New Years weekend CZ and DE, Dec 2017-Jan 2018

One of the usual leaps, off 242272 here at a frosty Cebin working the 0917 Vranovice to Zdar

With Regiojet now running to both Bratislava and Vienna from Prague, the requirement for dual voltage locos has meant near solid hire-ins mainly further ELL black Vectrons but the odd bizarre private loco has flitted around. I’d been sniffing around covering the trains between Brno and Zidenice, here 193206 brings a rather short 0721 Prague – Bratislava to a halt.

242273, the failtful Brno brown whopper, gets ready to depart Rajhrad with the 1036 Zdar – Vranovice. For me at least it’ll be a sad day when the Brno Cross-city workings are lost to no doubt plastic carts in the next few years. For now though the Zdar/Tisnov/Brno/Vranovice/Breclav remains one of the best urban routes in Europe for bashing with traditional loco hauled trains like this, no sign of the usual 263 interlopers on this day either

242239 in its now unique red livery sits at Ceske Bud having re-engined the 1328 Brno – Plzen for the last leg. Real throwback crosscountry trains these with a refurbished goggle (750712) out of Brno for a first electric (242216) into Ceske Bud before ‘239 takes over. Formed largely of fresh air stock to boot, the first one being a comfy composite with declassified ex-FC compos a fine way to travel

Not a great photo, but my last loco of 2017 was 242215 into Plzen on the 1845 ex Klatovy. By some miracle this loco was as per a Thursday report on the spreadsheet, sticking through the Plzen whirlpool until Sunday night and duly entered the book and my last active passenger 242 taking me to 72 of the 86 built.

With it being New Years Day, options for flights home without a mortgage were few. Ended up on BA from Nuremburg which allowed a go on the Railpool Vectrons now hired to DB on Nuremburg-Sonneburg RE services due to ETCS signalling requirements on the new high speed line it uses in part. They run push-pull on four deckers leading to some rather impressive acceleration! 193804 here, with ‘805 on rear, storm away from Bamberg.

Trabbi 143259 shunts the ECS off the 1430 Roth – Nuremburg into the turnback siding. This route is the last stronghold of hauled S-bahn “x-wagen” and has recently featured in a more detailed article over at Jon Wilcox’s European traction

Also on borrowed times is the use of 101s on the Nuremburg to Munich RE services. These should have been replaced by new Skoda push-pull sets with CD 380 clones but in true German fashion these are well behind introduction schedule so I took the opportunity to add a couple of 101s to the book.

The middle day of the trip was spent enjoying 749018 on the Kubova Hut’ New Years Eve specials, gen and photos here


Posted January 14, 2018 by redcow87015 in Czech Republic, Euro Nedding, Germany

Kobova Hut’ New Years Eve Specials

Tucked away in the southwest corner of the Czech Republic is an annual event involving special trains between Vimperk and Kubova Hut’ to ferry locals up to the highest station in the country with much merriment. The 2017 event was billed as a music train, albeit I was more interested in the music that would (hopefully) be coming from the 749 on the front! After breaking out of the hotel in Strakonice for the advertised 0617 start, as I got to the station there was an eruption of noise so whilst I couldn’t see it things were looking good! After a bit of shunting, the 708 was put on the rear and 749018 was ready to lead. I had booked a trip in the hope of it producing ‘018 – which has worked in a few previous years – and joined a handful of local cranks in the front coach. Despite the early hour most of the windows were open and as we all know locos sound louder in the dark as we departed Strakonice with the driver clearly enjoying himself!

749018 looking good at Vimperk during a coffee break on the 0617 Strakonice – Kobova Hut’

Acting as a glorified shunting platform on the downhill end was lego brick 708013, seen here in an artic looking Kubova Hut’ ready for the first trundle back down the hill as the 0852 off Kubova Hut’.

I decided to flag one of the middle trips to take some photos and grab lunch, just to the north of Kubova Hut 749018 tails the 1052 Kubova Hut’ to Vimperk. Its nearly all downhill from there to Vimperk but ‘018 had shoved the few hundred metres out the station to the summit.

After a quick pivo and bite to eat I headed back to the same crossing and awaited the return. You could hear 749018 leaving Lipka 6km up the line and it was still wide open here as it approached the summit which was just behind me. It might have been a short series of trips but there was certainly thrash on offer, a climb of over 300m attained.

‘018 again, usual collection of Czech photters were out chasing the train a few of which are just about to dash off somewhere else at high speed!

The reason for the top and tail working (previous years have used a DMU trailer) was that at Kubova Hut’ to allow for the festivities taking place on the platform, the train was pulling foul of the loop. 749018 is seen after its last climb of the day with the 1350 from Vimperk.

Vimperk on the 1452 Kubova Hut’ – Strakonice, where 749018 has been run round and put on top of the shunter to work back to Strakonice. Just in case you needed to see a picture of ‘018 without a guitar strapped to the front of it!

