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Scans of my German Railway life

20658 Views 85 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Julian2011
This lockdown malarkey has caused so many problems for families trying to make ends meet but for someone like me, now 70, the only change is not being able to go down the pub and not having to leave my house to attend meetings (goodness how i have come to detest Zoom). I know how lucky I am especially when I read how many poor souls have lost their lives.

You know where I am going with this because you've read the title of this post. I am spending some of this enforced time at home scanning my slides and negatives, something I have been threatening to do for years. I have already posted two or three scans on other topics but i thought that it would be nice to upload the odd photo in one place as I progress through my back catalogue ..... as it were. No chronological order because as I unearth yet another slide magazine from boxes stored in the garage I am putting a selection through the scanner so it's a bit pot luck.

I will start with this:

Stuttgart Hbf - 02/08/1986 at 07:21 110 184-9 hauling empty stock into the station.

It was early on a Saturday morning and we had arrived on the overnight train from Ostende. We (being my wife and daughter plus me) lived in Cambridge at that time and had travelled down to London Victoria to catch the midday boat train connecting with the Dover - Ostende ferry service. Dover marine station was still in use and it was a short walk from the train onto the boat (or should that be ship). I was enjoying my early morning photographic opportunity as we waited for the 08:11 departure for Tubingen where we would spend a fortnight with my wife's parents.

For the technically minded the camera I was using at that time was a Contax 159MM and in this instance the film was AgfaChrome 100. As can be seen with the photo of 110 184-9 I had set the hyperfocal distance about 20' behind the front of the loco so the number is a bit blurred. Zeiss lenses were good but in use they were only as good as the idiot holding the camera.

The scanner is an Epson V600 using Epson scanning software and I'm adjusting the images where necessary with the basic image editing tools that come with Windows 10. Perhaps I could get a better result with more advanced software but to be honest, I'm not really a very advanced sort of chap so this will have to do.

So .......... onwards and upwards.

Best regards ................ Greyvoices (alias John)
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John This is most i teresting indeed especialy for meI know i am from Germany and lived and worked there like yourself.But this Swiss trains really are very different and for me most interesting the older Eloks i really like.
Have a Great weekend and stay safe and well.
Thank you for your interest Babs.

Those old Swiss ELoks do have a .......... what is the word ........... charm?

Another view of 10926 at Konstanz on 21/08/1989

I only stayed at Konstanz for an hour and for some strange reason never returned. I have to admit that I had forgotten that hour but the memories cam flooding back when I started to scan these images. Yesterday I had a search on YouTube and found that the Konstanz and found nothing but Flirt railcars .............. not a hint of any Swiss freight or loco hauled passenger trains. Hopefully there is more variety but the couple of videos that I watched made me really glad that I turned up there 31 years ago to record such an interesting location before modernisation dragged us into this rather more bland era. I am not even sure if the distinctive signalbox has survived. More up to date information from an MRF member would be welcome.

Another view of Mittel-Thurgau-Bahn (MThB) Class Re4/4 number 21 waiting to leave with a mixed freight.

Panning slightly to the left we can see the MThB loco and railcar on adjacent platforms.

Not one of my better photos but it is what it is. 110 166-6 waits to depart Konstanz Hbf with the 14:58 departure for Stuttgart

My notes tell me that I caught this train and stayed with it as far as Singen where this two carriage train was augmented with a portion coming from Schaffhausen. (look back at the last post for the rail map of the area)

In the next post ............. Singen.

Best regards ................. Greyvoices (alias John)
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We were in Konstanz for a week in summer 2017. My memories of the railway are a level crossing at the end of the station which gave access to the harbour. I did see that signal box so I guess it's gone. The road, railway and pedestrians all have their own parallel bridges over the Rhine.

Passenger trains on the DB side were double deckers with 'Electric Containers' for traction.
My one photo of trains on the SBB side show another suburban double decker - ie not IC2000 and a railcar, probably a Flirt.
I don't remember any freight but to be honest unless it's an intermodal, I tend not to notice

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Thank you for that update David. It is as I feared, an interesting location with the life modernised out of it. My career was all about making railways ever more efficient and cost effective but with each passing year our railways became ever more bland.

So let's go back once again to over thirty years ago before the likes of me spoiled everything. Our next "exchange" station for Swiss <> German traffic is Singen. This was a bustling location where trains were split and reformed ............ as i indicated in my last post where I ended with a Class 110 hauled two coach train departing for Stuttgart. At Singen a Class 360 shunting locomotive would shunt together the train from Konstanz with a portion from Lindau.

Singen depot - 02/04/88 at 14:50 and we see 150 155-0 stabled.

