Multi Trip (France – Switzerland – Luxembourg – Holland – Czech Republic – Slovakia – Hungary) July 2014
A trip that started out a lot more simplistic than it actually ended up but did have two purposes, the main one being to have a day doing the BLS “brownies” on the car trains at Kandersteg, with a bike, and the second one being to cover the weekend Summer diesel turns at Prague, which had been dropping 749’s vice 754’s every weekend since the timetable change. While I was bumming around Europe I decided that doing Luxembourg, Holland and Strasbourg in France all seemed like a good idea at the planning stages; in essence only one of those three went anywhere near as planned and to be honest Strasbourg was a complete disaster and I nearly got fined by the police in Holland for ducking under a level crossing barrier; that was going up!
The trip was in two parts, the first bit being solid cranking and the second bit being a relaxing week, with a bit of cranking, drifting from Zurich to Budapest via Prague & Bratislava with my girlfriend and a cracking week it was too; with weather that couldn’t have been better but was verging on too hot.
Booked direct through Norwegian Airlines
DY2497 1535 Budapest 2B – Gatwick – £78.80 each
Chur – Hotel Chur, Am Obertor, Chur, 7000 – CHF174 for single room for 2 nights – a 10 minute walk from Chur station following the Chur – Arosa railway line through the street. Strangely the Hotel Chur was closed at 2100 when I arrived; it seemed for renovations as the restaurant wasn’t open. Access was granted via a phone call and an entry code to a safety key store, which then got me inside and my room key was on the reception desk. Quite why the details of this couldn’t have been forwarded before I got there I don’t know. The Chur doesn’t have AC and it was a bit warm in the room initially. Of my stays here this room was the smallest and probably worst arranged of them all. Continental style breakfast was included in my room rate.
Luzern – Erlebnis Jailhotel, Lowengraben 18, Luzern, 6004 – CHF76 for single room for 1 night – My hotel for the night had been booked in walking distance from the station as I was arriving late and departing early. I’d chosen the Erlebnis Jailhotel, through Booking.com, for both its proximity to Luzern station and the cost for a single night. By the time I arrived at the place, I’d actually been moved about to different hotels no less than 4 times! Firstly I’d had an e-mail the previous week from the hotel telling me they’d moved me to their sister hotel, which was about 3km out of town, due to an incident at the hotel resulting in not all rooms being available. My response to them told them exactly why I’d chosen their hotel and that their alternative wasn’t acceptable at all; sure enough I was moved back to the Elebnis Jailhotel and all was well. Then while in Amsterdam, two days prior to arriving, I had a call from the hotel telling me that they had to move me to their sister hotel due to there being a broken bed in one of the single rooms they had; of course I was soon explaining to the guy at the end of the phone that they’d already tried to do this to me and it wasn’t acceptable then; and still wasn’t. He then told me we had a problem, to which I told him that I didn’t have one at all, he did and he needed to sort me out a bed near to Luzern station. 20 minutes later I had an e-mail from the Erlebnis Jailhotel confirming that they’d booked me a room at the Falken Hotel, which I found on Google Maps and it actually looked better than the Jailhotel itself, and was nearer to Luzern station. Imagine the mouthful the person ringing got when they rang while I was at Molsheim on the day of my arrival into Luzern, to tell me that I wasn’t staying at the Falken anymore and was actually back at the Jailhotel; my reservation having been cancelled at the Falken!
Despite all the messing about the room was ok and the place was just like a real jail, with proper jailhouse doors and the rooms were cell sized. There was no AC but the opening window sufficed, thanks to the rain cooling the temperature outside quite considerably. The main issue I had was the fact that the plug sockets were all the diamond shape ones, which sunk into the wall so I had to use my portable charger to charge everything that night.
Chur – Zunfthaus ruz Rebleuten, Pfisterplatz 1, Chur, 7000 – CFH148 for a double room for 1 night – situated on the pedestrian area which leads through Chur town, about 5 minutes from Chur station. The staff at the reception were waiting for us and no sooner had we arrived did the woman at reception disappear home. The room was clean and spacious, there wasn’t any air-con but it wasn’t needed, and if anything the rooms didn’t seem as drab as those at the Hotel Chur. Breakfast was included in the room rate and served just across the hall from reception in a rather small room.
Prague – Hotel Esplanade, Washingtonova 19, Prague 1, Prague, 11000 – 9185Kc for a double room for 3 nights – a 2 minute walk from Praha HN station; in fact it’s probably closer to the front doors of the station than the platforms are! It’s a four star hotel which was very nice indeed, the staff were all friendly and gave us city maps and relevant directions to places of interest on asking. The room was a fair size with AC, separate bathroom and toilet, widescreen TV, free WiFi and excellent blackout curtains. Breakfast was included in the room rate and there was plenty to choose from; including hot food.
Bratislava – Mecrure Bratislava Centrum, Zabotova Street 2, Stare Mesto, Bratislava 81104 – €74.50 for a double room for 1 night – just at the bottom of the main station’s approach road on the left; only a few minutes from the front door and about 15 minutes away from Bratislava Old Town. The room was massive and very quiet as well as clean. All the mod-cons were provided and overall it was a great room. Breakfast at the Mercure is extra on top of the room rate and we didn’t bother as we were departing early.
Budapest – Mamara Hotel, Nagy Ignac 21, 1055 Budapest – €136.18 for a double room for 2 nights – a 5 minute walk from Budapest Nyugati station, best reached by using the underpass; out of the station and on the right. It saves a lot of traffic dodging. While not a very big room it was well presented and had everything we needed for our two night stay. The hotel staff allowed us to check-in early and were very helpful throughout our stay. The room I’d booked included the comfort package which had airport pick-up as standard; as we’d arrived by train though we were allowed to use this option to get us back to the airport. The maps handed out at the hotel were probably the best I’ve used when in European cities, very easy to follow and they even gave the distance each walk covered. Breakfast was included and certainly sufficed.
Eurostar 9022 1131 St Pancras – Paris £73 booked online at Eurostar
Thello Train 221 1959 Paris – Milan (4 berth couchette) €77 booked online at Thello
Inter Rail Global Pass 15 Days – £369 booked through EU Rail
Reservations booked through Deutsche Bahn UK (all reservation only with Inter Rail Pass)
CNL40478 Basel – Koln €42.50 (4 berth couchette)
CNL40478 Basel – Arnhem €65 (3 berth sleeper)
CNL40419 Amsterdam – Basel €65 (3 berth sleeper)
CNL459 Zurich – Prague €180 (for two) (2 berth sleeper)
Switzerland BLS Car Train
0919 Iselle di Trasquera – Kandersteg CHF91 – booked through BLS online
Tuesday 15th July 2014
There were no problems on the ECML for my run up from Doncaster with 91121 on the 0600 Edinburgh – Kings Cross; until we got to just beyond FinsburyPark! The guard announced that there were line-side equipment issues that had resulted in a few platforms not being able to be used at Kings Cross. Thankfully our delay was only 10 minutes as I only had a plus 51 for my Eurostar from St Pancras.
From getting off the train at Kings Cross to standing waiting in the waiting hall took 9 minutes, there was no queuing anywhere and security was a breeze. My 1151 to Paris was boarded shortly after I sat down in the waiting hall! I was reserved in coach 17 for a quick getaway at Gare du Nord and the train was wedged.
Arrival into Gare du Nord was prompt and that’s where the fun for the afternoon began. I was in possession of a Zone 1-4 Mobilis ticket, purchased from one of the green ticket machines (left off the blocks and just beyond where the platforms end). I’d been a little undecided on what to do with the 5 hours I had in Paris but in the end decided to just go with the flow at Paris St Lazare and see what sprang out in the rush hour; hoping for plenty of 17000’s.
The excellent Paris by Metro app that I have directed me via RER Line D from Gare du Nord to Chatelet-Halle and then Metro Line 14 from Chatelet to St Lazare, the whole journey taking about 15 minutes, even with a 5 minute walk at Chatelet.
Having made my way up through the shopping centre to the platforms at St Lazare, I was just in time to be watching 17011 departing late with the 1516 to Ermont Eaubonne and then to have to make a split second decision on whether to do 17003 on the 1520 to Mantes la Jolie, which was right away and about to depart; I flagged it and as it happened it turned out to be the right decision.
The next two, 1531 & 1546, Ermont Eaubonne’s were nice shiny new EMU’s so I ended up on the 1542 Mantes la Jolie with 27348, right away Argenteuil. From there I never looked back and 17011 returning from Ermont Euabonne was the first of 7 consecutive 17000’s, unfortunately one of the three I’d already had! Having seen 17041 going into St Lazare on what I thought was an inbound from Ermont Eaubonne I was off at the island platformed station that is Colombes, where the set going the opposite way was just arriving so it was a safe move; and I wasn’t disappointed when I found 17041 on the rear.
At Argenteuil I’d decided to do the 1612 St Lazare – Mantes la Jolie forward to Val d’Argenteuil as a quick fill in, regardless of loco type, but was soon running under the subway to head back into St Lazare when 17013 ran in with the 1522 Mantes la Jolie – St Lazare. No sooner had I got up the steps though did the 1612 from St Lazare roll in with 17043 on the rear; decisions, decisions! I opted for 17013, merely as I was already stood at the side of it and already dripping with sweat courtesy of the afternoon heat; another run back through the subway would have likely finished me off for the afternoon!
The AC wasn’t working on 17013’s set, a newer double deck set, and the journey was utterly crap in that respect. The immediate breeze from the opening door at St Lazare was a very welcome relief. A quick glance across the stop-blocks revealed only one 17000, other than the one I’d just got off, which turned out to be 17056 on the 1639 St Lazare – Mantes la Jolie, which should have already departed. I managed to get on just before the doors were closed and put myself into a vestibule, of an already full train, that was wedged with SNCF grippers; at least 15 of them! It was one of those moments where you know you’re fully valid but you still feel a little edgy about getting your ticket out. Bizarrely though not one of them was interested in gripping and they all got off at Argenteuil, possibly to start barrier gripping?
There was still no rest for my legs as 17018 arrived with the 1648 Ermont Eaubonne – St Lazare; while I was trying to figure out what to do next. Strangely enough I’d been trying to figure out where 17018 had been heading when it passed through ecs just before 17013 had departed on my last visit to Argenteuil. I thought it might have been going to do one of the Cormeilles en Parisis rush hour starters but I was proven wrong. It had dropped into the Ermont Eaubonne circuit to create the extra set as the service went from 15 minute intervals to 10.
Back in St Lazare again I found 17003 on the 1719 Mantes la Jolie, via Poissy. I wasn’t going to smack the gift horse in the mouth when the second opportunity arose to get it in and the 20 minute fester it gave me at Houilles Carrieres sur Seine allowed time to cool down and relax a little instead of running around like a headless chicken in the heat! And what a bonus move it turned out to be as the oldest electric SNCF has to offer, 17002, rolled in with the 1710 from Mantes la Jolie back to St Lazare; which was number 7 of the 7 in a row and unfortunately the fun ended back in St Lazare.
With only 17002 on the blocks when I arrived, which returned to Mantes la Jolie via Poissy on the 1819, there were no others at all and I eventually did 27366 out to Argenteuil on the 1823 Pontoise; where 17043 presented itself as I’d hoped, on the 1743 returning from Mantes le Jolie to top off a cracking afternoon in Paris.
I was ready for food and having done Metro Line 14 direct from St Lazare to Gare de Lyon I found a subway just outside the station, which certainly cut down on the sandwich ching for the evening. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, 36015 had brought the stock in for my Thello overnight to Milan Centrale. I found 36007 already bolted to the business end and just as I was about to walk to my booked coach, in the middle of the train, I noticed a member of train crew looking out towards the wilderness as if looking for something; so I hung around. Sure enough he found what he was looking for as 36010 back on top of 36007. Thankfully the guy spoke a little English and was able to explain to me that 36010 was required in Dijon for maintenance and it would work the train to there and 36007 would work it forward; bonus!
All 3 of the 36000’s had Thello branding on the side and the stock was ex FS stock, some of which also had Thello branding. Inside the train was clean and each couchette compartment had free bottled water and working charging sockets. My compartment was a 6 berth compartment but there were only 4 people in it as we’d all booked for a 4 berth couchette. I was sharing with an old Italian gentleman, who spoke no English but French fluently, and an Australian couple, who of course spoke fluent English. I’d booked my ticket on-line on the Thello website a good 2 months prior to travel and it was just the trick as I was away for 16 days so the Mobilis ticket and Thello through ticket would bridge the first day and my 15 day global inter rail started the following day.
Our booked departure time of 1959 came and went and when I went to investigate I was told by one of the coach attendants that we would be departing at 2020 but wasn’t given a reason why. Sure enough we eventually departed at 2023, already 24 late and I only had 39 minutes in Milan to get from Centrale to Porta Garibaldi! Not a good start…….
During the grip the gripper was asked by the Australian couple what time we’d be into Milan and his response was at about 0700, which was 60 late. This wasn’t good news for me at all so I asked about getting off the train at Domodossola, which wasn’t a booked stop but the train would stop for passport checks and a loco change. This caused a bit of a consternation among the staff and the train manager was sent to see me, who explained that I wouldn’t be allowed to get off at Domodossola as there’s no agreement to do de-train passengers. When asked what was to stop me getting out o the open door once the train had stopped he just shrugged his shoulders. The big issue with that would now be the fact that the train crew take everyone’s passports for security checks by the Italian border security staff and I’d probably struggle to get it back, and run the risk of a running with the Italian order security so I settled for getting off in Milan; end of! The reason the train was late was explained at this time and it was all blamed on 36010, which was apparently running at a reduced speed due to its maintenance requirements; this was allegedly also the reason for the late start while fitters were looking at the loco! There was a back-up move in Milan which involved an ICN train from Milan Centrale to Bellinzona but this would result in me missing out on a 464 to Chiasso and an Re4/4 forward to Bellinzona.
I settled on my top berth, once the Australian couple had got all their baggage sorted on one of the middle berths. Quite how 6 people, and their luggage, would have fitted in the compartment was beyond me. The bedding is all fresh and in sealed plastic bags and you have to cover your pillow yourself. The quilts leave a little to be desired though and aren’t covered at all. I really struggled to sleep once the lights went out, even though I was safe in the knowledge that I was going to Milan and that we could actually make up any lost time during the two one hour stops we had for the loco changes at Vallorbe & Domodossola.
|91121||Doncaster||Kings Cross||0600 Edinburgh – Kings Cross||1E02|
|373103||St Pancras International||Paris Gare du Nord||1131 St Pancras – Paris Gare du Nord||9022||373103/104 in multi|
|20510||Paris Gare du Nord||Chatelet-Halle||1432 Goussainville – Melun||53472||EMU|
|Metro||Chatelet||St Lazare||Paris Metro Line 14||Metro|
|27348||Paris St Lazare||Argenteuil||1542 Paris St Lazare – Mantes la Jolie||136905||SNCF 27300|
|17011||Argenteuil||Colombes||1556 Ermonte Eaubonne – Paris St Lazare||137626||SNCF 17000|
|17041||Colombes||Argenteuil||1601 Paris St Lazare – Ermonte Eaubonne||137627||SNCF 17000|
|17013||Argenteuil||Paris St Lazare||1522 Mantes la Jolie – Paris St Lazare||136902||SNCF 17000|
|17056||Paris St Lazare||Argenteuil||1639 Paris St Lazare – Mantes la Jolie||136915||SNCF 17000|
|17018||Argenteuil||Paris St Lazare||1648 Ermonte Eaubonne – Paris St Lazare||137640||SNCF 17000|
|17003||Paris St Lazare||Houilles Carnieres sur Seine||1719 Paris St Lazare – Mantes la Jolie||130835||SNCF 17000|
|17002||Houilles Carnieres sur Seine||Paris St Lazare||1710 Mantes la Jolie – Paris St Lazare||130848||SNCF 17000|
|27366||Paris St Lazare||Argenteuil||1823 Paris St Lazare – Pontoise||136633||SNCF 27300|
|17043||Argenteuil||Paris St Lazare||1743 Mantes la Jolie – Paris St Lazare||136924||SNCF 17000|
|36010||Paris Gare de Lyon||Dijon Ville||1959 Paris Gare de Lyon – Venezia Santa Lucia||EN221||36007 dead in train to Dijon; 36010 for exam|
|36007||Dijon Ville||Vallorbe||1959 Paris Gare de Lyon – Venezia Santa Lucia||EN221||Thello 36000|
Wednesday 16th July 2014
Despite my alarm being set for 0050 I was awake when we arrived into Vallorbe, Switzerland. All the train doors were opened and the staff were out on the platform. I’d already asked about getting the loco numbers during the engine change and they were fine with my running down to the front of the train; where SBB Re 4/4’s 11158/11199 were just dropping onto the top of 36007. Obviously the gen I’d been given in Paris had been correct with 36007 working forward from Dijon, although quite what the Re 4/4’s were doing dropping on top of it I don’t know. Whether we took it with us t Domodossola or not I don’t know but it wasn’t on the train at Milan.
Although there weren’t any timings for the train 221 at Vallorbe the SBB Re 4/4 diagrams offer a little gen and showed the train to depart at 0111; thankfully we weren’t far after that and when I woke later we’d already been and gone at Domodossola which meant, judging on the time I woke, that we were on time!
A knock on the compartment door came at 0500 and our passports were handed back to us; the guy confirming we were on time when asked and we were into Milano Centrale 2 minutes early at 0558 with FS E402 402106 on the front as I hurried past in search of the Milan Metro.
I found the Metro through the hall and downstairs. Urban tickets, valid within urban Milan, are only Euro 1.50; the maps on board the trains show the boundary where they’re valid to. Mine sufficed for my quick two stop trip from Centrale to Porta Garibaldi. I needn’t have bothered rushing as the first train was showing as 14 minutes time when I got onto the platform.
I hadn’t realised that I could actually do a spin move on the train before my 0639 Porta Garibaldi – Chiasso; mainly because the 0631 Bergamo wasn’t showing on the EU Rail app! Still it was sat in when I got there with 464290 and it would have been rude not to do it to Greco Pirelli for Tren Nord 464243 forward to Chiasso on the 0639 ex Porta Garibaldi.
The journey to Chiasso was relaxing, on a virtually empty train the whole way. Upon arrival into Chiasso you can’t just wonder to wherever you want, you have to exit the station and come back in; having effectively been through Swiss border security.
There was no sign of the push-pull set and Re 4/4 that should form the 0818 Chiasso – Bellinzona, I hadn’t at that point realised it shouldn’t arrive until 0802, and the 0758 to Bellinzona was sat in platform 1 with an old EMU. Had I known at that point what I would discover 5 minutes after the 0758 departed, I would have done it to Bellinzona! The EMU to form the 0818 Chiasso – Bellinzona, yes that’s EMU and not Re 4/4, arrived bang on time; looking very shiny and very new. I was well and truly bowled and hindsight would have been a cracking thing at that point, for one I’d have been better off doing the 0758 to Bellinzona and making a train an hour earlier forward to Arth Goldau and for two I’d have been way better off spinning about in Milan on 464’s and doing the 0825 ICN straight to Bellinzona to make the same train I’d end up on anyway. I was where I was and despite the bowl out factor the EMU was comfortable, cool and empty for most of the journey; who needs crappy push-pull sets with old engines and no air-con……..?
Re 4/4 11116 was a welcome sight at Bellinzona as it arrived with IR2176 0947 Locarno – Basel and as we departed Re 4/4 11299 was stabled in the siding just north of the station on a push-pull set. Whether it is held spare or actually worked the 0718 Chiasso – Bellinzona I don’t know but it seems that there are now a few defunct turns for Re 4/4 at Bellinzona, all of which could be knocked out of the cycle without effecting anything else anyway so it’s understandable that this has probably taken place?
At Arth Goldau I was bowled by EMU number two of the day as VAE2423 1140 Luzern – St Gallen was already sat in waiting to depart with one of the VAE EMU sets. That flagged I waited the half an hour to view VAE2416 1105 St Gallen – Luzern and was promptly bowled again when the other VAE EMU set rolled in. That also meant that there were only 3 hauled sets out on the Voralpen Express circuit and I was quite concerned that the one not out might well be the set with SBB Cargo Re 4/4 11317 on it!