Posted January 3, 2018 by redcow87015 in Czech Republic, Euro Nedding

Germany Part 2

A slightly random selection of comings and goings from an extended weekend in Germany

216002 at Goslar after working a charter from Osnabruck. This “hymek engined” loco of Krupp 1960 heritage sounded good and was steaming well, although the rake of mutley six-wheelers wedged with normals did reduce the ability to enjoy too much thrash as it was a bit cold for balcony bellowing!

216 002 at Goslar after running round on arrival

There was a second charter booked to Goslar, a kettlex from Bremen, which had run forward ECS to Bad Harzburg which we had been overtaken by behind 41-096 in the morning… however when the return arrived with 229181 on the front and the kettle on the rear (!) we were soon flapping about enacting a plan B to get what for me at least was another new class in. The “just get on and spend some money in the bar” approval was had and we took the ex-DR hydraulic forward to Hildesheim Yard.

From Hildesheim the charter reversed and ex OBB 1042 520 was the forwarding electric (vice booked 110) taking a circular route via Lerhte and the eastern side of the Hannover avoider. We leapt at Hamburg Harburg to make our way to an earlier than planned pick up of the ‘traintramphotel’ IC to Frankfurt

A welcome development (for me anyway) is the use of OBB 1116s on ‘Gaubahn’ diagrams between Stuttgart and Singen on the Zurich ICs from the timetable change with the addition of lander tickets being accepted. Here 1116 273 waits the tip at Boblingen.

Quite a few hours after we leapt at Boblingen it hadn’t really stopped snowing. We fell onto GES ‘crocodile’ E94 088 working top and tail with a kettle between Ludwigsburg and Esslingen. Quite a complicated history for this machine as it was DRB E94 088 in wartime Germany but then passed to Austria in the dissolution/division of Nazi Germany becoming OBB 1020 010 until withdrawal. It has semi-regular outings around Stuttgart but was an unexpected bonus!

The E94 again a little later at Bad Cannstatt, it had finally stopped snowing but the damage had been done (at Stansted in fairness) = Flight Home caped! Oh well, needs must…

…I quickly abandoned a warzone like Stuttgart Airport and headed for Munich to position myself for the morning’s Meridian vice turn. At this point I should by rights have just been suffering the Victoria Line to work but today JACKPOT! 139311 on the blocks after working the 0629 from Kufstein. With replacement units undergoing commissioning this is probably my last spin with this vice turn, certainly the last real kick out turn in Western Europe.

Didn’t know anything about this until it rolled in either! MGW’s 183500 on hire to ALEX due to a shortage of their own bent Taurus is seen at Friesing working the 0843 Munich – Hof / Prague. Sadly, the “improvement” by ALEX of these Prague trains is nothing of the sort with them being, shorter rakes, slower in Germany and having catering removed a big loss against a couple of extra train pairs running through.

120157 (with 120143 powering on rear) heads up the 1247 Munich – Karlsruhe which was my taxi back to Stuttgart

Posted December 17, 2017 by redcow87015 in Euro Nedding, Germany

Germany Part 1: A day on the Westerland Line

The RE services between Westerland and Hamburg Altona are all booked to be worked by locos and stock owned by the region, 245/2s and “married pair” modern Bombardier push-pull stock. Both have had more than their fair share of failures with both and stock and locos having been involved in failures and scratch sets and other locos drafted in to cover. All was well however with 245209 making the Bredstedt call working the 0910 Westerland – Altona

There are not many places in Europe where long intercity trains are diesel hauled now but the Westerland line retains four pairs (three Tue-Thu) which are 218 worked beyond the wires at Itzehoe. 218321 & 218322 cruise through Bredstedt with the first southbound working, the 0926 Westerland – Stuttgart

Robbed! 218345 brings the 1056 Westerland – Karlsruhe into Niebull on its own rather than the booked pair. This is a shorter set and the solo loco managed to keep time.

218366 & 218344 were a welcome winning pair heading the other way with 0644 Dresden – Westerland seen at Husum.

“Freight” kick out 245026 at Husum on the rear of the 1222 Westerland – Hamburg. These red 245s are largely restricted to Westerland – Niebull car shuttles on paper after an unsuccessful trial on IC workings in place of 218s. One loco is typically used on RE services vice a 245’2 due to their ongoing issues, there was also a ex NSB Di6 GM out, but sadly it evaded us by not returning from Westerland.

218369 & 218341 at Itzehoe about to be removed from the 1526 Westerland – Dresden in favour of 101102. These 1970s built locos are being put through a HGO programme at Bremen Works so look set to remain on these “Class 1” duties until perhaps 2025, an impressive feat in Western Europe for a class of endemic diesels.

