Diverted Freights in the Oberpfalz

Germany - 25 April to 12 May 2016 - Report by Duncan Cotterill

This page contains day by day observations and notes of what was seen on the trip, together with a selection of pictures. The entries here are based on the daily reports sent to the European Rail Gen newsgroup on Yahoo during the trip.

For the main report, click here

Monday 25 April 2016

Crossing The Lech
An unidentified class 218 crossed the Lechbrücke east of Kaufering with RE 57508, the 11:53 München - Füssen, in a brief sunny interval between the wintry showers on 25 April 2016.

With class 245s rapidly displacing 218s from these services it was good that the only 218 hauled train seen at this location was also the only one to pass in good light.

These trains have traditionally operated with single-deck stock so getting a 218 in sun and on double deckers was doubly pleasing.
Stacks Image 314
A stupidly early start to get to Gatwick in time for easyJet's 06:20 flight to München. Fortunately everything went remarkably smoothly from start to finish and we touched down early as well, courtesy of the strong north-westerly wind. By 09:45 I had negotiated the new electronic passport gates, collected my bags, picked-up the hire car and was driving out of the airport into the glorious spring sunshine. Ten minutes later there was a blizzard outside. The day continued in a similar vein, short sunny periods alternating with heavy snow, hail or sleet showers.

Lechbrücke, east of Kaufering (KBS970 München - Buchloe line) 10:55-12:35

First stop was the bridge over the River Lech, a couple of km east of Kaufering on the München - Buchloe line, a spot I'd never got round to doing before. Since my last visit most of the 218 duties seem to have gone over to 245s but, remarkably, it was the 218 on the Füssen that passed in the sun.

245.xxx RE 57408 10:20 München - Lindau (via Memmingen) @ 10:56

245.xxx p RE 57407 10:37 Memmingen - München @ 11:04

612 x2 RE 3484 10:53 München - Kempten @ 11:28

245.xxx p RE 57507 10:06 Füssen - München @ 11:33

223.xxx ALX 84136 11:19 München - Oberstdorf @ 11:54

223.xxx ALX 84137 10:24 Oberstdorf - München @ 12:06

218.xxx RE 57508 11:53 München - Füssen @12:30

612 x2 RE 3485 11:41 Kempten - München @ 12:32

Schwabhausen, west of Geltendorf (KBS970 München - Buchloe line) 12:50-14:30

After a couple of hours it was time to move a few km to the east, to somewhere where the loco numbers were easier to see. Again, I was remarkably lucky, getting the westbound EC, an ALEX and a 245 in good light. All the DB Regio 218 and 245 workings were on dosto push-pull sets, something I've never seen in this neck of the woods before.

245.005 RE 57410 12:20 München - Memmingen @ 12:53

218 x2 EC 193 07:47 Basel - München Hbf @ 12:56

218.423 + EC 194 12:33 München - Zürich @ 13:03

223.xxx ALX 84087 10:40 Lindau - München @ 13:09

612 x3 RE 3486 12:53 München - Kempten @ 13:26

218.411 p RE 57509 12:06 Füssen - München @ 13:35

223.067 ALX 84138 13:19 München - Oberstdorf @ 13:50

223.072 ALX 84159 12:22 Oberstdorf – München @ 14:12

245.001 RE 57510 13:53 München - Füssen @ 14:25

Dollnstein (KBS990 Ingolstadt - Treuchtlingen line) 16:45-17:55

The plan was then to find a spot west of Augsburg for the 103 working to Ulm and head for my hotel in Altmühltal afterwards, making a very long day for a very slim chance of getting a shot in sun. In the end, reason prevailed and, after wiping the jam from my lens, I went straight up to Altmühltal and spent just over an hour by the lineside before calling it a day. There was more blue sky than there had been earlier but, paradoxically, fewer trains in sun, i.e. none.

111.179 p RB 59099 15:39 Nürnberg - München @ 16:53

193.855 EB car carriers [DISPO] @ 16:58

111.066 RB 59102 15:29 München - Nürnberg @ 17:01

482.036 EB oil tanks [SBBC] @ 17:04

193.241 EB oil tanks [ELOC] @ 17:10

185.606 WB light engine [HGK] @ 17:42

182.514 WB freight [DISPO] @ 17:52

111.187 p RB 59159 17:35 Treuchtlingen - München @ 17:53

p = propelling

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Stacks Image 1645
Confidence Building
Dull days don’t produce the best pictures but can still be useful.

Spending a couple of hours on the bank between Hartmannshof and Etzelwang confirmed that the diverted freights were running and at times not too far removed from those expected. The full extent of the early running wasn’t apparent at this stage and only became obvious later.

232.093 dragged a long freight up the bank past Penzenhof during one of the brighter periods. EZ 51724 was running about 5 minutes ahead of schedule, making it one of the most punctual freights seen on the entire trip.

Hagenacker, west of Dollnstein (KBS990 Ingolstadt - Treuchtlingen line) 07:55-10:20

A dull, drizzly start with a cold north-westerly just to add to the misery. Went to a spot where I could sit in the car and watch the action. This included 3 brand new Vectrons on delivery to PKP Cargo. Also of note is that a few years ago the 111 worked push-pulls could turn up with the loco at either end but all those seen on this trip have had the loco leading from München.

152.115 EB freight @ 08:05

111.022 RB 59146 06:26 München - Treuchtlingen @ 08:09

370.021 + WB light engines [PL-PKPC EU46-509] @ 08:15
370.019 + [PL-PKPC EU46-507]
370.022 [PL-PKPC EU46-510]

185.403 EB freight @ 08:38

185.169 + WB freight @ 08:41
266.456 [247.056]

111.065 p RB 59089 07:38 Nürnberg - München @ 08:49

111.148 RB 59090 07:28 München - Nürnberg @ 09:08

189.151 + EB intermodal [D-DISPO] @ 09:09

111.022 p RB 59147 09:35 Treuchtlingen - München @ 09:50

182.595 EB freight [D-DISPO] @ 09:57

111.202 RB 59148 08:29 München Hbf - Treuchtlingen @ 10:15

After a couple of hours the weather was showing no sign of improvement. In fact, it was getting worse with sleet replacing the drizzle. Time to make a move northwards to the Hersbruck area where, hopefully, there would be some diesel freights and some sunshine.

