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Posted (edited)

Off to the Harz mountains again today. Currently on board the Regional Express (RE) 10 from Magdeburg to Sangerhausen, where I have a very tight connection to the RE 9 to Nordhausen. I am effectively traveling around the mountains to the east to travel through them from the south to the north. I have resigned myself to not making the steam hauled train I want so if I catch it it's a bonus.

Couple of snaps from Magdeburg Hbf:










Abandoned platform with its GDR era lighting at Sandersleben:




Edited by murphaph
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Thanks George. Today I had a series of very tight connections but miraculously made them all and got to travel south to north steam hauled through the mountains. Worth getting up early for. I will add pictures and some video later from home. Back on mainline rail on the way home via Berlin now. 

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And a couple of the more interesting pics:

Nordhausen. The ramp used to transfer wagons from standard gauge to and from the narrow gauge dollies:



Hybrid diesel electric tram sharing the HSB alignment:


Climbing towards Eisfelder Talmühle:



(yes, that's a Welsh flag)

Up on the plateau:


Elend station:


Drei Annen Hohne where all three crossing locos take on water:


Departing for Wernigerode behind 99 236:





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Great stuff, Phil.

The Harz really is "Something Else". I first did it (bar The Brocken, of course) in 1988 when it was in East Germany.

Isn't Drei Annen Hohne the place to be? - not sure if anywhere else in the World where in 2022 you'd get THREE steam locos on timetabled trains together!

Surely the steam isn't included in the €9 ticket?

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Hi Leslie,

All the steam I took is included in the €9 ticket. The section from Drei Annen Hohne to the summit of the Brocken is the only part of the network not included.

I was actually thinking the same myself today. I'd be surprised if three scheduled narrow gauge steam services meet anywhere in the world like that. Possibly any gauge. 

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40 minutes ago, connollystn said:

@murphaph - Thanks for uploading the videos and additional pictures. It was great to see the Blue Tiger locomotive, it has to be one of the nicest looking diesels ever. Can't recall ever seeing it in the DB AG livery.

Hmmm, it seems like these things are pretty rare in Europe. I never really took any interest in them tbh. There are only 11 in Germany. The rest are in Pakistan and Malaysia according to Wikipedia.

I assumed they were more common than that, probably because the HVLE is my "local" private railway and they own 9 of those 11 and the other 2 belong to ITL which is based in Dresden, which isn't a million miles away and I have seen at least one ITL example around here too. I will be more attentive in future and if I see one I'll take a snap or two.

DB doesn't own any and never has, though the German wiki says the Autozug (Motorail) was pulled by one for a few days several years ago.

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@murphaph - Thanks for that information. I sort of guessed that the Blue Tiger was a rarity and didn't realise so few were constructed. Was tempted to buy a model by Mehano but I've a preference for shorter locomotives, lets say,  in the region of 230mm or less due in part that I operate my trains on a single oval track with radius 2 curves. Anyway, if at all possible, keep posting pictures and videos of German railways - you might need to open a separate thread in the Continental Railway forum. Again, thanks very much for posting all of those pictures - sure I'm not the only one on here who appreciates them.

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Nice to get the feedback so I know I'm not just spamming the forum with irrelevant content connolly. Much appreciated.

My next "target", probably next week is likely to be the Zittauerschmalspurbahn or Zittau Narrow Gauge Railway. Zittau is located in the Free State of Saxony, right in the corner where Germany, Czechia and Poland meet:


Germany to the north, Czechia to the west and south and Poland to the east. The railway heads south from Zittau, departing from the narrow gauge station adjoining the standard gauge mainline rail one. The line continues to Bertsdorf where it branches in two. Both lines continue south into neighbouring parallel valleys and terminate at the spa resort towns of Jonsdorf and Oybin. During the week trains to Oybin are through running with a change at Bertsdorf required to head to Jonsdorf. Interestingly however they run trains between the two branch line termini, via Bertsdorf without the need to change. The route takes about an hour in each direction from Zittau to either terminus, so I can cover the whole network behind various traction (diesel and steam operate, the steam trains hauling DR stock) and still be home at a reasonable hour. I will again depart from my local station at 5.40 and reach Zittau at 9.56. If the RE2 is running through Berlin again (it currently only runs to Charlottenburg in western Berlin) then it's a fairly pleasant journey with just a short hop two stations and then the RE2 all the way to Cottbus (the RE2 is one of Germany's longest regional expresses) and just one more RB (Regiobahn, or regional train), the RB65 to Zittau.



There is a "hefty" €5 surcharge for a day's use of the network for holders of a €9 ticket. I think I can manage that lol. Normally a day ticket is €17, which isn't bad either in fairness but the €9 ticket means I can get there and back for nothing.

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5 minutes ago, murphaph said:

There is a "hefty" €5 surcharge for a day's use of the network for holders of a €9 ticket. I think I can manage that lol. Normally a day ticket is €17, which isn't bad either in fairness but the €9 ticket means I can get there and back for nothing.

