Posts Tagged ‘Deutsche Bahn’

When I last wrote about the Big Diesel (aka ‘Moby Dick‘) I was dithering about how to make the ends, because as usual I was overthinking everything about the project, imagining a dozen different ways to make the curve on the nose and how they could all go horribly wrong.

Eventually I decided that it would be better to actually finish the model at some point and reverted to plan ‘A’.

The problem was that despite my early sketches of the loco I really wanted the distinctive chromed light clusters on the the Brohltalbahn’s D5 or its standard gauge cousin, the Deutsche Bahn type 218. It identifies the locomotive immediately and hopefully makes it clear that the model is in Germany as opposed to Austria or Switzerland. As this will be a somewhat unusual model I wanted to have as many of these visual cues as possible to set the scene quickly in viewers minds.

More to the point I really like the class 218.

For some reason I’d got stuck on the idea that if I didn’t make the nose curved I couldn’t have the 218 styled light bar because… um… Reasons. so I’d followed the idea down the rabbit hole and was looking at the headlight designs on the similar Bulgarian railways type 77 when I happened to come across a type 218 picture and noticed that it has flat ends. Of course it does. I’ve travelled behind class 218’s for hundreds of kilometres and every one of them had an absolute lack of curve on the ends. I’d just… missed it somehow.


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So, as part of my work I had to go to a seminar in Tübingen for three days in a row. The seminar offered overnight accommodation but as far as I’m concerned, events with lots with lots of people are best consumed in small doses, so I commuted every day.


Thus it was that I found myself in Esslingen m Neckar, waiting for a train.

Germans still have proper trains with coaches and a big engine at one end. These are usually push-pull units to save mucking about with shunting every time they have to change direction. Notice bike waiting on platform: this is handy for the first and last bits of the journey, and it tends to crop up in pictures when I’m travelling these days.


The other end of the same train, with a Class 146 locomotive pushing away. These have taken over many medium distance trains on the Stuttgart-Ulm line, where I suspect their higher top speed is handy in keeping out of the way of the ICE Expresses.


Esslingen has several more platforms than would seem to be strictly necessary. The train on the right is one of the shiny new S-Bahn trains recently introduced, which replaced the last of the 1960’s vintage units that were still going strong when I arrived in Germany. So now, not only are trains I’ve travelled on in a museum in Japan, but trains I knew well as an adult have been replaced.

I am getting old.

These new S-Bahn trains were originally fitted with extending platforms that came out from the side of the train and bridged the gap between train and platform. This was fine until they stopped at a station with a low platform, when the bridges would all come out at shin height.

I do wonder if the people who buy these things ever use them.

Still, all is fixed now and very nice the new trains are too…


Meanwhile, on the fast lines, another regional train was going from somewhere to somewhere else.


We also still have some single deck trains (occasionally there’s a mixup and you get a single driving trailer on a double deck train, or vice versa, which is just wierd).

This one is headed by a driving trailer class BDnrzf 740 (Why use one letter when four will do?) bound for Ulm. They were built from the 1970’s and look it. The red/grey painting doesn’t do it a lot of favours either. Mind you I should probably stop whining as they have a nice big space for bikes and they have been rebuilt with wide plug doors that open with a button instead of the double doors they used to have: getting a bike up five very steep steps is hard enough without having to hold back a door fitted with a spring that wanted to kill you.


On the other hand I have an irrational fondness for the class 143 locomotives, the class 47 of German railways, which I’ve written about before.


Finally, a class 101 came charging through the station on the fast line on an intercity train headed for Ulm and beyond. Then after I’d put my camera away and gone into the underpass to catch my train, the sun came out and two freight trains came through….

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The 750mm Ochsenhausen-Warthausen railway is a few kilometres from where I lived for about four years before coming to our current home. Typically, I didn’t go there when I lived close by.

The line was built in 1899 from Warthausen on the standard gauge main line between Ulm and Memmingen, to Ochsenhausen and then extended alongside the main line for a few kilometers to Biberach an der Riß. It crossed the main line on the level, like the Welsh Highland in Porthmadog, but that was removed after the war and the line now stops in Warthausen again, making it about 19km or 11.8 miles.

The line survived the war despite some bombing in Ochsenhausen and a severe accident on the crossing with the main line when a train travelling to Ulm ran through a signal set at danger and ploughed through the narrow gauge train at speed killing 12 and injuring a lot more.

