Here's an example of the class 103, once the star of German high speed intercity rail travel. Several of these six-axle engines have been kept around for museum duties and the odd special assignment like this one. Their unmistakeable 1970s styling with the classic beige-red colors elevates them to something like honorary steam engine status among fans.
103 222 with measurement train 91676 south of Kohlscheid.
This picture conveys what I think is the essence of these operations - dinky engines and cars, makeshift track and other equipment, and a very laid-back atmosphere. Two new galleries have been added to the Peat Works section of this site should you also have a soft spot for Diemas and Schoemas... ;-)
Two Diema engines at "Torfwerke Ahrens KG - Verladestelle Hatzte".
I really like the way the strong tower floodlights create a shadowbox effect, a bit like shooting a model railroad scene against a black craft paper backdrop.
This view is the opposite of the 22-Feb-2011 entry, showing the generator, fuel pump, and associated apparatus.
Trainsport/Rurtalbahn 266 115 at the gas station in Montzen.
Here she is seen leaving Montzen on the first run down to Aachen. That's the old disused customs shed in the background.
The trial created quite a stir in the local railfan community, much to the amusement of the test crew in both cabs. By way of explanation, everybody is fed up with the endless procession of class 28s and is hoping for some variety.
ES 64 F4-101 passing B16 in Montzen.
The plan is for engineers to top their rides up themselves starting next week, without requiring a RSN employee to be on site.
Crossrail's very clean DE 6606 stopped by tonight.
Crossrail DE 6606 filling up in Montzen.
Seeing a Railion-branded engine hustling a train of doubledeck coaches along is mildly unusual so a quick lunchtime outing in the springlike weather was in order. Here's one of the units rushing upgrade from Herzogenrath to Kohlscheid.
145 042 with RE4 10416 Dortmund-Aachen Hbf in Kohlscheid.
In this view the two class 27s have pulled the 14 car train forward as far as possible in an effort to get the rear end off the switches at the west end of the station. A brace of class 218 diesels took over later as can be seen in this movie.
2738+2720 with ski train in Aachen Hbf.
Thus I was witness to about 30 minutes of fantastic arcing, bone-chilling crackles, and a decidedly not-high-speed train trying to reach the Busch Tunnel with ice-free catenary inside. Here's a video of one of those attempts.
Sometimes, less high-tech would actually be better...
ICE11 at the Busch Tunnel.
An afternoon of frosty yet satisfying shooting ended as the sun set on the shortest day of the year. The hill in the background separates Germany from Belgium. 1200 years ago Karl the Great set up camp there on the night before arriving in the Roman village that was later to become the center of his empire - Aachen.
The temperature reached a record (for this winter so far) -15C 3 hours later. Happy winter solstice, wherever you are!
Class 146 pushes a RE1 towards Aachen Hbf in Rothe Erde.
Train service survived relatively unscathed as exemplified by this class 111 shoving her rake of doubledeck commuter cars through a wintery scene. The wet snow doesn't blow around very much, but it does cling to the trees and masts nicely.
111 125 pushes the RE4 northbound towards Dortmund through Bank.
Here a cut of pressurized gas tank cars paints an interesting streak. The pole's shadow enhances the tube-like effect. The shot was timed so the signal displays two indications on top of each other, a 60 km/h medium clear followed by dropping to stop as the train entered the signal's block.
Eastbound freight in Montzen.
As overshot as this location may be it's still a fantastic vista. One of the junk freights from Gremberg slowly rolls towards a stop indication of the Montzen home signal to await an opposing move. Beyond the sugared-over ridge in the distance lies Holland.
2808 with the 44518 (Gremberg/D - Antwerpen-Noord) crosses the Viaduc de Moresnet.
This time around a proper concrete pad was cast, including an oil separator and waste water connection to the local sewer. The funky red trailer vanished and is still conspicuously absent, but may resurface again - who knows. For now the trusty DAF truck continues to serve.