Nothing - and a whole €3 change left, to spend on yourself.

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Posted (edited)

So yesterday I took another spin to another narrow gauge steam system. This time the aforementioned Zittauerschmalspurbahn.

Unfortunately there are still works restricting the capacity on the Berliner Stadtbahn (our 100 year old version of Crossrail that runs east-west right through the heart of the city, except all on a viaduct or otherwise elevated above street level:


The works mean my local regional train, the RB14 terminates at Charlottenburg but this trip involved traversing the city so I waited briefly for an RE1 (they have priority and can still use the Stadtbahn it seems) and took this to Ostkreuz (eastern cross, where the Stadtbahn intersects with the Ringbahn, or circle line). From here I took an RE2 to Cottbus in the far south east of the state of Brandenburg. There the connection was delayed but connecting trains waited and I had a cross platform transfer to the RB65 to my final destination on the mainline network, Zittau in the far south east of the state of Saxony. Unfortunately there are track upgrade works so at the moment the middle-of-nowhere station of Hagenwerder is the terminus. From there a seamless rail replacement service took us by bus to Zittau Hbf. In the end the rail replacement service added a nice bit of interest and my phone welcomed me to Poland and back to Germany the whole way along the route as the border parallels the road. 

From Zittau I took the narrow gauge direct to Oybin, then straight back to Zittau, then to the Junction station at Bertsdorf, where I changed trains and headed to Jonsdorf, from where I took the train back to Bertsdorf, changed again and headed back down to Zittau to catch my bus and head home the way I came. I made a stop in Berlin Hbf as it turns out and took the RB10 home instead of the RB14 as the timing was better. A couple of pics of Berlin Hbf are therefore included for completeness. It's basically a large shopping centre with a railway station inside it really.

Ok, so on to the pics...

Arriving into Lübben, which is the first station in the bilingual Spreewald district. The other language here is the minority Sorbian, a slavic language, which is strongly protected by the German state following the persecution of Sorbian speakers under the Nazi regime. I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Spreewald. It has a real primordial feel to it. The area is known for its canals and features Germany's only canal boat postal delivery service. The little punt is also Germany's smallest Postbank outlet and sells stamps and other postal services to customers:

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postkahn (sorry German only)


All change at Cottbus, where a track measuring train sits idle in the yard:




DMU traction now all the way to the end destination. Next point of interest is the border station of Görlitz. Presumably they needed many more platforms at one stage to perform customs checks on trains arriving from Poland. Now abandoned:


My temporary rail terminus on the mainline system for today, Hagenwerder, where we changed over to a bus replacement that was waiting for us:


And now a few images from Zittau itself, including what appears to be an old ballast wagon:





Loco running around in the bus station in Zittau:


Arriving Zittau Vorstadt:


The junction station of Bertsdorf now:







The terminus at Oybin:





And now the other terminus at Jonsdorf and some snaps along the way back to the junction at Bertsdorf. Note the signal cabin is located slap bang in the middle of the junction, controlling it by way of semaphore signals still:







And for the sake of completeness a couple of snaps of Berlin including Hbf as I did pass through here too. The station is two level (excluding the U5 U-Bahn and under construction underground S21 S-Bahn), with 8 low level platforms running north-south and a further 6 high level platforms (4 for IC & regional, 2 for S-Bahn) running east-west, connected by the world's slowest lifts (pro tip, unless you have really awkward luggage, take three escalators rather than waiting for a lift). The station is (in)famous for its huge glazed roof being too short. The contract was poorly defined and the contractor was forced to end the works prematurely so the station could open without scaffolding for the 2006 world cup. The roof contractor sued and won his case and he has a legal right to come back and finish the station roof to its full length (presumably when times are hard again in the building trade!). The low level platforms taken from an intermediate level:


The east-west tracks are supported by those columns. The bridge in the very top of the foreground is carrying the S-Bahn tracks left to right:


CD operated Eurocity train from Prague to Hamburg departing from the same platform my RB10 will depart from shortly. Loco appears to be leased from a German owner however:


A Talgo "Bumblebee" (Hummel) shunter at Bhf Warschauer Straße (Warsaw Road Station). This depot did at one stage service Talgo coaching stock but I haven't seen any here in a while:


Videos of the steam part will be uploaded to YouTube and linked in a subsequent post 🙂

Edit. The editor decided to insert these images without me clicking "insert". I don't know if that's expected behavior but anyway I'll just leave them. One of them I actually forgot to add so I'll comment that as it's rare....




A diamond crossing of an unusual type. The track we are crossing over is standard gauge mainline rail belonging to the Deutsche Bahn. This requires communication between our conductor and the DB signaller, which is what is happening in the pic below where he is standing at that yellow DB post on the little halt immediately before this diamond:




This viaduct carries the mainline rail we are about to cross over. Strange arrangement:


Edited by murphaph
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Many thanks for the photos and commentary plenty of preserved lines for Steam loco great day trip and sunny weather,   was in Berlin Hbf fine station on different levels no shortage of shops and restaurants 

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