The newly formed Deutsche Bahn took over in 1945 and did what they usually did with narrow gauge railways: ran down services while running busses in competition. To be fair this must have seemed a sensible option as the railway makes a large ‘U’ and the road was straight, but still. A preservation group took over in 1985, and had to close the line in 1991. A consortium of shareholders, mainly local governments and a bank, ran services again from 1996 until the line was closed by the transport ministry in 2000 because the track was such a mess. The local governments stepped in again, kicked the bankers out, and reopened in 2001, which shows the financial clout of local governments in Germany. In the UK it would be a cycleway by now.

The video shows 2-10-2 Class 99 tank locomotive number 99 788 bought in 2001 from Deutsche Bahn, who presumably were keeping it on the off-chance they might need it. Part two is here.

Information from Wikipedia Germany.

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Life is intervening, again. The last few weeks have been a right thumper of an exam session because all the tutors decided that with the half-year report due very soon, they need to have a test at the same time, so I’ve been doing lots of revision, amongst other things about an hour of maths each night which is not very exciting blogging material, hence lack of posts, and replies to comments.

I’ve been feeling slightly guilty for a while about this post giving the impression that our local transport system was run by incompetents or possibly monkeys and that isn’t the case. (Having grown up in the UK I have experience of a transport system run by incompetents, or as they are known ‘politicians’. I think monkeys could do better) so in the interests of balance here is a ‘normal’ commute home.


When things are working, the last lesson finishes about ten minutes before the train and gives plenty of time to walk to he station. Even better the German rail system runs proper trains with class 143 locomtives with double deck push-pull trains made by (I think) Bombardier.


The novelty of being on a top deck coach will never wear off. Bay seating fortunately hasn’t gone out of fashion in Germany.


Large amounts of bike space and a massive disabled privy downstairs. The things I photograph for you, honestly. This is in the driving coach (Driving Van Trailer in UK parlance). In the UK these are kept as luggage vans but in Germany they are a bit more relaxed about this.


Cavernous bike and push chair (stroller) friendly doors. Loco hauled trains have a future here: DB has ordered some sets of double deck coaches and locomotives to work local services as push-pull trains, so hopefully there will be real trains around for some time yet.


Off train and on to bus which leaves exactly six minutes later. The bus takes longer to cover the next five kilometres than the train needed for 20, but saves me cycling 200 vertical metres so we’ll gloss over that. I can get off at the next village to ours and comfortably ride the last few kilometres straight over the fields, while the bus goes off on a tour of local landmarks, so I save about ten to fifteen minutes and I can start on assignments fresh and awake from the ride.

I don’t of course: I faff about and end up trying to solve maths problems when I’m half asleep before rushing to get ready for the next day, but never mind.

Half year reports are coming next week, so the pressure should let off for a bit.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo here it is, 2014, and I still haven’t built a model railway, which is why the header picture for this post is from my weekly commute to college.

Nor have I been posting particularly regularly on here according to the WordPress annual report. I doubt that many people anyone is waiting for my posts with excited anticipation*, but I’d like to be writing here more often.

Some model making stuff is slowly working its way to the top of the jobs list though: watch this space, but don’t hold your breath.

In the thing called ‘normal’ life, 2014 means the beginning of the end of the carpentry apprenticeship. From the beginning in 2012 until last week, the end date seemed far, far, off, safely tucked away in the distant future of 2015.

From today, graduation is ‘next year’, and people can reasonably ask what we plan to do ‘next’, meaning, of course, after the apprenticeship is over and I’m a state-registered cabinet maker.

To the surprise of no-one who has known our chaotic way of life, we haven’t a clue, except to say it probably won’t involve settling down to a normal middle-class German lifestyle.

I would like to make some models though.

What are your resolutions and plans for the year?

*In the unlikely even that this is so, I post a lot more regularly here.

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Red Trains


Every day I get on a train pulled by one of these locomotives to get me to college and back. I won’t claim they are 100% punctual but I’m usually where I need to be on time. The coaches you can’t see in the picture have two decks and the train is a push-pull set. I would have taken more pictures but it was a couple of degrees below freezing and my commitment to blogging only goes so far when it is a choice between taking pictures and being warm.


Every week a couple of trains run from a steel wholesaler near my college to a large exchange yard in Plochingen. It’s easy to forget that operations like this with short trains and a small locomotive may be normal in Germany but are pretty rare in some parts of the world. The passenger train on the platform is from a small company that runs services on branch lines locally.

There are lots of interesting railway related things happening on the daily commute to and from college, and at some point when it isn’t cloudy and cold enough to freeze my fingers to the camera, I’ll take more pictures.

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