Lehendorf, west of Etzelwang (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 12:00-14:55

232.330 EZ 45365 EB freight @ 12:06

232.571 GA 49967 EB containers @ 12:42

293.507 EB light [D-SGL V150.01] @ 14:17

232.093 EZ 51724 EB freight @ 14:28

So far so good. Apart from GA 49967 being an hour early, everything that was expected showed up and close to the booked time as well. All the passengers seen were class 612 DMUs, again as expected. There was no sun but at least it wasn't raining or snowing.

With a long gap before the next freight I went over to Hohenstadt, north of Hersbruck to see if the scheduled southbound freight EZ 51081 would also show up. Despite being there from 45 minutes before it was due to 30 minutes after, nothing appeared apart from class 612 DMUs on the REs and 648s on the RBs.

Then it was back to Etzelwang to see if EK 56908 would run. It used to be a reliable runner but there seems to be a lot less freight on the Nürnberg - Schwandorf line than there used to be. The timetable graph for Schwandorf to Irrenlohe shows it as a runner but the Irrenlohe to Nürnberg graph doesn't show it at all. If it did run it was either more than 30 minutes early or more than 30 minutes late based on my estimated times because I didn't see it.

[Observations later in the trip confirm that both EZ 51081 and EK 56908 usually run a lot earlier than anticipated so I’d almost certainly missed both of them.]

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Thin Gruel
The only trains to pass in good light on 27 April were class 648 DMUs

648.320 and 648.315 combined to form RB 58518, the 13:02 all stations service from Neuhaus (Pegnitz) to Nürnberg Hbf , seen here slowing for its first stop at Velden in the scenic Pegnitz Gorge.

Freight EZ 51612 might also have been photographed here in sun if it hadn’t been 80 minutes early and passed in the gloom.

Stacks Image 2574
Stacks Image 1870

Penzenhof, West of Etzelwang (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 08:15 - 10:30

Another grey day with a strong and bitterly cold wind making it very unpleasant standing around outside. The first freight passed while I was still walking to the spot. Assume that it was EZ 51715 running around 30 minutes early. There was no doubt that the second one was EK 56900 as the first few wagons were loaded with green rubbish containers bound for Schwandorf.

233.662 EZ 51715 EB freight @ 08:17

233.373 EK 56900 Nürnberg Rbf - Schwandorf freight @ 09:27

Velden, (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 10:55 - 13:55

With no sign of the weather improving, I drove over the hills to Velden, where at least I could sit in the car and still get to a decent spot within a couple of minutes if the sun ever decided to come out of hiding. There shouldn't have been a freight for over an hour and a half but the only one seen passed after 20 minutes, around 80 minutes ahead of schedule if it was EZ 51612 or at least 100 minutes late if it wasn't.

233.525 EZ 51612 WB freight @ 11:17

Eschenbach, north of Hohenstadt (KBS860 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 14:10 - 15:30

When the light moved round I relocated to Eschenbach, moving when the line was tied up with passenger trains and minimising the risk of missing the next westbound freight. In the event EZ 51081 was less than 20 minutes early.

233.662 EZ 51081 WB freight @ 15:28

Seidersberg, W of Sulzbach-Rosenberg (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 16:00 - 16:45

The next westbound wasn't due for hours and there was plenty of time to get to Sulzbach-Rosenberg before EK 56908 was due. Just as well, as it was running almost 30 minutes early.

233.373 EK 56908 WB freight @ 16:38

All the passenger trains seen during the day were DMUs with 648s on Nürnberg - Neuhaus stoppers and 612s on everything else.

A disappointing day in some ways with nothing photographed in good light apart from a couple of 648 DMUs and they don't really count. On the other hand, every freight I expected to see ran, although most were well ahead of their booked time. At least that clears up some of the uncertainty over what to expect in the next few days.

Finally, a reminder that there's a timetable for the diesel freights north-east of Nürnberg in the ERG files area, timetables section.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Unidentified Working
Many of the freights seen during the trip could be identified but some didn’t fit with anything in the plan. This train of covered hoppers heading south past Alfalter, near Vorra in the Pegnitz Valley, was one of them.

At least 232.571 and its train passed in the sun, the only loco hauled working to do so in three days.

Stacks Image 2576
Stacks Image 1891

Alfalter, south of Vorra (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 07:55 - 11:50

A confusing sort of morning, but confusing in a good way as there were more freights than expected and it was difficult to tell which was which. The trains at 08:45 and 11:48 were almost certainly EZ 51617 and EZ 51612 but neither of the others looked like EZ 45360, which should have had a significant proportion of Czech wagons. The trains that could be identified were both running around an hour earlier than scheduled. After a couple of dull days it was nice to see a bit of sunshine at last. It was still cloudy most of the time although one freight did pass in good light, the first in three days.

232.703 WB freight @ 08:27

232.209 EZ 51617 WB freight @ 08:45

232.571 WB freight @ 10:49

293.009 EB departmental @ 11:01 [D-DGT 710.965]

232.618 EZ 51612 WB freight @ 11:48

Eschenbach, north of Hohenstadt (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 12:00 - 15:30

By midday the sky was looking very threatening and I moved to a spot where I could sit in the car and watch the action, or lack of action, as the rain, sleet and hail fell outside. EZ 51081 was over an hour early.

233.525 EZ 51081 WB freight @ 14:24

Seidersberg, W of Sulzbach-Rosenberg (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 15:50 - 16:15

The weather wasn't much better at Sulzbach-Rosenberg where EK 56908 was almost an hour early.

233.698 EZ 56908 Schwandorf - Nürnberg Rbf freight

After all the cloud, rain, hail and sleet, most of the drive back to base was in brilliant sunshine!

As yesterday, all the passengers seen were class 612 DMUs apart from the Nürnberg - Neuhaus locals worked by 648s. Three ECS moves were also seen, all class 650 single units. A pair of Agilis units went towards Nürnberg around 08:30, returning around 11:30, assuming it was the same pair that came back. A DB 650 also went towards Nürnberg in the early afternoon.

Friday 29 April 2016

Stacks Image 1912
On The Weiden Line
The implementation of a one-way system for the diverted freights brought Ludmillas to the single track Neukirchen - Weiden line, normally the preserve of class 612 DMUs on Nürnberg to Neustadt (Waldnaab) passengers.

233.373 had just left Neukirchen when it was photographed at Lockenricht with northbound freight EZ 51722 on Friday 29 April. It was scheduled to run another 17km to Vilseck before being looped to cross a westbound passenger and allow an eastbound passenger to overtake.
Stacks Image 2810

Penzenhof, west of Etzelwang (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 07:50 - 09:25

First stop was Etzelwang where the fog took its time to clear. The sun hadn't broken through when 232.252 arrived but 232.569 passed in good light with the Schwandorf freight an hour later.

