FolkestoneJack's Tracks


Posted in Germany, Mannheim by folkestonejack on September 26, 2009

Arrived in Frankfurt late last night for a weekend following the ‘Reisen wie vor 50 Jahren’ plandampf around the Rhein-Neckar which was celebrating three anniversaries (150 years of the Nahetalbahn, 20 years of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Neckar and 10 years of the Rhein-Nahe Nahverkehrsverbund).

Plandampf is a concept that has developed in Germany where enthusiasts group together to pay for preserved steam locomotives to haul scheduled passenger or freight services in place of the modern traction that you would normally find. It’s not something that happens in the UK where the emphasis falls on railtours from A to B or on the many preserved railway lines.

The way plandampf usually works is that you make a payment towards the use of the locomotive(s) and if sufficient money has been raised you would get the timings enabling you to chase and photograph the steam locomotives. Although I love the concept you really need to be able to drive to make the most of a plandampf, which is why I haven’t participated until now. The difference this weekend is that it is a public event, sponsored by the railway companies and the regional authorities – meaning more locomotives and more services have been replaced. For this weekend only some of the normal passenger services which would be operated using electric multiple units will be replaced by heritage steam, diesel and electric locomotives.

Sleepy eyed I caught the 5:55am ICE from Frankfurt to Mannheim, picked up a 24 hour regional train ticket and headed out to the first photo spot of the day at Mannheim Seckenheim. A quiet and sleepy station with wooden platforms seemed an appropriate place to begin! I watched the sun rise at 7:18 and about a quarter of an hour later the Deutsche Reichsbahn Pacific 01 066 (disguised as 01 045) stormed through the station. It was an exhilarating moment even if I did fluff the shot…

01 066 (disguised as 01 045) storms through Mannheim Seckenheim with a semi-fast service from Neustadt Weinstrasse to Heilbronn.

I gave myself a relatively easy ride for the rest of the morning, making short hops to Mannheim Rangierbahnhof and Ludwigshafen to see the next services pass through or terminate. At Ludwigshafen I took a few shots of an E10 at the end of the platform – although this was not one of the heritage units taking part in the weekend, it was hardly new – the class dates back to 1952.

E94 approaches Ludwigshafen Mitte

Electric locomotive 110 401-7 at Ludwigshafen

After a morning getting my head in the right place I got ready to head further afield in the afternoon – following a carefully constructed plan to use service trains to continually leapfrog the special services and be in the right place to take photos. Now I would find out if the plans I constructed from the comfort of my desk would work…


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