Singen depot - 02/04/88 at 15:10. Class's 360 and 212 at rest on the servicing point.

Singen Hbf - 02/04/88. A Konstanz > Stuttgart service arrives as a two coach train.

Singen Hbf - 02/04/88 at 16:15. The Lindau > Stuttgart service arrives behind 218 288-9.

The train from Lindau is then attached to the portion from Konstanz and 110 237-5 proceeded to take the assembled train through to Stuttgart.

I have to admit that looking at my scans and reading through my notes I was baffled as to why there was no SBB RE4/4 in evidence. I have just worked it out and I suspect that, on that day the wires were de-energised somewhere between Singen and Schaffhausen. I will let that all unfold in my next post.

Best regards ................. Greyvoices (alias John)
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A couple of days ago I came across this youtuber - - who is uploading cab videos of routes in north west Switzerland. I'm guessing he's an SBB driver. I've watched a few of the ones around Konstanz as we did some cycling round the lake and the paths were often alongside the railway.

Thank you David for this very interesting link. Perfect antidote for those moments when you run out of energy yet still require stimulating entertainment (did I just write what appears to be an advert for a very dodgy health spa!!!!)

Now, back to Singen.

As I was scanning these slides I kept expecting to come across an SBB locomotive but so far none has shown up. I think that I have had three photographic sessions at Singen around this date and can distinctly remember a red Re4/4 either hauling a passenger working or stabled between duties. Reading through my notes I think that I have found the reason that Swiss ELoks were not to be seen around this time because what were usually electrically hauled trains were diesel hauled.

Singen Hbf 02/04/1988 at 14:38. What would normally be an ELok hauled train to Schaffhausen on this day has 212 190-3 for traction.

I remember catching this service on another date from Schaffhausen when it was hauled by a green Class 150 (just like 150 155-5 which I featured in the last post). Further reading of my notes show a Class 218 was deputising for the Swiss Elok for haulage of the Stuttgart <> Zurich services between Singen and Schaffhausen for I made a note that the Stuttgart > Milan train departed south behind 218 288-9. Obviously the wires into Switzerland were not energised on this day.

This map detail shows that all through trains between Stuttgart and Schaffhausen have to reverse at Singen which then becomes the logical location to change between German and Swiss traction; the Swiss ELok can run right through to Zurich where it will reverse once again before working over the Gotthard route.

Further thoughts on my notes and studying what I have posted here makes me realise that I made a factual error in my previous post. I posted the image of 218 288-9 arriving on what I claimed to be a passenger working from Lindau but an hour and 40 minutes earlier I noted this locomotive departing for Schaffhausen in the opposite direction. I turned to my treasured Thomas Cook European Timetable for April 1988 (I always traveled with the latest publication) and found that 218 288-9 worked EC85 Stuttgart > Milan which arrived in Singen at 14:38 with a portion for Konstanz ............ as we have seen a two coach consist and the Class 110 worked throughout between Stuttgart and Konstanz. Smart work at Singen saw the Class 110 and the two coaches unhooked and departing for Konstanz at 14:41 .......... just three minutes after arrival. On the other end of the train the main section for Milan had the Class 218 attaching (normally booked for an SBB Re4/4) and departing at 14:44 .......... just six minutes after arrival. Impressive station work.

The return working for 218 288-9 was with the Lecce > Stuttgart train D388, booked arrival in Singen at 16:15 and my notes have it arriving bang on time. Departure for Stuttgart was booked for 16:24 and in that 9 minutes the train was shunted onto the back of the Class 110 hauled two coach portion from Konstanz.

Phew, I'm glad to have worked all that out. It was bugging me as I knew there was a discrepancy in what I had written and I try to avoid factual inaccuracies. That's why I never mind being corrected by those with more knowledge. I'm sorry to put those who choose to labour through my posts to such torture but at least this is better than watching paint dry .................... so here is a reward for getting to this point:

Singen Hbf 21/08/1989. Class 194 number 051 awaits final disposal in a well concealed siding.