Having enjoyed an hours fester at Arth Goldau, photting a few SBB Cargo trains in the meantime, I boarded VAE2425 1240 Luzern – St Gallen, probably against my better judgement, with dud 456093/094 and we departed a couple of minutes late waiting connections from one of the Lugano ICN turns. I had a 50/50 chance of being withered completely if we crossed 11317 on VAE2418 1205 St Gallen – Luzern at Rothenthrum; and fuck me if it wasn’t sat at the head of the train; ready to depart as we rolled in, late!
A stroke of good luck bestowed me as for some bizarre reason I managed to attract the attention of the guard on 11317’s set as we rolled in and beckoned to him that I wanted to leap across onto his train; bless him, he waited for us to stop and me to leap across before closing the doors right behind me. And that was that, objective of the day achieved; unfortunately though it was on a turn that I couldn’t do to St Gallen and do what I wanted to do in the afternoon so I was off at Arth Goldau and did 11116 to Erstfeld on IR2173 1204 Basel – Locarno for and decided upon an afternoon bash between Erstfeld & Brunnen.
On the way up from Bellinzona I’d been spotting Re 4/4s so I could plan a move if anything new was seen. The only one I’d spotted that was new was 11191, which I thought was on IR2267 1009 Zurich – Locarno vice Re460. However while writing down the gen IR2267 passed me, still with and Re 4/4 vice Re460, which I obviously didn’t get the number of and was then left scratching my head as to what 11191 was working.
I had a cracking afternoon, with effectively three return trips to Erstfeld, starting at Arth Goldau on the first trip, getting off at Brunnen in between times and finishing at Zug on the last trip. Courtesy of 11111 on IR2276 1247 Locarno – Zurich and the mystery engine that turned out to be 11172 returning on IR2280 1447 Locarno – Zurich, both vice Re 460 I only had one Re 460 all afternoon with 11204, 11198 & 460090 all on booked turns. My suspicions turned out to be correct to as 11191 reared its head on its way back from Lugano with ICN turn 680 1312 Lugano – Basel on a load 9 push-pull set; what I’d seen it going down on was ICN667 0904 Basel – Lugano!
The original plan in my head had been to head into Zurich after doing the Voralpen Express trains to cover the Re 4/4 pair turn on IR3831 1733 Zurich – St Gallen but I had a change of heart and after a quick fill-in move on Re450’s on Zug – Uster trains I headed south to Rotkreuz with 460013 on IR2359 1735 Zurich – Luzern for what turned out to be T&T Re 4/4’s, vice the booked single one, 11140/11118 on IR3537 1741 Zurich – Luzern commuter. This dropped me nicely into the booked Re 4/4 turn on IR2184 1547 Locarno – Basel and having watched 11215 arrive with the train I walked to the other end of the train to watch single Re 4/4 11136 drop on; which then worked the train forward; another amended diagram perhaps?
As I was stopping in Chur for the next two nights it was simply 460005 forward to Zurich on IR2139 1915 Biel – Konstanz for 460061 direct to Chur on IC589 2037 Zurich – Chur; where the day then had one last twist to offer me before I could get to bed!
I was staying in the Hotel Chur, where I’d stayed a few times before, only a 5 minute walk from the station, following the Chur – Arosa tracks through the street. When I arrived, just before 2200, the hotel doors were locked, the reception in darkness and the usually busy restaurant empty. It turned out the latter was under refurbishment so reception was closed at 2100 during this time. This of course didn’t help me get through the door and knocking did no god whatsoever. Fortunately a guy from the bar next door was willing to ring the number on the hotel doors which went through to the hotel owners. A code was given to enter into the keypad by the side doors and a key was released to open the out of hours door. The key for my room, with a note addressed to me, was on the reception desk and all was well from that point on. A cold shower before bed was very welcome, it had been in the high 20’s all day and was set to get into the 30’s for the next two days…….!
|11158||Vallorbe||Domodossola||1959 (15/07) Paris Gare de Lyon – Venezia Santa Lucia||EN221||SBB Re4/4’s 11158/11199 in multi – via Lausanne, Brig|
|402106||Domodossola||Milan Centrale||1959 (15/07) Paris Gare de Lyon – Venezia Santa Lucia||EN221||FS E402|
|464290||Milan Centrale||Greco Pirelli||0631 Milan Porta Garibaldi – Bergamo||10753||Trenord E464|
|464243||Greco Pirelli||Chiasso||0639 Milan Porta Garibaldi – Chiasso||25020||Trenord E464|
|524108||Chiasso||Bellinzona||0818 Chiasso – Bellinzona||25760||EMU vice SBB Re4/4 – diag probably changed|
|11116||Bellinzona||Arth Goldau||0947 Locarno – Basel||IR2176||SBB Re 4/4|
|456093||Arth Goldau||Rothenthurm||1240 Luzern – St Gallen||VAE2425||SOB Re456’s 456093/094 T&T in multi|
|11317||Rothenthurm||Arth Goldau||1205 St Gallen – Luzern||VAE2418||SBB Cargo Re4/4 11317 on hire to SOB T&T with SOB Re446 446015 in multi|
|11116||Arth Goldau||Erstfeld||1204 Basel – Locarno||IR2173||SBB Re4/4|
|11111||Erstfeld||Brunnen||1247 Locarno – Zurich HB||IR2276||SBB Re4/4|
|11204||Brunnen||Erstfeld||1409 Zurich HB – Locarno||IR2275||SBB Re4/4|
|11198||Erstfeld||Brunnen||1347 Locarno – Basel||IR2182||SBB Re4/4|
|460090||Brunnen||Erstfeld||1404 Basel – Locarno||IR2177||SBB Re460|
|11172||Erstfeld||Zug||1447 Locarno – Zurich HB||IR2280||SBB Re4/4|
|450059||Zug||Steinhausen Rigiblic||1738 Zug – Uster||18975||SBB Re450’s 450059/028 in multi|
|450050||Steinhausen Rigiblic||Zug||1641 Uster – Zug||18966||SBB Re450’s 450050/045 in multi|
|460013||Zug||Rotkreuz||1735 Zurich HB – Luzern||IR2359||SBB Re460|
|11140||Rotkreuz||Luzern||1741 Zurich HB – Luzern||IR3537||SBB Re4/4’s 11140/11118 T&T in multi|
|11136||Luzern||Olten||1547 Locarno – Basel||IR2184||SBB Re4/4|
|460005||Olten||Zurich HB||1915 Biel – Konstanz||IR2139||SBB Re460|
|460061||Zurich HB||Chur||2037 Zurich HB – Chur||IC589||SBB Re460|
Gen for Wednesday 16th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
11111 – IR2163 0704 Basel – Locarno (from Luzern), IR2276 1247 Locarno – Zurich (vice Re 460)
11116 – Diagram Day 21
11118/11140 – (T&T) IR3537 1741 Zurich – Luzern (only booked single Re 4/4)
11136 – IR2184 1547 Locarno – Basel (from Luzern – vice booked 2xRe 4/4)
11158/11199 – Thello 221 1959 (P) Paris – Venezia (Vallorbe – Domodossola)
11159 – EN415 2040 Zurich – Beograd (from Zurich)
11161 – Diagram Day 26
11172 – IR2267 1009 Zurich – Locarno, IR2280 1447 Locarno –Zurich (vice Re 460)
11194 – CNL478 2042 Zurich – Amsterdam (to Basel)
11198 – Diagram Day 20
11191 – ICN667 0904 Basel – Lugano, ICN680 1312 Lugano – Basel (vice ICN on load 9 push-pull)
11204 – Diagram Day 12
11215 – Diagram Day 19
11299 – Spare on push-pull set at Bellinzon
EMU (1) – VAE2423 1140 Luzern – St Gallen
EMU (2) – VAE2416 1105 St Gallen – Luzern, VAE2427 1340 Luzern – St Gallen
456093/094 – VAE2425 1240 Luzern – St Gallen
11317/446015 – VAE2418 1205 St Gallen – Luzern
420502 RE3340 1857 Luzern – Bern
Thursday 17th July 2014 (Any 100 year old engines out today?)
With most of the day pretty much mapped out, thankful of the fact I could leave my big bag behind in the hotel, I headed down for breakfast at 0700 and was on the station by 0740 confirming in the SBB office that the RhB run special train would depart from platform 14 at 0903. That would be my day, and what better way to spend the day than pottering around the RhB network behind a pair of Crocodile locomotives?
First I had an appointment with a mixed train at Domat/Ems and RhB Ge 4/4 III #647 delivered me there on RE1121 0758 Chur – St Moritz. My appointment was joined, bang on time at 0821, by RhB Ge 6/6 II #705 heading 4221 0753 Ilanz – Chur; with two coaches and 5 freight wagons. This dropped me nicely back at Chur to position myself at the end of the platform to photograph the crocodiles arriving; what actually arrived with the 0825 Landquart – Scuol-Tarasp round trip excursion was Ge6/6 I “Crocodile” #415 and Ge4/6 #353. This was actually the booked combination for the same trip the following Thursday; which I was planning to do for that reason. It turned out that crocodile #414 was out of service and wouldn’t be fit for traffic until September so all the Thursday run specials in July would be the same combination and the Friday ones would be guaranteed to be crocodile #415; September would be a different story of course.
The train was formed of load 4 Pullman coaches, which were pristine inside and had very nice furnishings indeed. The cost for the whole day’s tour was only CHF12.50 on top of normal ticket prices and while the train had a few on board it was by no means full and very comfortable indeed in the armchair seating provided. Hayfever tablets taken, Beckonase sprayed up the nose and sunglasses on we set off with all the windows open in the coach as it was already warming up; thankfully my preventative measures halted constant bombardment of pollen resulting in me spending the day scratching my eyes out and sneezing!
The on-train manager was a pleasant chap and took the time to explain to me in English what he was telling the rest in German. It was he who told me, when asked, about the fact that #414 was out of service. The CHF12.50 supplement was paid to him when asked and a ticket was issued; I don’t know if you can actually pay this supplement before boarding.
The train runs out via Filisur to Samedan, where the locos run round before heading across to Sagliains and into Scuol-Tarasp. On the return the train heads directly back to Landquart via Klosters. I was furnished with all the require train number gen by the train manager just after we set off from Chur and from that point on spent the day taking in the scenery and mostly spotting every loco-hauled train I saw to add the loco number to the diagram sheet that I’d printed from the RhB Lokdienste; which was invaluable when it came to working a move out later that afternoon, on arrival back into Landquart.
The 1929 (#415) & 1914 (#353) built locos performed faultlessly the whole day. The crew were out at every opportunity to check the axles and oil them when necessary and as the weather was so perfect the train was followed the whole day by a good number of photographers. During the layover in Scuol-Tarasp a spin move offering up to 4 RhB Ge 4/4 II’s was on offer but as I only needed two of the 4 a simple out and back to Guarda sufficed, which also allowed me to devour my dinner in the process.
The only proper photo-stop of the day was at Ardez on the return, where the train was posed with the monument on the hill in the background. Even though there were trains running we were allowed to wonder freely on the tracks with the train manager alerting people when trains were coming. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day out, for a bargain price, and where else in the world, other than on the Mariazellerbahn in Austria, can you turn up and get on a train with a 100 year old engine at its helm on a main line railway these days!?
By the time we got back to Landquart I’d got a move worked out to get some required Ge 4/4 II’s in; unfortunately all the Ge 4/4 III’s I needed were on turn that wouldn’t get me back until after 2200 so they got flagged. The move was initially thrown into chaos while I was waiting on the SBB platforms, to do a fill-in to Sargans and back, when new Re 4/4 11146 rolled in vice Re 460 on IC10777 1607 Zurich – Chur. With no alternative to get me back on track I had to do an EMU back to Landquart for RhB Ge 4/4 II to Schiers.
This move achieved two things, one it allowed me to cover a Ge 4/4 II turn that I’d not seen all day and two it allowed me to spot the Ge 6/6 II freight turn that should form 4109 0503 Chur – Samedan mixed train the following morning. There was good news and bad news in both respects. New Ge 4/4 II #626 appeared with RE1358 1357 St Moritz – Landquart and dud Ge 6/6 II #704 ran through with 5054 1642 Davos – Landquart freight. This in itself meant good news and bad news in that I didn’t need to get up at 0430 to do 4109 but by the powers of deduction it also meant that 4209 had been a new Ge 6/6 II that morning as I’d seen the only two I’d had prior to this day during the course of it and the only turn I’d not seen for the Ge 6/6 II’s was the one that involved 4209 that morning!
Ge 4/4 II #633 stuck to diagram and worked RE1265 1644 Disentis – Scuol-Tarasp; which I did the short distance out to request stop Malans for dud 627 back in and after a quick leap to Sargans and back to pass the time I then found myself hanging around Landquart waiting for the loco to be backed onto the set, which had been in the platform for some time, to form 1266 2017 Landquart – Disentis. For some reason the 2010 arrival from Scuol-Tarasp was a set and loco swap at Landquart and as I’d hoped Ge 4/4 II #614 came off shed to work it. I’d seen it at Samedan while the locos had been running round the tour and could only see one such turn that it could fit into on the diagrams; which had it working freights most of the day before heading to Disentis last thing.
Before we departed Landquart Ge 4/4 II’s 615/618 departed towards Klosters with a short freight and then between Landquart & Chur another pair, 613/623, passed light engine; all four of these could at some point have been involved with Glacier Express trains between Disentis & Chur/St Moritz, of which I’d seen precisely none.
At Chur I called it a day. I could have stayed out later and got one of the three Ge 4/4 III’s in that I needed but getting into the hotel, ensuring my bill was paid and relaxing with a beer while waiting for what turned out to be an excellent pizza to arrive all seemed to make more sense; so that’s exactly what happened and I sat watching Swiss squaddies wandering aimlessly round town in various states. Rather them than me in the morning…….
|647||Chur||Domat / Ems||0758 Chur – St Moritz||RE1121||RhB Ge4/4 III|
|705||Domat / Ems||Chur||0753 Ilanz – Chur||4221||RhB Ge6/6 II – Mixed train 2 coaches, 6 wagons|
|415||Chur||Samedan||0825 Landquart – Samedan||2125||RhB Ge6/6 I #415 & Ge4/6 #353 in tandem – RhB run special train via Filisur|
|353||Samedan||Scuol-Tarasp||1150 Samedan – Scuol-Tarasp||2340||RhB Ge4/6 #353 & Ge6/6 I #415 in tandem – RhB run special train|
|619||Scuol-Tarasp||Guarda||1340 Scuol-Tarasp – Disentis||RE1244||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|630||Guarda||Scuol-Tarasp||1044 Disentis – Scuol-Tarasp||RE1241||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|415||Scuol-Tarasp||Landquart||1448 Scuol-Tarasp – Landquart||2350||RhB Ge6/6 I #415 & Ge4/6 #353 in tandem – RhB run special train via Klosters|
|11146||Landquart||Chur||1607 Zurich HB – Chur||IC10777||SBB Re4/4 vice Re460|
|526796||Chur||Landquart||1730 Chur – Sargans||24266||EMU|
|631||Landquart||Schiers||1544 Disentis – Scuol-Tarasp||RE1261||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|626||Schiers||Landquart||1637 St Moritz – Landquart||RE1358||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|633||Landquart||Malans||1644 Disentis – Scuol-Tarasp||RE1265||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|627||Malans||Landquart||1740 Scuol-Tarasp – Disentis||RE1260||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|460093||Landquart||Sargans||1908 Chur – Basel||IC590||SBB Re460|
|460079||Sargans||Landquart||1733 Basel – Chur||IC585||SBB Re460|
|614||Landquart||Chur||2017 Landquart – Disentis||1266||RhB Ge4/4 II|
Gen for Thursday 17th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
Ge6/6 I #415 / Ge4/6 #353 (RhB operated dated regular charter)
2125 0825 Landquart – Samedan (via Chur & Filisur), 2340 1150 Samedan – Scuol-Tarasp, 2350 1448 Scuol-Tarasp – Landquart (via Klosters)
All locos by diagram number from RhB Lokdienste Summer 2014 = Diagram No. then Loco No.
Ge 4/4 III
151 – 648, 152 – 650, 153 – 644, 154 – 652, 155 – 647, 156 – 646, 157 – 643, 158 – 651 & 159 – 645
Ge 6/6 II
201 – 705 (includes 4221 0753 Ilanz – Chur mixed), 202 – 706, 203 – 701, 204 – 704, 205 – not seen (includes 4109 0503 Chur – Samedan mixed), 206 – 702
Ge 4/4 II
301 – 630, 302 – 631, 303, 629, 304 – 619, 306 – 621, 307 – 626, 308 – 633, 312 – 627, 313 – 625, 314 – 614, 316 – 616, 318 – 617, 319 – 622, 320 – 612, 321 – 611
Friday 18th July 2014 (On the way to Vevey)
I settled the hotel bill before breakfast and made the usual amount of sandwiches for the day before heading out of the makeshift breakfast room at the Hotel Chur. Big bag in tow once again I mirrored the first two moves of the previous day’s bash; neither of the engines were the same though.
Ge 4/4 III #652 whisked me out to Domat/Ems and thankfully the predicted Ge 6/6 II, based on the previous day’s observations, produced on 4221 0753 Ilanz – Chur mixed train; #702. That was the fourth time I’ve done the train, both in two stints of consecutive days, and it was the fourth different one of the class that had produced for me! Hopefully I’d have the same luck when I did it again the following Thursday.
My day had a purpose and it got executed rather well in the end. I would be meeting up with a fellow class 31 basher, who now lives and works in Vevey, that evening so the plan was simple, go direct to Montreux, via Zurich, have a spin on the MOB stuff on the Golden Pass trains ex Montreux and finish up at Vevey off the last of the three commuter trains heading out from Lausanne that evening at 1851.
I covered the 0807 Zurich – Chur booked Re 4/4 turn before heading north, unfortunately it was dud 11196 so I got off at Landquart and headed towards Montreux an hour earlier than I’d planed. While departing Chur on the 0838 IC towards Sargans I passed Crocodile #415, all on its lonesome, with the booked RhB Friday excursion, which would cover exactly the same route as the pair had done the previous day. The stock it had wasn’t the Pullman stock though but some old green coaches, which would have been probably more authentic but probably a lot more rancid in the hot weather than their Pullman counterparts.
As I arrived into Montreux some 3 hours later MOB GDe 4/4 #6002 arrived shortly afterwards with the Golden Pass Classic rake on the 1105 from Zweisimmen. Before I departed on the 1319 Re 460 fill-in move to Vevey Ge 4/4 #8003 was already sat in with a Golden Pass Panoramic set to form the 1344 to Zweisimmen, which I was back for and did up the hill to Chernex when the MOB trains are a plus 11 from outbound to inbound. Move pretty much set for the afternoon I waited at Chernex for the next inbound which would then allow me to do the fill-in move to Vevey and back in between arriving at 1413 and departing at 1444 on the next one up the hill; or so you’d have thought! Unfortunately the 1313 arrival had lulled me into a false sense of security and the 1413 arrival missed the 1419 departure to Brig by a good 5 minutes! Ge 4/4 #8001 had done the honours with the Golden Pass Panoramic VIP set, with the engine in the middle of the set.
With nothing else better to do at Montreux during the fester I photographed a couple of SBB Cargo freights go through and watched the VIP set be ripped apart on the shed in the meantime. As the MOB trains on the Golden Pass route had different sets of stock allocated to different turns it meant that what arrived into Montreux didn’t generally go straight back out on the next train; as you might think. And Ge 4/4 #8002 was soon in the platform to form the 1444 to Zweisimmen with a standard Golden Pass Panoramic set. It seemed like my luck was holing out as I’d only had 6002 & 8004 before on the MOB route; it was soon set to hit rock bottom though, let me tell you.
While waiting in the glorious sunshine at Chernex for the next southbound off 8002 I caught a glimpse of the stock through the trees, high above me but didn’t see the engine. When the barriers went down at the end of the platform I was posed with camera ready as the train came round the corner; while I could see it clearly in my lens it was as though my finger didn’t want to do anything with the shutter, probably because my brain was trying to process the fact that the train didn’t have a loco on it at all and was actually formed of EMU set #4001, one standard coach and a Golden Pass Panoramic coach behind that. I did manage the photo in the end but was flabbergasted with the fact that I’d now been bowled out by four units in only three days; what the hell had I done to deserve it? And to add insult to injury, for the second time in a row the xx:13 arriving into Montreux off the MOB missed the xx:19 spin move to Vevey. It was close on this occasion though and I did manage to make it under the subway to watch the tail-light go past!
