Thursday, 21 June 2018

Swanage Diesel Gala 2018

33012 arrives into Clapham Junction with the 'Purbeck Explorer' tour taking the LT 4TC to Swanage. 18/05/2018
The May diesel gala at the Swanage Railway is seen by many as a highlight of the year's gala season, and one of the few which I regularly try to attend. This year I was unfortunately only able to make it down to the south coast for the Thursday 'preview day' evening before shooting back towards London for work. My journey down to Swanage was probably the reason that it was worth making the effort for just a few trips on the railway- a mainline train right through from London to Swanage.

As part of the gala additional coaches were being hired in the form of London Transport's 4TC which is based at Ruislip. In order to get the main line registered TC down to the railway the novel decision was made to run a railtour both before and after the gala. Before the gala it would be headed by the Swanage Railway's main line registered D6515 (33012) and the return would be in the hands of 20007 and 20142. As a fan of all things Southern Region I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to take a 33 and TC down the South West Mainline onto their former stomping ground west of Bournemouth. OK- it wasn't a 33/1 with the necessary pipes to work in multiple with the TC, but it was pretty damn close. LT's 4TC is fitted with central door locking and window bars enabling it to operate unhindered on the national network. It was certainly a bit of a surreal feeling to watch the train come to a stand at Clapham Junction, open the slam door, board and the enjoy the satisfying 'clunk' as I closed the door behind me. Settling in to my NSE upholstered compartment it was a most enjoyable journey down to Dorset.

Once on the Swanage railway there was time to enjoy a few rides with the diesels operating that afternoon, the highlight of which was 'Hymek' D7017 which was looking superb! Also sampled during the evening were 73133 and 73136 together with the steam diagram being worked by 34053 'Sir Keith Park'.

Altogether a great afternoon down on the Swanage Railway- I just wish I could have stayed for a bit more of the weekend!

Details of the progress of the Swanage Railway's own 4TC which will be used on the line following restoration can be found here.

The LT 4TC leads a push/pull formation powered by class 73's into Corfe Castle. The Swanage Railway is currently part way through restoring its own 4TC set which will run on the line once completed. 18/05/2018

Friday, 1 June 2018

Dampfspektakel in Trier

Pacific's passing on the mainline 1075 passes 202 at Merzig on the Monday of the Damflokspectakle. 30/04/2018

Sunday April 29-
My arrival in Trier is greeted with 52 8154. Trier Hbf 29/04
While I had been aware of the Dampfspektakel for some months there was a little barrier in the way of my attendance. I had to be on stage the night of Saturday 28th April with an after-show party to follow. This didn't fit in well with the German steam, however upon reading the Dampfspektakel document a few weeks before it really did sound good- so a plan was hatched.
A bit desperate maybe, but there I was post-after-show-party standing on the platform at East Croydon at shortly after 03:00 ready to board the 03:36 Southern service to London Bridge. It was all starting to go wrong before it had even started with the train marked as 'Delayed' and no sign of the 02:49 either. Thankfully after a bit of confusion a train arrived for London only about 15 minutes late. I had plenty of time to walk to Liverpool Street for the 05:00 rail replacement bus to Stanstead Airport. I'm glad a arrived a little early as there was already quite a queue for the airport rail replacement bus, once on board however I was finally able to get a tiny bit of sleep as we headed up the M11.
52 1360 passes Ehrang with the 14:14 Trier - Wittich. 29/04/2018
My flight was at 07:30 to Frankfurt Hahn- an airport I had once travelled to before and vowed never to set foot in again. 'Frankfurt' Hahn is a 2 hour express coach away from Frankfurt however it is one of the nearest airports to Trier (only 1 1/2 hours by coach!). Once I had eventually cleared security (my bag went the wrong way) the flight was uneventful as was the well timed and pre-booked coach on to Trier. As expected at about 12:30 I was at Trier Hbf, it had just started to rain and there were no steam departures for the next hour. Never mind- time to walk to my hostel, check my bag in and freshen up. I had a private room however it was too early to check in so I left my bag, made my way back to the station and also checked in with my friends who were already out at the lineside. After buying my bargain 1 day 1 zone ticket I made my way to Ehrang to meet the group. There were a number of steam trains booked through in succession and I got my first taste of the Dampfspektakel with the tank 78 468 passing through at speed and under power- certainly a fine sight. Unfortunately things went a little downhill from here with several uninspiring passes in poor light, followed by one train failing to turn up at all- that was of course until we had retreated into a bar to complain about our poor luck when it then steamed past!
78 468 makes a fine sight passing the unloved station at Ehrang working from Gerolstein to Trier - 29/04/2018
52 8154 Passes Ehrang on Sunday afternoon bound for Trier.
Unfortunately this, combined with the reduced local Sunday train service now limited our plans to ride trains for the remainder of the afternoon. A good call was made and we headed to Merzig to pick up V200 033 for it's afternoon back into Trier. I had a good 30 minutes to catch up on some sleep which was very much needed by this point. We then enjoyed a splash of sunshine and a very enjoyable run behind the Warship back to Trier. The only problem was not being able to get any decent photos!
Back at Trier I had still not ridden a Dampflok! There were two options to rectify this and we headed to Schweich to pick up 52 8154 for a short run back to Trier (the Luxembourg would be covered on Monday).
It would be fair to say I was pretty exhausted by this point so I was quite happy to just go for a kebab for dinner before leaving the rest of the group and retreating for some much needed sleep!

