China : Nov/Dec 2016

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The steam age is rapidly coming to an end in China but, even at the end of 2016, there was just enough activity to justify another visit. This report covers a three week trip in November and early December to see the SY Class 2-8-2s on the mining railways at Pingzhuang and Wujiu and the JS Class 2-8-2s in the opencast mine at Sandaoling. Observations of diesel and electric locos on the national system and industrial lines are included as well.

go to The End Of The Line? report

Switzerland : August 2016

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A final visit to the Gotthard, one of Europe's great mountain main lines, in August 2016 before traffic is syphoned off into the new base tunnel. The report covers passenger and freight services, the latter operated by SBB and several foreign or independent operators. Naturally in Switzerland, electric traction prevailed but diesels were not entirely absent.

go to Farewell To The Gotthard report

Germany : Apr/May 2016

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The temporary closure of the electrified main line north of Bamberg and the diversion of freights via the diesel worked Hof - Marktredwitz - Nürnberg route provided the excuse I needed for another trip to these photogenic lines in north-eastern Bavaria. As well as Ludmillas on main line freights, class 294s were seen on china clay traffic on the Amberg - Hirschau branch and a few locos belonging to independents appeared as well. Passenger trains weren’t ignored entirely with the ALEX class 223s photographed between Weiden and Hof. Time was also spent capturing the soon to disappear class 143s on the Reichenbach - Hof line and class 111s and 183s between Regensburg and Landshut.

go to Going Round In Circles report

China : Nov/Dec 2015

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Real working steam locos are becoming very hard to find, even in China, but two of the remaining operations are still exceptionally good. This report covers a 3 week trip based around visits to the steam worked mining railways at Fuxin and Sandaoling in November and December 2015. The mining line at Pingzhuang and Fushun’s Old Steelworks were also visited, with mixed results. The report includes observations on the main line, all diesel or electric these days.

go to Steaming On report

Germany : September 2015

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During visits to the Marschbahn for diverted freights in the summers of 2014 and 2015 it became apparent that there was considerable photographic potential west of Niebüll, on the section of line that didn’t host any diverted freights. This report describes a ten day visit to the incredibly busy and entirely loco worked Niebüll - Westerland line in late September 2015. In addition to regional and InterCity passenger trains, the line is home to the SyltShuttle, a frequent service of car carrying trains linking the island of Sylt with the mainland.

go to Trains, Plains & Automobiles report

Germany : Sept/Oct 2015

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This report covers short visits to Hamburg and Hannover during September and October 2015. Hamburg still has a lot of loco hauled regional services, many of them worked by class 112 and 143 electrics, classes that are falling victim to the flood of new EMUs elsewhere. There’s less of passenger interest around Hannover, although the class 111 worked Braunschweig - Rheine trains are worth seeing. I had intended concentrating on the freights but poor weather caused a change of plan.

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Germany and Denmark : July 2015

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After really enjoying the Marschbahn freight diversions in July 2014, I couldn’t resist going back when the process was repeated in July 2015. As before, it was a rewarding experience with Ludmilla’s and MZs on the freights and plenty of 218s on Sylt Shuttles and ICs. Add big MAKs, semaphore signals and sunshine to complete the experience.

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China : Nov/Dec 2014

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With the Rongshan NG line back in action and a new steam worked line due to open at Sandaoling, November 2014 seemed a good time to visit China again. In the event we missed out on both but still had a very rewarding trip. This report covers what we saw at Fuxin and Sandaoling, neither of which disappointed.

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Germany : October 2014

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The München – Salzburg main line was closed east of Traunstein for five days in late October 2014 to enable bridge work. During the closure a number of services were diverted while others were bustituted or simply abandoned between München and Salzburg. A few EuroCity trains ran via Mühldorf with diesel haulage, giving me a good excuse for a 4-day visit.

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Germany : Sep/Oct 2014

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A two-week closure of the Arlbergbahn, the only rail link between the Vorarlberg region of western Austria and the rest of the country, necessitated bus substitutions for most passengers and long diversions through German territory for freight and overnight passenger trains. Most of the diverted trains ran via the Allgäubahn between München and Lindau, providing a rare opportunity to photograph long loco hauled trains on one of Germany's most scenic diesel worked routes.