When Ge 4/4 #8001 presented itself with the Golden Pass Panoramic VIP set, having been pieced back together with an extra coach, for the 1544 to Zweisimmen I decided enough was enough and went to claw back some Re 460’s instead. The irony being that every time I was at Vevey to see the xx:13 MOB arrival off the GoldenPass route it made the xx:19 to Vevey easily; you just couldn’t write it. And even more ironic was the fact that some of the Re 460’s I’d missed earlier began to cycle back round during the later afternoon spin so all wasn’t lost after all and I even managed to get two new Re 4/4’s in of the three on the commuter turns with 11139 doing the 1651 Lausane – St Maurice, 11150 1712 Geneva – St Maurice & 11206 1851 Lausanne – Bex.
As it was over 30 degrees outside the run round the edge of Lake Geneva between Montreux and Lausanne was excellent, and even more so while bellowing out of fresh air stock on empty commuter trains. Even so I was glad to be giving up on the day when I arrived into Vevey at 1904; when I found Tohm waiting for me on the platform. It was good to relax away from it all for the evening, with decent company, and bloody good to get a shower and cool off before food and I’d like to say, an early night, but I can’t really; the alarm was set for 0320 though which I don’t know whether I’d consider late or early! Either way knowing it was set for that time resulted in me having a crap night’s sleep anyway and I was awake before it went off, less than 5 hours before hitting the sack.
|652||Chur||Domat / Ems||0758 Chur – St Moritz||RE1121||RhB Ge4/4 III|
|702||Domat / Ems||Chur||0753 Ilanz – Chur||4221||RhB Ge6/6 II – Mixed train 2 coaches, 5 wagons|
|460099||Chur||Sargans||0838 Chur – Zurich HB||IC10766||SBB Re460|
|11196||Sargans||Landquart||0807 Zurich HB – Chur||IC10761||SBB Re4/4|
|460024||Landquart||Zurich HB||0908 Chur – Basel||IC568||SBB Re460|
|460069||Zurich HB||Lausanne||0911 St Gallen – Geneva||IC718||SBB Re460 – via Bern, Fribourg|
|460044||Lausanne||Montreux||1153 Geneva Airport – Brig||IR1417||SBB Re460|
|460043||Montreux||Vevey||1158 Brig – Geneva Airport||IR1712||SBB Re460|
|460054||Vevey||Montreux||1223 Geneva Airport – Brig||IR1719||SBB Re460|
|8003||Montreux||Chernex||1344 Montreux – Zweisimmen||3126||MOB Ge4/4|
|8001||Chernex||Montreux||1225 Zweisimmen – Montreux||2119||MOB Ge4/4|
|8002||Montreux||Chernex||1444 Montreux – Zweisimmen||2228||MOB Ge4/4|
|4001||Chernex||Montreux||1305 Zweisimmen – Montreux||2221||MOB ABDe8/8 EMU vice loco-hauled?|
|460039||Montreux||Vevey||1428 Brig – Geneva Airport||IR1430||SBB Re460|
|460089||Vevey||Montreux||1453 Geneva Airport – Brig||IR1423||SBB Re460|
|460082||Montreux||Lausanne||1458 Brig – Geneva Airport||IR1730||SBB Re460|
|460070||Lausanne||Vevey||1553 Geneva Airport – Brig||IR1425||SBB Re460|
|11139||Vevey||Montreux||1651 Lausanne – St Maurice||RE4075||SBB Re4/4|
|460054||Montreux||Vevey||1558 Brig – Geneva Airport||IR1732||SBB Re460|
|460114||Vevey||Montreux||1623 Geneva Airport – Brig||IR1729||SBB Re460|
|460087||Montreux||Vevey||1628 Brig – Geneva Airport||IR1434||SBB Re460|
|11150||Vevey||Montreux||1712 Geneva – St Maurice||IR1429||SBB Re4/4|
|460030||Montreux||Lausanne||1658 Brig – Geneva Airport||IR1734||SBB Re460|
|11206||Lausanne||Vevey||1851 Lausanne – Bex||RE4079||SBB Re4/4|
Gen for Friday 18th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
Ge6/6 I #415 (RhB operated dated regular charter)
2125 0825 Landquart – Samedan (via Chur & Filisur), 2340 1150 Samedan – Scuol-Tarasp, 2350 1448 Scuol-Tarasp – Landquart (via Klosters)
All locos by diagram number from RhB Lokdienste Summer 2014 = Diagram No. then Loco No.
Ge 4/4 III
154 – 644, 155 – 652
Ge 6/6 II
201 – 702 (includes 4221 0753 Ilanz – Chur mixed)
Ge 4/4 II
301 – 619, 304 – 629, 313 – 627, 317 – 626
6002 2217 1105 Zweisimmen – Montreux, 2232 1644 Montreux – Zweisimmen
6004 ecs with one coach Chernex – Montreux, 2234 1744 Montreux – Zweisimmen
6006 2225 1505 Zweisimmen – Montreux
8001 2119 1225 Zweisimmen – Montreux, 2128 1544 Montreux – Zweisimmen
8002 2228 1444 Montreux – Zweisimmen
8003 3126 1344 Montreux – Zweissimen, 2127 1625 Zweisimmen – Montreux
8004 3123 1425 Zweisimmen – Montreux, 2236 1844 Montreux – Zweisimmen
4001 2221 1305 Zweisimmen – Montreux (dragging two coaches)
11191 Spare with a push-pull set at Olten for 2046 2337 Olten – Bern
Saturday 19th July 2014 (Bombing around on Brown Bombers)
There was method in the madness as regards the stupid o’clock alarm call and yes we could probably have got up a good 90 minutes later and still done the bash we were planning but if we didn’t make or get onto the first train we needed to do the whole day was literally down the pan; so the additional time secured the cracking day that followed.
Once breakfast, freshly squeezed orange and a good old cuppa were out of the way, we were out of the door; at precisely 0400. The car was already packed with a bike and there was just enough room for me to squeeze into the back seat beside it. Getting two bikes in had been a bit of an issue by all accounts; so one had to suffice.
The journey to Brig, on virtually empty roads, only too about 90 minutes and we were using the facilities at Brig station a little before 0600. The first train of the day would be 27959 0715 Brig Autoquai – Iselle di Trasquera car train. It was essential that we got on it as we were then booked on the 0919 Iselle – Kandersteg BLS car train throughout; not that you can actually get off anywhere!
The idea of the day was to bash BLS Re 4/4 “brownies” on the Kandersteg – Goppenstein car train shuttles and what better way to get there than by the Summer only BLS operated car train from Iselle; and of course the simplest way to get to that was by doing the SBB car train from Brig to Iselle. Hence the early start and us being 3rd in the queue for the 0715 from Brig, when we arrived at 0615.
There was no rush to start boarding and in the meantime quite a queue built up behind us; said queue actually having to clear a path for the guy to open the access booth and sell tickets to us all. At 0740 we paid our CHF22 for the car and were moved into the compound to queue some more, before boarding the actual train commenced at 0705! At 0715 on the dot we departed for Iselle with SBB Re 4/4 11195 pushing on the rear. The car trains are formed of driving vehicle, car transporters and a coach on the rear, inside the engine; the latter being for foot passengers, who can travel on all SBB car trains between Brig & Iselle and return with normal tickets.
The journey through the tunnel was simple enough but despite it being 22 degrees already outside the windows were well and truly shut in the car throughout the tunnel. Unloading at Iselle was efficient enough and with plenty of time to kill before our BLS car train to Kandersteg we headed straight off to the nearest town; Varzo, Italy. And what a picturesque town it was, sporting very old Italian style buildings and surrounded by natural beauty. It even had a very respectable public toilet for us to use and the car park beside it had benches which we used to eat more breakfast.
We arrived back at Iselle car loading point with plenty of time to spare, the tickets say you must be there 30 minutes before departure. There was only one car in front of us when we got there and ultimately there would only be 5 cars in total on the whole train, which only filed the first car transporter! Tickets for the BLS Iselle – Kandersteg car trains can only be booked online, unlike the Kandersteg – Goppenstein ones where you just turn up and get on the next train. I booked mine, paying CHF81 for a car and the tickets were though my letterbox the following day; now that’s Swiss efficiency for you.
I’d walked to the Brig end of the station at Iselle to watch the train arrive and found BLS Re 4/4 #192 on the rear as it arrived. The formation was the same as the SBB car train but without a coach for foot passengers. BLS only carries vehicles on their car trains but does allow bike transportation in the driving vehicle, which does have half a coach worth of seating; hence the bike loaded into the car! There were supposed to be two, one for me and one for Tohm but as Tohm had already had quite a lot of the “brownies” he would think about using the car to get on a train if he spotted on he needed.
We were away at 0919, spot on time and only a car length away from 192 on the front, the sun was coming out and it was already getting quite warm; still not warm enough to have the windows down through the tunnel to Brig though. It was a welcome relief to be out of the tunnel as we trundled through the yard between the main station and the car train platform; our train being admired by everyone stood on the station waiting for their trains as we did so.
A bit of consternation ensued as we got to the Visp end of the statin and watched in disbelief as SBB Cargo Re 4/4 11341 appeared to back onto a set of Brig – Geneva stock that was sat in platform 7 (ish). It looked to have arrived not long before as there was an Re 460 on the opposite end. As the time was about 0935 we speculated that it could be the stock for the 0958 Brig – GenevaAirport and proceeded to figure out what it should do next. We figured out we could get for it coming back from Geneva if needed but in the end talked ourselves into believing one of two options; either it was just going into the platform to get behind the signal and run straight back out again, or it was going to follow the stock out at the other end of the station, once it had run out ecs, to allow it to get to the opposite end of the yard. Both likely explanations for what we saw but still our initial thoughts are just as feasible as any other explanation.
The BLS line to Spiez climbs immediately away from Brig and clings to the mountainside all the way up to the Lotschberg Tunnel at Goppenstein. It’s a fantastic view looking down into the valley and the weather made it all the more enjoyable; the widows being well and truly open between the Simplon & Lotschberg tunnels. We spent most of the time trying to spot SBB trains on the Brig – Geneva line down below and could follow the road that we’d driven down some 4 hours earlier from Vevey. What a cracking way it was to travel, sat in your car, windows open, sun shining and just generally admiring the scenery. Of course the usual reason for car transporter trains is to get vehicles through mountains and they’re usually inside tunnels for almost the entirety of their journey; the BLS Iselle – Kandersteg killing two birds with one stone allows for that rare 30 minutes out in the open air and offers some cracking scenery while it is. The car trains are now the only loco-hauled train over the Lotschberg route; or so we thought, until we passed through Hohtenn!
For the second time during our one hour journey from Iselle to Kandersteg we went into flap mode when we passed BLS Re 465 465005 with a passenger train at Hohtenn, heading to Brig. It wasn’t shown in any timetable or on the EU Rail app but Tohm suspected that it would be an 0831 Bern – Brig “extrazug” which sometimes runs at weekends as required; more like a control relief type thing. He also suspect that if there was one there could well be a second and what goes down must come back up and they usually did in the late afternoon apparently. That was certainly something to keep an eye out for later in the afternoon, especially as I was heading for Bern, en-route to Zurich, anyway.
As we passed through Goppenstein there were a few car train sets in either being loaded or unloaded and lots of scribbling down took place to note the locos, their corresponding driver trailer vehicle and the car train set number. This would allow each set’s “brownie” to be identified from any end of the train. Then we were into the Lotschberg tunnel for the final 10 minutes of our journey; during which we braved the cold air and left the car windows open. It did get a little chilly by the time we emerged into the sunshine at Kandersteg, where lots more scribbling down took place.
As there were only 5 cars on our train it was offloaded very quickly and the set immediately shunted out into the sidings north of the station. The other two car train platforms were occupied by “brownies” 164 & 191 as we arrived. The car was driven straight off, down the exit road and straight into the first car park space we found in the small car park at the bottom of the ramp. The one bike was out and I was off. Not really knowing what to do we all walked up a set of steps that led from the car park to what looked like a place to buy tickets for the car trains. I obviously carried the bike up but the place turned out to be just a shop so I left Tohm to do some wondering round and train spotting while I went to investigate at the boarding point.
As the locos are on the blocks at Kandersteg bike have to board first and be ridden right the way down the set to the driving vehicle at the south end of the train. As 164’s set was already being loaded with cars I’d missed that. Some guy then beckoned me over and suggest I wait a moment then I was directed straight onto 191’s set once the last car was off. As I rode onto the train 177 pulled in on the through platform and car were immediately loaded onto that at the same time as they were onto my set. By the time I’d secured the bike in the driving vehicle 177’s set was already away and went in front of me to Goppenstein. It looked like things were very busy at Kandersteg, which was just what we needed to keep all the “brownies” out at once; the queue of cars as we arrived was two deep and as long as the eye could see down the access road. The ticket office for the trains seemingly must be somewhere way back there, either way my first journey was completely free out to Goppenstein as a result of me just presenting myself with a bike! One down…….
I barely had time to think at Goppenstein as I rode off the train and no sooner had I pedaled 20 yards did my head have me turning straight back round and riding straight into the driving vehicle that was now on the blocks with “brownie” 177 at the Kandersteg end. Nobody actually saw me ride on anyway as they were more concerned with getting cars off the train I’d just arrived on. I was back at Kandersteg 36 minutes after departing, the single train journeys taking 15 minutes each way!
When I got back I was already in receipt of the full gen from Tohm, who’d actually found two “brownies” he needed, 173, which had gone by the time I got there and 189, which was spare in the yard opposite the station. When I rode off 177’s train and back to towards the shop I found Tohm perch with a bike. It turs out there’s a bike hire place at the station, his costing CHF27 for the rest of the day up to 1800. It appears that they can’t be booked in advance though and it’s a first com first served arrangement? Either way Tohm was waiting for 173 to come back in and get his new one in. I was straight back into the game while there were winners sat in and while we were directed onto 191’s set when it was ready for boarding the guy boarding seemed to accept that we were going to get the next train, as I told him in German, and 194 was soon being loaded before 191 had actually departed. I was on without a ticket again, no questions asked. I didn’t have the driving vehicle to myself on this occasion and couldn’t actually get through the set of rather large motorbikes between me and the seating area once I reached the van so I just stood and admired the darkness with the joining door to the car carriers wide open as we hammered through the tunnel; Tohm was 3 minutes behind on his winner 173, having been asked for a ticket as he boarded; which thankfully for him he had! The timetable should be xx:20 & xx:50 off each end but extra trains run as required. They were clearly required on this day and the weather was more than likely responsible!
As Tohm was going to do 173 back he asked if I’d get him a ticket for the return journey when I got mine; he was assuming one thing there but in light of him being asked for a ticket on the way out I thought it best to not push our luck too far and went to find the ticket booth. The correct way to get to it is to follow the traffic out of the complex at Goppenstein and then come back into the complex via the correct lane and pay at the booth before being allowed access through the barrier. It was the uphill bit at the end that put me off riding the correct way to the ticket booth so I thought the better idea was to ride against the traffic and the most direct way to the booth; all of which was flat I might add. Had I rode down the bike lane I might have stood a better chance of not nearly being knocked off but as it was there was a quick exit from the roadway onto a footpath at the side of the bridge; which sufficed quite nicely. Two tickets for bikes were purchased from a rather bemused ticket person at the booth and I was off back down the same way I’d come in, back to the station; this time the correct way!
While going for the tickets 173 had arrived and there was no sign of Tohm, until he returned from the ticket office with his own ticket; the treat! 195 was also sat in the adjacent platform and motorbikes were being boarded. I was all up for it as it was new and Tohm was going to wait but as we only had bikes the guy loading up directed us round the end of the driving vehicle and into it through the car carrier next to it. Some of the driving vehicles have side opening doors, like the set with 195 on it, which was why the motorbikes were put in there. However the guy loading told us 173 would go first so all was good and everyone was happy. The tickets we’d just bought for the journey weren’t needed and but did come in handy later mind. This was actually the only journey I did with Tohm during the day!
The fun began back at Kandersteg. 195 followed almost immediately behind 173 and plonked itself in the through platform. The only issue with that was if you weren’t paying attention cars would load on and generally bikes were loaded onto the other sets in the bay platforms. I loitered around the back of the train though and once the last car was off I gestured to the guy loading who acknowledged that I could board but then promptly asked me for a ticket.
Thankfully Tohm had given me the ticket he’d used on the last trip and had gone to get another for his next journey anyway. I showed the guy the ticket bought an hour earlier and he wasn’t going to have it as it was an hour old. My get out of jail card came by way of the fact that I’d bought the two tickets for the previous journey back from Goppenstein and explained to the guy that I’d been buying two tickets at a time to save time and messing about at each end. He was on the verge of accepting my explanation but I could tell he still wasn’t happy as I couldn’t produce the “other” Kandersteg – Goppenstein ticket; that I obviously didn’t have. My explanation for that being that I’d already thrown it away. His response to that being “this is not normal” as he pointed me towards the train. What the hell was normal about what I’d been doing all morning anyway?
I waited patiently at Goppenstein for 164 to arrive, the last one I needed on the Goppenstein sets. The only other one out that I’d not had by the time I got back to Kandersteg was 162, which had been on an Iselle set all morning yet it had been swapped out in the afternoon and replaced by 189, which was sat in the sidings alongside 192, which we’d had up in the morning. Both of which were poised to work the two late afternoon trips to Iselle and return.
Brown Bomber bashing was completed by just after 1400 and we then had a plan for the afternoon hatched thanks to Tohm nipping over to the station earlier and finding a 1607 “extrazug” to Thun on the departure screen, which could only mean one thing of course; that it would hopefully be 465005 returning from Brig?
Thom’s other half was dispatched to Spiez to pick him up on arrival, the bike I’d been using safely tucked away back in the car. While we sat and waited on Kandersteg station we watched 189 shunt its set into the through platform and be loaded up for the 1555 to Iselle; there wasn’t an ounce of space on the train when it departed and I was convinced a car was going to be left behind but no, they all squeezed on. That left 192 behind to work the 1755 to Iselle.
Sure enough 465005 turned up with its extrazug and departed right time at 1607; quite well loaded. The run through to Thun was quite nice scenery wise and while relieving the booked train behind it never got “well” loaded so we had plenty of room to ourselves. The train it was actually relieving rolled into Thun with 4 x EMU so it seemed it was a popular time of day to travel on the BLS line from Brig.
Having bode farewell to Thom at Spiez I was left to my own devices and worked a move out to get for RE3236 1806 Olten – Bern, which I’d planned to be doing on its outward journey until 465005 entered the equation, by doing the next train to Bern for a choice of trains towards Olten; the ICE actually being a small plus at Olten.
Still being advertised on the screen as an ICE, ICE332 1630 Interlaken Ost – Basel turned up with 460118 vice ICE, which was pleasing, and dropped me at Bern where I chose to do 460067 forward to Herzogenbuchsee to wait for the Re4/4, hopefully new 11191, back into Bern. While only at Herzogenbuchsee for a short time I still managed to photograph a couple of freights with Re 4/4 & 6/6 combinations, which passed the time as there was nothing else there and then sure enough, as hoped, 11191 appeared with the same load 9 push-pull set I’d seen it sat with at Olten two days previous and the very same set I’d seen it work to Lugano vice ICN with 3 days previous. The train was empty back to Bern and the front coach was like an oven due to the hot weather. The breeze from the opened windows made a difference but not a massive one.
I was booked on my overnight, CNL40478 2042 Zurich – Amsterdam, from Basel to Koln, but as I had plenty of time to spare I opted to go into Zurich for it instead and do the Re 4/4 across to Basel. Just in case the CNL staff wouldn’t let me on there was a 2036 Zurich – Basel right in front of it so I had a back-up if needed. 460061 on IC839 1749 Brig – Romanshorn took me direct from Bern to Zurich, where food was sought from the Migros downstairs near the entrance to the S-Bahn platforms.
There wasn’t a problem boarding CNL40478 at Zurich, with a reservation from Basel, and there wasn’t even a grip until after Basel anyway. As I was getting off at 0543 I’d opted for a 4 berth couchette instead of paying the extra for a sleeper; which only had two occupants from Zurich but was full from Basel, as was the rest of the train!
