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 | Category: Rail trips in Europe
entry 1 Feb 2015, 14:00
Back in late August 2013 I spent a few days in Hamburg. Apart from visiting the Miniature Wonderland and sight seeing round Hamburg, I also spent a day in Lubeck. These are some photos of railway interest which I took.

Hamburg Hbf.
This is a large imposing affair. This is the view from the city centre side of the station:

Several road bridges cross the southern end of the station which give a good view of the roof and the station itself.

Inside the station is quite bright

And there are many retail opportunities for passengers and others who just happen to be passing through

I never seem to be able to travel anywhere and not see a coach with OBB markings!

My current list of locations for OBB stock apart from Austria, is Venice, Antwerp, Hamburg and Zurich.

Some of the trains; services seem to be dominated by this double deck stock.

A Taurus in an interesting livery

The approach to the station from the north runs alongside the Binnenalster lake in central Hamburg:

An early morning photo of the entrance to Lubeck station

The train shed

A two car diesel unit - out of service

I think this is a diesel powered unit. The destination is Kiel.

The power for the journey to Hamburg.

entry 2 Nov 2014, 13:01
Our 2013 summer holiday was based on Germany's "Romantische strasse" which runs from Fussen on the Austrian border to Wurzburg. There are many walled towns along the route containing colourful and interesting buildings. Nordlingen is one such town. It is one of only three towns in Germany with a complete set of walls. The other two towns - Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl - are also on this road.

Parking inside a walled town is always a trickly proposition so we followed the parking signs on the approach road and found ourselves at a multistorey car park by the town station. What we did not expect to find once we had parked was the sight of many locomotives and carriages from a previous era on the far side of the station. This turned out to be the Bayerisches Eisenbahnmuseum. We did not have time to visit but I took some photos to remind us to do so the next time we might be passing through.

Some photos were taken on our arrival. The sun was directly behind the museum so the photos are not brilliant. The photos taken later when we returned to the car are much better. I don't know much about German railways, so I will refrain from embarrassing myself with inaccurate captions.

 | Category: Rail trips in Europe
entry 30 Aug 2014, 20:11
Slovenian Railway Action

We recently spent a week in Graz in the south eastern corner of Austria. For one of our day trips we paid a visit to Maribor which is just over the border in Slovenia. Having checked timetables and car parking charges we decided to park at Spielfeld Strass and take the train. Spielfeld Strass is just a few kilometers from the border and parking at the station is free.

We arrived at about 9:50 hoping to catch a train at 10:20. This is where we learned that we had misread the timetable ohmy.gif. Unlike all the other entries, the one for Spielfeld Strass has two columns; one for when the train arrives and one for when it departs. We had only looked at the arrivals column and seen plenty of trains arriving. We blithely assumed that they would continue on to Maribor. Big mistake. Most of the trains terminate and return to Graz sad.gif. The next train we could catch was the 11:20. As we had already bought our tickets and that day had the most favourable weather forecast for the coming week, we decided to wait.

On emerging onto the station platform we saw this bulk mineral train from Slovenia:

The train was composed of a mixture of wagons from AWT and Slovenian Railways.

While we waited a diesel powered shuttle train arrived from Graz.

This train was destined to become the next train to Bad Radkersburg, a town situated in the south eastern tip of Austria just across the border from Slovenia. The line is single track and not electrified, hence the diesel power. Most of the road crossings are guarded by lights only - no barriers. This appeared to be the case with many of the minor lines we crossed during our stay in Austria.

The line to Bad Radkersburg diverges to the right and crosses the small river in Spielfeld via this bridge:

Spielfeld Strass does not have a ticket office, you buy your tickets from a machine but as we were to find out later, it is certainly not un-manned! Our first encounter was with a chap who got us to understand after several attempts - we have very little German - that the train we were to catch was an hour late and would not arrive until 12:20 sad.gif.

In the meantime another service from Graz arrived. This was a push-pull unit with an interesting collection of coaches:

This coach livery is a positive encouragement to take your bike on the train to discover new places. Somewhat different to our experience in the UK I think.

The profile of this coach is quite different to the rest.

About 20 minutes before our delayed train was due, this three coach train arrived from Slovenia. It turned out to be packed to gills with passengers.

