FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Home… just in time

Posted in Denmark, København by folkestonejack on May 16, 2010

In the afternoon I took a train from Helsingør to København Kastrup, figuring that it was better to be at the airport to get more information on what was happening – and be better placed to react.

On arrival I was relieved to see my flight was still showing as scheduled and my brother was helpfully updating me on the situation by text message. I had prepared a ‘Plan B’ in readiness which would have involved the overnight sleeper from København to Utrecht, a train from Utrecht to the Hoek of Holland, and then the ferry to Harwich. As it happened, I was very lucky and didn’t need to put that into operation. Passengers flying further north were not so fortunate.

In the end my flight with Norwegian took off on time and landed earlier than scheduled at Gatwick. British airspace closed about four hours after my return.

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Kronborg

Posted in Denmark, Helsingør by folkestonejack on May 16, 2010

A morning in Helsingør beckoned after I left the ferry…

I walked to Kronborg Castle on a rather haphazard route alongside a construction site. It’s pretty clear that Helsingør is undergoing a major transformation with the construction of a new maritime museum, a cultural centre and work on the harbour area – due for completion in 2012. The plans look amazing (take a look at Kulturområde Helsingør) and certainly worth the short term pain.

Kronborg Castle is an amazing sight by any yardstick and looks incredible from every angle on land or sea. I arrived before it opened and had an enjoyable walk along the coastal batteries and bastions before it was time to go in.

I’d certainly recommend the complete package – apartments, maritime museum, chapel, tower and casemates. It was all fascinating so it’s hard to pick out any stand out sights. The seven tapestries of Danish kings in the Royal apartments were one of many highlights from the visit, particularly with the clever details woven in to highlight the fate of each king.

After a few hours of reading and learning it was a welcome change to wander around the gloomy casemates at the end of the visit and find Holger the Dane!

Well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

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Helsingborg to Helsingør

Posted in Denmark, Helsingør, Helsingborg, Sweden by folkestonejack on May 16, 2010

In theory, this was going to be the day I could switch to tourist-mode and take things at an easier pace. However, with the ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull threatening to close British airspace today (for up to three days) the thought of what I might face later in the day was always lurking at the back of my mind.

I headed to the Knutpunkten, the combined bus-railway-ferry station at Helsingborg, and bought a ticket for the 8.40am crossing to Helsingør. All very straightforward. I made my way across the footbridge and onto the M/S Tycho Brahe for the 20 minute crossing.

As the journey was so short it’s hard to believe that anyone has much time to do anything on board. I headed up to one of the decks with outdoor viewing to get a good perspective of the journey and take a few photographs. It is a delightful way to arrive in Helsingør, particularly with the view that you get of Kronborg castle as you approach the Danish coast.

I have been on this crossing before, but under very different circumstances. In 1984 I travelled with my family by train and ferry from London Liverpool Street to Helsinki, which included a leg from København to Stockholm in daylight. At this time trains were shunted onto the ferry at Helsingør and were hauled off at Helsingborg before continuing on to Stockholm.

Today the only remaining signs that I could see at Helsingborg were the rails on the loading ramp. At Helsingør more seems to have survived – you can easily spot a spur off the København-Helsingør line which ends in a siding at the side of the road outside the station. The rails are still embedded in the road and carry on to a dead end at a fence, pointing directly towards the loading ramp.

My memories of this are somewhat confused as we made two crossings using trains that ran onto ferries during the trip (the other was Puttgarden to Rodby) however, I do vividly recall the excitement of hanging out of a window to watch as we made our way across the quayside and onto the ship (probably at Puttgarden), then climbing down from the carriage inside the ships and an all too brief look around inside the ships.

At the moment Helsingør is very much the end of the line, but maybe one day the proposed Helsingør-Helsingborg tunnel will get built and main line trains will return to make the crossing to Sweden…

A taste of the sea

Posted in Helsingborg, Sweden by folkestonejack on May 15, 2010

After the last diesel had disappeared I set about exploring Helsingborg and getting a better feel for the place, snapping a few shots as I went…

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Rain… and plenty of it!