DB’s 101142 dropped onto the rear of the train at Basel and also added a couple of coaches as it did so. On arrival at Basel Bad the train was descended on by an army of teenage girls, which of course brought with them their girls noise! While everyone else in the coach at that point was getting ready for bed this lot seemed to want to spend the night making noise and giggling to themselves. I can understand the novelty at that age but I was in no mood for it and when the gripper came round doing tickets he was asked to get the coach to turn the volume down a few notches and whatever he did worked as I was away with the fairies a few moments later!
|11195||Brig Autoquai||Iselle di Trasquera||0715 Brig Autoquai – Iselle di Trasquera||27959||SBB Re4/4 – Car Train (in car)|
|192||Iselle di Trasquera||Kandersteg||0919 Iselle di Trasquera – Kandersteg||27018||BLS Re425 – Car Train (in car)|
|191||Kandersteg||Goppenstein||1033 Kandersteg – Goppenstein||BLS Re425 – Car Train (on bike)|
|177||Goppenstein||Kandersteg||1053 Goppenstein – Kandersteg||BLS Re425 – Car Train (on bike)|
|194||Kandersteg||Goppenstein||1157 Kandersteg – Goppenstein||BLS Re425 – Car Train (on bike)|
|173||Goppenstein||Kandersteg||1227 Goppenstein – Kandersteg||BLS Re425 – Car Train (on bike)|
|195||Kandersteg||Goppenstein||1304 Kandersteg – Goppenstein||BLS Re425 – Car Train (on bike)|
|164||Goppenstein||Kandersteg||1348 Goppenstein – Kandersteg||BLS Re425 – Car Train (on bike)|
|465005||Kandersteg||Thun||1525 Brig – Thun (Extrazug)||Extra||BLS Re465 – Extrazug|
|460118||Thun||Bern||1630 Interlaken Ost – Basel||ICE332||SBB Re460 vice ICE|
|460067||Bern||Herzogenbuchsee||1739 Bern – Zurich HB||IR2037||SBB Re460|
|11191||Herzogenbuchsee||Bern||1806 Olten – Bern||RE3236||SBB Re4/4|
|460061||Bern||Zurich HB||1749 Brig – Romanshorn||IC839||SBB Re460|
|11194||Zurich HB||Basel||2042 Zurich HB – Hamburg Altona||CNL478||SBB Re4/4 (Amsterdam portion code 40478) Via Brugg|
|101142||Basel||Mannheim||2042 Zurich HB – Hamburg Altona||CNL478||DB 101 (Amsterdam portion code 40478)|
Gen for Saturday 19th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
Kandersteg – Goppenstein Car Trains
164 (Set 31 & DVT 955)
173 (Set 22 & DVT 956)
177 (Set 41 & DVT 951)
191 (Set 11 & DVT 949)
194 (Set 43 & DVT 958)
195 (Set 42 & DVT 957)
Kandersteg – Iselle Car Trains
162 (Set 32 & DVT 946) 27011 0524 Kandersteg – Iselle, 27012 0655 Iselle – Kandersteg, 27017 0754 Kandersteg – Iselle, 1019 Iselle – Kandersteg (was removed from set at Kandersteg and replaced by 189 from sidings)
189 (Set 32 & DVT 946) 27035 1555 Kandersteg – Iselle
192 (Set 23 & DVT 948) 27017 0754 Kandersteg – Iselle, 27018 0919 Iselle – Kandersteg & in place to work 27037 1754 Kandersteg – Iselle
465005 ???? Bern? – Brig (possible 0831 Bern – Brig) Extrazug, 1525 Brig – Thun Extrazug
11130 4762 0615 Domodossola – Brig
Sunday 20th July 2014
I was on a plus 33 at Koln for my morning move, before heading to Aachen and via Liege to Luxembourg, yet the good old DB efficiency still managed to, in theory, just miss it! The stock for my CNL train is shunted from CNL478 Zurich – Beograd to CNL418 Munich – Amsterdam at Mannheim so maybe it was CNL418 that had caused the delay? Either way the train I was going for, 10102 0415 Hamm – Aachen, was showing 30 late on the screens and I was then left wondering whether the amount of folk about on this particular Sunday morning had anything to do with the delay? It seemed that there’d been a concert in Koln and there were revelers everywhere, coming down from the high whatever concert they’d been to had given them. Perhaps the set to form the 0415 from Hamm had been out all night working extra trains to get folk home; hence the delay?
Move down the pan a little, at least I had time for breakfast before heading out to Aachen. While departing with 146020 on 10102, eventually 45 late, I noticed a 143 arrive with an RE service; something I wasn’t even aware of working in Koln, just one of the downfalls of not knowing what works where in these countries. I was sure I could have done a fill-in move on them had I actually known what they did. Still I chose to get off 146020 at Stolberg for the train behind; now only 15 minutes behind and not an hour. I had made sure that the 0515 from Hamm was on time before even contemplating getting off mind and sure enough 146028 rolled in right time and delivered me to its destination of Aachen right time as well. Strangely the return working of 146028’s booked train was cancelled yet the return working of 146020’s wasn’t and ran approx. 40 late, virtually in the path of that which 146028 would have back towards Koln!
111128 was sat in at Aachen waiting to depart with 10413 0813 Aachen – Dortmund as I arrived and that was all I saw until my ICE arrived to take me through into Belgium and Liege. It was my first ever run on an ICE and I have to say this particular set was very nice inside. I’d been warned about the reliability of the Germany – Belgium ICE services but this particular service, ICE18 0625 Frankfurt – Brussels, was spot on time with no issues at all and I was left with plenty of time to relax at Liege and watch trains, before my days bash really began as I headed to Luxembourg.
In the 34 minutes I was at Liege I spotted a few SNCB trains; 1875 departed with IC731 0852 Liege – Knokke, 1811/1867 T&T’d IC531 0815 Eupen – Ostende & 1826/1870 T&T’d IC506 0644 Ostende – Eupen. My train to Luxembourg, IR113 0853 Liers – Luxembourg, was worked through to destination by CFL 3019. The train was empty until it got into Luxembourg itself and even then wasn’t that well loaded at all. The run was relaxing and as I’d never been to Luxembourg before I wasn’t prepared for the stunning view that is presented on the right hand side as you arrive into Luxembourg’s main station; everything the city has to offer seems to be just thrust at you all in one go and no sooner have you processed what you’re seeing in your mind is it all taken away from you again as you enter the tunnel into the station!
In the half an hour I had spare upon arrival into Luxembourg I managed to figure out the platforming system with trains arriving and departing at the correct end of the station, relevant to the direction they travel in. Once that was sussed it was easy to figure out that you need to be at the front of any train arriving into Luxembourg to make a tight connection and it’s just a skip down the steps at the centre of the station and back up the relevant steps to the platform you require for the next move. Mine being a dodgy plus 2 at Mersch but as timekeeping seems to be on the ball in Luxembourg I wasn’t concerned as the doors of 3712 1215 Luxembourg – Troisvierges were closed as the second hand on the clock hit 1215 precisely and CFL’s 4009 dropped me t Mersch with enough time to photograph it departing and turn round to photograph 3007 arriving with 3737 1144 Troisvierges – Luxembourg before running underneath to do it back in.
I’d studied the CFL timetables and diagrams quite comprehensively before planning my moves as I only had from 1144 to 1620 in Luxembourg and I’d chosen Sunday for my smash & grab visit as I would also be visiting Holland and Sunday’s were shocking for loco-hauled train there; with Luxembourg not having much less than it did any other day of the week really and certainly enough to keep me occupied for 4 hours! The bash plan was optimized to get the most out of the short period loco-wise and not track-wise and it went exactly as I’d planned with no hiccups at all and every booked hauled turn I saw was hauled.
Quite pleased with the afternoon’s bash I boarded EC97 1309 Brussels – Basel ready for a rest in the AC; it was a hot day and not the best for carrying a big bag around on the bash. SNCB’s 1347 was duly removed on arrival and replaced by SNCF’s 26158 at the opposite end of the train once an SBB coach had been added by a shunt loco just before departure; all of course in CFL land! Bizarrely my biggest surprise of the day came once I’d boarded EC97 and realised that the bottle of Coke I’d just bought had the name “Gonda” on it, which if you know your Indian loco sheds means a lot more than it would to most; I didn’t even realise that Gonda was someone’s actual name and had never been withered as much by a bottle of Coke before!
The 3 ½ hours of relaxation to Basel was welcome and after stocking up rice and chicken curry from the Migros on the station concourse, dinner was served on board IR1991 2013 Basel – Zurich which was headed by Re 4/4 11194, as per diagram having worked my CNL478 to Basel the previous night. It was only a quick fill-in move t Reinfelden to pass the time before I again joined CNL478; this time at Basel and this time to run through to Arnhem in Holland and this time in a three berth sleeper compartment for the more comfortable journey as it was a longer distance.
Unlike the night before all the couchette and sleeper coaches for the Amsterdam portion of the train were added by the train loco, DB 101129, at Basel before departure. Whether there’d been an issue going to Zurich in the morning or there’d just been no reservations from Zurich I don’t know. My compartment only ended up with me and a German guy, who was travelling home to Bonn, so the middle berth was empty. Ticketing formalities were a little more prompt than the previous night and once I’d chewed the cud with the German about his countries recent World Cup victory it was time for bed; and I was ready for it again!
|101104||Mannheim||Koln HB||2241 (19/07) Munich HB – Amsterdam Central||CNL418||DB 101 (Amsterdam portion shunted 478-418)|
|146020||Koln HB||Stolberg||0415 Hamm – Aachen HB||10102||DB 146|
|146028||Stolberg||Aachen HB||0515 Hamm – Aachen HB||10104||DB 146|
|4603||Aachen HB||Liege Guillemins||0625 Frankfurt HB – Brussels Midi||ICE18||DB ICE|
|3019||Liege Guillemins||Gouvy||0853 Liers – Luxembourg||IR113||CFL 3000|
|3019||Gouvy||Luxembourg||0853 Liers – Luxembourg||IR113||CFL 3000|
|4009||Luxembourg||Mersch||1215 Luxembourg – Troisvierges||3712||CFL 4000|
|3007||Mersch||Luxembourg||1144 Troisvierges – Luxembourg||3737||CFL 3000|
|4017||Luxembourg||Dommeldange||1250 Luxembourg – Wiltz||3212||CFL 4000|
|4013||Dommeldange||Luxembourg||1205 Wiltz – Luxembourg||3237||CFL 4000|
|4004||Luxembourg||Schifflange||1350 Luxembourg – Rodange||6863||CFL 4000|
|4006||Schifflange||Bettembourg||1345 Rodange – Luxembourg||6889||CFL 4000|
|4012||Bettembourg||Luxembourg||1415 Rodange – Luxembourg||6840||CFL 4000|
|3006||Luxembourg||Mersch||1515 Luxembourg – Liers||IR116||CFL 3000|
|3011||Mersch||Luxembourg||1253 Liers – Luxembourg||IR117||CFL 3000|
|26158||Luxembourg||Bettembourg||1309 Brussels Midi – Basel||EC97||SNCF 26000|
|26158||Bettembourg||Basel||1309 Brussels Midi – Basel||EC97||SNCF 26000|
|11194||Basel||Rheinfelden||2013 Basel – Zurich HB||IR1991||SBB Re4/4|
|460041||Rheinfelden||Basel||1936 Zurich HB – Basel||IR1988||SBB Re460|
|101129||Basel||Mannheim||2042 Zurich HB – Hamburg Altona||CNL478||DB 101 (Amsterdam portion code 40478)|
Gen for Sunday 20th July 2014
3006 Day 3, 3007 Day 10, 3009 Day 2, 3010 Day 5, 3011 Day 4, 3019 Day 1
4004 Day 10, 4006 Day 11, 4009 Day 9, 4012 Day 6, 4013 Day 7, 4017 Day 8
11121 IC791 2007 Basel – Zurich (Vice Re460)
111128 10413 0813 Aachen HB – Dortmun
181219 (181205 dit) IC137 1419 Luxembourg – Koblenz
1875 IC1731 0852 Liege – Knokke
1811/1867 T&T IC531 0815 Eupen – Ostende
1826/1870 T&T IC506 0644 Ostende – Eupen
1347 EC97 1309 Brussels Midi – Basel (to Luxembourg)
Monday 21st July 2014 (Getting up to illegal things…..)
I needed to be at the front of the train at Emmerich to check which 101 had worked forward from Mannheim; it was during my walk to the front of the train that I began to wonder if it was the train loco or something else that shunted the Amsterdam portion from CNL478 to CNL418 at Mannheim? Having been on it two nights running at that point….. I found 101026 at the head of the train and it was replaced by NS 1732, which had already been waiting in the headshunt to back on as we arrived. Unfortunately though we were 20 late away from Emmerich and I missed the plus 7 at Arnhem onto the 0649 Zwolle – Roosendaal and had to wait for the next one 30 minutes behind; this unfortunately meant I’d miss out on two of the 1700 turns on the Zwolle – Roosendaal circuit that day, or not as it turned out…….
My first move was a pair of EMU’s on the 0719 Zwolle – Roosendaal, which as it happened was a booked unit turn, but I needed to get to Nijmegen so I could spin whatever was thrown at me on the rest of the turns between there and Elst; plus 5’s and 6’s at either end with Nijmegen Lent in between if needed. I have to say the 4xxx series EMU’s really do look bizarre with their high level cab that can only be described as a bulkhead, looking similar to that of a ship that has opening doors to allow vehicles on board!
Nijmegen station is quite nice and has a buffet on the platforms that the Zwolle – Roosendaal trains depart from, it being a cross platform leap from one to the other in either direction so I didn’t have to walk far. Thankfully 1745 turned up on IC3624 0720 Roosendaal – Zwolle as I was fearing the worst after passing a single 4xxx series EMU with the previous Roosendaal – Zwolle.
Despite the heavy rain that had bestowed Holland with its presence that morning I still got a photo of 1745 departing Elst as it pushed the train towards its destination. Elst is a station that has a road level crossing right at the end of the platforms and if a tight plus it could be one of those moves that ends in tears; however while the barriers remained down after 1745 departed it wasn’t for my southbound train and the moment they began to lift I rushed underneath as they were lifting to get to the shelter at the other side and out of the pouring rain. While running up the ramp at the other side I was stopped in my tracks by some guy that wouldn’t get out of my way, who then produced a badge to confirm he was security and announced that I’d just done something that was illegal! When I questioned if it was the photos I’d just taken of 1745 departing he replied with a “no” and announced that I’d disobeyed a red stop signal when I ran under the barriers; which in Holland comes with a 65 Euro fine! When he realised I was English he became a little more lenient in the fact that he explained the law and my punishment on this occasion would be missing the train to Nijmegen that I’d been running for. Of course he didn’t realise that I’d been running to keep dry and not to catch the train he’d made me miss and 1738 arrived moments after he let me go with IC3629 0749 Zwolle – Roosendaal. Once I returned to Elst on the next northbound Zwolle, with 4014/4231 vice 1700, I watched folk at the barriers before crossing and sure enough everyone waited for the barriers to lift fully and the red lights to stop flashing before crossing; as did I from that point on!
The next southbound trip from Elst was delayed due to another train ahead being stopped in the next signal section as a result I ended up getting off at the fall-back shack of Nijmegen Lent; not a shack for quick leaps from one platform to the other I might add. That set the scene for the rest of my moves on the Zwolle – Roosendaal trains due to lateness and I never saw Nijmegen again. The next 6 moves throwing up 8741 on a booked EMU turn and then two pairs of 4xxx units vice 1700s which ultimately meant there were 5 of the 1700 booked turns being covered by EMU sets that day, the last of which I saw at Deventer after I’d arrived which meant the two moves I’d missed due to CNL418 being late hadn’t mattered at all as both were EMU’s!
Having purchased some food at Deventer I watched 1730 depart with IC240 0625 Berlin – Amsterdam about 15 late. 1741 then arrived shortly afterwards with IC145 1101 Amsterdam – Berlin. On board I was well and truly told by the gripper for not having filled out the cover of my Inter Rail pass, which I’d in fact removed as it’s just a farce anyway. As I then red the rules en-route to Almelo I found that the pass wasn’t actually valid if the cover was removed!!! That was as well as not having my details filed in or the journey added to the sheet either. The gripper not being content with the fact that I’d already done way more journeys than would actually fit on the sheet anyway and wouldn’t accept my moves book as proof of all the journeys; telling me I needed to go to a booking office anywhere in Europe to get an extra sheet to fill in, which isn’t what the Inter Rail pass rules tell you; any piece of paper will actually suffice! Eventually she left me filling out my personal details on the pass, which I didn’t manage to finish before Almelo as she’d spent so long jabbering at me.
The two hour journey that IC148 0825 Berlin – Amsterdam offered, all the way into Amsterdam, was again a welcome one; with 1731 at the helm. The plus 1 onto the next IC towards Germany made with 1730 waiting to depart with IC149 1501 Amsterdam – Berlin. It should have done the 1701 by diagram but had been stepped up; ultimately 1731 then did the 1701 as opposed to being finished for the day by diagram. I didn’t bother rushing for 1730 as my afternoon was planned out doing 186’s on the Amsterdam – Breda circuit. The first of which was showing on the screens as being 15 late, which would bugger the first move to Schiphol up as it was only a plus 12! Thankfully 186120 was in the platform at 1533 for the 1525 to Breda and we only departed 10 late but thanks to a bit of slow running I had a quick dash over the bridge to make 186117 heading back into Amsterdam with 939 1457 Breda – Amsterdam. Yet after that everything was spot on time for the rest of the afternoon/evening but after the next return trip to Schiphol the move went in the bin as I found 1056 1710 Amsterdam – Rotterdam cancelled so I ended up flagging the 1725 Breda as it was dud and doing the 1755 Breda to Schiphol where I found a decent pizza place upstairs on the airport concourse for food before returning to Amsterdam on the 1757 Breda – Amsterdam. The inbound evening Rotterdam – Amsterdam, 1053 1838 Rotterdam – Amsterdam, was also caped for some reason; both turned being booked for different engines according to the diagrams so maybe one had been caped due to issues and the other to balance up sets?
With a fourth return trip to Schiphol on offer it would have been rude not to; especially after the relative disaster that had been the Zwolle – Roosendaal trains. And with a plus 25 back at Amsterdam I had enough time for supplies from Burger King and Starbucks before joining the Zurich portion of CNL419 2031 Amsterdam – Munich for a mirror move back to Mannheim with 1732 to Emmerich, where DB 101026, that had been waiting since being removed from CNL418 that morning, replaced the Dutch loco for the run forward to Mannheim. I was again in a three berth sleeper compartment, this time sharing with a couple of Chinese lads. I swapped my middle berth for the upper one so they could be next to each other and once I’d watched the loco change take place at Emmerich I retired upstairs and sleep soon followed.
|101026||Mannheim||Emmerich||2241 (20/07) Munich HB – Amsterdam Central||CNL418||DB 101 (Amsterdam portion shunted 478-418)|
|1732||Emmerich||Arnhem||2241 (20/07) Munich HB – Amsterdam Central||CNL418||NS 1700|
|4214||Arnhem||Nijmegen||0719 Zwolle – Roosendaal||IC3627||EMU’s 4214/4044|
|1745||Nijmegen||Elst||0720 Roosendaal – Zwolle||IC3624||NS 1700|
|1738||Elst||Nijmegen||0749 Zwolle – Roosendaal||IC3629||NS 1700|
|4014||Nijmegen||Elst||0750 Roosendaal – Zwolle||IC3626||EMU’s 4014/4231 vice NS 1700|
|1767||Elst||Nijmegen Lent||0819 Zwolle – Roosendaal||IC3631||NS 1700|
|8741||Nijmegen Lent||Elst||0820 Roosendaal – Zwolle||IC3628||EMU|
|1733||Elst||Nijmegen Lent||0849 Zwolle – Roosendaal||IC3633||NS 1700|
|4015||Nijmegen Lent||Elst||0850 Roosendaal – Zwolle||IC3630||EMU’s 4015/4070 vice NS 1700|
|4219||Elst||Nijmegen Lent||0919 Zwolle – Roosendaal||IC3635||EMU’s 4219/4068 vice NS 1700|
|1766||Nijmegen Lent||Deventer||0921 Roosendaal – Zwolle||IC3632||NS 1700|
|1741||Deventer||Almelo||1101 Amsterdam Central – Berlin Ost||IC145||NS 1700|
|1731||Almelo||Amsterdam Central||0825 Berlin Ost – Amsterdam Central||IC148||NS 1700|
|186120||Amsterdam Central||Schiphol||1525 Amsterdam Central – Breda||948||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186117||Schiphol||Amsterdam Central||1457 Breda – Amsterdam Central||939||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186113||Amsterdam Central||Schiphol||1625 Amsterdam Central – Breda||952||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186115||Schiphol||Amsterdam Central||1557 Breda – Amsterdam Central||943||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186121||Amsterdam Central||Schiphol||1755 Amsterdam Central – Breda||958||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186142||Schiphol||Amsterdam Central||1757 Breda – Amsterdam Central||951||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186144||Amsterdam Central||Schiphol||1926 Amsterdam Central – Breda||964||NS hired Traxx 186|
|186114||Schiphol||Amsterdam Central||1857 Breda – Amsterdam Central||955||NS hired Traxx 186|
|1732||Amsterdam Central||Emmerich||2031 Amsterdam Central – Munich HB||CNL419||NS 1700|
|101026||Emmerich||Mannheim||2031 Amsterdam Central – Munich HB||CNL419||DB 101|
Gen for Monday 21st July 2014
1730 Day K5 to arriving Amsterdam with IC240), then K6 , 1731 Day K7 then K5 from IC241, 1732 Day K1, 1733 Day K11, 1738 Day K15, 1741 Day K3, 1745 Day K19, 1766 Day K18, 1767 Day K20
EMU’s vice 1700
4014/4231 Day K16, 4015/4070 Day K17, 4219/4068 Day K13, 4xxx Day K14, 8656 Day K12
NS Traxx (186’s)
186111 Day 3, 186113 Day 9, 186114 Day 10, 186115 Day 1, 186117 Day 11, 186120 Day 6, 186121 Day 2, 186142 Day 8, 186144 Day 5
Note 1056 1710 Amsterdam – Rotterdam (Day 4) & 1053 1838 Rotterdam – Amsterdam (Day 7) were both caped.
