FolkestoneJack's Tracks

More plandampf-ing

Posted in Frankenstein, Germany, Neckargemünd by folkestonejack on September 27, 2009

The dawn brought another beautiful day into focus and I carried on with my travels across the network, albeit with a growing realisation that whilst hopping from one station to another allowed me to see alot it was also limiting me to some rather dull station shots (given the beautiful countryside around and the rich backdrop of castles, churches and villages that the river valleys could provide). Nevertheless, I made the best of my day and grabbed some video footage and enjoyed the spectacle of express steam.

I visited Neckargemünd in the morning and shot some video footage from a viewpoint over the river bridge. The resulting footage isn’t particularly good (it’s on the wrong side for the sun for a start…) but I like the way that the peel of church bells up and down the valley gives way to the sound of a steam locomotive (50 2179) as it crosses the Neckar.

Later in the day I found myself at Frankenstein (Pfalz) and filmed steam locomotive 01 066 (disguised as 01 045) as it passed smoothly through, shortly after 3pm. You could almost imagine that there was nothing unusual about this, that this was an everyday sight… if only!

All in all, the weekend presented a very different way to experience steam and heritage diesel/electric locomotives than I am used to but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. Tomorrow I head back to Frankfurt by more modern traction (an ICE train) and then on to London City c/o British Airways. Real life beckons once again…


Posted in Frankenstein, Germany, Kaiserslautern, Schifferstadt by folkestonejack on September 27, 2009

Across the world there are legendary locomotives classes that everyone wants to see and hear once again, long after their time has faded… some are easy targets to meet whilst others may never come to pass. This weekend presented one such target in the form of the V200, a diesel-hydraulic express locomotive of the German Deutsche Bundesbahn, which lasted in service from the 1950s to early 1980s. The survivor running this weekend was V200 033 which is owned and operated by the Museumseisenbahn Hamm.

I caught my first glimpse of V200 033 at the tail of a service yesterday but the schedule today gave a better opportunity to see the locomotive in action. I’m not sure what makes the locomotive so special but there’s something about the design and the sound produced by its engines that is wonderful.

A game of leapfrog

Posted in Germany, Heidelberg, Neckargemünd by folkestonejack on September 26, 2009

The game of leapfrog was good fun, following the plan I had worked out in advance using the event timetable. Typically, I would watch one of the special trains arrive or depart, leap onto a regular train and then bale out somewhere suitable to get a shot of the next special train passing through. In many cases I had only a handful of minutes to get to a position once I’d arrived at a station, so apart from anything else it was good exercise!

One moment that stands out came when I was standing around at Heidelberg Karlstor by a tunnel portal. I hoped to get a shot of a steam locomotive emerging from the tunnel into brilliant sunshine but moments beforehand a freight train came through kicking up all manner of rubbish. My clear view of the tunnel portal was now shrouded in a dust cloud. If the steam locomotive was a little late there might have been time for it to clear, but no on this occasion it was perfectly on time! I thought that was the end of my shot, but looking back on it now I rather like the moody look that it created. It’s a lesson I often have to remind myself of – never to give up on a shot too quickly.

The leapfrogging carried on until sunset when I took my final shots of the day at Neckarsteinach. After a day spent on the move I was quite relieved when the light finally fell and I could chill out at my hotel in Heidelberg with a cool drink!


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…