Archive for March 6th, 2021

Nerd in Karlsruhe

Travelling from Freiburg to visit the family in Stuttgart this week, I found myself with an hour spare in Karlsruhe. Sensible people would at this point go and look at the historic buildings in the city, gardens, zoo or any one of the other tourist attractions within a short ride from the station.

However, I am a nerd.

Faced with several hundred years of central European history only a few minutes away, your correspondent went in search of the railway yards to the south of the station, and after a couple of wrong turnings found a nice pedestrian bridge with a good view of a rather busy yard.

First thing to pass was this Swiss railways class 421, looking surprisingly good in modern livery for a loco built at least three decades ago. The advertising reads “Zürich – Munich 6x daily in 3.5 hours” which I’m assuming means trains rather than just this locomotive rattling back and forth, because that would be expensive and a little bit silly.

Also, if it is going from Munich to Zürich then it’s taken a wrong turning as well.

Loco stabling point with a stack of DB class 185 locomotives, SBB Vectron on the front of an intermodal train in the main yards, and another SBB Class 185 sneaking around the back of the signal box.

That turned out to be a Chemical train running across the yard on its way south.

By this time my hour was half over and I was aware I didn’t really know the way back to the city, so I set off towards some big buildings, which had a tram line running alongside them; following tram lines is generally a good way to find the railway station in a European city…

…And so it proved here.

Useless information department: the Karlsruhe system was the original “tram/train” system and now reaches deep into the Black Forest. The system has been copied by a number of other countries and these trams are the same as the new units coming into service in Sheffield.

Now I’ve explored a bit I know where to go next time.

I won’t spoil the story by mentioning that I was only pootling about Karlsruhe for an hour because the DB train from the south had been late and made me miss my connection, again…

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