146025 10509 0740 Emmerich – Koblenz
Tuesday 22nd July 2014 (The French Revision!)
I had a decent night’s sleep, it appeared that the Chinese lads in my cabin didn’t. As there was an empty cabin further down the coach the coach attendant served or breakfast there; as he’d already folded the beds away.
DB 101124 was found at the front of the train, having taken over proceedings at Mannheim where the Amsterdam portion joins with CNL479 Hamburg Altona – Zurich and as we arrived into Basel, on time, SBB 460033 was waiting to back on and work CNL479 through to Zurich.
The plan for the day had originally been to head straight to Strasbourg in France but as SNCF had changed their timetables in early July, everything round Strasbourg had been decimated with a lot of trains that were booked for 67400’s just not running. Rather than subject myself to a load of units and suffer a very frustrating early morning I’d worked out that I could nip out to Liestal instead and cover three of the morning Re 4/4 commuter turns; this move turned out to be just as frustrating as it would have been going straight into France!
Luckily 460052 was sat in the adjacent platform with the 0659 Basel – Interlaken Ost, which saved a mad dash across the station and it delivered me to Liestal in no time. Adjacent to the station are both a Migros and a Coop, both of which provided some of my breakfast that morning and some very much needed shelter from the pouring rain; it hadn’t stopped virtually all day in Holland the previous day and it looked set to continue in Switzerland.
The first of the two Re 4/4 turns I could now cover soon arrived with 11212 pushing into Basel. Even though I didn’t need it could have done it to the next shack for an EMU back but just couldn’t be arsed; and was glad when I managed to photograph 3 freights com through Liestal instead. Two Re 4/4 / Re 6/6 combos and a pair of DB 185’s. Then, without any warning whatsoever 17058 0747 Sissach – Basel was announced as cancelled; this being the second of the two Re 4/4 turns heading into Basel. Luckily the next hauled train into Basel still made the 0821 Basel – Strasbourg, with a bit of a run involved as it was late, but as it was a dud Re460 I couldn’t help but think that it was going to be one of those days; and it was…….
Having already wasted the morning going to Liestal for nothing more than breakfast I was Strasbourg bound behind 26144 and as I didn’t need to be in Strasbourg to view anything before 1053, mainly because there wasn’t anything to view, I hopped off at Mulhouse for more breakfast and Selestat as well and arrived into Strasbourg on the 0921 ex Basel with 26145.
Strasbourg shed was full of 67400’s and 25600’s and there were plenty of sets scattered around the place; none of which had an engine attached. The first train I needed to view was the 1053 Roeschwoog but it wasn’t on the screens and didn’t get announced and at that point I had no clue why it hadn’t run. The 1108 Heguenau was a DMU so that was pretty much the morning finished off and all I’d managed to achieve was to have been bowled out by a caped train in Switzerland, followed by another in France with a few SNCF 26’s in between; and with nothing else better to do at that point I passed it by doing the only thing available; more 26’s!
As I’d never had any before it wasn’t quite that bad and the bonus of the first move was that 26151 had been removed from its set and replaced by 26153 for the 1121 Strasbourg – Basel. I managed to cover both the EC turns passing through Strasbourg in the early afternoon, unfortunately EC91 0733 Brussels – Basel produced 26158, which I’d had out of Luxembourg a few days previous, otherwise nothing started to repeat itself until the 1421 Basel – Strasbourg, by which time I was gearing up for the rush hour bash; which managed to degenerate into turmoil while I was waiting at Selestat for the 1421 Basel – Strasbourg…….
I’d been trying to figure out why there hadn’t been a set stabled at Selestat to work the 1639 Selestat – Strasbourg all day and eventually the penny dropped while I was casting my eye over the printed departure board at Selestat; the train that the set should finish up at Selestat off didn’t run from early July to late August and neither did a raft of other trains, including the 1053 Strasbourg – Roeschwoog, which I’d been confused by earlier that morning. The answer had actually been right in front of me all along in the timetables I’d printed; the trains with stars above them being caped during the Summer holidays basically! Schoolboy error now realised, only 2 hours before my planned late afternoon bash, I found myself frantically sifting through everything I had to figure out what did run and how it would cock up my bash plan.
Low and behold the first move I had planned, the 1655 Strasbourg – Selestat out for the 1636 Selestat – Strasbourg was down the pan as the 1655 out didn’t run at all so that was that buggered. Then to add further confusion to the mix I passed 25612, on my way into Strasbourg on the 1521 Basel – Strasbourg, working the 1625 Strasbourg – Selestat, which wasn’t a booked turn. All I could do was sit and ponder what the hell I was going to do as nothing seemed to be what it should be and when two 67400’s came off shed and attached to sets at the Metz end of the station I took what was available in front of me and made an executive decision to the 1651 Strasbourg – Saales to Molsheim, watch the 1701 Strasbourg – Barr go through and then do the 1736 Strasbourg – Selestat to Bischoffsheim for the return working of the Barr turn. Sure enough 67517 dropped into the station to form the 1651 Saales and on I got; with a bizarre feeling that my pretty mediocre day was going to take a turn for the worse at Molsheim; and it fucking did!
I had enough time to position myself at Molsheim to photograph 67512 departing, pushing the 1701 Strasbourg – Barr, I then settled on one of the statin benches for the 45 minute fester that followed to await a bloody DMU arriving with the 1736 Strasbourg – Selestat; that feeling I’d had, had obviously been correct and a further 30 minutes of festering then ensued while I waited for 67512 to return from Barr! By the time I arrived back into Strasbourg I’d managed the grand total of just 2 engines in the 2 hours I’d been in my rush hour bash! It was a bit of a joke really and also a little frustrating. Still the bash went on and I was determined to get something out of the afternoon, or even day for that matter, and wasn’t content with just doing 25588 to Selestat and the 1951 Strasbourg – Basel behind back to Basel and when I found 25679 at Selestat, as expected, with the 1936 Selestat – Strasbourg I decided to do it back towards Strasbourg for a unit back and risk the small plus onto the 1951 Strasbourg – Basel that came with said move. The complete and utter bonus of the move being that the unit back turned out to be 25612 and stock, which then shunted into the sidings to be the second set stabled overnight at Selestat; as per diagrams. Obviously I had no clue whether this was a booked move during the summer, or even if the 1625 Strasbourg – Selestat should have been hauled that day but it was a very welcome sight at Kogenheim when it rolled in let me tell you; and it actually made my attempt at an afternoon bash in Strasbourg almost respectable! Note to self; read the fucking timetables more thoroughly when going somewhere you haven’t been before!
With the bonus of new 26150 on the 1951 Strasbourg – Basel, back from Selestat, I contemplated the day I’d just had as I sat and relaxed on a rather empty train back towards Switzerland; knowing full well I had one more farce to deal with that night when I got to Luzern; said farce getting ever closer when I was Luzern bound on 460067, working IR2483 2117 Basel – Luzern.
My hotel for the night had been booked in walking distance from the station as I was arriving late and departing early. I’d chosen the Erlebnis Jailhotel, through Booking.com, for both its proximity to Luzern station and the cost for a single night. By the time I arrived at the place, soaking wet from the pouring rain, I’d actually been moved about to different hotels no less than 4 times! Firstly I’d had an e-mail the previous week from the hotel telling me they’d moved me to their sister hotel, which was about 3km out of town, due to an incident at the hotel resulting in not all rooms being available. My response to them told them exactly why I’d chosen their hotel and that their alternative wasn’t acceptable at all; sure enough I was moved back to the Elebnis Jailhotel and all was well. Then while in Amsterdam, two days prior to arriving, I had a call from the hotel telling me that they had to move me to their sister hotel due to there being a broken bed in one of the single rooms they had; of course I was soon explaining to the guy at the end of the phone that they’d already tried to do this to me and it wasn’t acceptable then; and still wasn’t. He then told me we had a problem, to which I told him that I didn’t have one at all, he did and he needed to sort me out a bed near to Luzern station. 20 minutes later I had an e-mail from the Erlebnis Jailhotel confirming that they’d booked me a room at the Falken Hotel, which I found on Google Maps and it actually looked better than the Jailhotel itself, and was nearer to Luzern station. Imagine the mouthful the person ringing got when they rang while I was at Molsheim on the day of my arrival into Luzern, to tell me that I wasn’t staying at the Falken anymore and was actually back at the Jailhotel; my reservation having been cancelled at the Falken!
Discussions with the guy at the front desk, while I was still dripping wet, tired and a little pissed off, revealed that the hotel management weren’t best pleased with him having booked me at an alternative location without having consulted them first. The result being was someone else being moved to their sister hotel out of town to create space for me. The reason for all the messing about in the first place was revealed as well; it was simple overbooking, so everything else I’d been told had been a complete lie! I wasn’t given a discount or anything for all the messing about I’d faced, although I was offered free breakfast; which of course I wouldn’t be around for but when I said he could give me the CHF15 it cost for breakfast my request was greeted with laughter; literally.
Despite all the messing about the room was ok and the place was just like a real jail, with proper jailhouse doors and the rooms were cell sized. There was no AC but the opening window sufficed, thanks to the rain cooling the temperature outside quite considerably. The main issue I had was the fact that the plug sockets were all the diamond shape ones, which sunk into the wall so I had to use my portable charger to charge everything that night. I was ready for bed hours before I’d arrived, let alone when I eventually got into it that night!
|101124||Mannheim||Basel||1903 21/07) Hamburg Altona – Zurich HB||CNL479||DB 101 (Amsterdam portion shunted 418-479)|
|460052||Basel||Liestal||0659 Basel – Interlaken Ost||IC959||SBB Re460|
|460103||Liestal||Basel||0708 Zurich HB – Basel||IR1810||SBB Re460|
|26144||Basel||Mulhouse||0821 Basel – Strasbourg||96214||SNCF 26000|
|26151||Mulhouse||Selestat||0851 Basel – Strasbourg||96216||SNCF 26000|
|26145||Selestat||Strasbourg||0921 Basel – Strasbourg||96218||SNCF 26000|
|26153||Strasbourg||Colmar||1151 Strasbourg – Basel||96219||SNCF 26000|
|26146||Colmar||Selestat||1221 Basel – Strasbourg||96224||SNCF 26000|
|26158||Selestat||Colmar||0733 Brussels Midi – Basel||EC91||SNCF 26000|
|26163||Colmar||Strasbourg||1316 Basel – Brussels Midi||EC90||SNCF 26000|
|26152||Strasbourg||Selestat||1451 Strasbourg – Basel||96223||SNCF 26000|
|26153||Selestat||Strasbourg||1421 Basel – Strasbourg||96226||SNCF 26000|
|26153||Strasbourg||Selestat||1551 Strasbourg – Basel||96225||SNCF 26000|
|26144||Selestat||Strasbourg||1521 Basel – Strasbourg||96228||SNCF 26000|
|67517||Strasbourg||Molsheim||1651 Strasbourg – Saales||831626||SNCF 67400|
|67512||Molsheim||Strasbourg||1801 Barr – Strasbourg||831753||SNCF 67400|
|25588||Strasbourg||Selestat||1855 Strasbourg – Selestat||831345||SNCF 25500|
|25679||Selestat||Kogenheim||1936 Selestat – Strasbourg||831346||SNCF 25500|
|25612||Kogenheim||Selestat||1925 Strasbourg – Selestat||831347||SNCF 25500|
|26150||Selestat||Basel||1951 Strasbourg – Basel||96239||SNCF 26000|
|460067||Basel||Luzern||2117 Basel – Luzern||IR2483||SBB Re460|
Gen for Tuesday 22nd July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
11210 CNL458 1829 (P) Praha HN – Zurich HB (from Basel)
11212 17056 0718 Sissach – Basel
17058 0747 Sissach – Basel (Booked Re4/4) caped
460033 CNL479 1903 (P) Hamburg Altona – Zurich HB (from Basel)
Basel – Strasbourg circuit
26144, 145, 146, 148, 150, 151, 152, 153
26141 835022 1620 Strasbourg – Nancy
26143 830310 1649 Strasbourg – Metz Ville
26158 EC91 0733 Brussels Midi – Basel
26163 EC90 1316 Basel – Brussels Midi
25588 830118 1625 Strasbourg – Saverne, 831345 1855 Strasbourg – Selestat
25612 831327 1625 Strasbourg – Selestat, 831347 1925 Strasbourg – Selestat
25679 831329 1655 Strasbourg – Selestat, 831346 1936 Selestat – Strasbourg
67512 831748 1701 Strasbourg – Barr, 831753 1801 Barr – Strasbourg, 831634 1859 Strasbourg – Saales
67517 831626 1651 Strasbourg – Saales
DMU 831750 1736 Strasbourg – Selestat
Wednesday 23rd July 2014 (The Zurich Frenzy)
Having had a decent night’s sleep I was up at 0630 for a complete derance before heading back out for the day. I’d decided against getting up for the 0620 Luzern – Zurich, which is booked a pair of Re 4/4’s, and had decided on rolling up for the 0720 instead, which was only booked a single Re 4/4.
When I got downstairs in the Erlebnis Jailhotel I noticed straight away that breakfast was laid out ready for start-up at 0700. It was the same guy on reception that had checked me in the previous night and it took no persuading at all to get myself a free breakfast. The guy was even willing to open up the breakfast room and let me sit down but all I was interested in was packing some sarnies for the day and having a quick bite and drink before I set sail; I certainly got my monies worth after the messing about the hotel had caused me.
The walk to Luzern station was a lot nicer than it had been in the opposite direction the previous night, no rain, hardly any people and a very atmospheric morning over the lake, affording some nice early morning shots of the Kapelbrucke in the process.
I didn’t really have a plan for the day, it had been more of a back-up day to attempt to get SBB Cargo Re 4/4 11317 in if I’d not managed to do so a week earlier; so as I had it was going to be one of those view and chew days. The 0720 Luzern – Zurich came in ecs from the sidings with Re 4/4’s 11116/11145 T&T, neither of which were new so I opted to hunt around the station for something that was. 101961 was sat ready to go with the 0710 Engelberg, which even though it was new I opted to not do so I could view the first Voralpen Express of the day to St Gallen at 0740. I also found dud BLS Re 4/4 420502 with the stock for the 0757 Luzern – Bern, SBB Re 4/4 11172 with IR2159 0604 Basel – Locarno, which it had just re-engined, and also 460015 with the 0735 Luzern – Zurich. While I waited SOB’s 456095/092 arrived to form the 0740 Luzern – St Gallen so it was 460015 to Rotkreuz for 460007 back in on the other Luzern – Zurich double-deck diagram.
Upon my return I hunted round Luzern station again to find the following: BLS 465003 with the 0857 Luzern – Bern, SBB Re 4/4 11148 with EC253 0847 Luzern – Milano Centrale and unfortunately SOB’s 456093/094 with the 0840 Luzern – St Gallen Voralpen Express. As a result of that I chose to do 101961 out on the 0910 Luzern – Engelberg to Stans for what turned out to be 101965 back in on the other Engelberg turn; both locos sticking solidly on the Engelbergs the whole time I was in the area.
My move to Stans and back meant one thing, that I would not see the 0940 Luzern – St Gallen Voralpen Express and it turned out not to be the best move I’d play all morning as the 1040 Voralpen Express turned out to be an EMU, No’s 081/084 and then I managed to unwittingly flag BLS Cargo 465009 on the 1057 Luzern – Bern; not even realizing at the time that it was indeed a Cargo engine. Thankfully the 1140 Luzern – St Gallen Voralpen Express produced my last two SOB 456’s 456091/096, all of which I could have had on this very day of course; this likely meaning I’d managed to either miss 11317/446015 on the 0940 or possibly an EMU, although I was thinking it would probably have been the former yet I never did see the other turn.
Having worn out my cross platform leaping luckiness the previous week, when I nearly didn’t get 11317 in, I opted for the safe move and only did the new 456’s to Arth Goldau and waited there the hour for IR2272 1047 Locarno – Zurich; which was booked an Re 4/4. It duly rolled in with booked traction and I did 11136 through to Zurich to spend the afternoon trying to hunt down some new Re 4/4’s in the rush hour. I found some mind but not where I’d expected to find them; on the front of trains…….
After a quick out and back to Baden on Re460’s it was downstairs to the suburban platforms for a spin about on Re450’s during the rush hour. One thing I noticed straight away was that there weren’t many triple sets about as there had been during my previous trip a few months earlier; maybe this was due to it being Summer? Still I had a decent spin about in the hour or so I had before needing to view some trains and then bonus Lion 420223 turned up with 420226 on 19163 1600 Zurich Hardbrucke – Schaffhausen, the former being new, and by the time I got back from Stadelhofen it was time to find out what would do the 1642 Zurich – Luzern commuter.
Having not been in Zurich since the new platforms 31-34 had opened they took some finding initially but once you get your bearings, while below the surface of the main station, it is actually quite easy to navigate to/from them. They’re literally right below the old platforms 31-34, which now have no track in them at all and are a bit of a building site.
I fully expected the ecs for IR3535 1642 Zurich – Luzern to come in from the tunnel side of the platforms but when Re 4/4 11302 arrived from the carriage sidings end, with another Re 4/4 on the other end, it answered a few questions; and gave me a long walk down the 9 coach set to get the other engine number.
Thankfully the walk, in the stifling afternoon heat, wasn’t a wasted one as new Re 4/4 11302 headed the train. My guess was that all the Zurich – Luzern trains were now T&T as the sets couldn’t be reversed into the new underground platforms 31-34; every one I’d done or seen in the last week had been T&T and this was the only explanation I could come up with based on what I now knew.
I only had time to do the T&T Re 4/4’s to Zurich Enge as I needed to be back in Zurich to do the 1733 Zurich – St Gallen to Zurich Flughafen to meet my girlfriend who arrived at 1825 from London City. Having flagged the first train back into Zurich HB from Enge, which was an EMU, the screen showed the next one to be a triple set of Re450s, which was duly done back in, allowing enough time to get up the steps onto platform 10 to find Re 4/4’s 11132/11147 at the head of IR3831 1733 Zurich – St Gallen, the leading one being a winner.
As we departed Zurich HB I was on the lookout for SBB Cargo Re421’s as while coming in on the Re450’s I spotted something that didn’t compute, 421375 had been just outside the carriage sidings shunting a coach; this not being one of the regular 4 Cargo Re421’s that SBB usually uses. It was nowhere to be seen and my curiosity was nowhere near satisfied so having immediately figured out that it was a nothing walk to the arrivals gate for Zurich T2 arrivals I decided to risk going back into Zurich on the 1747 Zurich Flughafen – Luzern to do EC197 1816 Zurich HB – Munich HB back to the airport, which arrived at 1828.