We got talking to a couple of English guys who told us the train had been held for an hour at Maribor. They had been expecting to stay on the train all the way to Vienna but everyone was told to get off on arrival at Spielfeld and transfer to a local service to Graz. Somehow this train appeared to accommodate them all but quite how packed they were, we did not find out.

All this time, the loco and driver of the bulk freight train had been waiting in his cab and making occasional visits to one of the rooms in the station building. Eventually a shunter emerged from this room, uncoupled the loco from the train and then directed him off in the direction of Graz. They returned a short time later as seen here.

It then took up a position just ahead of where the delayed inter city service would stop. The incoming loco was uncoupled and the Slovenian loco took over for the journey into Slovenia. Now I understood why there were arrival and departure times with quite a gap between them. There has to be time for the loco change over.

At this point, at least two inspector / supervisor types, two shunters and a train manager / conductor had all emerged from the office on the un-manned (for tickets) station. We also saw the station cleaner.

The inter city train arrived about an hour late and we boarded the OBB portion for the trip to Maribor. This took about 25 minutes and we had a pleasant time looking round Maribor.

On our return to Maribor station we found we had a bit of wait for our train back to Austria. There was quite a lot of activity to watch in the station. Many of the coaches and mulitple units had been "tagged", so I didn't photograph them. One of the few trains which had not been tagged was this:

It made quite a contrast with this diesel powered unit:

While we waited a shunting loco was putting together a five coach train. I thought that it might be for our return journey but it wasn't. Our return trip was on a pretty modern EMU which terminated at Spielfeld.

The railway highlight of the day was seeing the Wels-Maribor Rola service arrive smile.gif. No photos but there is a video. The first part shows the freight loco pulling away from its train. The second shows the lorry train.

All in all, an interesting day from a railway point of view.

For more information on Slovenian Railways, try this Wikipedia article
There is some rolling stock information in this Wikipedia article

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 18 Mar 2014, 21:26
Hamburg Miniature Wonderland - Part 10 The USA.

As you enter the USA section from the Scandinavian section you are confronted by a model of Las Vegas.

Hotels I recognise include The Belagio, Treasure Island, The Paris, New York New York, The MGM Grand and The Luxor

As the night sequence descends the full extent of the lighting becomes apparent.

I think this section may be the Everglades ....

The trains in the USA section are given plenty of horsepower.

Large bridges figure strongly in the model

In addition to the railway, there is well populated freeway with plenty of trucks.

The USA was the last section on my tour of Miniature Wonderland. The timestamp on my last photo is over four hours later than my first. I did go back to the Switzerland section with the idea of going round again but my body had had enough so I left this amazing venue to spend the rest of the day sight seeing in Hamburg itself.

If I ever visit Hamburg again, I will definitely find time to pay another visit.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 2 Feb 2014, 14:56
The Hamburg section is followed by the Scandinavian section featuring railways and scenes from Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

A large country house / castle in the Danish section:

I noticed this rather familiar looking signal box towards the back of the layout.

This left me wondering:

* Did Danish railways build signal boxes using British architectural plans?
* Is this an early tryout building for the UK section due in a couple of years time?
* Is it a Heljan kit which has been mistaken as being Danish because Heljan is Danish?

The main station in the Danish section with a beach scene in the foreground

The main feature of the Scandinavian section is the harbour. This is modelled with an enormous tank filled with water. There must be filters somewhere as the water is incredibly clear. Several large model ships navigate in and out of the harbour with no visible signs of being guided. This is a cruise ship leaving the harbour.

I saw the real ship a couple of days later when I went on a harbour tour in Hamburg. It really does wear lipstick on the front...

The group in the back of the shot are on a "Behind the scenes tour". It's an attractive idea but you need to have good German to get much benefit from it.

The clear water in the harbour allows for some more underwater jokes. This is an octopuss' garden

An oil rig beyond the entrance to the harbour

A floating ship repair dock

The cruise ship was replaced by this rather more mundane item but a fine model none the less

A local train in Norway

Deep mid winter...

Another one for the kids, "The Flying Dutchman"?

That's all from the Scandinavian section. There's just the US left.

entry 20 Dec 2013, 21:32
This section of the Hamburg Miniature Wonderland models landmarks from the Wonderland's home city, Hamburg itself.

