Germany : February 2017

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The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen operates a 140km network of metre gauge lines in western Sachsen-Anhalt and uses steam locos on many of its trains. The line retains the feel of a working steam railway and runs through attractive scenery with steep banks that make the locos work for their living. I was there for a week in February 2017 and spent some time photographing electrics on freight around Hannover and Bremen at the beginning and end of the trip.

go to Hannover and the Harz report

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 : 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.

go to Hamburg and Hannover report

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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Austria : Oct/Nov 2014

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Temporary closures of the Traunstein - Salzburg line, followed shortly afterwards by the Rosenheim - Kufstein line, led ÖBB to divert trains that normally run via the German “Korridor” from Salzburg to Wörgl for more than a week at the end of October 2014. I spent 3 days photographing the diversions and normal services on the Wörgl to Schwarzach-St. Veit line.

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Germany : April 2014

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A week long photographic trip to the Rosenheim area of south-eastern Bayern, primarily to try to record the last few workings still entrusted to class 111 electrics. Although not part of the original plan, my visit just happened to coincide with a closure of the line through Passau and the diversion of numerous freights via Rosenheim instead.

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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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Switzerland : Jul 2013

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This report covers a six day trip to the Berner Oberland in central Switzerland in July 2013 and details visits to a number of mountain railways, including the Wengernalpbahn, the Jungfraubahn and the Schynige Platte Bahn. The Zentralbahn's 70 year old class 110s are covered, as they work out their last miles before withdrawal, and the BLS's iconic Re4/4 "Brownies" also feature.

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Switzerland : May 2013

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A brief visit to Switzerland in early May 2013. The aim was to get some shots of loco hauled trains between St. Gallen and Chur before new EMUs take over in June and to see the recently resurrected Ae6/6s on stone trains around Bülach.

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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 : May/Jun 2012

A short trip to the Gäubahn in late May and early June 2012. The electrified Stuttgart - Singen line runs through attractive countryside along the Neckar Valley on the eastern edge of the Black Forest and sees loco hauled InterCity and Regio passengers and some freight. The aim of the trip was to photograph the handful of Stuttgart - Singen InterCity services worked by class 115 or class 181 locos at weekends.

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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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Switzerland : March 2012

A trip to the RhB for the last week of the Winter Timetable with its additional trains for skiers, snowboarders and sledgers. The continued use of a handful of the venerable Ge4/4is provided the incentive for this visit and, fortunately, the last three locos were more active than expected, covering a wide variety of workings and routes. Other classes weren't ignored but the Ge4/4is took priority.

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Spain : February 2012

A short visit to the F.C. de Soller on the frozen Mediterranean island of Mallorca on Sunday 5 February 2012. This remarkable narrow gauge, electified line continues to operate its services using 1929 built, wooden bodied motor coaches and includes street running in downtown Palma.

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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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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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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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France : May 2011

The Cote Vermielle is a spectacular section of the French Mediterranean coast, just north of the Spanish border, where the eastern Pyrenees tumble into the sea. The main line from Montpellier to Barcelona threads its way through a series of inland valleys, between vine clad slopes, before running along the clifftops for the last few km to the border station at Cerbere. I’d been here before in May 2008 but poor weather stopped me getting some of the best shots along the coast. I took the opportunity to do a short midweek trip from 23 to 26 May 2011 in the hope of filling some of the gaps in my collection.

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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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Switzerland : February 2011

The RhB’s oldest locos, the Ge4/4is dating from 1947, are due to lose all their booked work in early March 2011 and are expected to be withdrawn in May. This report covers a trip to Graubünden in late February 2011 to photograph them hard at work in the glorious alpine scenery only a couple of weeks before they were due to finish.

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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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Switzerland : August 2010

A short trip to the Rhätischebahn in late summer to fill in some gaps in my photographic coverage of the line. The trip was made more interesting by an unexpected line closure and the resulting freight diversions. There was still plenty of work for the veteran class Ge4/4i electrics despite the arrival of more new units.

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Germany : July 2010

This report covers a short trip to the Dresden area in the south-eastern corner of what used to be East Germany. The city of Dresden is an attraction in itself but it was the line along the scenic Elbe Valley that prompted my visit. This route is busy with loco hauled passenger and heavy freight traffic and the home to a type of electric loco that is difficult to find elsewhere, DB Class 180, also known as CD Class 372.