Posted December 14, 2017 by redcow87015 in Euro Nedding, Germany

87s Abroad Abroad

Just in case Bulgaria wasn’t exotic enough for a retirement party, the fleet of sevens based there also manage to work onto other foreign soils…


Whilst BZK are part owned by Romanian GFR, any obvious international working from Ruse is stopped by the lack of an electrified route over the Danube and up to Videle on the Bucharest mainline. The new crossing between Vidin and Golenti is electrified but again then is isolated from the rest of Romania by an unelectrified stretch up to Criaiova, and has no known freight traffic. It should be noted that many BZK trains are worked into Romania, but GFR have a fleet of ex CFR 60 types (and also some ex-Chinese ND2s!) which handle these. Similarily, Bulmarket use Romanian carriers beyond Ruse.

However, one working has surfaced. 87012 was sent for overhaul at Reloc (Electroputere) Craiova and upon completion a single photo of the loco, pan up, emerged.. Courtesy of “EA1-Belbita-108”

87012, believed to be at Craiova, Romania, on a test run off overhaul at the former Electroputere Works. January 2015.

Verdict: Once only, 87012 on a test run(s)


Bulgarian locos have a long history of working onto Serb soil at Dimitrovgrad (ZS) which is a few KMs beyond the border point at Kalotina Zapad. Whilst some BDZ diesels have worked through in the past due to a Serb loco situation often even more desperate than the Bulgarian one, the route to Nis is diesel which precludes 87s working any further. There is a booked trip from Ilyantsi daily under BZK operation which takes wagons fed from across the country and also less regular Bulmarket workings. They will be worked through Serbia by a ZS 661 – if only the passenger trains were the same!!

Verdict: Regular, BZK and Bulmarket with all sorts of wagons

87026 at Dragoman, the limit of domestic Bulgarian operations. Serbia is to the west behind the train through a pass in the mountains to Dimitrovgrad (ZS)


December 2016 saw completion of electrification between Dimitrovgrad (BG) and Kapikule which allowed electric operation between Bulgaria and the European side of the Bosphorus. As far as I am aware, Bulgarian locos (well, non-TCDD locos!) work to Kapikule and then hand over to TCDD. Bulmarket have a few regular trains which are worked by their own engines to Kapikule, the locos then return light to Svilengrad on the Bulgarian side to stable. Traffic includes a transit intermodal to Servia and also general traffic to/from Ruse, both of which have been pictured in the hands of sevens, albeit generally in mixed pairs.

Verdict: Semi-regular appearances by the Bulmarket four under usual Bulmarket anything goes loco allocation

Not bad for a class brought for a single mainline to be seeing these sights, and who knows what might happen if Turkey ever embraces open-access, with a tunnel under the Bosphorus perhaps Asia beckons!!?

Posted November 27, 2017 by redcow87015 in Uncategorized

87002 on Charter Duty, 7 October

Some rare available special train mileage was on offer on 7 October, with Pathfinder operating a Euston – Glasgow and return charter booked for a ETL 86/87 (“86 requested”) to Crewe for a pair of dobs forward. Around a week before solid quotes of the seven being planned for the electric leg saw some part fares organised and an early start for a couple of desperate soles heading to Crewe.

Morning job done after just about keeping to a tight largely FL path, ‘002 drops into the Shrewsbury bays at Crewe.  I’m fairly sure the last one I saw in here for a Class 1 was 87013 back in June 2005 on its famous outing just after Virgin had declared “never again” but then proceeded to send a skoda to Llandudno Jn and dump it there! Crewe really didn’t have much to offer for twelve hours on a cold and wet Saturday so I jumped off to potter around Manchester for the day. The tour participants had 50007 & 50049 to Glasgow – amazing both these and my ‘hippo’ managed to avoid collapsing somewhere!

The return wasn’t booked off Crewe until 20.54 and once the 50s had been detached many bailed off for faster options back home, which meant we were able to grab a bay in the leading TSO for a decent run back behind ‘002 to the blocks. Despite a slower two track railway path this was an enjoyable run with just one slow section around Kings Langley catching yellows behind a unit which was well ahead by the time we left Watford for an unhindered last run into Euston.

There might not have been many there for the seven, but its inclusion certainly put some extra pounds in Pathfinder’s pocket vice the 86, after all if you like cans ‘259 does plenty so a seven is surely a better bet…

Posted November 8, 2017 by redcow87015 in Class 87s, UK Mainline

Chiltern Distractions…

Been a particularly crap week or so at work, so a bit of escapism to top up the 68 mileage which has been pushed aside somewhat for the last few months.

Working the first of the evening commuters, 68013 is in charge of the 1615 Marylebone – Kidderminster seen here at Snow Hill in the last light on 19th October


A welcome development with the May 2017 timetable was the second Saturday diagram also gaining a daytime round trip, 68011 is seen here at Marylebone having brought the 1555 down from Moor St. This turn makes a more soicable move with options other than the previously available out-and-back or bust from the London end. The classic bashers platform photo is from 21 October!

Posted October 22, 2017 by redcow87015 in UK Mainline

Tagged with ,