232.252 EZ 51715 EB freight @ 08:18

232.569 EK 56906 Nürnberg Rbf - Schwandorf freight @ 09:17

Lockenricht, east of Neukirchen b Sulzbach-R’berg (KBS870 Nürnberg - Weiden) 09:40 - 11:15

On to a spot on the Weiden line where the fog was even more persistent but cleared to blue sky shortly before EZ 51722 passed, just a few minutes later than scheduled.

233.373 EZ 51722 EB freight @ 11:10

Alfalter, south of Vorra (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 11:35 - 15:35

Then over to the Marktredwitz line for a long wait as the sky clouded over. I assume that GA 49966 and EZ 51612 were either well over an hour early or cancelled. The light engine seen might have been booked for one of them. Alternatively, EZ 51081 could have been two freights combined as it was a very long train. It was going downhill past me so it wasn't clear whether both locos were working. It did pass in sun, just about. The 2016 was on a long train of track machines of every shape and size.

232.609 WB light engine @ 12:22

2016.907 WB departmental @ 13:31 [A-RTS]

232.618 + EZ 51081 WB freight @ 14:45

Seidersberg, W of Sulzbach-Rosenberg (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 16:00 - 16:40

There aren't many trains around in the late afternoon so it was time for a third attempt to get the Schwandorf freight coming back at Seidersberg. Once again there was no sun when it passed. Not sure what the light engine was doing as there were no obvious trains for it to work.

232.569 EK 56908 Schwandorf - Nürnberg Rbf freight @ 16:26

232.609 EB light engine @ 16:34

And that was it for another day. Given the limited amount of sunshine, getting 3 of the 6 freights seen in sun felt like a good result.

Saturday 30 April 2016

Not What It Seemed
233.306 rolled past the site of the closed Engelmannsreuth station, between Schnabelwaid and Kirchenlaibach, with a southbound freight on the afternoon of Saturday 30 April.

Although it was running very close to the time EZ 51081 was due, most of the wagons were ČD car carriers loaded with brand new Škodas, indicating it was probably a train from Cheb, not an internal DB diversion.
Stacks Image 2812
Stacks Image 2185

Near Ranna,north of Neuhaus (Pegnitz) (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz) 08:05 - 12:45

Saturdays should be as busy for southbound freights as weekdays but when nothing turned up for the first 4 hours I was beginning to wonder. Then 2 trains appeared in just over half an hour, both double headed, although the second engine might not have been working in the first case and definitely wasn't in the second.

233.698 + WB stone @ 12:04

232.252 + EZ 51612 WB freight @ 12:37
266.401 [247.001]

Engelmannsreuth, E of Schnabelwaid (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz) 13:15 - 16:30

On to the site of the closed Engelmannsreuth station where the light angle is good for the early afternoon and the dandelions were out.

233.306 EZ 51081 WB freight @ 14:56

Schnabelwaid (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz) 16:40 - 18:10

Moved a few km west to Schnabelwaid where the light angle is better for the late afternoon. When I was leaving there was a whistle from the Bayreuth direction, giving me just enough time to get back to the spot before 52.8195 appeared under the bridge with 2 coaches and a van. A nice end to the day.

233.176 EZ 45368 WB freight @ 18:01

52.8195 SB ECS or test run @ 18:04 [D-FME]

The best day for light so far with every loco hauled train passing in half sun or better. Although the afternoon appeared to follow the plan with both freights EZ 51081 and EZ 45368 seen running close to right time, they had probably swapped paths. EZ 51081 should have been a DB diversion but conveyed mainly ČD wagons, while EZ 45368 should have come from Cheb but was formed entirely of DB wagons.

Sunday 1 May 2016

Stacks Image 2164
On Borrowed Time
143.120 led RE 4787, the 11:27 Hof - Dresden semi-fast, past Ziegelhäuser, east of Ruppertsgrün on Sunday 1 May.

Electrification of the Reichenbach - Hof section was completed in late 2013 and most RE services went over to class 143 operation at the end of the year. Their reign is destined to be short lived with DB handing over operation to Transdev (formerly Veolia) subsidiary Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn on 12 June 2016. The new operator is expected to use Alstom Coradia Continental class 1440 articulated EMUs on its services.
With very little freight scheduled on the lines north of Nürnberg, I sneaked across the border into the former DDR to find some loco hauled passengers. The 143 worked Hof - Dresden RE services are due to be replaced by new plastic EMUs in six weeks time so it was the last chance to get some pics of proper trains before the rot sets in.

Ruppertsgrün (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 08:50 - 10:10

143.875 p RE 4782 06:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 08:53

143.566 RE 4785 08:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 09:06

143.120 p RE 4764 07:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:54

143.821 RE 4765 09:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 10:07

W of Herlasgrün (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 10:20 - 11:15

143.116 p RE 4784 08:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 10:51

143.875 RE 4787 10:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 11:08

Ziegelhauser, E of Ruppertsgrün (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 11:30 - 13:20

143.831 p RE 4766 09:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 11:53

143.120 RE 4767 11:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 12:13

143.850 p RE 4786 10:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 12:53

143.116 RE 4789 12 27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 13:08

Grobau (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 13:50 - 16:00

I was expecting a freight, EZ 51723 from Nürnberg to Engelsdorf, at 15:00 from Hof with a 232 but it didn't appear. Instead there were a couple of unexpected workings, one with an SBB Cargo 482 and the other with a 185, which could conceivably have been EZ51723.

482.xxx NB containers @ 13:50 [CH-SBBC]

143.566 p RE 4768 11:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 14:20

143.850 RE 4791 14:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 14:41

143.821 p RE 4788 12:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 15:20

143.566 RE 4771 15:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 15:39

185.074 NB oil tanks @ 15:47

S of Reuth (b Plauen, Vogtl) (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 16:15 - 16:45

143.875 p RE 4770 13:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 16:20

143.821 RE 4793 16:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 16:42

Drochaus, W of Mehltheuer (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 17:05 - 17:10

143.120 p RE 4790 14:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:09

It was good to have two reliable trains to phot every hour after the uncertainty and long waits of the previous few days. Although the sun didn't always play ball, there weren't many shots that got away. The line has survived electrification better than most and all the photspots I visited in 2010, before the poles went up, are still useable now.