Posted in Ängelholm, Helsingborg, Sweden by folkestonejack on May 15, 2010

Awoke to heavy rain which didn’t leave me optimistic about the prospects for the day ahead… a first impression that was quickly confirmed on the dash from the hotel to the railway station.

I took the first diesel-hauled service out of Helsingborg in the hope that conditions might have eased by the time we reached Ängelholm but no such luck. A few brave souls had ventured out lineside, some buried beneath umbrellas and others making a last-minute dash from their cars.

At Ängelholm I decided it was definetly a morning for the easy option and boarded the southbound train for a run from Ängelholm-Helsingborg-Ängelholm via Astorp. If nothing else, it gave me a good chance to sample the different types of stock behind the diesel – as well as a brief, but wet, photostop at Astorp. I liked the rather luxurious armchairs in one of the coaches… very relaxing. I could do with one of those on my commute to London Bridge every morning!

The rain had lessened by the time we returned to Ängelholm so I decide to take a chance on the hour long walk to Skälderviken harbour and was rewarded by two trains in opposite directions around 1pm. Typically the rain started pouring down before the first of these, but a few minutes made all the difference for the northbound service hauled by NSB Di3 616. Feeling satisfied with some good footage and an ok looking shot I headed back on foot.

After a few more shots at Ängelholm I took the train back to Helsingborg to get some video footage of the Tb/DLL climbing out of the station and over the ramp from the unusual vantage point of the beach. It’s hard to recreate the incredible atmosphere – the sound of the sea gradually overwhelmed by the sheer noise of the diesel and then returning as the locomotive disappeared. All the while black clouds threatening overhead. Quite something else – and quite a curtain call for the event.

A few locals asked me what was going on and I tried my best to explain, though I’m sure it probably sounded quite mad. I think it’s something I am used to by now! Anyway, all credit to the museum for putting on an amazing event and for supplying such an enthusiastic and friendly welcome.

More photos from Dieseldagar 2010

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GM diesels at Ängelholm

Posted in Ängelholm, Helsingborg, Sweden by folkestonejack on May 14, 2010

The opening day of Sweden’s first diesel gala started under overcast skies and ran smoothly enough at first, with everything seeming to run to time during the morning.

The Swedish Railway Museum at Ängelholm had arranged a photobus (a SJ-bus from the 1960s) which I joined for the morning, heading to spots at Grevie and Axelstorp to photograph a ballast train hauled by a noisy Tb/DLL diesel locomotive owned by Banverket Produktion/Infranord. It’s fair to say that any thought of a quiet photospot with a handful of photographers soon disappeared as the crowds gathered, but I think it added something different to the atmosphere…

The event featured main line running in and around Ängelholm, Båstad, Åstorp and Helsingborg. After leaving the photobus at midday I headed to Båstad South but things fell apart with the schedule around this time. I wasn’t really sure what happened so abandoned my plans to head further into the middle of nowhere (and didn’t really get the best out of the next few hours). In the end I headed back to Ängelholm and made the most of the event, taking a few nice shots that kept me happy.

In the evening I took a trip into Malmö to see some of the impressive architecture in the city (not least the turning torso) but after a while tiredness took over and I headed back to the station, catching a slowwwww Pågatåg unit back to Helsingborg under cover of darkness.

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London to Helsingborg

Posted in Denmark, Helsingborg, København, Sweden by folkestonejack on May 13, 2010

Another weekend, another country… and more locomotives!

I’m here to see Sweden’s first diesel gala, taking place in and around the Swedish Railway Museum at Ängelholm. The event is going to focus on the noisy GM diesels that I first encountered as a kid over 20 years ago, whilst travelling from Harwich to Helsinki by train and ferry. I acquired a soft spot for these diesels at that moment in time and haven’t lost that in the intervening years!

My early evening flight from London Gatwick to København Kastrup was delayed by about an hour, but as ever I immersed myself in a book (Life and fate by Vasily Grossman) and time passed. After arriving I caught a train from the airport to Helsingborg, crossing the incredibly impressive Öresund Bridge in the fading light. I finally made it to my hotel in Helsingborg by late evening.

Time for a good night’s sleep ahead of tomorrow’s early start…

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