows:-

201 10:09 Witten Hbf to Wuppertal Hbf 11:44
202 12:11 Wuppertal Hbf to Witten Hbf 13:25
203 14:09 Witten Hbf to Wuppertal Hbf 16:10
204 17:21 Wuppertal Hbf to Witten Hbf 18:47

Each run is approximately 25 miles in length.  All trains are routed via Hagen, but using the freight-only line (2144) via Wengern Ost between there and Witten in both directions.  They are operated by the Ruhrtalbahn (details here) and the fare for one round trip is €20 (€11 one way).  Online tickets are bookable here and must be booked more than 10 days prior to the running of the train(s).

To clarify, I am not saying that “pounds per mile” this is the best-value haulage opportunity currently in the calendar for V200 033.  However, it does give you the chance for a valid, interesting main line move with Maybach power for as little as €11 should you wish to avail of it.

The above is a link to a video uploaded to YouTube by user Dennis te D. of V200 033 departing Lingen on a railtour last year.

The loco

V200 033 is currently (and for the foreseeable future) the only Maybach-powered V200 that you can travel behind.  These locos were the precursors of British Railways’s Swindon-built D800 “Warship” class locos which obviously have a strong following in the UK.

Getting there

Probably what makes this most attractive is the fact that it is eminently doable in a day from the UK.  This again brings down the cost for a British-based enthusiast to experience a V200 this way as it removes the need for hotel accommodation; although naturally Easter Sunday is quite an expensive day to fly.

I am loath to quote exact air fares, as these are an ever-changing thing, but potential moves are as follows which are currently available in their entirety (plane/service train/V200) for less than £150.  That may sound a lot, however it is probably not appreciably less than what it takes to travel on a domestic railtour these days, and is certainly less than you would usually pay to get the V200 in the book.  Service train and bus travel on the below can be done on the SchönerTagTicket NRW, €30.50 each for a day or €45 for a group of up to five.

07:25 Stansted – Weeze (NRN) arrive 09:35 (Ryanair)
10:25 no.73 bus Weeze airport to Kevelaer arrive 10:43
10:51 DMU Kevelaer to Neuss Hbf arrive 11:51
12:24 loco-hauled Neuss Hbf to Witten Hbf arrive 13:40
14:09 V200 Witten Hbf to Wuppertal Hbf arrive 16:10
17:21 V200 Wuppertal Hbf to Witten Hbf arrive 18:47
19:19 loco-hauled Witten Hbf to Hagen Hbf arrive 19:30

19:39 EMU Hagen Hbf to Köln Messe/Deutz arrive 20:34
20:43 EMU Köln Messe/Deutz to Köln/Bonn Flughafen arrive 20:55
21:50 Köln (CGN) – Stansted arrive 22:10 (Ryanair)

08:05 Heathrow – Düsseldorf (DUS) arrive 10:30 (Eurowings)
11:25 EMU Düsseldorf Flughafen to Düsseldorf Hbf arrive 11:42
12:00 EMU Düsseldorf Hbf to Wuppertal Hbf arrive 12:01
12:11 V200 Wuppertal Hbf to Witten Hbf arrive 13:25
14:09 V200 Witten Hbf to Wuppertal Hbf arrive 16:10
16:25 EMU Wuppertal Hbf to Düsseldorf Hbf arrive 16:46
16:54 loco-hauled Düsseldorf Hbf to Düsseldorf Flughafen arrive 17:01
18:15 Düsseldorf (DUS) – Heathrow arrive 18:50 (Eurowings)

These are just ideas; there are many ways that you could cover the trains.

Easter Monday

It has also recently been confirmed that V200 033 will work a train the following day, Monday 2nd April 2018 – a 14:00 round trip from Hamm (Westf) Süd to Lippborg-Heintrop (for an Easter egg hunt) and return, getting back into Hamm Süd at 17:00 (details here).  Fares for this are again very reasonable at €14 second class or €18 first.

However, if choosing one day or the other, you may wish to bear in mind that the line from Hamm Süd to Lippborg-Heintrop is a 10-mile wayside branch that takes an hour to cover in each direction.  It should also be considered that Hamm Süd is not on the national network – it is here and is a good 15-20 minute walk to and from the Hbf.

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.

Diagram

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

To note: between 28th February and 9th March, and again between 19th and 25th March 2018, engineering works close the above the route, and therefore the set will work on the following diagram (also Mondays to Fridays only):-

RB62151 04:50 Köln Messe/Deutz – Remagen 05:49
RB62150 06:11 Remagen – Köln Messe/Deutz 07:09
RB62153 07:50 Köln Messe/Deutz – Remagen 08:49
RB62152 09:11 Remagen – Köln Messe/Deutz 10:09
RB62155 10:50 Köln Messe/Deutz – Remagen 11:49
RB62154 12:11 Remagen – Köln Messe/Deutz 13:09
RB62157 13:50 Köln Messe/Deutz – Remagen 14:49
RB62156 15:11 Remagen – Köln Messe/Deutz 16:09
RB62159 16:50 Köln Messe/Deutz – Remagen 17:49
RB62158 18:11 Remagen – Köln Messe/Deutz 19:09

It has been suggested that 183 500 might work on these turns, but so far (5th March) it has remained in the hands of the booked 110.

Traction

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.