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)