Best regards .................... Greyvoices (alias John)
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To follow on with yet another German/Swiss border location we now move to Basel Badischer Bahnhof. Although this station is situated a couple of kilometres south of the border it is deemed to be the railway border point and is part of the DB network. Before the Schengen agreement was extended to fully integrate Switzerland (I believe in 2008) you passed through a passport check before leaving the entrance hall to gain access to the platforms. Most passenger trains passed through this station to terminate at the Basel SBB station or penetrate or pass through the Alps. Freight trains would either have a change of traction just to the north in Weil-am-Rhein or carry on to the Swiss yards at Muttenz. The route through to Muttenz was signalled with the standard German PZB system allowing all DB and DB specification privatbahn locos to penetrate through to the Swiss yard. The overhead catenary also enable DB specification ELoks to reach Muttenz. I believe also the the zigzag of the overhead wires between Basel Bad and Weil-am-Rhein is to the Swiss pattern to allow standard Swiss ELoks to access that yard (I am unsure if this is still the case). This is important as the Swiss pantograph head is narrower than the DB standard. I need to find evidence to verify this as cross border locomotives would normally be equipped with both SBB and DB pattern pantographs.

Basel Badischer Bahnhof on Sunday morning 16/10/1988. 110 264-9 is stabled as spare loco. I normally traveled alone but on this occasion I was accompanied by a friend, Robert who was a Cambridge loco driver.

Moments later, Re6/6 11660 runs light back from Weil-am-Rhein en route for Muttenz.

Now looking south, another view of 11660.

Little did I know in 1988 that 20 years later my career would base me in Basel and that I would become a frequent user of the Badischer Bahnhof.

Best regards ................. Greyvoices (alias John)
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Thank you Bear ........... not sure how to respond to that.

To sort of round off Basel (for the moment) I thought a look at a map of the area might be helpful:

Die Dreiecke Germany/France/Switzerland all meet at Basel. Map scanned from Schweers & Wall Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland (2009).

You can see that passenger trains from Germany pass through Basel Badischer Bahnhof to then swing right into Basel SBB Bahnhof. Freights swing left into Muttenz yard. French passenger trains terminate in a separate section of Basel SBB Bahnhof which is designated as Basel SNCF Bahnhof whilst freights to/from France pass on through roads to the south of Basel SBB Bahnhof to reach Muttenz yard.

The route from Badischer Bahnhof to Muttenz allows passage of German PZB signalling standard but the route from France was run on the old fashioned block occupation method. At the time I was working there we were extending our operators licence into France so i took part in discussions concerning the France to Muttenz route signalling upgrade. Cross border multi-system protocols were always tricky and could take years to resolve (does that seem familiar). I am sorry that since retirement I have not kept up with developments to the Basel infrastructure.

One tale might amuse you. In 2008, a month prior to taking up my post in Basel I was asked by my new company to attend a meeting with DB Netz and SBB Netz (plus some other interested parties) to discuss the DB proposals for the upgrade of the Karlsruhe to Basel route. We sat around a large meeting room high up in Basel Badischer Bahnhof and we were shown a projection on a screen of the planned rationalisation of Weil-an-Rhein freight yards. We all gazed at this as the Netz infrastructure planner described the benefits of the scheme. The meeting chairman caught my eye as he asked for comments. " Perhaps our English colleague would start us off" he said (for added emphasis in English because hitherto the meeting had been conducted solely in German). He was smiling with eager anticipation of the "English colleague" falling flat on his face but I had been working in Germany for some time by then and my language skills had improved just a jot above bar room competence. Looking at the proposed trackplan that glimmered on the screen I told them how this scheme would result in freight train locomotive changes blocking the main lines as the rationalised loops and loss of run-round capacity created a bottleneck and the only way of getting around that was if all freights ran through to Muttenz and the relocation of the DB depot onto Swiss soil. The DB Netz chaps exploded with anger ............... best I don't repeat here what they said .............. but then the SBB Netz senior chap chimed in with, "our English colleague is of course correct" (also in English for emphasis). The meeting limped on for another few minutes but the Weil-am-Rhein section of the Karlsruhe - Basel route upgrade was unanimously sent back to the drawing board. The Swiss were relentless and made great play discussing the correct German expression for "bottleneck" which they agreed should be "einen Engpass machen." I had used the term "Flaschenhals" which is the German for bottle neck and would not normally be used to describe a bottleneck on a railway route ............. but that's the term that I had learnt in German bars. Never underestimate the capacity of the Swiss to enjoy the discomfort of their neighbours to the north.

Basel SBB Bahnhof - February 2007. Traxx Class 246 terminates with a service from Freiburg in a bay platform.

Best regards ...................... Greyvoices (alias John)
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I made a mistake. The loco in the previous photograph is a Class 146. A stupid error.

Best regards ............ Greyvoices (alias John)
) Would be good response.

I'm jealous of your tale! Well done sir!
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I was typing away on the H0 thread, adding an anecdote about my short lived involvement with HectorRail SRMan's HectorRail loco when the thought came to me, "I have been neglecting my scanning". So here I am once again and hopefully a bit more consistent this time. Oh how I rue the day I put myself forward as a councillor because the tasks involved seem all consuming. I am the deputy Mayor at the moment and my colleagues are urging me to be Mayor in May. Is there no end to this torture.