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Switzerland : June 2010

After ten years a return to the Gotthard Pass was long overdue. The Gotthard is one of Europe’s busiest freight routes, carrying heavy traffic between Germany and Italy through the heart of the Swiss Alps. While in Switzerland, I also followed a tip off that there were some worthwhile photo positions around Frick on the Basel - Zürich line and had a look at the MGB’s metre gauge line around Andermatt and the Oberalp Pass.

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Czech Rep. : May 2010

It was time to try to fill some of the gaps in my electric coverage. Usti nad Labem is a busy centre for freight and passenger traffic, with a good variety of loco classes and types of traffic and some excellent photo locations nearby. I spent four days there but my plans were scuppered by the weather and I spent most of the time exploring. As a result, this report is more of a description of the lines ridden than of the photographic locations 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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France : April 2010

This report describes a couple of short visits to the Strasbourg - Sarrebourg line, a busy and scenic, double-track, electrified route through the Vosges in eastern France. The line forms part of the Luxembourg - Strasbourg - Basel and Paris - Strasbourg - Stuttgart axes and carries a wide variety of traffic including TGVs, loco hauled passengers, EMUs and heavy freights.

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Switzerland : January 2010

This report covers two trips to the Rhätischebahn in January 2010. The first of a large fleet of new EMUs has just entered traffic and the next couple of years will see big changes to the current fleet of locos and motor-coaches. This was probably the last chance to photograph a full winter service with the 60 year old class Ge4/4i locos playing a full part. The weather had other ideas though.

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Switzerland : October 2009

An autumn trip to the Rhätischebahn, in south-eastern Switzerland. The trip turned out a little differently to what was expected due to bad weather. Despite the problems, there was still plenty to photograph in the beautiful Graubünden landscape, including the Berninabahn in its last autumn before the arrival of new EMUs and the veteran class Ge4/4i electrics, some of which are over 60 years old.

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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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Germany : September 2009

I spent a couple of days in Germany on my way to and from the Czech Republic, visiting the Gemünden - Würzburg line on my way out and the Bebra - Fulda line on the way back. Both routes carry very heavy freight traffic hauled by a variety of electric classes.

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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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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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Switzerland : January 2009

This was my third trip to the Rhätischebahn, Switzerland's most extensive metre gauge railway. The RhB operates a fleet of around 50 locomotives on passenger and freight trains in an area noted for its magnificent Alpine scenery and is a photographer's delight.

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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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France : May 2008

The Perpignan to Cerbere line runs along the Cote Vermielle or Vermillion Coast, an area of superb scenery where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean sea. This is one of the two main lines linking France with Spain and sees a variety of passenger and freight trains worked by a number of different classes of locomotive. I visited the area for a few days in early May 2008.

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Switzerland : December 2007

Winter in the Swiss Alps attracts skiers and snowboarders in huge numbers but what would it be like for a railway photographer? In spite of doubts about the weather, I decided to visit the Rhätischebahn in south-eastern Switzerland from 19 to 23 December to find out. Once again, the RhB exceeded all my expectations.

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Switzerland : October 2007

The Rhätischebahn operates an extensive meter gauge electified network in the canton of Graubunden in south-eastern Switzerland. Its lines link the regional capital Chur with the alpine resorts of Klosters, Davos and St Moritz, passing through some of the finest alpine scenery en-route. This was my first visit to this splendid railway.

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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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Switzerland : May 2007

The Lötschberg main line is a busy freight and passenger route across the Swiss Alps. As well as being a major trunk route, it’s a scenic delight and a real engineering marvel. Seven years had passed since my last visit and the imminent opening of the 35.6 km Base Tunnel provided the impetus for a return in May 2007 while the original route was still busy. The Base Tunnel will bypass the most scenic section of the old line and is expected to take increasing volumes of freight traffic after its official opening on 16 June 2007.

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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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Spain : February 2007

A short holiday on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca included a couple of days photographing the vintage electrics on the Soller Railway.

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Germany : October 2006

An Autumn trip to one of Germany's busiest freight lines, running through attractive countryside from Würzburg in northwestern Bavaria towards the cities and ports of the north. As well as a good variety of DB and Railion classes, Swiss and Austrian locos and those of a number of independent operators were seen on trains of all types.

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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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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 : June 2006 (1)

A short trip to Ceska Trebova on the busy electrified main line from Praha to Ostrava and Brno. Lots of electric action from an impressive variety of classes on freight, local and long distance passenger trains.

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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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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 : 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 (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 : 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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