Monday 2 May 2016

Stacks Image 2143

The builders of the Reichenbach - Hof line avoided long tunnels and steep gradients by sticking to the higher ground but were faced with bridging a number of deep valleys. The widest and deepest was the Göltzschtal, between Reichenbach and Netzschkau, where the civil engineers built a quadruple deck brick structure that was, at the time of building, the world’s tallest railway bridge and is still the world’s largest brick built bridge.

An unidentified class 143 crossed the bridge with the 07:27 Hof - Dresden service, RE 4763, on the morning of 2 May 2016.
A glorious, clear sunny day, the first of the trip. The morning was spent photographing bridges from too far away to see the loco numbers.

Elstertalbrücke, S of Jocketa (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 07:45 - 07:55

143.xxx p RE 4762 05:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 07:54

Göltzschtalbrücke, N of Netzschkau (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 08:10 - 11:20

Spent much longer than intended at the Göltzschtalbrücke but it was worth it. There aren't many quadruple decker viaducts around and this is apparently the largest brick built bridge anywhere and when built it was the world's tallest railway bridge as well. Quite a structure!

The one sour note was when a pair of 612s turned up on the 07:53 ex Dresden. I couldn't get to my next spot without missing a train from Hof so this made it easy to choose which one to miss.

143.xxx RE 4763 07:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 08:14

143.xxx p RE 4782 06:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 08:48

143.xxx RE 4785 08:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 09:13

612 x2 RE 4764 07:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:48

143.xxx RE 4765 09:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 10:12

143.xxx p RE 4784 08:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 10:47

143.xxx RE 4787 10:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 11:13

Kornbach (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 12:05 - 13:55

On to Kornbach for a couple of trains each way.

143.821 p RE 4766 09:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 12:18

143.850 RE 4789 12:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 12:48

143.566 RE 4786 10:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 13:16

143.821 RE 4769 13:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 13:46

Grobau (KBS544 Hof - Zwickau line) 14:15 - 17:45

Then to Grobau where an SBBC 482 appeared on a northbound container train for the second day in a row, running around an hour later than it had yesterday. The oil train passed at the same time as yesterday but, unfortunately for me, going in the opposite direction. A pair of V100s followed half an hour later on a southbound freight, mainly steel sections from what could be seen.

The 612s stuck to diagram and reappeared on the 14:53 from Dresden, again helping me make my mind up when to leave. There was another 612 as well but fortunately not vice 143. Suspect it was ECS as there didn't appear to be any victims on board and the destination indicators showed München.

143.120 p RE 4768 11:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 14:20

143.566 RE 4791 14:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 14:40

482.041 NB containers @14:54 [CH-SBBC]

143.339 p RE 4783 12:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 15:20

143.120 RE 4771 15:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 15:38

145.039 SB oil tanks @ 15:54

143.831 p RE 4770 13:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 16:21

203.003 + SB freight @ 16:31 [D-SWT]
203.013 [D-SWT]

143.339 RE 4793 16:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 16:38

145.039 NB light engine @ 16:53

612 x2 RE 4790 14:53 Dresden Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:19

143.831 RE 4773 17:27 Hof Hbf - Dresden Hbf @ 17:40

Oberteich, N of Wiesau (Oberpf) (KBS855 Hof - Regensburg line) 18:35 - 19:00

Back across the border from Sachsen into Bayern and a final stop at Oberteich to catch the northbound ALEX, enlivened by a bit of Ludmilla activity as well. Once again the oil train was going the wrong way for me.

233.127, 233.219 NB light engines @ 18:46

223.072 ALX 84112 16:04 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 18:56 [VBG]

233.636 SB oil tanks (same train seen at Grobau) @ 19:00

None of the freights seen today appeared in any of the timetables. Photting freights is still hit and miss, even when you think you've got all the info.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Stacks Image 2122
On Reflection
A spotless 232.571 and its northbound freight were reflected in the fish ponds south of Wiesau on the morning of Tuesday 3 May 2016. This was the first of three freights to pass within 90 minutes, a pattern that seemed to be repeated on most mornings.

Although there was virtually no wind, the fish kept coming to the surface to catch insects and caused ripples that took ages to calm down.
Stacks Image 2816

S of Wiesau (Oberpf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 07:55 - 09:50

A good start to the morning with 3 freights, 2 ALEX and a selection of colourful DMUs in 90 minutes, all in good light and reflected in the fishponds around 2km south of Wiesau. Difficult to tell which freight was which though.

232.571 NB freight @ 08:17

223.063 ALX 84109 07:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 08:21

232.252 NB freight @ 08:30

223.068 ALX 84102 06:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:36

233.127 NB freight @ 09:45

Langentheilen Tunnel, E of Neusorg (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 10:20 - 13:30

Then over to the Nürnberg line to try the elusive shot of a train emerging from the Langentheilen Tunnel. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been here and come away with nothing. Remarkably there was a light engine followed immediately by a freight within 10 minutes of me getting there. Then it all went dead, with just the hourly spurt of DMUs and nothing in between. The sky rapidly clouded up as well so although the freight that did run came too early for the best light angle, it wasn’t all bad news.

232.703 WB light engine @ 10:25

233.176 EZ 45360 WB freight @ 10:32

Fattigau, S of Oberkotzau (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 16:15 - 18:00

On to look at a shot on the climb out of Oberkotzau, south of Hof, a superb location but not during the afternoon's thunderstorm. Not absolutely certain that nothing was missed while I sheltered in the car for over an hour but I don't think so. Once the weather improved, the freights came out to play. Most unusual sighting was Belgian registered 76.111, a TRAXX-DE belonging to Stahlwerke Thüringen, not currently part of Belgium as far as I'm aware. The train appeared to be very similar to that seen yesterday with the pair of V100s so maybe it's a daily working [turns out it wasn’t and only ran on the two occasions noted].

233.698 EZ 51724 NB freight @ 16:49

76.111 SB freight @ 17:23 [B-SWT (Traxx F140 DE)]

233.367 EZ 51082 SB freight @ 17:36

223.072 ALX 84121 17:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 17:47

Wednesday 4 May 2016

ALEX In The Undergrowth
Reuth (bei Erbendorf) turned out to be a good place to photograph trains with a variety of pleasant locations including this one, less than a kilometre south of the station.

223.066 headed south with ALX 84113, the 11:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf fast passenger, on Wednesday 4 May 2016.

