A few years back, Meridian won the tender to operate the Munich to Salzburg / Kufstein regional services and ordered a fleet of Flirts to operate them with. An early period of vice turns using 111s and Austrian 1142s soon ended when they units were eventually delivered and made to work. In February 2016 a tragic crash at Bad Aibling totally wrote off two units and pushing the fleet was found to be unsustainable, so over the summer a set of NX livered (!) stock was drafted in for an out and back peak turn. Locos are provided by Locomotion on a ‘kick-out’ basis at both ends, and have a varied fleet of both their own locos and hired in Railpool or ELL traction. This means that there is a huge variety in power, from elderly 139s to fresh out of the box Vectrons… Managed to eventually sort a day and a bit in late November that would give me three goes at ‘Locomotion Lottery’
So after a 245 out from the Hbf to Munich Ost, it was time to peer into the distance and see what turned up. 186441 was the answer. Now usually would be well happy with dropping a private traxx like this this, but in honestly I was after bigger fish!
So after a days moves, it was back for the 1711 return to Kufstein. I’d seen 186441 on a line of locos beyond Munich Ost whilst going for EC113 and its pair of 1116s, so was fairly confident it would swap. 186102 however had been outside Munich shed all day pan up and lights on… But thats where it stayed, and as I rolled in with 218421 from Muhldorf little more than a ribbed side could be made out – but that was acceptable as it meant a 189 – new class for me! 189907 was duly caned in round town to Ostbahnhof.
Same story the next morning at Ost, but the arrival was up as ten late – perhaps a good sign of something elderly I thought but didn’t really believe. First thing to appear was 2×218 on the inbound Simbach, but then another red engine stormed alongside on the Meridian stock. Reports meant I had an idea what that meant – a ex-DB 151 freight co-co – happy days!
Since I’ve been going abroad at least these are near unheard of on passenger trains – the odd banking duty and this turn is I’m pretty sure all thats been known. Meridian do have a couple in house colours but evidently ‘060 is yet to see the paintshop after transfer from DB, which to me at least makes it look even meaner. With that I was done in Munich and headed to Stuttgart before going home, there might have been a rather early celebratory beer in the barcar on the IC going north!
To show the variety this turn has produced, an absolute rarity these days, a quick search on ERG shows at least:
- 151060, 151074
- 185661, 185663, 185664
- 186102, 186251, 186286, 186441
- 189907, 189914, 189918
- 193208, 193801, 193873
With a dedicated branded rake of stock perhaps it will run for a considerable time (six months and counting already) as they will presumably need additional EMUs building to replace it… Hopefully I’ll get another chance although I don’t know if they can top that 151!