FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Rails along the Rhein

Posted in Germany, Oberwesel, Stolzenfels by folkestonejack on May 28, 2014

A side benefit of a trip to the Rhein valley is the presence of railway lines along the left and right banks of the river. I thought this might provide the occasional opportunity for some rail photography amongst the sightseeing, but hadn’t bargained for quite how busy the lines turned out to be. At times it seemed like there was a freight train running down the right bank every few minutes.

111 115 hauls a regional express through Oberwesel

111 115 hauls a regional express through Oberwesel

The rail geek in me was also delighted by the incredible variety of locomotives on offer. In just a day or two of sightseeing here we saw freight and passenger services hauled by classes 101, 103, 111, 120, 140, 143, 151, 152, 155, 185 and 218. It felt like anything could turn up, at any time – not a feeling that you would ever experience in the UK today.

Try as I might, I couldn’t photograph everything (the 218 hauling freight down the right bank was one that eluded me) but I made sure to do my homework for the class 103 hauled services. Our evening trip down the left bank was carefully timed to ensure that we would be in the right place, at the right time and ready to get a good shot.

103 113-7 passes through Oberwesel whilst en route to Münster (Westfalen)

103 113-7 passes through Oberwesel whilst en route to Münster (Westfalen)

The class 103 electric locomotive was the rather glamourous flagship of the Deutsche Bundesbahn fleet when I was growing up and held a particular fascination for me. The last remaining locomotives in the class were retired from active service in 2003 but a few members of the class made a surprise return in 2013.

On our trip we saw 103 113-7 running through Oberwesel one evening whilst en route from Stuttgart Hbf to Münster (Westfalen) Hbf and passing Schloss Stolzenfels on the way back the next morning. It was marvellous to see once again and I am sure my younger self would have given a vote of approval.

Class 103 traction on the morning express to Stuttgart

Class 103 traction on the morning express to Stuttgart

It was always our intention to return to the Rhein in the future to visit the castles and towns that we missed this time round, but I think I may have to sneak in a bit more rail photography too! I wonder how much I can get away with…

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