Sure enough, just as I walked down the platform for EC197, 421375 was just dropping onto the train. Quite why it was out I don’t know and which “normal” SBB Cargo Re421 it was standing in for isn’t clear either as I only saw 421371 & 421394 the following day but didn’t see 421375 again so whether it stayed out I don’t know; it was a massive bonus for me though and I only ended up waiting 8 minutes at the arrivals gate for my girlfriend, her plane having already landed when I got there!
Things then became simple for the evening; get to Chur as quickly as possible and we did so via IC738 1811 St Gallen – Geneva to Zurich HB for the small plus onto IC587 1833 Basel – Chur; 460110 for 460002 respectively. We were in Chur for 2052 and at the Hotel Zunfthaus zur Rebleuthen 10 minutes later.
All our other stays in Chur had been at the Hotel Chur but for some reason it seemed a better idea to stay at the Zunfthaus zur Rebleuthen, it being cheaper being a good enough reason. It’s situated on the pedestrian area which leads through Chur town and the staff at the reception were waiting for us. No sooner had we arrived did the woman at reception disappear home; we actually saw her walk past just after we’d sat down for food nearby. The room was clean and spacious, there wasn’t any air-con but it wasn’t needed, and if anything the rooms didn’t seem as drab as those at the Hotel Chur. Breakfast was included in the room rate and served just across the hall from reception in a rather small room.
Food that night was at the pizza place just across the road from the Hotel Chur, the karma unfortunately spoilt by a large group of Swiss Army guys that were thankfully just finishing up when we started; although they did put at least two other couples off eating there due to the noise they were making. It didn’t stop the food being as good as always though.
Having had a busy few days and an early start that morning, bed was a welcome sight that night and I was looking forward to a leisurely start the following morning.
|460015||Luzern||Rotkreuz||0735 Luzern – Zurich HB||IR2316||SBB Re460|
|460007||Rotkreuz||Luzern||0735 Zurich HB – Luzern||IR2311||SBB Re460|
|101961||Luzern||Stans||0910 Luzern – Engelberg||3662||ZB HGe 101|
|101965||Stans||Luzern||0901 Engelberg – Luzern||3663||ZB HGe 101|
|456091||Luzern||Arth Goldau||1140 Luzern – St Gallen||VAE2423||SOB Re456’s 456091/096 T&T in multi|
|11136||Arth Goldau||Zurich HB||1047 Locarno – Zurich HB||IR2272||SBB Re 4/4|
|460008||Zurich HB||Baden||1406 Zurich HB – Bern||IR1926||SBB Re460|
|460011||Baden||Zurich HB||1336 Bern – Zurich HB||IR1927||SBB Re460|
|450101||Zurich HB LL||Stadelhofen||1438 Winterthur – Rapperswil||18759||SBB Re450’s 450101/058|
|450063||Stadelhofen||Zurich HB LL||1449 Wetzikon – Dietikon||18360||SBB Re450|
|450089||Zurich HB LL||Stadelhofen||1515 Dietikon – Wetzikon||18361||SBB Re450’s 450089/009|
|450075||Stadelhofen||Zurich HB LL||1508 Suzach – Brugg||19260||SBB Re450’s 450075/097|
|450052||Zurich HB LL||Zurich Hardbrucke||1510 Rapperswil – Winterthur||18760||SBB Re450’s 450052/061|
|450025||Zurich Hardbrucke||Zurich HB LL||1508 Suzach – Brugg||18363||SBB Re450’s 450025/109|
|420223||Zurich HB LL||Stadelhofen||1600 Zurich Hardbrucke – Schaffhuasen||19163||SBB Lion Re420’s 420223/226 T&T in multi|
|450039||Stadelhofen||Zurich HB LL||1540 Rapperswil – Winterthur||18762||SBB Re450’s 450039/095|
|11300||Zurich HB||Zurich Enge||1642 Zurich HB – Luzern||19163||SBB Re4/4’s 11300/11302 T&T in multi|
|450036||Zurich Enge||Zurich HB||1619 Ziegelbrucke – Zurich Flughafen||18264||SBB Re450’s 450036/049/094|
|11132||Zurich HB||Zurich Flughafen||1733 Zurich HB – St Gallen||IR3831||SBB Re4/4’s 11132/11147 in multi|
|460005||Zurich Flughafen||Zurich HB||1747 Zurich Flughafen – Luzern||IR2361||SBB Re460|
|421375||Zurich HB||Zurich Flughafen||1816 Zurich HB – Munich HB||EC197||SBB Cargo Re421 (not in booked pool)|
|460110||Zurich Flughafen||Zurich HB||1811 St Gallen – Geneva||IC738||SBB Re460|
|460002||Zurich HB||Chur||1833 Basel – Chur||IC587||SBB Re460|
Gen for Wednesday 23rd July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
420502 RE3316 0757 Luzern – Bern, RE3315 0936 Bern – Luzern, RE3324 1157 Luzern – Bern
465003 RE3318 0857 Luzern – Bern
465005 RE3320 0957 Luzern – Bern
465009 RE3322 1057 Luzern – Bern
456095/092 VAE2415 0740 Luzern – St Gallen, VAE2414 1005 St Galen – Luzern, VAE2425 1240 Luzern – St Gallen
456093/094 VAE2417 0840 Luzern – St Gallen, VAE2416 1105 St Gallen – Luzern
456091/096 VAE2423 1140 Luzern – St Gallen
EMU 081/084 VAE2421 1040 Luzern – St Gallen
101961 3654 0710 Luzern – Engelberg, 3662 0910 Luzern – Engelberg
101965 3663 0901 Engelberg – Luzern
11116/11145 RE3540 0720 Luzern – Zurich HB
11118 EC187 1353 Stuttgart – Zurich HB (from Singen)
11121 IR2165 0804 Basel – Locarno (from Luzern)
11148 EC253 0847 Luzern – Milano Centrale
11172 IR2159 0604 Basel – Locarno (from Luzern)
11196 IR2275 1409 Zurich HB – Locarno
11198 IR2170 0711 Chiasso – Basel (to Luzern, 11215 fwd)
11199 IR2176 0947 Locarno – Basel (to Luzern), IR2173 1204 Basel – Locarno (from Luzern)
11204 IR2169 1004 Basel – Locarno (to Luzern), IR2176 0947 Locarno – Basel (from Luzern)
11215 IR2170 0711 Chiasso – Basel (from Luzern, 11198 in)
Thursday 24th July 2014 (The promise of Pullman stock to Samedan……)
The whole idea of being in Chur on this particular day had been to do a second trip on the RhB run special; which was being run every Thursday & Friday with a combination of Ge6/6 Crocodiles #’s 414/415 and Ge4/6 #353. This particular date was advertised to be #353 plus a crocodile but as I’d found out the previous week, when the train arrived with #353 & #415, crocodile #414 was out of service at the current time so every date advertised as 2 x crocodile would in fact be 353/415. As I’d already had both locos, vice 2 x crocodile the previous week, I’d decided against doing the trip the whole way round anyway and once breakfast was over the day started rather well.
As with every stay in Chur this year it wouldn’t be the same without a trip to Domat/Ems during the Summer timetable to cover 4221 0753 Ilanz – Chur mixed train and having already covered it four times I wasn’t really expecting a new Ge6/6 II out of the move at all; having had 4 different ones each time I’d done the move. Yet still, with only 3 left to get in, I was presented with #701; number 5 of 7, what an absolute bonus! And having had a new Ge4/4 III, #646, out on RE1121 0758 Chur – St Moritz the day really had got off to a good start.
Unfortunately there was a mild turn for the worse when we came across the RhB Pullman stock sat round the back of Chur shed; while waiting for what I thought was it to arrive from Landquart! I’d promised my girlfriend a nice trip out on pristine Pullman stock in nice comfortable surroundings with clean toilets and a buffet car; what she actually got when #353 led the train into Chur was “nostalgia” coaches with wooden bench seats. Still, the toilets were clean, the train wasn’t wedged and there was still a buffet coach and the bonus of it all was that we didn’t get chung the CHF12.50 extra for the journey. This being even more of a bonus as we were only going to Samedan, not even half the day out, anyway.
The weather was nowhere near as good as it had been the previous week and the amount of photographers around was next to nothing compared to the previous Thursday. Due to a couple of late northbound St Moritz – Chur trains we were allowed off a couple of times for photos while we waited; the crew on board being very sociable in that respect and the whole crew throughout, drivers and all, were completely different from my last outing.
We were on time into Samedan and the locos were detached quickly. Photos taken we waited patiently for the next train to Pontresina to get the track in. While waiting we admired some random shunting taking place in the adjacent sidings whereby it seemed that some kind of filming was taking place of coupling/un-coupling utilizing Ge 4/4 II #624 in between freight duties. Strangely, also in the yard, well actually partly in the shed, was Ge 4/4 II #622, which didn’t mean much at the time but did later in the afternoon.
Another bonus winner for the morning in Ge 4/4 II #620 rolled in with 1929 1034 Scuol-Tarasp – Pontresina and once at Pontresina we viewed a Bernina Express in the opposite platform waiting connections. We were a little late on the way back and decided to go through to Bever, where the sandwiches we’d made from the hotel at breakfast were consumed; before we got bowled out by Be4/4 EMU #514 on 1933 1134 Scuol-Tarasp – Pontresina, which would explain why Ge 4/4 II #622 was sat in the shed at Samedan? Still we did it back to Samedan to give us a better chance of decent seats back to Landquart; we needn’t have bothered mind!
Ge 4/4 II #633 worked a very empty RE1342 1237 St Moritz – Landquart, which couldn’t have had more than half a dozen folk in the front coach and made for a very pleasant journey back to Landquart via Sagliains avoider.
Being in two minds what to do back at Landquart my mind was soon made up when SBB Re 4/4 11149 arrived with IC10778 1438 Chur – Zurich HB vice Re 460. Having spotted everything the whole morning on RhB there was nothing I could really do in regards to getting new stuff in any way as we needed to be in Zurich for our overnight to Dresden that night so this was quite a bonus really and it put us into some early rush-hour nedding about downstairs at Zurich HB; much to my girlfriends amusement.
The S-bahn stuff was more of a fill-in between the various trains that could be viewed at Zurich in the rush hour yet of everything that was viewed it seemed I was out of luck that evening and only picked up one new Re420 and that was a Lion one on a train I didn’t even realise was booked a set. While watching 420223/226 depart with the 1700 Zurich Hardbrucke – Schaffhausen 420230/227 arrived going the other way with what turned out to be the 1704 Stadelhofen – Baden; the set later being viewed on the 1830 Hardbrucke – Romanshorn. With ‘230 being new thankfully we had time to amble over the footbridge and down the other side; before it departed. Neither the 1642 or 1742 Zurich – Luzern T&T Re 4/4 trains, the 1700 Zurich Hardbrucke – Schaffhausen or the 1733 Zurich – St Gallen pair turn offered up anything new and I soon came to realise that the line of Re 4/4’s stabled near Hardbrucke seemed to contain quite a few of the ones I wanted. All of which had pantographs down and hadn’t moved since I’d spotted them the week before. From what I could see they were 11128, 11122, 11112, 11114, 11115, 11157 & 11155 plus maybe two others that were out of sight behind the front row.
Moves done for the evening we opted to get food at a Chinese place, which we’d passed a couple of times when walking from the S-bahn platforms to the new platforms 31-34 in the shopping area below Zurich HB. The food was fresh and tasty and not wedged; take-away is also available.
Having been in and out of Switzerland so much during the trip thus far it was finally time to say goodbye for good; on this trip anyway. The solid cranking would then give way to a semi-normal trip with my girlfriend as we headed for Prague.
What was slightly confusing was the fact that our CNL459 1942 ex Zurich was being advertised to Praha Hlavni Nadrazi; not so strange under normal circumstances but……. When trying to book the sleeper berths through DB from the UK I’d been told they couldn’t book anything as the system wouldn’t let them so they gave me the contact e-mail for City Night Line themselves who subsequently told me that on the date we wanted to travel the train was terminating at Dresden and we’d have to make our own way from there to Prague by alternative trains. When I rang DB in the UK back and told them this they then had no issue issuing sleeper berth reservations to Dresden and we were all set. Once on board the first thing I did was confirm where the train was going with the sleeper berth attendant; of course I was surprised to be told Praha! It seems not even the train operator can be sure of where their trains are running and our reservation was soon changed to Praha vice Dresden and everyone was happy; including my girlfriend, who’s first trip on an overnight train anywhere in the world was about to commence.
SBB’s 460108 handed over to DB’s 101026, which I’d already had across Germany and back during my trip, and once through Basel Bad we settled down to bed to relax for the night; although I had to set my alarm for 0615 to make sure I checked the loco that would work the train from Erfurt to Leipzig; having consulted all the diagrams I had on my tablet to figure out what worked where!
|646||Chur||Domat / Ems||0758 Chur – St Moritz||RE1121||RhB Ge4/4 III|
|701||Domat / Ems||Chur||0753 Ilanz – Chur||4221||RhB Ge6/6 II – Mixed train 2 coaches, 6 wagons|
|353||Chur||Samedan||0825 Landquart – Samedan||2125||RhB Ge4/6 #353 & Ge6/6 I #415 in tandem – RhB run special train via Filisur|
|620||Samedan||Pontresina||1034 Scuol-Tarasp – Pontresina||1929||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|620||Pontresina||Bever||1202 Pontresina – Scuol-Tarasp||1940||RhB Ge4/4 II|
|514||Bever||Samedan||1134 Scuol-Tarasp – Pontresina||1933||RhB Be4/4 EMU vice Ge 4/4 II|
|633||Samedan||Landquart||1237 St Moritz – Landquart||RE1342||RhB Ge4/4 II – via Sagliains Avoider & Klosters|
|11149||Landquart||Zurich HB||1438 Chur – Zurich HB||IC10778||SBB Re4/4 vice Re460|
|450001||Zurich HB LL||Stadelhofen||1538 Affoltern am Albis – Rapperswil||19563||SBB Re450’s 450001/068|
|450021||Stadelhofen||Zurich HB LL||1540 Rapperswil – Winterthur||18762||SBB Re450’s 450021/031|
|450111||Zurich HB LL||Zurich Hardbrucke||1608 Suzach – Brugg||19264||SBB Re450’s 450111/059/082|
|450053||Zurich Hardbrucke||Zurich HB LL||1617 Aarau – Wetzikon||18367||SBB Re450’s 450053/066|
|420230||Zurich HB LL||Zurich Hardbrucke||1704 Stadelhofen – Baden||19066||SBB Lion Re420’s 420230/227 T&T in multi|
|450028||Zurich Hardbrucke||Zurich HB LL||1638 Zug – Uster||18969||SBB Re450’s 450028/011/015|
|450079||Zurich HB LL||Stadelhofen||1808 Winterthur – Rapperswil||18777||SBB Re450’s 450079/062|
|450050||Stadelhofen||Zurich HB LL||1819 Wetzikon – Aarau||18378||SBB Re450’s 450050/109|
|460108||Zurich HB||Basel||1942 Zurich HB – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||CNL459||SBB Re460 via Brugg|
|101026||Basel||Erfurt||1942 Zurich HB – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||CNL459||DB 101|
Gen for Thursday 24th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
Ge4/6 #353 / Ge6/6 #415 (RhB operated dated regular charter)
2125 0825 Landquart – Samedan (via Chur & Filisur), 2340 1150 Samedan – Scuol-Tarasp, (Assumed) 2350 1448 Scuol-Tarasp – Landquart (via Klosters)
All locos by diagram number from RhB Lokdienste Summer 2014 = Diagram No. then Loco No.
Ge 4/4 III
151 – 651, 152 – 648, 153 – 644, 154 – 649, 155 – 646, 156 – 652
Ge 6/6 II
201 – 701, 202 – 702, 203 – 704, 204 – 703, 206 – 705
Ge 4/4 II
301 – 611, 302 – 613, 303 – 619, 304 – 615, 306 – 633, 307 – 616, 314 – 624, 316 – 614, 318 – Be4/4 514 vice, 320 – 617, 321 – 620
11116/11145 T&T IR3537 1742 Zurich HB – Luzern
11143/11130 IR3831 1733 Zurich HB – St Gallen
11154/11199 T&T IR3535 1642 Zurich HB – Luzern
11192 EC164 1812 Buchs – Zurich HB
420223/226 19167 1700 Zurich Hardbrucke – Schaffhausen
420225/205 19163 1600 Zurich Hardbrucke – Schaffhausen
420230/22719066 1704 Stadelhofen – Baden, 19177 1830 Zurich Hardbrucke – Romanshorn
421371 EC281 1550 Stuttgart – Zurich HB (from Singen)
421394 EC197 1816 Zurich HB – Munich HB (to Lindau)
Friday 25th July 2014 (Praha – the home of un-sensible dress!)
As it happened I was awake as we arrived into Erfurt so I decided to investigate the loco change there and do away with my 0615 alarm call. It was a good job I check did as well as no sooner had I got out onto the platform was I advised by one of the sleeper attendants that the stock was going to be split, which I already knew, but when DB shunter 362551 dropped onto the rear the attendants arm waving and point gestures then made a little more sense.
While the shunting that then took place did seem a little bit of a faff it did seem to be the most efficient way of doing what was required to get our stock into a different platform and with a forward engine on the east end. As DB 101033 was sat in a west facing bay all 362551 did was drag us clear of the station to then allow 101033 to drop onto the east end and drag the train back into the adjacent platform to await its departure time; leaving 362551 outside the station as it did.
We were up and about at Dresden, where we’d obviously originally been expecting the train to terminate, and breakfast was served by the coach attendant, it wasn’t anything other than the usual croissant, bread, spreads and coffee/juice but it was better than nothing at all.
It turned out that 371201 had replaced 101033 at Leipzig for the run through to Praha. After I got back from this trip someone posted a photo of a 218 dragging 371201 on CNL459 between Leipzig & Dresden; unfortunately said photo was exactly 1 week before our journey!
CNL459 is due into Praha Hlavni Nadrazi at 1031 and I was a bit sceptical that out hotel would let us check in so early so when I was offered a move at Usti nad Labem we got off at Praha Holesovice to await 151014 arriving behind us with 36139 0554 Cheb – Praha HN; which should have been in front of us but was just being prepared to depart Usti nad Labem as we departed from the adjacent platform. As it was literally right up our arse at Praha Holesovice it only put an extra 5 minutes into our arrival at Praha HN so a quick out and back to Holesovice with 162012 for 162038, on R688 & R681 Decin services respectively, took a bit of time out of our morning; yet we still walked through the doors of the Hotel Esplanade just after 11am but were allowed to check into our room early by the friendly staff at the front desk.
The Hotel Esplanade is a 2 minute walk from Praha HN station; in fact it’s probably closer to the front doors of the station than the platforms are! It’s a four star hotel which was very nice indeed, the staff were all friendly and gave us city maps and relevant directions to places of interest on asking. The room was a fair size with AC, separate bathroom and toilet, widescreen TV, free WiFi and excellent blackout curtains. Breakfast was included in the room rate and it was a very good deal for a hotel of this class and so close to the station as well.
After about 5 hours of sightseeing I just couldn’t resist a quick evening spin out and was amazed with the fact moves work so simply between the Praha stations and in less than 50 minutes I’d done four moves, which involved an out and back to Praha Liben with a short plus back at Hlavni Nadrazi to allow an out and back to Praha Smichov; R853, R884, R772 & R765 offering up 150213, 150222, 362086 & 362085 respectively and quite pleased with my little evening move I was too.
Food beckoned after the quick spin out and the Pizza & Pasta Factory produced a couple of good pizzas to top off a cracking day as we watched the masses either returning from a long day or going out to start a long night; either way some of the outfits passing by us were ridiculous and you’d think that the sight of a girl’s ass cheeks popping out of her shorts as she walked by would be quite appealing to a guy wouldn’t you? Well all I have to say to girls that have a bit more to hang out than they would like to admit is pick another outfit and do us all a favour; including sparing yourself the embarrassment!