Several stations between Schwandorf and Marktredwitz are still semaphore signalled including Reuth and the next station to the south, Windischeschenbach. Elegant overbridges of the type shown here were once typical of the area but many have now been rebuilt to take heavier vehicles.
Stacks Image 2101

S of Wiesau (Oberpf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 08:05 - 10:35

A dull start both weather and train wise. The first part of the morning was spent at the fish ponds south of Wiesau. Only one freight showed during the first couple of hours compared with three yesterday. From the timing it should have been EZ 45367 but it didn't look like it was bound for Cheb.

223.063 ALX 84109 07:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 08:22

233.176 NB freight @ 08:42

223.066 ALX 84102 06:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:35

223.072 ALX 84111 09:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 10:22

S of Reuth (b Erbendorf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 11:05 - 12:45

On to Reuth (b Erbendorf) to look at a couple of potential spots. Decided to do more than look at them as the weather was picking up. A good decision as both ALEXs passed in sun. Reuth still has some semaphores so must go back sometime.

223.063 ALX 84104 08:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 11:39

233.367 NB freight @ 11:53

223.066 ALX 84113 11:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 12:25

203.215 NB empty car carriers @12:39 [D-PRESS No.204.012 ]

Thölau Viaduct, N of Marktredwitz (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 13:10 - 15:40

Next spot was the impressive Thölau viaduct, a few km north of Marktredwitz, which is overlooked from a nearby hillside. Another fine location that will need to be done again as the second freight was the only one that passed in sun and it was going the wrong way. Still, if I had to choose any of the trains to have got in sun, that would have been the one. Marktredwitz probably doesn’t see 140s very often.

233.127 SB light engine @ 13:19

203.215 NB empty car carriers @13:27 [PRESS No.204.012]

203.211 + NB hoppers @ 13:37 [PRESS No.204.010]
140.810 (not powering!) [PRESS No.140.041]

223.072 ALX 84106 10:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @13:58

223.063 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 14:03

223.072 ALX 84129 14:47 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 15:14

298.xxx SB departmental @ 15:25 (see 5 May notes for more on this one)

N of Pechbrunn (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 15:55 - 18:15

Finished off at Pechbrunn but had no luck with the light. The sun was out a fair proportion of the time but not when there were trains around and the best shot I got was of a butterfly. Still, tomorrow's another day but, as it's a public holiday, I'm not optimistic about the number of freights that will run.

233.636 GA 49967 NB PKP coal hoppers @ 16:07

233.698 EZ 45365 NB freight @ 16:18

223.063 ALX 84110 14:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:45

233.636 SB light engine @ 18:08

Thursday 5 May 2016

Stacks Image 2080
Dead Weight
232.262 and 233.040 climbed out of the Fichtelnaab Valley on the approach to Reuth (bei Erbendorf) with northbound freight EZ 51721 on Thursday 5 May 2016. The pair seemed to be making heavy weather of the climb but only the leading loco was working and rather than providing power, the second Ludmilla was just dead weight.

Several double headers were seen during the trip but there were never any indications that the second loco was working. Rather than being required to help with heavy trains, it seems that the additional locos were being ferried from one place to another to cope with unbalanced traffic flows.

S of Reuth (b Erbendorf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 08:00 - 11:50

After an overcast start the weather picked up and the sky cleared shortly after nine. All three booked northbound morning freights ran, close to right time, and two of them in sun as well. The departmental working seen at 09:02 was the same train seen yesterday at Thölau and presumably the same loco, a yellow ex DR V100. I thought it was 298.111 yesterday but couldn’t see the number clearly enough to be confident. It looked like 298.111 again today but I can’t find any trace of a loco with that number. [Later confirmed as almost certainly 293.011 - thanks to Neil Aitken for the detective work].

233.306 EZ 45367 NB freight @ 08:08

223.063 ALX 84109 07:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 08:26

293.011 SB departmental @ 09:02 [D-DGT 710.964]

223.072 ALX 84102 06:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:30

232.262 + EZ 51721 NB freight @ 09:42

223.069 ALX 84111 09:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 10:30

232.252 EZ 51715 NB freight @ 10:55

223.063 ALX 84104 08:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 11:34

Fattigau, S of Oberkotzau (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 13:00 - 18:10

On to the curve south of Oberkotzau for the afternoon. Afternoons are difficult with few freights and a four hour gap between ALEXs but the sun wasn’t out very often so not much lost. Gave up when 233.698 came back light engine shortly after arriving.

202.565 SB light engine @ 13:26 [D-PRESS carries DR No.112.565]

223.063 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 13:48

223.069 ALX 84106 10:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 14:10

275.120 SB departmental @ 17:02 [D-BEBRA – also carries LTE No.2150.902]

233.698 EZ 51724 NB freight @ 17:29

223.069 ALX 84121 17:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 17:48

233.698 SB light engine @ 17:54

Thankfully my prediction that there wouldn’t be many freights was wrong, during the morning at least. Equally pessimistic about tomorrow but we’ll see what happens.

Friday 6 May 2016

Dandelions and DR Diesels
202.565 is one of a number of ex Deutsche Reichsbahn V100 diesels operated by Press, a commercial offshoot of the Pressnitztalbahn, operators of the Wolfenstein - Johstadt 750mm gauge line, but doesn’t carry the company’s usual blue livery. Instead it’s restored as DR 112.565.

The loco was photographed passing a field of dandelions at Groschlattengrün, north of Pechbrunn, with a collection of track machines in tow on Friday 6 May 2016.
Stacks Image 2059

S of Wiesau (Oberpf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 07:40 - 09:55

Down to the fish ponds south of Wiesau again. Only expected the two ALEXs and one freight but just as I was about to leave the Wiesau distant turned green. There was nothing due for ages but Ludmilla and her sister soon appeared on what must have been a very early EZ 51715, unless EZ 51721 was running when it should have been having a day off.

223.063 ALX 84109 07:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 08:21

233.698 EZ 45367 NB freight @ 08:42

223.069 ALX 84102 06:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:36

232.609 + EZ 51715 NB freight @ 09:50

Langentheilen Tunnel, E of Neusorg (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 10:25 - 12:15

On to Langentheilen Tunnel where, true to form, neither of the booked freights turned up. The light engine had worked 45367 earlier so wouldn't have been the booked power for either of them.

233.698 WB light engine @ 12:03

Thölau Viaduct, N of Marktredwitz (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 12:40 - 14:40

Better luck at Thölau where only one of the two booked freights finally showed, just as I was about to give up.