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Germany and Denmark : July 2014

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The Marschbahn from Hamburg to Westerland is one of the last strongholds of diesel operation in Germany and became even better for three weeks in July and August 2014 when a dozen diverted diesel-hauled freights a day were added to the regular loco-hauled passengers and car-shuttles. The freights continued with diesel haulage over the border to Esbjerg in Denmark and, after a change of loco from 232 to MZ, on to Fredericia. This report covers a ten day trip to the lines on both sides of the border.

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China : Mar 2014

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This illustrated report covers a two week trip to the Baiyin and Tiehejinchang lines in China's western province of Gansu from 3 to 17 March 2014.

Both lines visited use a mixture of steam and diesel traction and, with steam in rapid decline, things didn't turn out exactly as anticipated.

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Germany : Jan/Feb 2014

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An 8 day visit to the Harz Moutains in northern Germany in late January and early February 2014. The aim was to photograph metre gauge steam in the snow on the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen's 140km network.

The report includes a brief look at the current scene in the Hannover area with the emphasis on freight.

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China : Nov/Dec 2013

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A trip to photograph steam locomotives on the best industrial lines, including the huge opencast coal mine at Sandaoling, the largest industrial steam user, with around 17 locos required in traffic every day, and the last large scale user of JS class 2-8-2s. The SY worked Fuxin and Pingzhuang mining systems and the old steelworks at Fushun also featured. Diesels and electrics were not ignored entirely with visits to Beijing's main station and to the Fushun Mining Railway, with its remarkable electrics.

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Germany : Oct 2013

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This trip was originally conceived to cover the electrified München – Mittenwald and München – Salzburg lines, both of which have loco hauled regional services threatened by the arrival of new EMUs in December. As a bonus, the weekend closure of the Traunstein - Freilassing line produced a rare opportunity to photograph diesel hauled diverted ECs on the scenic Mühldorf – Freilassing line.

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Germany : Sep 2013

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A two-week trip to Germany in September 2013, visiting the Stuttgart - Singen line for classes 115, 120 and 181 on InterCity trains on the edge of the Black Forest, Weiden - Marktredwitz for diverted, 232 hauled freights in the north-east corner of Bavaria, Ulm - Friedrichshafen for 218s around Aulendorf and the busy Ulm - Stuttgart line for a variety of electrics and some diesels on one of Germany's busiest main lines.

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France : Sep 2013

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A few days attempting to photograph big diesels in France on the way to and from Germany in September 2013. The Paris - Belfort line runs through an attractive landscape peppered with good photographic locations but train services are sparse. There was also a short visit to the Saverne Gap, on the electrified main line west of Strasbourg.

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Germany : Aug 2013

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This report covers a five day trip to the wonderfully scenic Rhein valley south of Koblenz in August 2013. There were were plenty of interesting passenger and freight workings on both sides of the river, powered by a wide variety of electric locos belonging to DB and independent operators and including a couple of workings hauled by one of the iconic class 103s.

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Germany : Jun 2013

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A five day trip to photograph diesel hauled passengers on the München – Lindau line, the branches to Oberstdorf and Füssen and the Ulm - Friedrichshafen line in early June 2013. The temporary closure of the Buchloe - Memmingen line for engineering work, necessitated the diversion of München - Zürich EuroCity services via Kempten, adding more trains to the mix.

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Germany : Apr/May 2013

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This report covers the German part of a three week trip to Europe in late April and early May 2013. Several lines were visited including those in the Mosel and Rhein Valleys, the diesel worked lines east of Nürnberg, Nürnberg - Augsburg, Ulm - Friedrichshafen, the Allgäubahn and the Gäubahn.

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Spain : March 2013

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Mallorca might not sound like a promising destination for a railway enthusiast but it’s home to two very different narrow-gauge railways, one of which is a real delight and the other an efficient but soulless modern railway. This report details brief visits to both lines during a week’s visit to the island in March 2013.

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China : November 2012

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The last few years have seen many of the best Chinese steam locations dieselise, electrify or abandon their rail systems altogether. Just enough survived to justify one last trip in November 2012. This report covers what we found at Bajiaotai, Fuxin, Pingzhuang and Sandaoling during an 18-day trip. There are also extensive observations of the current Chinese rail scene from journeys totalling over 6000km.