V200 033 departs ECS from Trier after arrival form Merzig.
Sunday Heritage Moves:
V200 033 17:55 Merzig - Trier
52 8154 19:49 Schweich - Trier

Monday April 30-
103 113 crosses the Mosel near Pfalzel with the 08:09 Trier - Brohl conveying passengers for their day out on the
BrholBahn which would feature haulage from the lines Mallet locomotive. 30/04/2018

Monday was the 'lull' day of the event - neither a weekend or a bank holiday there were only a limited number of steam specials running. Rather than joining the world and his wife on the scrum to the Brohlbahn (103 113 wasn't required anyway) I chose to spend my time closer to Trier on the line to Saarbrucken which still had it's steam service. First I got myself up at a not too early hour to photograph the electric heading up to Koblenz with the masses for the Brohl. I arrived at my spot in lovely sunshine, but by the time the train had arrived the scene was of course completely different. Back at Trier I grabbed some breakfast, obviously getting stuck in the stupidly long checkout queues behind a man buying 15 pineapples, 24 cucumbers and various other fruit and veg - I can only presume he was having a party, or perhaps owns a restaurant.
The first move was to cover the complete line from Trier to Saarbrucken behind 'Pacific' 03 1010. The run was reasonable but suffered from the issue of most trains at the event- a very powerful locomotive with a light load, low speed and little in the way of gradient. Leaning out to enjoy the limited sound was further complicated by the fact that I had forgotten my 'spotting' sunglasses.
CentralBahn 110 278 is a suprise extra attraction at
Volklingen with an excursion train. 30/04/2018
I can't say Saarbrucken is a scenic station but I didn't have long here as I was heading straight back on a unit to Merzig to pick up the next steam heading down the line. This proved to be a very good move- not only did I have some company with a group I had met on the first train, but this move also put us on to 01 202 - which turned out to be a beast of a loco and one of very few at the event making a decent bit of noise!
It was a shame to leave 202 at Volklingen but there was a nice photo with the backdrop of the steelworks (and a bonus in the appearance of 110 xxx on an excursion). A few minutes later 03 1010 pulled back in and I completed my first 'Pacific for Pacific' move. This loco was taken back to Trier where there was actually time to head into town to get some food before the next steam departure with 01 1075 in the early afternoon. The Dutch loco was once again on the quiet side but through late running did provide a wonderful spectacle of passing 01 202 at Merzig, and also completed my second 'Pacific for Pacific' move!
Back at Trier it was then time to use a local unit to facilitate a lineside shot at the quarry around half way down the line. There were certainly a few photographers gathered here and it shouldn't have been a huge surprise when my friend Jasper from The Netherlands showed up with his group. After the loco shut off and we got a cloudy photo Jasper kindly invited me to join his friends on the chase, achieving one more photo of the loco. Good fun and a good (if brief) catch up.
Back in Trier it was time to think about food and I had another couple of friends to meet tonight from my own model railway society who were also in town for the event and had been up to the Brohlbahn for the day. Unfortunately by this point the heavens had opened and all the restaurants in central Trier were full!!! After a little searching we found one that wasn't full... but also wasn't serving. Finally we ended up in a Chinese and pretty decent it was too. Next across the road to a bar to re-unit with the friends I was actually supposed to be with for a beer or two or three... I think it was two?

Not the light or smoke effects I was hoping for as 01 1075 rounds the corner 
past the quarry at Taben with the 17:43 Saarbruken - Trier. 30/04/2018. 
Monday Heritage Moves:
03 1010 08:50 Trier - Saarbrucken
01 202 11:24 Merzig - Volklingen
03 1010 12:01 Volklingen - Trier
01 1075 14:41 Trier - Merzig
01 202 15:38 Merzig - Trier

Tuesday May 1st-
4-6-4t Tank loco 78 468 makes a great display climbing out of Bitburg on the route to Gerolstein. 30/04/2018

Parallel departure with 03 1010 and 52 8154
03 1010 enjoys a rare patch of sunshine on the morning of
Tuesday 1 May as it departs Konz for Saarbrucken. 