214.026 + SB light engines @12:44 [D-BBL Nos.15 & 10]

223.xxx ALX 84106 10:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 13:56

223.063 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 14:03

232.609 EZ 51081 SB freight @ 14:20

Groschlattengrün, N of Pechbrunn (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 15:00 - 17:55

Next stop was near Pechbrunn where the dandelions were out in force. So were the independents with a white 223 and a V100 resplendent in DR red and black. Bet you can't guess which I preferred? One of the two booked DB freights ran as well.

223.143 NB containers @ 16:09 [loco D-SG also marked "nordic rail service.de"]

202.565 NB departmental @ 16:26 [PRESS carries DR No. 112.565]

233.373 EZ 51724 NB freight @ 16:55

223.063 ALX 84110 14:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:48

S of Reuth (b Erbendorf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 18:15 - 18:50

With no more freights expected, I went to Reuth for a couple of ALEX workings. Unlike the freights, they do at least show up when expected.

223.068 ALX 84121 17:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 18:30

223.066 ALX 84112 16:04 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 18:47

Wiesau (Oberpf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 19:05 - 19:10

Finally, a timber train was in Wiesau station when I passed on the way back to the hotel. I wondered whether it was delivering locally as the trips from Marktredwitz used to handle a lot of timber but they hadn't run on the two occasions I'd been in position to see them. However, it left soon afterwards [later information from local enthusiasts indicated that it was delivering and I’d probably seen it drawing forward before backing into the sidings rather than leaving].

277.003 SB timber @ 19:09 [loco D-BEBRA, wagons ČD]

A glorious sunny day from start to finish and much warmer than recently. Not so bad freight wise for the day between a holiday and a weekend either.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Stacks Image 2038
Fattigau Curve
It took three visits to Fattigau curve to get a decent shot of a freight. 233.219 was running an hour early as it climbed the bank from Oberkotzau with southbound diversion EZ 51081 at lunchtime an Saturday 7 May 2016.

It was another six hours before the next southbound freight was scheduled to pass and there was a four hour gap in southbound ALEX services after the 13:40 departure from Hof, making for a very quiet afternoon unless you liked DMUs.

Getting to the spot an hour and a half before the train was due seemed to be the only way of ensuring you didn’t miss the shot, assuming the train actually ran and the clouds behaved.

Escheldorf, N of Reuth (b Erbendorf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 08:00 - 10:50

Went to look at a promising spot north of Reuth first and liked it so much I stayed most of the morning. All three booked freights ran with EZ 51715 being very early again. Strange place, it's uphill for northbounds and the Ludmillas were growling away as they passed but there was little advance warning of an approaching train. At most spots I've been to the roar of the engine and rumble of the train can be heard long before anything comes into view.

223.063 ALX 84109 07:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 08:25

233.040 EZ 45367 NB freight @ 08:41

223.066 ALX 84102 06:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 09:32

233.219 EZ 51721 NB freight @ 09:47

232.609 EZ 51715 NB freight @ 10:00

223.068 ALX 84111 09:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 10:24

Fattigau, S of Oberkotzau (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 11:40 – 18:30

Another attempt at the Fattigau curve, getting there as soon as the light was useable. The first couple of hours were busy, albeit with most of the interesting stuff going the wrong way. After that, it went dead for several hours before picking up again around five. Two freights up the hill behind Ludmillas was good enough for me. Just as well as that was all I got apart from the odd ALEX. The white 223 had a busy day, arriving with a container train then heading south light engine only to return later towing what looked like a brand new Vectron, also white. Why can't they paint them proper colours anymore?

223.066 ALX 84113 11:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 11:51

223.069 ALX 84104 08:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 12:12

233.219 EZ 51081 SB freight @ 12:27

223.143 NB containers @ 12:54 [D-SG]

223.143 SB light engine @ 13:37 [D-SG]

233.373 EZ 51723 NB freight @ 13:37

223.069 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 13:48

264.001 NB oil tanks @ 13:51 [D-STOCK]

223.068 ALX 84106 10:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 14:18

223.143 + NB light engines @ 16:49 [D-SG]
193.247 [D-ELOC]

223.068 ALX 84121 17:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 17:49

223.069 ALX 84110 14:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 18:15

233.373 EZ 51082 SB freight @ 18:18

Sunday 8 May 2016

ALEX Electric
German Class 183 is the multi-voltage, as opposed to dual-voltage, version of the Siemens EuroSprinter design, equipped for operation from 3000V DC as well as 15kV and 25kV AC systems, and is the equivalent of Austria’s class 1216. It’s all a bit academic for the five ALEX class 183s, shuttling between München and Regensburg and never working under anything but 15kV AC.

183.005 passed Iffelkofen, between Ergoldsbach and Neufahrn, with ALX357, the 17:02 from München Hbf to Praha hln, on Sunday 8 May 2016. The electric and probably the first four coaches would only go as far as Regensburg, where a Class 223 would take over.
Stacks Image 2017
With very little freight scheduled on the diesel lines north and east of Nürnberg, it was time to have a relaxing day photographing well behaved passenger trains, some hope! I didn't have any decent pics of the ALEX Class 183s and decided to try to get some phots on the Regensburg - Landshut line. I had no idea about photo positions but identified some promising locations from Google Maps satellite pics.

S of Köfering (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 09:05 - 10:20

The first spot turned out to be more than acceptable and it was a nice surprise to find the REs were still 111s. I thought they had gone EMU. There was even a freight.

111.106 RE 4852 07:44 München Hbf - Nürnberg Hbf @ 09:12

152.095 + NB freight @ 09:27
1116.129 [A-ÖBB not powering]

183.001 ALX 84104 08:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 10:01

183.004 ALX 356 05:12 Praha hln - München Hbf @ 10:02

183.002 ALX 353 09:01 München Hbf - Praha hln @ 10:16

S of Hagelstadt (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 10:35 - 12:05

The next spot was a cracker with church on the hill behind.

111.187 p RE 4857 09:34 Nürnberg Hbf - München Hbf @ 10:57

111:225 RE 4854 09:44 München Hbf - Nürnberg Hbf @ 11:05

183.001 ALX 84111 09:40 Hof Hbf - Nürnberg Hbf @ 11:57

183.003 ALX 84106 10:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 11:59

S of Eggmühl (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 13:55 - 14:10

After two easy wins it was payback time and the next two hours were spent checking locations for the next pair of southbounds. None of them were very good but I ended up at what was probably the least worst.