After dinner we wondered down to the Most Legii Bridge as the sun went down. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos that night due to a random hair appearing on my camera’s sensor while we’d been at the castle earlier, which I couldn’t seem to shift. No worry though there were camera shops in town and I would mostly be taking a trip to one the following morning to get my issues sorted.
|362551||Erfurt Platform 10||South of Erfurt Platform 10||1942 (24/07) Zurich HB – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||CNL459||Shunt Praha portion from rear of CNL459|
|101033||South of Erfurt Platform 10||Leipzig||1942 (24/07) Zurich HB – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||CNL459||Attached to north end of CNL459 outside plat|
|371201||Leipzig||Decin Hlavni Nadrazi||1942 (24/07) Zurich HB – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||CNL459||CD 371|
|371201||Decin Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Holesovice||1942 (24/07) Zurich HB – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||CNL459||CD 371|
|151014||Praha Holesovice||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0554 Cheb – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||36139||CD 151|
|162012||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Holesovice||1046 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Decin Hlavni Nadrazi||R688||CD 162|
|162038||Praha Holesovice||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0924 Decin Hlavni Nadrazi – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R681||CD 162|
|150213||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Liben||1852 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Vsetin||R853||CD 150|
|150222||Praha Liben||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||1420 Luhacovice – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R884||CD 150|
|362086||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Smichov||1915 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Klatovy||R772||CD 362|
|362085||Praha Smichov||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||1633 Cheb – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R765||CD 362|
Saturday 26th July 2014 (Four days to get a hair out of my camera; I don’t think so!)
Being close to the station is good for nipping out and having a spin about while your other half does what she needs to and this morning was one of those mornings. The intention of the morning moves had originally been to see what CD had chucked out on the weekend 754 turns; of course I was hoping for some loud 749 action vice 754. For the first weekend that month I was amazed to find that CD had actually allocated the locos for the weekend at 0730 on a Saturday morning. I only checked on the off-chance as I walked down the hotel stairs!
The good news from the allocations was that loud 749121 was shown to work diagram TS708 Day 1, which would mean it would work the following 1055 Praha – Cercany, 1406 Cercany – Praha & 1625 Praha – Cercany on Saturday then 0912 Cercany – Svetla nad Sazavou, 1346 Svetla nad Sazavou – Cercany and then 1800 Cercany – Praha HN via the main line on Sunday; the last part of the diagram would be taking over from 749006 on the 1600 Zruc nad Sazavou – Praha HN at Cercany; a booked loco change. It seemed like I’d dropped lucky…….
With the purpose of the bash changing somewhat thanks to the aforementioned gen, I went out now not needing to cover any of the morning Cercany trains, allocated 754008 & 754031 anyway, so I didn’t need to be at Praha HN at certain times making the moves a lot easier, and desperate!
I was quite lucky on the first move I did not to be left stranded without a loco-hauled train at Praha Liben. R863 0752 Praha HN – Brno is a plus 7 at Liben for R892 0425 Stare Mesto u Uh. Hradiste – Praha HN back in, it being due away from Liben at 0806; I was in Hlavni Nadrazi at 0807 and the damn thing was already coming round the corner in the distance when I got to Liben! I was thankful of the earlier arrival back into Hlavni Nadrazi though as the plus 2 I had turned into a more relaxing walk under the subway to board R764 0815 Praha HN – Plzen with 362078 and just over an hour later I was getting off 362079 at Praha HN on R755 0633 Cheb – Praha HN; having done two trips to Smichov.
Breakfast was served at the Hotel Esplanade until 1000 and I was back with plenty of time to spare. There was plenty to choose from, including hot food, and we collected enough bits together so as we could make some sort of lunch out of what we’d gathered together later in the day.
As the fact that I had a hair on my camera sensor was really starting to annoy me I decided to try and get it sorted before we went out anywhere that day. Armed with the hotel’s map and an “X” marking the spot where Foto Skoda lay I went to try and get said hair removed by the professionals. Misreading the map and walking twice as far as I needed to in the morning heat didn’t start my quest off well. When I found the place I was directed to a pair of doors towards the back, of what was quite a large and specialist place by the looks of it; and told to knock. Knock I did, and I walked in when told to do so, or heard what I assumed was a voice telling me to do so; in Czech.
I can only describe the room as like walking into a tech geeks cave, something like you’d find in the IT Crowd; for those that know what I’m talking about. There was a guy sat behind a desk in his swivel chair with a few small tools on the table yet there wasn’t much in the way of camera fixing going on; but I was about to find out why.
I explained my issues and even set the camera on a high F stop and took a picture on a light background to show him; it wasn’t really necessary though as you could actually see the hair with your naked eye through the viewfinder. The guy’s response to my issue was “you need service” and his response to how long was “4 days”! I explained that in 4 days I would be back in the UK and that I only had a very limited time frame, still he was adamant the service that I required would take 4 days.
The language barrier beat me in the end but even my hand gestures regarding an air blower resulted in the same answer of “4 days”. Bored of trying to get them to let me use their tools I ended up back at the front desk but my attempts to even buy an air blower proved completely fruitless; even with someone who spoke good English. I mean what kind of camera shop doesn’t sell air blowers? They’re the easiest thing to scam any unsuspecting photographer with. What I ended up with was a wet & dry cleaning kit for the sum of £4 and 45 minutes later I was back at the hotel; £4 worse off, still with a hair on my sensor and in freshly soiled clothing thanks to the glorious morning sunshine, and partly to my rushing around to get things sorted.
I was determined not to let this hair spoil my day, photos and general karma so I took the camera lens off, undid the clip that hold the mirror in place and showed that dammed hair who was boss. Baring in mind the last time I tried to show something on my sensor who was boss it ended up with more mess on it, scratched and had to be turned upside down after it had been cleaned while a new one was ordered by the camera shop; this all costing me nearly £150! This hair was shown who was boss for free, well actually a wasted £4 really, as I gently blew into the camera and the hair drifted away; problem fucking solved! So that’s two lessons I’ve now leant about things on your sensor, number one don’t try and clean it when drunk with a towel from the bathroom of the hotel you’re staying in and two try the simple things first, when sober, without letting previous incidents put you off.
Problem solved and freshly showered, we were on our way to Karlstejn Castle before midday. I’d decided that doing EMU’s to Karlstejn and back wasn’t the done thing but doing loco-hauled trains to Beroun for EMU’s the short distance from there to Karlstejn was. The bonus of the move being 362166 was sat in waiting to go with R984 0820 Brno – Praha Smichov so that sufficed to Smichov for 362083 forward to Beroun on R760 1215 Praha HN – Cheb. It wasn’t a long wait at Beroun but of course we’d have been at Karlstejn earlier had we done the EMU’s throughout from Praha; which we waited patiently at Beroun for on their return journey instead.
Our short stay in Karlstejn meant we were back into Praha Hlavni Nadrazi, having returned via Beroun as well, in time for the main cranking event of the day and 749121 was just running round it’s stock, to form the 1625 Praha HN – Cercany, as we got onto he correct platform. Found milling about on the platform, with a proper cranks cheapo meal in his hands consisting of bread and juice, was Kev Coombe; who’d been on 749121 all day.
The stock was well and truly EH in the afternoon sunshine, unfortunately there were no proper pull-down windows on the set but at least they had inward pulling windows so fresh air could circulate and more importantly thrash could be sampled from what was to be my first ever 749; there’s nothing like starting late…….
Most people rate 749’s so I had high expectations as we left the platform, a few minutes later than our booked 1625 departure. What was immediately evident was that the driver was a good one and not afraid of the power handle, this giving me my first taste of 749 thrash before we’d even got to the platform end. Was I impressed? Suitably! We only did it out to Praha Branik but the thrash was good enough for me to be impressed and the departure from Branik, as I stood and watched it depart, was quite impressive too. Initiation over I was intrigued to see what it sounded like on a longer distance journey and what 74906 sounded like to have something to compare it to; which would obviously have to wait until the following day.
Having spent most of the day without any real food we headed straight back into Praha with 754008 on 9062 1540 Cercany – Praha HN, running 15 late, before heading straight to the hotel, dropping our stuff and making a bee-line for the Pizza & Pasta Factory to get some food down us.
|362158||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Liben||0752 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Brno Hlavni Nadrazi||R863||CD 362|
|150210||Praha Liben||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0425 Stare Mesto u Uh. Hradiste – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R892||CD 150|
|362078||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Smichov||0815 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Plzen Hlavni Nadrazi||R764||CD 362|
|362053||Praha Smichov||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0606 Klatovy 0 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R773||CD 362|
|362123||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Smichov||0658 Havlickuv Brod – Praha Smichov||R988||CD 362|
|362079||Praha Smichov||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0633 Cheb – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R755||CD 362|
|362166||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Smichov||0820 Brno Hlavni Nadrazi – Praha Smichov||R984||CD 362|
|362083||Praha Smichov||Beroun||1215 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Cheb||R760||CD 362|
|471051||Beroun||Karlstejn||1318 Beroun – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||8835||EMU’s 471051/045|
|471033||Karlstejn||Beroun||1350 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Beroun||8836||EMU’s 471033/023|
|362052||Beroun||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||1407 Plzen Hlavni Nadrazi – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R761||CD 362|
|362124||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Liben||1552 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Brno Hlavni Nadrazi||R871||CD 362|
|362172||Praha Liben||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||1257 Brno Hlavni Nadrazi – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R868||CD 362|
|749121||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Branik||1625 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Cercany||9065||CD 749|
|754008||Praha Branik||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||1540 Cercany – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||9062||CD 754|
Gen for Saturday 26th July 2014
749006 9207 0912 Cercany – Zruc nad Sazavou (from spreadsheet)
749121 9061 1055 Praha HN – Cercany (from spreadsheet), 9060 1406 Cercany – Praha HN, 9065 1625 Praha HN – Cercany
754008 9057 0923 Praha HN – Cercany, 9062 1540 Cercany – Praha HN
754031 9055 0825 Praha HN – Cercany, 9064 1636 Cercany – Praha HN (from spreadsheet)
Sunday 27th July 2014 (Seats reserved for everyone except normal people)
I opted for a bit of early morning cranking before breakfast again and found a bit of a surprise when I got onto Hlavni Nadrazi when centre cabbed shunting device 111010 was just dropping onto some stock on the far side of the station, which looked to have people on board. When I got onto platform 7 I found that the train that had just arrived was 402 2200 Krakow – Praha overnight and the stock about to be shunted off consisted of the two motor-rail wagons and two sleeping cars; so as people were milling about in the doorways I chose to join them and see what happened. What could be the worst thing that happened……?
As it happened the stock was dragged off the end of the train and shunted into the adjacent through siding by platform 7, where a centre cabbed diesel then attached to the other end, shunted the two motor-rail vehicles into the offloading dock and then the stock into a platform by the offloading dock so people could then get out and sort their cars out. This left me a little stranded then as I was the wrong side of the station to get back in and it was a long walk round to the other side to enter by the main entrance. Thankfully I noticed someone walking over the foot crossing nearby, and back onto the platform ends, so I confidently followed suit and wasn’t challenged at all. Luckily the diesel that had shunted us into the sleeping car platform hadn’t buggered off and I found 714023 idling just off the end of the stock; and having had a very cheeky move before I’d even planned I found 362159, sat waiting to depart with R863 0752 Praha HN – Brno, and boarded with about 2 minutes to spare!
Having done the same move the previous day and been 6 minutes early into Praha HN on R892 0425 Stare Mesto u Uh Hradiste – Praha HN I was well aware of the potential to miss the train. What I didn’t quite expect was it to be already at the platform end as we rolled in on R863; thankfully the correct platform end and just arriving, not departing. 151210 was the engine, the same as the previous day, the only thing different about the train from the previous day was the fact it was earlier; and so early it was into Praha HN before it should have even departed Liben! Dangerous move that little move turns out to be; thankfully it was the last time I would do it.
Back at Praha HN the weekend’s CD gen had held up as I found 754008 to have worked ecs in with two sets of stock, for both the 0825 & 0925 departures to Cercany, with 754031 attached to the rear. When the former departed, with me on board to Praha Vrsovice, I can only assume that 754008 then backed onto the other set after the stock had been split. It was a very quick out and back, and one I’d expected to return from on a unit, but thanks to a bit of late running 362081 was just coming to a stand with 654 0557 Ceske Budovice – Praha HN and I made it with ease in the end; after a mad dash across for it! I’d actually struggled to figure out what the train was initially and had originally thought it was some kind of ecs, but with people on board. Common sense soon figured it out though; while I walked back to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast the very point of being in the Czech Republic on a weekend would take up the rest of the day and having done 362167 out to Praha Liben on R865 0952 Praha HN – Brno we settled in for the journey to Svetla nad Sazavou on board R977 0942 Praha Smichov – Brno with 362170; which was almost a bum move as the train was wedged but luckily there were a couple of seats free in a compo towards the front of the train.
All soon went downhill when the guard moved us out of the compartment half way to Svetla; we were apparently sitting in a compartment reserved for those with children. I didn’t see any of the locals in a rush to get out though! As we’d already seen the train was wedged it was completely fruitless walking back through it so we just sat in the front coach; a completely empty 1st class coach with just us in it. That didn’t last the whole journey unfortunately as the guard eventually moved us on, thankfully with only about 20 minutes left of the journey; bless him though he did take us to some unoccupied seats and sat us down. These were actually reserved for people with bikes though! Plenty of seats but not that many for people who are just travelling as people, it seems there’s more chance of getting a seat on some trains if you have a kid or bike, or are old or disabled. Still it wasn’t quite as bad as what was sat waiting for us as we made our plus 3 at Svetla into the 1146 Svetla – Cercany DMU.
Just when we thought we’d got a bit of space around us in the power car, not the trailer; we were invaded by a group of school kids, all wearing nice bright yellow t-shirts for their special day out. It was probably into the high twenties outside, we were sat in a tin box, thankfully with opening windows, surrounded by kids and without much room to breathe; it was a wonderful journey, I was just grateful it was a short journey and very relieved to watch the red tin box disappear and leave us behind to the tranquility that Vilemovice oozed. The only noise there was the buzzing from something inside the waiting shelter, which we kept well away from, and the joyful voices that came from the passing rafters on the nearby river.
Our wait in the wilderness wasn’t long and we could hear 749121 snaking its way towards us long before we could see it. Danielle was left as the person to signal to the driver to stop while I got myself a decent shot of 749121 arriving in the glorious sunshine. On board were a few cranks, two English, including Kev Coombe, a Czech and an Austrian. It seemed like giving the engine hell was the order of the day as a spirited departure from Vilemovice set the precedence for the remainder of the day; thankfully.
Those wanting beer got a few shacks before Svetla while we carried on and sat in the shade at Svetla while 749121 ran round and sat ready to depart with 9206 1346 Svetla – Praha HN. There was a shop to buy everything from sweets to ice cream and even beer on the station, right by the shade of the tree, so we didn’t starve during our time there and feasted on stuff we’d stashed from breakfast at the hotel while we waited.
I’d toyed with the idea of doing the 1153 from Praha HN to Svetla which was only a plus 3 onto 749121’s train. As our plus 3 had made to get us down the line for it I was expecting the plus 3 onto the 1346 departure towards Cercany to make. I wasn’t that aware that it hadn’t when we departed 5 late and was actually thinking we were just drawing down the platform as we set off; when the engine was opened up fully though I was reminded of just why I hadn’t risked the plus 3 in the first place and was so glad we hadn’t done it; the train was nowhere to be seen as we left the main line and headed off towards Cercany.
The beer drinkers were collected where we dropped them off and our 6 coach train ran pretty empty to Zruc nad Sazavou where all but one crank got off to do 749006 behind it to Cercany; where 749121 would then re-engine the same train for the run into Praha via the electrified main line. 749121 made a spirited exit from Zruc but I couldn’t help but think that it just needed that bit more at the top end. It had been driven well, which must have made a big difference to the 749 experience anyway but there was just that bit missing.
Keen to sample another to be able to compare the thrash I was pleased that Sp1832 1600 Zruc nad Sazavou – Praha HN was as empty when it left Zruc as 749121’s train had been when it had departed. Thankfully the driver was also into punishing his loco, just as the one on 749121 had been and it was immediately evident that 749006 had that bit more than 749121, it was a crisper noise and sounded meatier; it too though did seem to lack that something extra at the top end, especially after it had been wide open for a period of time. This better illustrated by 749121 when it dropped onto the other end of Sp1832 at Cercany and was hammered up the main line towards Praha.
749006 was shunted straight to shed at Cercancy to wait for another week before repeating the same as it had done every weekend since the start of the Summer timetable. 749121 was then wound up at the Praha end of the train as given what for all the way to Praha; unfortunately from this run I deduced that 749’s sound far better when on start stop trains as opposed to long distance flat out trains. They’re a bit similar to 37’s in that way, plenty of thrash when setting off and at low speeds but at speed there’s not much there and they’re a bit wishy-washy. Still, as 749121 dropped us at Praha HN I was pretty pleased with the day’s bash but was also glad to be heading off to a nice air conditioned hotel room. It had been a very hot day, we’d been practically melting on board the stock and I was in desperate need of a shower.
Thankfully the sun disappearing behind the horizon cooled the evening down nicely and we sat and watched the world go by at the Pizza & Pasta Factory one last time; there we no un-tasteful arse cheeks hanging out to put us off our food but there were still plenty of fashion casualties to base our conversation on while we ate. Unfortunately it was back to the hotel afterwards to pack as we’d be Slovakia bound the following morning.
|111010||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi Platform 7||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi Thro Sidings||Shunt motorail & sleepers ex 402 2200 ex Krakow||CD 111|
|714023||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi Thro Sidings||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi Motorail Siding||Shunt motorail & sleepers ex 402 2200 ex Krakow||CD 714|
|362159||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Liben||0752 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Brno Hlavni Nadrazi||R863||CD 362|
|150210||Praha Liben||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0425 Stare Mesto u Uh. Hradiste – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R892||CD 150|
|754031||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Vrsovice||0825 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Cercany||9055||CD 754|
|362081||Praha Vrsovice||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||0557 Cecke Budovice – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||R654||CD 362|
|362167||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Praha Liben||0952 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Brno Hlavni Nadrazi||R865||CD 362|
|362170||Praha Liben||Svetla nad Sazavou||0942 Praha Smichov – Brno Hlavni Nadrazi||R977||CD 362|
|810327||Svetla nad Sazavou||Vilemovice||1146 Svetla nad Sazavou – Cercany||9204||CD DMU|
|749121||Vilemovice||Svetla nad Sazavou||0912 Cercany – Svetla nad Sazavou||9207||CD 749|
|749121||Svetla nad Sazavou||Zruc nad Sazavou||1346 Svetla nad Sazavou – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||9206||CD 749|
|749006||Zruc nad Sazavou||Cercany||1600 Zruc nad Sazavou – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Sp1832||CD 749|
|749121||Cercany||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||1600 Zruc nad Sazavou – Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Sp1832||CD 749 via electrified main line|
Gen for Sunday 27th July 2014
749006 Sp1832 1600 Zruc nad Sazavou (to Cercany)
749121 9207 0912 Cercany – Svetla nad Sazavou, 9206 1346 Svetla – Praha HN (to Cercany), Sp1832 1600 Zruc nad Sazavou – Praha HN (from Cercany via electrified main line)
754008 9057 0923 Praha HN – Cercany, 9062 1540 Cercany – Praha HN (from spreadsheet)
754031 9055 0825 Praha HN – Cercany, 9064 1636 Cercany – Praha HN (from spreadsheet)
Monday 28th July 2014 (The rains had arrived)
We made sure we were down for breakfast early and checked out with enough time to be on the platform at Praha HN before the stock was in to form EC275 0739 Praha HN – Budapest Keleti. When it did drop into the station, with ZSSK 350001, there was a bit of a scramble but we were ahead of the crowd when it came to boarding with minimal luggage and Danielle spotted two unreserved seats straight away and that was us for the 4 hour journey. Unfortunately we did suffer a little bit with a family sat around us that had two young boys who just wouldn’t sit still, or shut up, for virtually the whole journey; hoorah for IPods!
Arrival into Bratislava HS was almost to time and nothing short of s scrum to get off the train and then off the narrow platform that is platform 1. Once out though we found our Hotel Mercure at the bottom of the station approach road, just off to the left at the opposite side of the now disused tram lines that once ran up to the station; the turning circle for which looks like it had been left as was as if the world had ended some years previous, just desolate and with vegetation growing out of the concrete all around.