With a public holiday firmly in force steam was back up to full strength on the lines around Trier. I still had a lot of gaps to fill but first there was the spectacle of the early morning parallel departure. This was very well executed and quite a joy to travel on- and the sun came out! Once the two trains had parted ways I made a swift move back to Trier for what was one of my highlights of the event - an uphill run on the lovely line towards Gerolstein behind the equally lovely 78 468 tank, and in the company of my new friends from yesterday. This certainly made a nice sound heading up grade- and also made a nice photo departing from Bitburg. It wasn't long to wait for a Kreigslok 52 8195 back down to Trier. Next time to catch up with our groups favourite- 01 202, and another nice run we had with it as well out via the currently freight only route via Trier West. While we could have continued up to Bitburg again we decided to wait out our return train at Daufenbach where we knew we could get a beer and a bratwurst. Except for a little issue where I ended up with a non-alcoholic Dunkel Beer all was well and the stall seemed well pleased with the business- now if only it was sunny!
78 468 arrives into Daufenbach with the 12:25 from
Gerolstein to Trier. 01/05/2018
78 468 arrived for the run back to Trier having been turned at Gerolstein. Next was a slightly risky move to score my last Kreigslok of the event and also the route to Nenning which I had not yet covered. This involved taking 52 1360 up to Schweich for a +3 connection on to 52 8154 back through Trier and on to Nenning. My friends on the train were adamant that it would probably not work and the most likely outcome was getting stranded at Schweich- however I went with it and despite a slightly late arrival on 52 1360 the connection held (just) with just me and another brit (I don't think we quite outnumbered the Germans but it must have been close!) making it onto 52 8154.
CFL 5519 wait for departure with the 18:17 Trier - Luxembourg. 01/05/2018
E10 1239 arrives into Schweich with the 17:20 Wittlich - Trier. 01/04/2018
After the trip down to Nenning (which it turns out is a non-descript station pretty near to nowhere) and back, enjoying the views across the river Mosel to Luxembourg it was time to make another quick dash up to Schweich to pick up E10 1239, my first class 110, which works back from Wittlich. This was due to be Diesel V211 041 however since failing earlier in the week it had been covered by the 110. The loco certainly looks splendid and got me back to Trier in plenty of time to pick up the very last steam hauled train of the festival, the 18:17 to Luxembourg with CFL 5519.
01 202 departs from Daufenbach with the 11:18 Trier - Gerolstein. 01/04/2018
I picked my bag up from the station lockers and even the sun made an appearance before our departure. Everything was set for a really good run but 5519 simply never got going. I heard there may have been some sort of 30kph restriction on the loco- certainly it took the full booked 1 hour 55 minutes to reach Luxembourg, a journey of just 51km including a 30 minute stop at the border station Wasserbillig. It was a bit of a disappointing end to the steam, but it did get me into Luxembourg, a new country which I will have to visit properly, in time to get the bus to the airport for my 21:45 Ryanair flight back to London Stanstead which had cost a stupid sum of roughly £11! Certainly the steam/bus/plane move was tight, but it worked and drew to a close an entertaining couple of days. I can't say I was looking forward to being back in the office for an early turn in the morning though!

01 1075 passes a typical vinyard scene along the
banks of the river Saar. 30/04/2018
Overall a great event, which would have been even better if the trains had been a bit longer and the locos had had to work a bit harder- oh, and had the weather not been so bad for so much of it! Photography was tricky - both due to the aforementioned weather and the fact that when split between the various routes there were few locations with more than a few good train passes each day and long gaps between them. Despite what the literature said you really couldn't do much chasing of the trains without a car. Another difficulty was that many of the stations where the trains did stop the loco's would pull too far forward. I won't even start on the situation at Trier itself which was dire for photography and certainly not helped by the security staff, taped off platform ends an the throngs of people all vying for their less than average photos! Either way it was great to meet so many sociable enthusiasts both those who I already knew and those who I met on my travels. My visit may have been brief but it was certainly worthwhile.

78 468 is passed by Kreigslok 52 8195 at Trier Hbf. 01/05/2018

Tuesday heritage moves:
03 1010 07:59 Trier - Konz
78 468 08:45 Trier - Bitburg Erdorf
52 8195 10:59 Bitburg Erdorf - Trier
01 202 11:18 Trier - Daufenbach
78 468 13:29 Daufenbach - Trier
52 1360 14:14 Trier - Schweich
52 8154 14:30 Schweich - Nenning
52 8154 16:10 Nenning - Trier
E10 1239 17:47 Schweich - Trier
CFL 5519 18:17 Trier - Luxembourg

Reflecting on a great couple of days as CFL 5519 steams into Luxembourg.