183.003 ALX 354 09:12 Praha hln - München Hbf @ 13:59

183.005 ALX 84113 11:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 14:04

Iffelkofen, N of Ergoldsbach (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 14:35 - 18:20

Then I stumbled on the spot I probably should have been at for the previous train. Another belter and good for trains in both directions. It would have been even better if I'd read the timetable properly and hadn’t missed the 17:00 northbound.

111.187 RE 4858 13:43 München Hbf - Nürnberg Hbf @ 14:47

111.225 p RE 4861 13:36 Nürnberg Hbf - München Hbf @ 15:13

185.316 SB freight @ 15:38

183.001 ALX 84110 14:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 15:43

214.023 SB light engine @ 15:55 [D-BBL No.15]

183.004 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 16:13

111.106 RE 4860 15:44 München Hbf - Nürnberg Hbf @ 16:47

183.xxx ALX 84112 16:04 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:00

111.177 p RE 4863 15:36 Nürnberg Hbf - München Hbf @ 17:16

183.005 ALX 357 17:02 München Hbf - Praha hln @ 18:02

183.001 ALX 352 13:12 Praha hln - München Hbf @ 18:14

Another gloriously sunny day. A week ago it was snowing and today the tar on the pavement was melting and sticking to my boots.

Monday 9 May 2016

Stacks Image 1996
Clay Time
The 21km branch from Amberg to Schnaittenbach owes it’s continuing existence to the china clay industry centred on Hirschau, 4km from the terminus. Although the last passenger service ran in 1976, freight trips continue to run Mondays to Fridays, worked by class 294 diesels. Timings are a bit uncertain with the trains I saw running later than the scheduled morning trip but earlier than the afternoon one, possibly to ensure loaded tanks arrived at Amberg in time to be attached to the afternoon freight to Nürnberg.

294.647 approached Hirschau with a couple of empty tank wagons at lunchtime on Monday 9 May 2016.
Today's target was the freight only branch from Amberg to Schnaittenbach, worked by Class 294s. There are four out and back trips from Amberg scheduled on weekdays taking empties to the china clay plants around Hirschau and bringing loads back. The first and last trips are too early and too late to be much use but the two in the middle, booked out of Amberg at 09:50 and 14:50 looked promising.

Hirschau (Amberg - Schnaittenbach branch) 08:50 - 15:30

I got to the line in plenty of time to have a look around before the 09:50 train and sussed out a few potential photspots before settling down to wait. Nothing happened for hours. Midday came and went and, just after I'd concluded that the morning trip wasn't going to run, a train appeared. A couple of hours passed and then it went back.

294.647 Amberg - Hirschau china clay tanks @ 13:26

294.647 Hirschau - Amberg china clay tanks @ 15:17

Seidersberg, W of Sulzbach-Rosenberg (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf line) 15:50 - 16:40

The return working of the Hirschau trip was nicely timed to leave long enough to get to Sulzbach-Rosenberg for the afternoon freight from Schwandorf, which duly passed with 233.322 on the front of a long train with the six hoppers the 294 had brought down from Hirschau on the back.

233.322 EZ 56908 Schwandorf - Nürnberg Rbf freight @ 16:22

Quite an interesting day, even if it was a bit slow. The branch is quite scenic and steeply graded at the top end. Most of the numerous level crossings are unguarded and approached very cautiously. Trains crawled through the main intermediate village of Gebenbach, with much hooting, making it possible to get at least two shots of each train if you’ve got a car or a relatively sprightly donkey.

Back to normal tomorrow, the big engines should be out to play again, hopefully.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Smoke & Ludmillas
232.093 made a smoky exit from Langetheilen Tunnel with southbound freight EZ 51612 on Tuesday 10 May 2016, yet another instance of a train running an hour ahead of time.
Stacks Image 2818
Stacks Image 1975

Sorg, S of Kirchenlaibach (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 07:40 - 09:55

Up to Kirchenlaibach first, arriving 20 minutes before the first of two westbounds was due. The first spot was too shadowy so off to another position nearby, missing what was undoubtedly the second of the two freights in the process. Not an auspicious start to the day. And that was it, with only a solitary DMU in each direction during the next two hours.

232 or 233 EZ 51716 SB freight @ 07:47

Langentheilen Tunnel, E of Neusorg (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz line) 10:25 - 12:55

On to Langetheilen Tunnel for the umpteenth time, hoping that at least one of the two freights due between 11 and 12 would actually come between 11 and 12 when the light is on the front and the shadows are clear of the track. The first one couldn't wait and came after six minutes. At least it made a spectacular exit from the tunnel with piles of clag that would do a steam loco proud. It was followed by a light engine after another six minutes, then nothing for over two hours, by which time the sun was getting a bit head on.

232.093 EZ 51612 WB freight @ 10:31

233.112 WB light @ 10:37

Engelmannsreuth, E of Schnabelwaid (KBS860 Nürnberg - Marktredwitz) 13:35 - 15:05

Next stop was Engelmannsreuth where it would have been better if the afternoon freight had been an hour early. Of course it wasn't but at least it bothered to show up before it was time to leave for the next location.

233.525 EZ 51081 WB freight @ 15:03

Groschlattengrün, N of Pechbrunn (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 15:50 - 17:00

Finally to Pechbrunn again, for two freights and an ALEX. There should have been a trip from Marktredwitz to Wiesau and back as well but it didn't seem to be running last week and didn't run today. Neither did the first of the two northbound freights I was expecting. Block trains, those with GA and GB prefixes, have usually failed to show during this trip while wagonload freights, with EK and EZ prefixes, normally seem to run, albeit sometimes very early. This one was less than 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

232.262 EZ 51724 NB freight @ 16:53

Reuth (b Erbendorf) (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof line) 17:20 - 17:40

Last minute change of plan to go to Reuth to try to get the ALEX coming past the pegs, a good call as it also got me 25 minutes closer to my first beer of the evening.

223.069 ALX 84110 14:44 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:37

Wednesday 11 May 2016

Stacks Image 2820
Thansüß Transit
233.367 was on time as it powered past the single-platform halt at Thansüß, on the Neukirchen to Weiden line, with northbound freight EZ 51722 at 11:47 on Wednesday 11 May 2016.

The siding in the foreground serves a feldspar plant but doesn’t look as if it has been used for a long time. The once-a-week conditional pick-up freight isn’t booked to call here.

Few passenger trains stop at Thansüß either, just three eastbounds and two westbounds, one of which only runs on schooldays. Fortunately all the passengers stop at Freihung, only 3km to the west, so it’s not a total disaster if you miss your train.