Anyway, my anecdote regarding HectorRail mentioned Maschen Marshalling yard which is located just south of Hamburg. The first time I visited there was in 1988 and here are a few photos from that time:

View from the bridge overlooking the hump looking north.

Walking across to the other side of the bridge, now looking at the loco stabling point at the southern entry/exit to the yard.

To the north of Maschen Yard is Harburg Hbf and it is through here that Hamburg docks traffic feed into the marshalling yard. Here we see a Class 218 (retaining the pre-turquoise and cream livery) on such a trip working.

I will return o the Hamburg area in subsequent posts ....... my civic duties permitting.

Best regards ................. Greyvoices (alias John)
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If you are interested in the modern freight scene and the services that pass through Maschen Marshalling yard then this book is very informative:

I look forward to getting my hands on the further volumes that are promised covering freight workings in other areas of Germany.

Best regards .......... Greyvoices (alias John)
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You're back again

Had been missing your thread, wondering where you were, hoping you are well.

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Thanks for the encouragement Bear and Alan.

I think that I will concentrate on Schleswig-Holstein for a while. I am primarily looking at the photos taken around Easter 1988 ......... now nigh on 33 years ago. I was 38 then. Railway staff across Europe were given free passes for other countries and I made full use of them. My wife's middle sister's family lived in Hamburg so we frequently caught the ferry from Harwich straight to Hamburg. I would be allowed to escape on my own for a few hours and, if we were staying for a week could negotiate with she who must be obeyed a free pass on 3, non consecutive days. Wonderful warm days wandering around with my camera, the only deadline being that I was expected to return in time for the evening meal.

I have started with Maschen Marshalling Yard and Harburg because that for me was my most southerly point of the conurbation. I remember thinking how empty the yard was but I visited at what must have been the slow time of day. In later years my professional life entailed a lot more interaction with deep sea generated rail freight and I learnt that it could come in waves (sorry about that), a sort of feast or famine. As just in time became the thing and container ships became ever larger the arrival of a massive cargo ship from the US or the far east would create a huge surge in train movements. Hamburg may have ceded prime spot to Rotterdam but it still saw massive tonnages through the harbour. One day 20 trains and the next day 40 .......... all on top of the usual scheduled daily freight movements.

Another freight movement in 1988 through Harburg destined for Mashen Yard.

Tonnage moving on the River Elbe provided Hamburg with great wealth in the years before the coming of the railways. Inland shipping would arrive at the docks and be transhipped into ocean going vessels. It still happens today but now the river plays a minor role to that of the railways and roads. Maschen yard has freight passing through it from Scandinavia via the Puttgarten ferry (latterly via Flensburg and Jutland as the bridges and tunnels linking Sweden and Norway through the Danish islands to Jutland opened ........ hence the formation of railfrieght ventures such as HectorRail), Kiel and also Cuxhaven at the mouth of the Elbe. Before the wall came down the main flow of traffic southwards would be on the route via Hannover and Wurzburg to Munich and Austria. There was also a sizeable tonnage being moved along the corridor to West Berlin. With the wall coming down and the direct rail route being established through Denmark the significance of Hamburg as a freight route resulted in a loss of traffic for the East German ports of Sassnitz/Mukran and Rostock though the latter is more resilient with a massive amount of road freight moving via the Scandinavian ferries.

The Elbe and it's tributaries. Reaching places such as Berlin, Prague, to the Czech/Austrian border as well as Thuringia and the very northern fringe of Bavaria. This formed the backbone of the Hanseatic Maritime trade.

Another view of Maschen looking north with a hump shunting loco awaiting the next push. Class 290. The Hamburg harbour and Maschen marshalling yard shunting locos were based at Wilhelmsburg depot which is located between Harburg and Hamburg.

The loco stabling point once again with ranks of Class 140, 150 and 151 electric freight locomotives.

It would be 18 years before I again visited Maschen yard. Yes, it's another one of my anecdotes but this can wait for the next post.

Best regards .................. Greyvoices (alias John)
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Glad I sort of inspired you to post again. You have some wonderful photos and interesting stories to go with them. I like your inclusion of the maps too, as I am still learning with regard to German and Scandinavian railways.
Hi John, All,
Aha! Maschen and Hamburg Harburg, my favourite places for train watching!
I’ve actually only been to Maschen twice and the second time, three or four years ago, we found the road bridge that bisects the yard, is indefinitely closed which is a great shame.
As we walked up the rising curved road from the station, we could see it was fenced off and on close inspection, they really don’t want you getting past, it’s like something from the Cold War!
It’s the largest yard in Europe now and only second in the world behind Bailey yard in Nebraska USA on the Union Pacific.