One of the few 66s remaining in full DLC colors, PB20, was among the first to be served a drink here today.
DLC PB20 on the new fuel pad in Montzen.
I decided to beat the horizontal rain, 5 degrees, and 65 mph wind to get a snap of a trainload full of class 139s and 140s headed for the scrapyard in Stolberg. DB is retiring the units fast and furious, so a picture of the procession seemed in order.
Alas, the train was - unbeknownst to me - over an hour late at this point. I hung around for 30 minutes until I was soaked and freezing to the bone and decided to call it quits. In the event I did see this empty coal train returning to Zandvliet (Antwerp) from the power plant in Mannheim for another load of imported Brazilian or African coal.
151 008 leads the empty coal train 48562 (Mannheim-Rheinhafen - Zandvliet/B) through Eschweiler.
Even though the steel furnace at Ougree is down for a few weeks following an explosion, steel product continues to flow from the area until the stock of coils at Liege is exhausted. 2805 has a trainload of it in tow as it passes the scene of destruction.
2805 with steel train passes eastbound over the Rue d'Aix in Moresnet.
I had a couple of hours to kill before I needed to be at the airport and decided to stop over at Gremberg as it's on the way and less than 10 minutes by car from CGN.
One of the moves I caught was this pair of ex-East German class 143s that now earn their bread as part of Rheinbraun's fleet. Unusual Gnf is one of several active towers in the area. It operates a good number of semaphores controlling the yard exit and intersection of three freight main lines in the area.
RBH 103 (143 041) and RBH 109 (143 936) pass Gnf tower in Gremberg-Nord.
The designated successor to Alstom's class 13, the new class 18, is no different. Undergoing tests for over 18 months now there still seem to be open issues preventing the machines from entering service. 1810 is running tests again between Liege and Brussels this weekend.
Here the unit is parked with protection power 1337 and their train in Welkenraedt to await Sunday's activities in 5 degrees, a good northwesterly wind, and driving rain.
1810 and 1337 parked for the night in Welkenraedt.
Only through the vagaries of the locomotive leasing business, with units changing hands and being swapped between owners on almost a monthly basis, does the old logo survive.
Such as this specimen, still to be found on the flanks of PB19. The unit was returned to the lessor at the end of 2009, only to find itself back running for DLC in 2010.< p /> DLC PB19 in Montzen.
The photo shows the stately entourage after it passed through Welkenraedt and starts downgrade into the Vesdre Valley. It was running wrong-hand main to leave a path open for the scheduled IC-A from Eupen to Oostende which followed within 3 minutes. The passengers were treated to nice views of the beautiful scenery from their lunch tables (probably far better than what they would get to see on the regular route). Even the weather was cooperating with what turned out to be the last day of a nice spell of Indian Summer sunshine.
2730 + 2706 lead the detouring Venice-Simplon Orient Express downgrade into the Vesdre Valley.
We have enjoyed several days of beautiful warm and sunny fall weather recently. Hanging around at Block 16 until after dark I noticed the moon come up over the Viaduc de Moresnet and was hoping for a westbound train to frame it with. One of the junk freights from Germany had the honor.
This picture would have been quite hard to capture on film. In the digital age, you increase ISO, keep in mind to later postprocess with ND filters and noise reduction, and can concentrate on getting the shot. Granted you could have done the same 10 years ago, but who would have even bothered to carry a roll of film that survived a push to ISO 1600?
2807 brings the 44538 (Gremberg/D - Antwerpen-Noord) past Block 16 under a full moon.
With literally not a second to spare 2826 came racing westbound past the "interlocking shack" and into the last rays of daylight.
Nighttime temperatures fell to the low single digits the following night.
2826 leads the empty limestone train 48566 (Oberhausen/D - Hermalle s/Huy) through Remersdaal.
Looking splendid in red it sits in the old team track area, which is quite curious as the tracks there were thought to be abandoned after the B16 interlocking was rebuilt in 2008. But they have now gotten a new lease on life.