First there is a model of the impressive Hambury Hauptbahnhof

This is the home ground for Hamburg's football team.

If you take the U-Bahn to get to the Miniature Wonderland, this is the station where you get off.

This is probably the most colourful of the ferry boats which ply their trade up and down the Elbe. This is the landing at Landungsbruken close to St. Pauli Elbe tunnel.

The entrance to one of the many canals

A much compressed model of the warehouse section of the harbour in which the Miniature Wonderland is housed.

And here it is with a queue of customers waiting for it to open

St. Michaels Cathedral. The tower is open to the public. There is a lift if you don't fancy the stairs. The view from the top is very good, you can see the aircraft repair building at the airport.

A bicycle road race crosses the harbour bridge

Another view across Hamburg Hbf

I didn't realise when I took the photo above that the Wonderland had had another visitor earlier in the summer. He had been following a 1913 edition of Bradshaw's guide and the Wonderland made a model of him to commerate his visit. When I saw the subsequent TV programme I took a closer look at this photo and found that I had captured him in his flourescent yellow/green jacket clutching his red covered Bradshaw:

The modelling of the girder work in the Hbf is quite detailed

The night sequence had fallen again as I took another photo of the harbour bridge

And so we come to the end of the Hamburg section. Next is Scandinavia the fjord scene complete with giant water tanks and ships that pass in the night.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 26 Nov 2013, 22:55
The photos continue in the "Mittlel Deutschland" section of Hamburg Miniature Wonderland.

This is one for Neil - these buildings are from Rotenburg Ob die Tauber wink.gif

Not all the trains are hauled by diesels or electrics

I find these locos quite attractive:

This station is named Hamburg Dammtor.

The next section contains models based on Hamburg itself and will appear in Part 8.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 30 Oct 2013, 22:05
After turning from the Austrian section you are presented with this large mainline station:

There is a large roundhouse to the rear housing a number of steam locomotives:

A wedding cameo scene:

A reverse view of the station:

That Thomas gets about! Here he, Annie and Clarabel are running on the branch at the back of this section:

There are industrial scenes too such as this coalmine

Another valley

A branchline station which is served by a shuttle train

A theatre which is putting on a performance of Romeo & Juliet. The performers are quite sprightly and not at all wooden wink.gif

Another valley

That's all for now. The journey through Mittel Deutschland will continue in the next part.

 | Category: Model Exhibitions
entry 8 Oct 2013, 20:40
The first thing you notice on your right as you enter the building housing the Austrian section is the helix which moves trains between levels:

The first model on display is a Winter sports venue with an unusual competitor heading down the ski jump.

Being Austria, there are still mountains and bridges.

The characteristic bright red of OBB Inter City trains. You can just make out that the track is 3 rail, as was the Switzerland section.

The gondola system works on demand using a push button. These photos have been edited to improve the contrast as the light levels were quite low for taking photos.

A narrow gauge train makes its way through the snow

Another example of lights with everything

A train ferry but I don't think the ferry goes anywhere

On the other side of the building the landscape is greener. The trains traverse through multiple levels before returning to the far side

The electric fences are there for your safety - shades of Jurassic Park?

I can't resist lorry trains. This one is about to start its descent

And continues

That's all for Austria. Next stop Mittel Deutschland...

entry 26 Sep 2013, 18:31
On the other side of the space which houses the airport, the floor has been removed so that the mountains in the Switzerland section can continue upwards. These photos are taken from the gallery overlooking the section you see when you first enter the Switzerland section.

The mountain peak nestling under the ceiling of the fourth floor!

Anyone for bridge?

There is no forced perspective here. The train at the back is still HO scale, it's just a long way away.

The painting in the background appears to be of Oberalpsee which is the peak of the narrow gauge line between Chur and Andermatt. This photo is from 2007.

Back to the model...

The Golden Pass train has not left the station where we saw it earlier

A narrow gauge train threads the tunnels in the mountain.

The main station

Again it is startling to remember that the ICN train in this photo is HO Scale and that I was at that rail about one and a half hours previously.

And so we say farewell to Switzerland and prepare to enter Austria.

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