H.H. (Harburg!) is absolutely fantastic though. A British friend of mine was extolling the virtues of Acton Bridge on the West Coast main line and said he once saw 20 different trains in four hours! I consulted my log and told him that In the same time, I saw 220 different train movements at H.H. My friend thought I was making it up but I wasn’t! I admit, some moves were light locos going back and forth and I counted loco hauled passenger trains too (not multiple units though!).
I can’t wait until it’s possible to go back.
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Great evocative pictures John. I was only yesterday watching the Railways of Northern Germany VHS which is from this era. These loco pulled trains were far more characterful than the 'tubes' they now use. Cheers
Thanks for the comments chaps. Good to see some old friends. John - I hope that the move to Greece is all you wanted it to be. I know that you and your wife have been dreaming of this for years. Reddo - where are you living now?

Back to my scans. The way that the years fly by surprises me and I sometimes have to remind myself that the photos that I feature here were taken up to 40 years ago .......... and more. The Schleswig-Holstein images that I am referring to here were taken around Easter 1988. That's 33 years ago and 18 months before the wall came down (Mauerfall). With that in mind I thought that a reminder of the divided nature of Germany at that time.

Much has changed since Der Mauerfall but back in 1988 the main traffic flows of West Germany were Hamburg <> Munchen via Hannover and Wurzburg, skirting the internal border with East Germany, and, the Rhine route to the western side linking the Ruhr area and Basel/Zurich and thence Italy. Freight traffic from the Hamburg area followed the eastern route even though it was somewhat tortuous partly because the Rhine route was so heavily used by freight traffic emanating from the ports of Rotterdam/Antwerp flowing south. Of course there was a flow of railfreight destined for the Ruhr area emanating from Scandinavia or other flows through the northern ports which would pass through Bremen, thus westward. I have over simplified the position here but spare freight paths between the Ruhr and Mainz/Frankfurt (basically the classic, scenic Rhine section through Germany) were hard to find.

Back now to Harburg and what I recorded in 1988. As John Edge has mentioned, Harburg was a fascinating station to visit. The sheer variety of traffic is astonishing and there is still much to enjoy even though, as Reddo says, the variety of traction may not be so varied as before. To illustrate this we can look at the Hamburg Hbf. <> Cuxhaven service which reversed and changed traction at Harburg. I documented the reversal in Harburg of the 11:11 Cuxhaven > Hamburg Hbf service:

The cycle started at Harburg with a Class 110 electric loco waiting at the northern end of platform 6.

110-287-0 waiting at the north end of platform 6 ........ being passed by a not in service northbound Shienenbus VT98.

218-490-1 arrives with the passenger working from Cuxhaven. The Cuxhaven branch was electrified only as far as Stade.

The Class 110 then drops back onto the rear of the train ready to haul it to Hamburg Hbf (Dep. 12:58). Here we see the train being passed by 218-122-0 hauling a single wagon northwards at 13:00.

Extract from Thomas Cook European Timetable - April 1988. The very one I had with me on that day.

Many years later, in 2007, I was contracted by Bombardier to assist with their maintenance support for TRAXX locomotives throughout Europe (I think that I have mentioned this before). I worked with the team putting together the service schedules for the Metronom contract, based at Uelzen and running services to Hamburg, one of which was that very Cuxhaven service. The Metronom TRAXX fleet comprised a mixture of electric and diesel locomotives (Class 246) pushing/pulling rakes of double deck coaches (built in Gorlitz on the Germany/Poland border). The use of the TRAXX diesel loco throughout between Cuxhaven <> Hamburg Hbf did away with the loco change at Harburg. The savings would have been considerable and if you look at the 637b timetable of 1988 you will see that it was very wasteful of locomotives, at times using up to 4 locomotives for a very infrequent service. It also required ground staff to hook and unhook at Harburg. I remember checking the loco requirement for this service in 2007 and a combination of improved running times and elimination of the loco change helped to improve the service to an hourly frequency without a prohibitive increase in fleet costs. The running time was reduced from 125 minutes in 1988 to 107 minutes today. Sadly I cannot lay my hands on my notebook that contains the 2007 fleet calculations. I know I have it but where have I put it???

Photo from RailFan Enthusiast Website

That anecdote was not the one I mentioned in my previous post ............ that is still to come.

Best regards ............... Greyvoices (alias John)
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