So now the chase is on to catch PB03 (so far the only class 66 in Crossrail red) here. ;-)
V204 has a trainload of new Corsas on the hook, presumably bound for export through the port of Antwerp. Additionally there was a train of Fords and a string of empty racks in the yard, evidence of an auto trade that is growing by leaps and bounds after a couple of hard years.
Happy 4th of July to those that celebrate it!
RTB/TSP V204 with a train of Opels for Mosolf Auto Distribution and 2843 with the 44520 (Gremberg/D - Antwerpen-Noord) in Montzen near Block 14.
Today's 44538 was somewhat unusual in that first out after a clean 2831 was a dead-in-tow DB Schenker class 185. Other than that it was mostly traffic as usual, with the noticeable absence of private operators like Crossrail. But who's to complain on such a lovely summer afternoon...
Happy midsummer everybody!
2821 leading 185 229 and the 44538 (Gremberg - Antwerpen-Noord/B) through Eschweiler.
Apart from the Dutch 6400-series "Vlaamse Reuzen" there are no other diesels in Belgium that are painted red. So while our friends across the border in Germany would be yawning at yet another red engine, for Belgian foamers this unit is great news.
So - PB01 and PB02 are green, PB03 is red; what's next from the paint shop?
Crossrail PB03 "Mireille" hauls the 40180 (Brindisi/I - Muizen-Goederen) past the Rue d'Aix in Moresnet.
Today all four components came together as we're in the middle of a three-week curfew on the KBS480 between Aachen and Cologne, sending all freights to and from Belgium via the northern line (KBS485). This line usually carries only a trickle of freight traffic which is a bit of a shame as there are some quite scenic locations.
Such as this one, on the southern end of Kohlscheid. A relatively unusual class 189 leads a very short and quite late empty limestone train southbound. In a few kilometers a green Traxx will pick it up and forward it to the Maas Valley south of Liege/B for a new load.
189 067 leads the limestone empties 48566 (Oberhausen - Hermalle s/Huy) through Kohlscheid.
2701 put on a fine show as it stormed underneath the road bridge that formed the Prussian-Belgian border - aptly named Rue Mitoyenne ("Neutral Street") to this day.
The stately building on the right was the Prussian post office back in the day. The white building in the left background was the Prussian border station. The picture of 13-May-2010 was taken from its doorstep. Both structures unfortunately are left to decay.
2701 with pilgrim special from Lourdes/F in Herbesthal.
This time the object was the weed control train, a sure sign of spring. It was booked to run through Welkenraedt around noon and is seen here returning from the easternmost active part of the Belgian rail system, the L49 between Eupen and Welkenraedt. Note nose-mounted camera for the operator and spray coming from nozzles on the first gray car.
Although all but indiscernible today, this location - Herbesthal - was once the site of a large passenger station, freight yard, engine service facilities, and border control station when the Belgian-Prussian frontier ran through here before the treaty of Versailles. The second track from the right serves as the lead to what little remains of the extensive freight facilities located out of view around the curve.
6267 and 6288 top and tail the weed control train into Herbesthal from Eupen.
They took forever to come back up with their trainload of new automobiles so the remaining light gave a less than inspiring illumination of the scene at the Rue d'Aix. Nevertheless this is one of the more imaginative paint schemes to grace the Canadian units.
The cargo in itself is interesting as they are new 2010 Buick Regals, americanized versions of the Opel Insignia. They are destined for export to the US via Antwerp.
Captrain 6601 with westbound auto train passes the Rue d'Aix in Moresnet.
Rail freight seems to be on the rebound lately with long trains (as evidenced here) and lots of extras. Steel and automobile traffic especially run heavy. Export traffic from Arcelor-Mittal's recently reactivated Ougree furnace near Liege adds to the mix.
145 055 on the 40098 (Gallarate/I - Muizen-Goederen/B) rushes through Eilendorf.