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Switzerland : Aug/Sep/Oct 2012

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Despite numerous trips to the Rhätischebahn over the last few years, I hadn’t really done much photography in the rest of Switzerland. With the veteran class Ae6/6s in serious decline it was time to address the photographic deficit. This report covers two trips in late summer and early autumn 2012. The main objectives were the Gotthard and Ae6/6s, but I also wanted a good selection of shots of Swiss main-line operations generally.

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Germany : June 2012

The Allgäubahn from München to Lindau via Kempten abounds with superb photo positions but is usually rather short on loco-hauled trains, especially west of Immenstadt. From 10 June to 8 July 2012 the parallel route via Memmingen was closed for engineering work and three pairs of EuroCity trains between München and Zürich were diverted via Kempten, joining the one pair that normally goes that way. I spent five days on the line between Wed 20 and Sun 24 June.

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Czech Rep : Apr/May 2012

The summer-only loco-hauled services on the Ceske Budejovice - Nove Udoli line were supposed to be worked by class 754s this year but they hadn’t taken over completely when I visited the line for three days over the May Day holiday. Much to my surprise, class 749s were still in charge of half the loco-hauled trains on this very scenic line that runs into the heart of the Sumava.

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Germany : Apr/May 2012

A four week trip to southern Germany for diesels and electrics on freight and passenger workings. The lines covered included the Gäubahn with 115s and 181s on some IC trains, the Füssen and Oberstdorf branches with 218s and an ex-ÖBB 2143 on regional passengers, the lines from Nürnberg to Marktredwitz and Schwandorf where freights are still worked by 232s and the Rhein Gorge where almost every conceivable class of electric works freight.

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China : November 2011

Chinese steam may be in terminal decline but there are still a few high quality operations good enough to justify another trip. This report covers a very productive three week trip to the north of the country in November 2011, concentrating on the industrial railways at Fula’erji in Heilongjiang, Beitai and Fuxin in Liaoning and Sandaoling in Xinjiang, with brief visits to Shenyang, Fushun and Pingzhuang as well.

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Germany : October 2011

A return visit to northern Bayern to photograph class 232 and 233 "Ludmillas" working heavy freights on the scenic, diesel-worked lines east of Nürnberg. I spent four days on the Nürnberg - Hof and Nürnberg - Schwandorf lines where they cross the Frankische Alb before heading south to Altmühltal for a day of electric passenger and freight action on the Ingolstadt - Treuchtlingen line.

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Czech Rep : September 2011

A brief return trip to the scenic Ceske Budejovice - Nove Udoli line where the class 749 diesels were coming to the end of what may well be their last season. I’d visited this line twice before, in August 2009 and August 2011 but still wanted about half a dozen shots. A visit to southern Germany provided the opportunity to spend a couple of days on the line.

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Germany : September 2011

A two week trip to southern Germany designed to take advantage of the temporary closure of the Oberstdorf branch, which resulted in ALEX running five coach trains over the western section of the Allgäubahn to Lindau instead of the usual two or three coach rakes. In addition, there were EC diversions via the Allgäubahn and visits were made to the electrified Koblenz - Trier and Stuttgart - Singen lines and the diesel worked lines north-east of Nürnberg for Ludmillas on freight.

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Czech Rep : August 2011

With the iconic class 749 diesels due to lose all their booked work in December 2011, a return visit to photograph the class at work on the Ceske Budejovice to Nove Udoli line was a must. There aren’t many loco hauled trains but that’s made up for by the glorious scenery of the Sumava (or Bohemian Forest), an upland area in the south-west of the Czech Republic, bordering on Austria and Germany. I spent five days on the line, from Wednesday 10 to Sunday 14 August 2011.

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Germany : July 2011

A short trip to Germany in early July 2011 for five days of lineside photography. I visited the area south of Koblenz where the busy and scenic main-lines that run along the Mosel and Rhein Valleys cut through a hilly area known as the Hunsrück. most of the trip was spent on the Moselstrecke where the elusive class 181s can still be found working IC trains between Koblenz and Luxembourg.

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Czech Rep Apr/May 2011

A visit to two more Czech lines either side of a second trip to Slovakia in late April and early May 2011. This time I visited the Liberec - Frydlant - Zawidow line, where class 753.7s haul heavy freights through the Jizerske Hory mountains, and the Sumperk - Hanusovice - Jesenik line, another scenic route with class 754s on passengers and class 751s on freight.