Having checked into our third hotel in a row before 12 midday we were quite pleased at the size of the room and the facilities it offered. Every we needed was provided including the AC and the bathroom and toilet were separate. The staff spoke good English and were helpful; providing us with maps and directions to the nearby old town. Breakfast wasn’t included in the room rate and we didn’t pay the extra for it due to our early departure the following morning.
While my girlfriend relaxed in the afternoon I went out for a couple of hours to do a bit of spinning about, locally around Bratislava. Without having much of a clue what was what I managed to pinpoint a couple of 240 turns to cover; just to get some old engines in and yet in the end they were scattered about all over the place on all sorts of trains, vice other classes. The first train I came across, Os3024 1716 Bratislava HS – Malacky, was 240013 so I was pleased with the initial start and thanks to a bit of late running 381002, returning on the 1638 Kuty – Bratislava HS, made a minus back at Hlavna Stanica onto R741 1741 Bratislava HS – Leopoldov with 263004; which I did out to Bratislava Vinorhady. It was here I thought things were going to take a turn for the worst when I clapped eyes on the departure screen to find trains 30 & 45 late going back into Bratislava HS.
The late running actually did me a massive favour and it was almost non-stop up and down to Vinorhady for about 90 minutes before a final move out to Bratislava Lamac and back on Kuty services; the last 5 consecutive moves being 240’s, 134, 022, 051, 122 & 030 respectively. The evening had gone way better than I could have planned on paper and I returned to the hotel very pleased with my smash and grab bash.
Unfortunately the rain didn’t seem to want to disappear for the evening and it ultimately resulted in us not walking too far that evening for food and no sooner had we walked into the Old Town did we settle on eating at a place called Primi Italian; where the food was as good as we’d had earlier in the day if not a little pricier.
Unfortunately, again, the rain put pay to any ideas we may have had of walking round the old town after dark and we headed straight back to the hotel and even though we’d only been in Bratislava for 9 hours we’d had a great day. It was a day we hadn’t originally planned as we’d been going to go direct from Prague to Budapest overnight originally but it was worth making the change for.
|350001||Praha Hlavni Nadrazi||Kuty||0739 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Budapest Keleti||EC275||ZSSK 350|
|350001||Kuty||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||0739 Praha Hlavni Nadrazi – Budapest Keleti||EC275||ZSSK 350|
|240013||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Zelezna-Studienka||1556 Leopoldov – Malaky||Os3024||ZSSK 240|
|381002||Bratislava Zelezna-Studienka||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1638 Kuty – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os2031||ZSSK 381|
|263004||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1741 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Leopoldov||R739||ZSSK 263|
|263012||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1622 Nove Zamky – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os4632||ZSSK 263|
|363145||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1755 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Poprad-Tatry||R613||ZSSK 363|
|362001||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1208 Kosice – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||R608||ZSSK 362|
|363137||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1841 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Nove Mesto nad Vahom||R741||ZSSK 363|
|240134||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1722 Nove Zamky – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os4634||ZSSK 240|
|240022||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Vinohrady||1900 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Leopoldov||Os3031||ZSSK 240|
|240051||Bratislava Vinohrady||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1502 Zvolen O.S. – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||R834||ZSSK 240|
|240122||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Bratislava Lamec||1916 Bratislava Hlavna Stanica – Kuty||Os2030||ZSSK 240|
|240030||Bratislava Lamec||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||1838 Kuty – Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Os2035||ZSSK 240|
Gen for Monday 28th July 2014
(Other than in the moves above)
240129 R837 1801 Bratislava HS – Banska Bystrica
263012 Os4629 1807 Bratislava HS – Nove Zamky
362011 EC131 0947 Warsaw – Budapest
381002 Os3029 1800 Bratislava HS – Leopoldov
Tuesday 29th July 2014 (Just how big is Budapest….?)
We were Budapest bound on board EC271 0622 Brno – Budapest Keleti, with the same ZSSK 350, 350001, that we’d had the previous day from Praha, at 0753. Having fought our way through the waiting crowds on the platform to board there was a lot more room on board than there had been from Praha the previous morning and the journey served as our breakfast time in the compartment we secured to ourselves while consuming bits and bobs we’d bought at a local supermarket the previous evening.
As per previous day’s arrivals into capital cities a couple of step backs were in the offering so as not to reach the hotel too early and a quick glance at Szob as we passed through revealed MAV 432281 on a push-pull set waiting to depart so off we got at the building site that is Vac to await its arrival behind us. Waiting to depart at Vac was 432355 with the next all stations stopper to Budapest Nyugati so it would have been rude not to get off at Rakosrendeso to do it into Nyugati. Even with the two step-backs we were at the Mamara Hotel just after 11am; but were allowed to check-in immediately.
The Mamara is a 5 minute walk from Budapest Nyugati station, best reached by using the underpass; out of the station and on the right. It saves a lot of traffic dodging. While not a very big room it was well presented and had everything we needed for our two night stay. The hotel staff allowed us to check-in early and were very helpful throughout our stay. The room I’d booked included the comfort package which had airport pick-up as standard; as we’d arrived by train though we were allowed to use this option to get us back to the airport. The maps handed out at the hotel were probably the best I’ve used when in European cities, very easy to follow and they even gave the distance each walk covered.
Having walked about 8km, according to the maps we’d been given, it seemed like a good idea to have a rest. I certainly felt like it but my late afternoon gift to myself was a couple of hours running around on trains to recover; or not!
Having been in Hungary two moths previous and getting bowled quite a few times by new Flirt EMU’s on the local Monor/Cegled trains ex Budapest Nyugati I was pleased to not see a Flirt EMU at all that evening. There were hardly any EMU’s about at all and even the Lajosmizse DMU’s were all worked by older DMU’s vice nice shiny new ones as they had been in May; that was except for the Summer Hatvan M41 turns of course. The majority of the Monor/Cegled locals and the locals to Szob/Vac were 95% hauled with those not being old EMU’s. The fact that MAV has free WiFi on most trains, including the local sets, makes attempting to find out what’s about very easy; assuming you’re on the train for long enough and the WiFi connection is strong enough to get the MAV Mapper working quickly.
I never went beyond Kobanya Kispest, there was simply no need, and was kept on my toes for the two hours I was out and about. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary about but I have to say that M41 418185 sounded half decent when the driver wided it out of the station at Zuglo when departing with 2936 1718 Budapest Nyugati – Lajosmizse; it even clagged as well which wasn’t bad for something that usually rattles its way out of the station quite quietly. To be fair to the M41’s they really do need a bit of a punishing anyway to keep time on DMU timings. Pleased with my evening’s haul I was back at the Mamara by 1900; by which point food was high up on the agenda.
We didn’t walk too far that night and found an Italian place just up the road from the hotel, towards Margaret Bridge, called Okay Italia. The service was good, food tasty and served up the best home-made Tiramisu I’ve had anywhere in the world; nothing short of excellent and the price was reasonable too. As with all decent places we find this place was used again and again as the food was good.
Evening over it was nice to relax for a while in the hotel room, maps out, trying to figure out what to do the following day…….
|350001||Bratislava Hlavna Stanica||Szob||0622 Brno Hlavni Nadrazi – Budapest Keleti||EC271||ZSSK 350|
|350001||Szob||Vac||0622 Brno Hlavni Nadrazi – Budapest Keleti||EC271||ZSSK 350|
|432281||Vac||Rakosrendeso||0925 Szob – Budapest Nyugati||2157||MAV 432|
|432355||Rakosrendeso||Budapest Nyugati||1004 Vac – Budapest Nyugati||2387||MAV 432|
|431131||Budapest Nyugati||Zuglo||1653 Budapest Nyugati – Szeged||IC716||MAV 431|
|431217||Zuglo||Budapest Nyugati||1445 Szeged – Budapest Nyugati||IC765||MAV 431|
|418185||Budapest Nyugati||Zuglo||1718 Budapest Nyugati – Lajosmizse||2936||MAV 418|
|431189||Zuglo||Kobanya Kispest||1723 Budapest Nyugati – Nyiregyhaza||IC626||MAV 431|
|432302||Kobanya Kispest||Kobanya Also||1648 Cegled – Budapest Nyugati||2523||MAV 432|
|432251||Kobanya Also||Kobanya Kispest||1738 Budapest Nyugati – Monor||2636||MAV 432|
|431048||Kobanya Kispest||Zuglo||1130 Budapest Keleti – Budapest Nyugati||IC655||MAV 431|
|431230||Zuglo||Kobanya Kispest||1753 Budapest Nyugati – Szeged||IC756||MAV 431|
|432292||Kobanya Kispest||Kobanya Also||1737 Monor – Budapest Nyugati||2633||MAV 432|
|432303||Kobanya Also||Kobanya Kispest||1803 Budapest Nyugati – Cegled||2518||MAV 432|
|431066||Kobanya Kispest||Zuglo||1203 Zahony – Budapest Nyugati||6203||MAV 431|
|431140||Zuglo||Kobanya Kispest||1823 Budapest Nyugati – Nyiregyhaza||IC616||MAV 431|
|431357||Kobanya Kispest||Zuglo||1440 Zahony – Budapest Nyugati||IC623||MAV 431|
|432343||Zuglo||Budapest Nyugati||1748 Cegled – Budapest Nyugati||2533||MAV 432|
Wednesday 30th July 2014 (One coach trains are the way forward)
Having spent the morning watching the MAV Mapper on the hotel Wifi I found an M62 working 1987 0658 Gyor – Siofok, for the 6th day in a row but unfortunately unless you actually stayed in Gyor there was no move at all to get it in of an evening and the morning move to get to it from Budapest involved being up at 0400! The real reason for keeping an eye on things that morning was to see what was going on with the Szeged V46’s on the Kiskunfelegyhaza trains and initially everything wasn’t going swimmingly with only one turn of the two early morning turns being a V46, however I did notice that there was a spare V46 at Kiskunfelegyhaza and was thinking that it might be chucked out on the return working later that morning. As I didn’t want to risk being bowled by one of the turns being a unit we didn’t go for the 1053 ex Budapest Nyugati and I decided to wait and see how things progressed later that morning before heading out into the wilderness so after breakfast we headed out to Vajdahunyad Castle; following one of the walks from the map the hotel had provided.
We were back at Nyugati station with plenty of time to spare for the 1253 to Kiskunfelegyhaza and even made the 1223 Nyiregyhaza so got a reservation on that instead; so we thought. I’d asked at the ticket office whether I needed a reservation for the 1223 to Cegled, the answer to which was yes. As it turned out the reservation I’d been given was for the 1253 to Cegled, something we didn’t realize until someone else wanted to sit in our reserved seats; this ultimately resulted in us getting off at Zuglo and waiting for the 1253 anyway. Its standard in Hungary to need reservations on IC trains but these are actually only required in the fully AC coaches. The xx:23 IC’s from Nyugati are formed fully of these full AC coaches and only usually load 3 but the xx:53 IC’s from Nyugati to Szeged are formed of mixed stock and the non-AC coaches don’t require a reservation.
431131 headed IC714 1253 Budapest Nyugati – Szeged and we sat in our booked reserved seats to Cegled and then a sweltering hot compartment forward to Kiskunfelegyhaza; the original plan was to have got a reservation for Kiskunfelegyhaza at Cegled.
As I’d not managed to get the Mapper working on the journey down I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at Kiskunfelegyhaza and upon getting off the train there it took a while to find the one coach train that was 7124 1436 Kiskunfelegyhaza – Szeged. It was sat on the platform nearest the station building, on the opposite side of the train to that which we’d got off. The one coach was an open coach and even had correct window labels for the journey. Thankfully V46 460035 was at the head of the one coach.
The train wasn’t well used and when we got off at Kistelek there were only two people left on the train as it departed, after waiting for the next Nyugati bound IC to cross it; a lot of the line between Kiskunfelegyhaza & Szeged being single line. It was a sweltering afternoon and I have to say the driver’s uniform was one of the best I’ve seen, a pair of shorts and trainers; nothing else! He must have been melting in his cab. To avoid the direct sunshine we hid in the station waiting area by the booking hall, with a nice breeze blowing through when the doors were open. I did trespass a little during our fester when Train Hungary’s 400378 came through on a freight.
The moment of truth was soon upon us and thankfully through the haze appeared V46 460057 with 7125 1511 Szeged – Kiskunfelegyhaza; MAV seemingly having done what I thought they would but as we all know this doesn’t always happen! 7125 was equally as poorly frequented as 7124 going the other way but it had the correct traction so I wasn’t bothered and the day’s objective had been achieved.
On the way back into Budapest on IC703 1545 Szeged – Budapest, headed by 431058, the Mapper worked on the WiFi and while it didn’t work that fast I did manage to figure out that the two trains immediately behind ours both had required engines; 432252 with 2633 1737 Monor – Nyugati and 431025 with IC623 1440 Zahony – Nyugati. We were off at Ferihegy for the first and Kobanya Kispest for the second, then straight into Budapest on 431025.
Having had a good day again we were in need of a decent meal and the Okay Italia served us up some good food again; I couldn’t resist another go at their homemade Tiramisu either. There was even one guy that came in and all he had was Tiramisu so maybe they were renowned locally for the best Tiramisu in town?
|431112||Budapest Nyugati||Zuglo||1223 Budapest Nyugati – Nyiregyhaza||IC565||MAV 431|
|431131||Zuglo||Kiskunfelegyhaza||1253 Budapest Nyugati – Szeged||IC714||MAV 431|
|460035||Kiskunfelegyhaza||Kistelek||1436 Kiskunfelegyhaza – Szeged||7124||MAV 460|
|460057||Kistelek||Kiskunfelegyhaza||1511 Szeged – Kiskunfelegyhaza||7125||MAV 460|
|431058||Kiskunfelegyhaza||Ferihegy||1545 Szeged – Budapest Nyugati||IC703||MAV 431|
|432252||Ferihegy||Kobanya Kispest||1737 Monor – Budapest Nyugati||2633||MAV 432|
|431025||Kobanya Kispest||Budapest Nyugati||1440 Zahony – Budapest Nyugati||IC623||MAV 431|
Thursday 31st July 2014 (Would you allow your kids to run a railway?)
The homeward bound blues didn’t take effect until later in the afternoon and after breakfast we had decided upon one last jaunt before heading to the airport and that jaunt would be on the “Children’s Railway”, on the outskirts of Budapest at Huvosvolgy. Unfortunately this place isn’t advertised very well, or even at all, in all the tourist gen around Budapest and while it may seem like a bit of a hassle to get to its pretty straight forward really.
To get from Budapest we used tram No. 4 or 6 from Nyugati to Szell Kalman ter, where we changed to tram No.61 direct to Huvosvolgy. Szell Kalman ter is basically a big triangular tram/bus interchange point and everything is well advertised as to what is going where on electronic screens. At Huvosvolgy, the end of the No. 61 tram line, it isn’t immediately evident when to go to find the Children’s Railway station but there are stairs that led up from the tram station to a dirt track, once up the stairs turn left onto the direct track and follow it the short distance to the end; Huvosvolgy station is right in front of you. Tram tickets are HUF350 for single tickets and should be validated when you board, they’re valid for the whole journey to Huvosvolgy, including changing trams. We didn’t realize the tickets needed validating but didn’t have any issues thankfully.
To return to Budapest we did so from Szechenyihegy by using the Cogwheel Railway, which is actually operated as tram line No. 60, to Varosmajor and then tram No. 61 back to Szell Kalman ter for tram No. 4 or 6 back to Nyugati. Again there are no directions from the Children’s Railway station to the Cogwheel Railway station but it’s simply out of the Children’s Railway station, down the hill for about 200m and the Cogwheel station is on the right hand side of the road. Timetables are displayed on the station and there are at least 3 trains an hour.
When we first got to Huvosvolgy station there was nobody about at all, even the booking office wasn’t open. One of the Mk45’s could be seen in the yard from the platform end and this soon brought two coaches into the station to form the first train of the day, the 0910 to Szechenyihegy. Tickets went on sale about 15 minutes before departure and cost HUF700 each for a single journey the length of the line; rover tickets are only available for families.
Mk45-2004 headed our train with an open veranda type coach at the rear and a second coach behind the loco. We opted for the veranda coach of course and while we sat on board minding our own it became evident that the first train was used as a staff ferry train as there were only four fare paying passengers on board when it left but it was quite full. There were Permanent Way staff, who got off with equipment en-route, station staff that were dropped off at the relevant station and of course the Children; without whom the railway wouldn’t have any staff!
I was beginning to wonder where all the Children were, just as they were marched across the car park, military style and almost in time, and then lined up on the station platform in rows three deep. Lunch was then handed out to all with the first kid in line taking three of everything and the goods being distributed behind. All were briefed by the person in charge before being loaded into the front coach and distributed to various stations en-route to complete their required duties for the day. The grippers for the train had turned up separately and must be rostered in advance as they all seemed to know what they were doing and I have to say it was quite strange having my tickets checked by a kid that couldn’t have been older than 12.
The line is basically a solid uphill climb from Huvosvolgy to Szechenyihegy; it’s a shame the Mk45’s are a bit pants and make very little noise. There is a cracking view over Budapest part way up the line, which the driver slowed down for; these are adults by the way! Our morning on the railway would be just that and we did 2004 all the way out and part way back to Janoshegy for what turned out to be 2003 back to Szechenyihegy on the other turn.
As there was no interest in selling me a ticket for the return journey to Janoshegy at the booking office we ended up buying them on the train. Single journey’s short of full length of the line cost HUF600 and we had no issue buying the tickets from the 12 year old gripper. On the way back though there was obviously a bit of a language barrier, which I was keen to figure out how they dealt with it and the many tourists they must have travelling on the line and was quite withered when the young lad produced a booklet, thumbed through it and ran his finger underneath the line that said “Where would you like to go”. Then he produced a map for me to point to my destination and moments later I was in possession of two tickets back to Szechenyihegy, the cost for which was written down on the lad’s booklet. Impressed I was.
While the railway does seem to run relatively to time there were occasions that you could tell it was being run by Children and also times when you could tell that the adults were frustrated with the Children; still we had a great time and by the look of the crowds coming the opposite way as we walked down the road to catch the Cogwheel Railway at Szechenyihegy we’d left at the right time. The train had already been full as we left the station and there was another train full walking up the road.
We were back at Nyugati with plenty of time to spare before our courtesy taxi from the Mamara to Ferihegy airport so we had a farewell lunch at the Okay Italia before beginning our journey home. The taxi journey took about 30 minutes and was as straightforward as they come. Unfortunately getting through to security at Ferihegy airport wasn’t as straightforward. The queues were massive at terminal B so we walked round to terminal A, where there wasn’t one at all and were promptly sent away to go and get proper boarding passes as our print-out entitled “Travel Document” apparently wasn’t what it said on the tin.
As we queued at the Norwegian Airlines desk it looked as though loads more folk had been victim of the same assumption we had. The queuing was harmless enough though and we were through security and sat in the waiting area with rafts of time to spare. The flight itself ended up being about 30 late but was a decent flight and definitely an airline I’d fly with again.
Luckily we were dropped at the right terminal at Gatwick for the station but I was further delayed getting through immigration as my passport was scrutinized, for a change. After it hadn’t worked at the electronic gate I ended up at a desk, as usual, but the guy processing me didn’t seem to be able to deal with whatever scribbling he was seeing on the screen so had to take me to someone else to get me through. Thankfully we made the train we needed to but it was fruitless rushing in the end as the third train of our journey to Tunbridge Wells, from Tonbridge, was cancelled! Upon arrival at Tonbridge it wasn’t quite the end of our holiday and we had three days of Spa Valley Railway Gala to look forward to; that was until 31206 failed on the Friday night and that was that for the weekend and we were home on Saturday vice very late Sunday!
|452004||Huvosvolgy||Szechenyihegy||0910 Huvosvolgy – Szechenihegy||31137||Childrens Railway Mk45|
|452004||Szechenyihegy||Janoshegy||1003 Szechenyihegy – Huvosvolgy||31132||Childrens Railway Mk45|
|452003||Janoshegy||Szechenyihegy||1010 Huvosvolgy – Szechenihegy||31237||Childrens Railway Mk45|
|54||Szechenyihegy||Varosmajor||1122 Szechenyihegy – Varosmajor||Cogwheel Railway|
|LN-DYH||Budapest Terminal 2B||Gatwick South Terminal||1535 Budapest – Gatwick||DY2497||Norwegian Airways|