Grossalbershof, E of Neukirchen (KBS870 Neukirchen - Weiden) 07:20 - 08:45

The Neukirchen - Weiden line had been very overgrown a few years ago but a lot of vegetation has been cleared around Grossalbershof recently, so that's where I went first.

As usual the freights were running ahead of schedule so EZ 45367, due at 07:30, had presumably gone. The next two, due at 08:10 and 09:09 were also a bit ahead of time and the second one obliged by going into the loop for a DMU, allowing me a second shot, albeit not in good light.

232.093 EZ 51721 NB freight @ 08:01

232.569 + EZ 51715 NB freight arr 08:30, dep 08:38
233.322 [not powering]

E of Freihung (KBS870 Neukirchen - Weiden) 09:05 - 10:25

On to Freihung where the light angle looked better mid-morning but I didn't know of any photo positions. EZ 51715 was still there and I set off east on foot in search of a good spot. It always looked as if there might be somewhere better around the next corner and, after well over a km there was, but for later in the day. The train had already passed by then, again in poor light.

232.569 + EZ 51715 NB freight @ 09:23
233.322 [not powering]

Thansüß (KBS870 Neukirchen - Weiden) 10:35 - 11:50

Then found a super spot at the next halt, Thansüß, for the next eastbound. It was right on time but would have been even better for the light half an hour earlier.

233.367 EZ 51722 NB freight @ 11:47

E of Freihung (KBS870 Neukirchen - Weiden) 12:00 - 13:00

Back to the spot east of Freihung, which was now right for the light and, miraculously, another freight on time.

232.703 EZ 45365 Nürnberg Rbf - Cheb freight @ 12:53

Hirschau (Amberg - Schnaittenbach branch) 13:20 - 15:30

There were no more freights due for three hours so I cut across to the Schnaittenbach branch to see if anything was happening and found 294.647 quietly snoozing outside the station building at Hirschau. It eventually went off to collect some loads and left for Amberg with six wagons at roughly the same time as on Monday.

294.647 Hirschau - Amberg china clay tanks @ 15:14

Schönlind, E of Neukirchen (b S-R) (KBS870 Nürnberg - Schwandorf) 15:55 – 16:50

After getting a second shot of the 294 there was nothing to do but find somewhere for the Schwandorf - Nürnberg freight. The light had turned very milky so it made sense to find somewhere new. The overgrown cutting at the summit east of Neukirchen had been cleared and the shot was done there. In addition to the six clay wagons that had come from Hirschau in the afternoon there were around five more, indicating that there was probably more than one trip a day from Hirschau.

232.609 EK 56908 Schwandorf - Nürnberg Rbf freight @ 16:48

Thursday 12 May 2016

Stacks Image 1933
Thursday 12 May 2016 was a dull day with no sun at all but at least there was a bit of colour in the fields at this spot near Regensburg-Wutzlhofen, on the Schwandorf line 7.5km north of the Hauptbahnhof.

294.795 rolled in from the north with EK 56767, the 13:23 Schwandorf - Regensburg-Ost freight, formed entirely of flats carrying domestic waste containers. The incinerator and power station at Schwandorf provides the railway with a lot of business and its green cylindrical containers, some bearing the ZMS logo, are a common sight on freights in the area.

Grossalbershof, E of Neukirchen (KBS870 Neukirchen - Weiden) 07:35 - 08:05

A dull start. Went to Grossalbershof to see what would show up.

233.698 + EZ 51721 NB freight @ 07:45
232.703 [not powering]

Thansüß (KBS870 Neukirchen - Weiden) 08:30 - 11:00

It looked brighter to the east so went to Thansüß hoping to get EZ 51715 but nothing had appeared by 11:00, apart from the usual DMUs. Maybe the train seen at Grossalbershof was EZ 51715 running very early?

Hirschau (Amberg - Schnaittenbach branch) 11:30

Started the long trek home with a quick detour past the yard at Hirschau but the 294 wasn't there or at the works to the east.

N of Regensburg-Wutzlhofen (KBS855 Regensburg - Hof) 13:00 - 15:40

On to the Schwandorf - Regensburg line to look at a few potential locations, none of them very inspiring. Then stumbled on a good spot on a hillside overlooking the line just north of Regensburg-Wutzlhofen. There's a busy main road and a huge industrial estate behind you but the view is all open fields and forests, and the railway of course. Shame the sun never came out the whole time.

223.062 ALX 354 09:12 Praha hln - München Hbf @ 13:29

223.069 ALX 84113 11:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 13:38

294.795 EK 56767 Schwandorf - Regensburg Rbf freight @ 13:56

223.069 ALX 355 12:44 München Hbf - Praha hln @ 14:29

223.065 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 15:29

Neufahrn (Niederbay) (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 16:15

Thought it a good idea to get past Regensburg before the evening rush. Surprised to beat ALX 84115 to Neufahrn, even if it was only by seconds.

183.001 ALX 84115 13:40 Hof Hbf - München Hbf @ 16:15

193.855 NB light engine @ 16:15

Iffelkofen, N of Ergoldsbach (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 16:20 - 16:50

Continued to Iffelkofen where it started to pour with rain as I arrived.

185.529 NB car carriers @ 16:21

152.xxx SB containers @ 16:26

111.xxx RE 4860 15:44 München Hbf - Nürnberg Hbf @ 16:49

Ergoldsbach (KBS930 Regensburg - Landshut) 16:55 - 18:25

It was a struggle to see anything through the rain so on to Ergoldsbach station where I could park closer to the line. It was a struggle there as well but not quite as bad.

183.xxx ALX 84112 16:04 München Hbf - Hof Hbf @ 17:05

111.106 p RE 4863 15:36 Nürnberg Hbf - München Hbf @ 17:16

185.194 NB intermodal @ 17:19

185.260 NB containers @ 17:37

111.202 RE 4862 16:42 München Hbf - Regensburg Hbf @ 17:50

183.005 ALX 357 17:02 München Hbf - Praha hln @ 18:04

183.003 ALX 352 13:12 Praha hln - München Hbf @ 18:23

And that was it for another trip.

The journey home wasn't a great pleasure but they rarely are. Heavy rain and queues on the Autobahn on the way to München Flughafen. Queues for everything at the airport and then easyJet was half an hour late. At least things were quiet and running smoothly by the time we got to Gatwick but it was still after one in the morning before I got home.

( return to the main report )