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Slovakia : Mar/Apr/May 2011

This report covers a long overdue return to Slovakia in Spring 2011, after an absence of eight years. There were in fact two trips, one in late March and early April and the other in early May. Both trips centred on Zvolen and the diesel worked lines to Vrutky, Margecany and Kosice. The Prievidza - Nove Zamky, Humenne - Presov and Humenne - Banovce lines were visited as well. Electrics were photographed between Zvolen and Banska Bystrica and around Strba.

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Czech Rep : Mar/Apr 2011

A report detailing a few days in the Czech Republic on the way to and from Slovakia. Most of the time was spent photographing class 754 diesels in southern Moravia on the lines from Brno to Uherske Hradiste and Stare Mesto u U.H. to Luhacovice. I also spent a few hours on the busy, electrified Praha - Ceska Trebova main line near Pardubice on the last day.

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Germany : October 2010

A three week photographic trip to Germany, concentrating mainly on diesel worked lines and with the emphasis on freight. Lines visited included the busy electrified routes along the Mosel, south of Koblenz and the Elbe, east of Dresden, the diesel worked Hoyerswerda - Horka and Reichenbach - Hof lines in the former DDR, the Wismut industrial operation and the Mühldorf area and the Allgäubahn in Bayern.

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Czech Rep : September 2010

This report covers a ten day photographic trip to the Czech Republic in September 2010. Much of the trip was spent on the Hanusovice - Jesenik line where class 754s were taking over but class 749s were still in evidence. The 754 worked Brno - Jihlava, Brno - Veseli, Stare Mesto - Luhacovice and Jaromer - Trutnov lines were also visited.

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Austria : April 2010

My last visit to the Westbahn, the main line east of Salzburg, was almost 10 years ago, when class 1142s and 1144s predominated and class 1010s and 1110s were still fairly common on freights. Things are very different today, in the era of Taurii and Railjets, but there are still plenty of loco hauled passengers and quite a few freights, even on a Sunday. This report details a day trip to the line during my April 2010 visit to southern Germany.

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Germany : April 2010

Although I’d done a few trips to Germany in recent years, there were many lines and locations I hadn’t visited. This trip was designed to fill in some of the gaps and covered mainly new territory with visits to see electrics on the Gäubahn (Stuttgart - Singen) and Altmühltal (Ingolstadt - Treuchtlingen) and diesel freights around Mühldorf. I also managed a day on the electrified München - Salzburg line.

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Czech Rep : September 2009

This trip was designed to fill in a few gaps in my coverage of Czech diesel lines around Praha and from Nymburk to Mlada Boleslav with the emphasis on freights. There was also the compulsory visit to the fabulous Jesenik line, Olomouc - Unicov, Brno - Veseli, Zdar - Tisnov and even the electrified main line near Pardudice.

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Czech Rep : August 2009

Three lines converge on Volary, a small town in the heart of the Sumava, the mountainous region in the south-west of the Czech Republic that borders Germany and Austria. There are a couple of freights that run all year round and, in summer, when tourists flock to the area, there are a few loco hauled passengers as well. Volary had been on my list of places to visit for a long time and I finally got round to going there from 5 to 9 August 2009.

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Czech Rep : July 2009

It had been almost two years since I’d photographed at Praha hl.n. and in the meantime, the new northern approaches have been completed and the platforms under the overall roof have been rebuilt. The station is at its best in the morning and evening light so the long days of early July seemed a good time for a return visit. I had also hoped to photograph some diesel hauled freights in the Kladno and Kralupy areas, north of Praha, and on the Nymburk – Mlada Boleslav line but that didn’t work out.

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Germany : May 2009

The Mühldorf Star isn’t somewhere in the far reaches of the galaxy, it’s actually a radial network of diesel worked lines in the south-eastern corner of Germany. As well as having a number of loco hauled passenger trains, several different classes of diesel can be seen on freight and many stations still have semaphore signals. This report covers a three-day photographic trip to the Mühldorf area in late May followed by a couple of days on Germany's most photogenic main line, the Allgäubahn, photographing diverted diesel hauled EuroCity trains.

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Czech Rep : Apr/May 2009

It had been a whole year since my last visit to CDland and, as usual, quite a few operations had changed in the meantime, not all for the worse either. This trip combined some of the new opportunities, both diesel and electric, with return visits to a few old favourites and filling in some gaps in my photographic coverage.

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Germany : April 2009

The closure of Austria’s Arlberg line for a week in April meant that several freights and a couple of overnight passengers were diverted via the Allgäubahn in southern Bayern, one of Germany's most scenic main lines. This was an opportunity too good to miss and I spent five days there photographing the diversions as well as the regular traffic.

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China October 2008

A trip to photograph diesels on scenic lines in the north-east of China, starting with the Tonghua-Hunjiang area then Fushun, Bei'an, Mudanjiang and finishing on the Beijing-Longhua line. As well as the diesels, there are a few industrial electrics on standard and narrow gauges and a handful of steam locomotives as well.

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Germany : August 2008

Engineering work on ÖBB's Arlberg line for much of August led to the diversion of freights and overnight passengers to one of Germany's most scenic diesel worked lines. The Allgäubahn normally hosts a good number of locomotive hauled trains and the diversions added even more variety. It was just too good to miss!

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Czech Rep : April 2008

The main aim of this 20-day trip was to fill in some gaps in my coverage of Czech diesel worked lines. In the event. I couldn't resist revisiting some old favourites as well. My travels took me to the Brno area then on to Ostrava for class 754s, to the Jesenik line for class 749s, 751s and old railcars, more 754s around Trutnov and finally the 753 hauled freights around Liberec.

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Spain : November 2007

The Albacete - Murcia - Cartagena line in south-eastern Spain is still worked by diesel locos including the last dedicated Talgo machines of class 354 and the new class 334s. There's some heavy freight to and from the industries at Escombreras as well. This wasn't the busiest line I've ever visited but splendid scenery and good light contributed to a successful trip.

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Czech Rep : Sep/Oct 2007

This report covers a two week photographic trip to the Czech Republic in autumn 2007, visiting four rather different diesel and electric lines across the country. I started with the loco hauled weekend trains on the scenic line from Praha to Cercany before moving on to Olomouc where some old class 141 electrics are enjoying a new lease of life. Next on the agenda was the Jaromer - Trutnov line with its diesel hauled fast passengers. The trip ended with an old favourite, the Karlovy Vary - Chomutov line, my first visit there since electrification.

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Czech Rep : September 2007

Class 753 diesels disappeared from most parts of the Czech system several years ago but Liberec depot has kept a handful in service for working freights on the scenic line to Zawidow in Poland. This report covers a short trip to the area in late summer 2007.

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Germany : August 2007

The Allgäu region of southern Bayern is an excellent place to photograph trains. DB's red class 218 diesels look great working through the beautiful green hills on local and long distance trains and the ALEX class 253s on Oberstdorf trains add a bit of variety. In summer 2007 it was better than usual as three pairs of München - Zürich EuroCity trains were diverted over the Allgäubahn while their usual route via Memmingen was closed for engineering work. This report covers a short trip to the area in early August 2007.

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Czech Rep : Jun/Jul 2007

It had been a couple of years since I’d visited the Tyniste nad Orlici – Mezimesti line in the north of the Czech Republic but an increase in the number of freight trains prompted a return visit in June 2007. There was also the opportunity for a first visit to the nearby Jaromer – Trutnov line, which now has regular loco hauled fast passenger trains and turned out to have a lot of photographic potential.

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Czech Rep : Apr 2007

A final visit to the scenic Letohrad - Lichkov line before electrification work started. This was one of the few routes left with diesel hauled heavy freight traffic and recent vegetation clearance had made it a real photographic treat. Four days were also spent on the splendid Hanusovice - Jesenik line, which has seen a resurgence of loco haulage this year.

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China : March 2007

This visit to China started with a few days photographing modern traction around Beijing, including SS4Gs on the busy Datong - Qinhuangdao coal line and 8Ks on the Fengtai - Shacheng route. The remainder of the trip was spent in the North-East visiting three of the surviving steam-worked colliery systems at Jixi, Hegang and Zhalainuoer.

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Czech Rep : February 2007

This report describes a short spur-of-the-moment trip to the Czech Republic. The intention was to spend 3 days on the Brno - Jihlava line, a route with a reasonable level of locomotive haulage, nice scenery and plenty of open locations suitable for low winter sunshine. In the event there was no sun so most of the time was spent travelling around, checking out photo opportunities and covering new track.

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China : Sep/Oct 2006

With no QJs on the Jitong Railway this autumn, my thoughts turned to photographing China's diesels and electrics. Steam is now confined to industrial operations and I was beginning to miss the excitement of photographing big trains on scenic main lines. China has a remarkably varied modern traction scene and those used to seeing nothing but QJs, JSs and SYs might be surprised at the plethora of different diesel and electric classes in use.

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Czech Rep : August 2006

The Hanusovice - Jesenik line in Northern Moravia was always a top priority for a return visit after my first trip there in April this year. It's a superb piece of railway with good scenery, a variety of traction including vintage class 831 and 851 railcars, a few class 749 hauled passengers and freights worked by unsilenced class 751s, several of which carry a glorious red and blue livery.

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Germany : July 2006

In spite of a huge DMU building programme, there are still a fair number of diesel hauled passenger trains in some parts of Germany. The network of secondary lines in the Allgäu area of south-western Bayern sees more diesel haulage than most these days. This report covers a short photographic trip to the Oberallgäu, the scenic area around Kempten, Immenstadt and Oberstdorf, in July 2006.

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Czech Rep : June 2006 (2)

Praha is the hub of the Czech rail system and sees a variety of classes working heavy freight and passenger traffic on the electrified main lines radiating from the city. A few less heavily trafficked lines are still diesel worked and see some loco haulage. This report describes a photographic trip to the city in late June 2006.

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Czech Rep : Apr/May 2006

A two-week trip concentrating on the scenic Hanusovice - Jesenik and Letohrad - Lichkov lines in the hills of the north-eastern Czech Republic where class 749s and 751 locos mix with old class 831 and 851 railcars.

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Turkey : Mar/Apr 2006

Turkey was on the path of the 29 March total solar eclipse and that was the main reason for my visit. The trains weren't ignored though and I spent 3 days by the lineside on the Ankara - Kayseri and Kayseri - Ulukisla lines.

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Czech Rep : January 2006

A trip to photograph diesels and electrics in the snow around Ceska Trebova during the January 2006 big freeze when temperatures plummeted well below -20°C.

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Czech Rep : Sep/Oct 2005

Diesel hauled freight trains are becoming increasingly difficult to find in the Czech Republic but two lines to Poland still carry fairly heavy traffic hauled by double headed diesels. This report details a two week photographic trip to the Letohrad - Miedzylesie line and the Liberec area in early autumn.

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Czech Rep : July 2005 (2)

The Brno - Jihlava line is notable for its frequent loco hauled passenger trains and excellent scenery. Brno's colourful fleet of class 754s share passenger duties with class 742s and a selection of railcars, some more acceptable than others.

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Czech Rep : July 2005 (1)

Sometimes the weather stays dull and wet for days on end and there's nothing to do but travel around, exploring new lines and seeking out new photo locations, while waiting for the clouds to clear. This was such a trip.

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Czech Rep : June 2005 (2)

Plzen's blue, white and yellow class 754 diesels can be found working passenger trains on the line to Domazlice. The line's north-south orientation and the concentration of traffic early and late in the day make it an ideal candidate for a midsummer trip.

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Czech Rep : June 2005 (1)

A wet weekend attempting to photograph trains in Praha. In spite of the poor weather, a few breaks in the cloud did permit a number of reasonable photos, particularly around Praha hlavni nadrazi (main station) with its superb overall roof. In total, more than ten classes of diesel and electric were seen in and around the city, varying from the latest pendolino EMUs to the ageing class 141s.

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Czech Rep : May 2005

A return visit to the Liberec area to see the last concentration of class 753s at work on freights to Zawidow in Poland.

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Czech Rep : Apr/May 2005

A longer trip to three different, scenic, diesel worked lines in the Czech Republic, starting in the north with the last class 753s working freights in the Liberec area. Then came a visit to see the class 714 and 742 hauled passengers on the Nachod to Mezimesti line, further east, and finally the colourful class 754 worked passengers on the Brno - Veseli nad Moravou main line in the far south.

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Czech Rep : April 2005

A short trip to the Tisnov area west of Brno, covering the diesel worked line from Tisnov to Zdar nad Sazavou via Bystrice nad Pernstejnem and the electrified Brno to Havlickuv Brod main line.

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