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.
Well, at least this is a somewhat new angle, taken from a freshly deforested hill. Which upon closer inspection turns out to be an 1860s-vintage tailings pile left over from the construction of the Gemmenich Tunnel, just to the south of the portal. (hit the 'Map This' link above for a satellite image)
The train is one of the Antwerp-Basel/CH runthrough oil tankers. B-Cargo is experimenting with 40 cars doubleheaded, but for the time being most of these trains run with just 20 cars and a single engine. Judging from the blower noise it is enough of a load for a single Traxx.
2824 leads the 47067 (Petrol - Basel SBB/CH) towards Gemmenich.
Here's a shot I had wanted to do for a good while, looking north from Moresnet towards the west side of the viaduct. The area is famous for its old chateaux, both bonafide medieval structures as well as 19th century industrial tycoon replicas. Most of what is left of one of the former is the nicely restored tower in the foreground.
The Ewals train - in the capable hands of one of Crossrail's class 66s - is stretched out onto the bridge as it approaches Montzen.
Ewals intermodal 40162 (Novara/I - Genk-Zeehaven) starting out onto the Viaduc de Moresnet.
Infrabel has done a splendid job of vegetation control at the Rue d'Aix in Moresnet, resulting in a nice open view of the broad curve there. If you look closely (and your monitor is adjusted correctly) you will be able to see the Eifel mountains in the distance, a good 25 kilometers away.
Crossrail's PB18, still wearing its full DLC livery, brings an Italian-bound intermodal uphill in fine style on this Friday evening.
PB18 leading the 43671 (Genk-Zeehaven - Gallarate/I) over the Rue d'Aix.
What used to be known as CB Rail now is called Ascendos Rail Leasing and the PB02 Crossrail has been running for a while has received a new paint job that apparently is in store for the entire ex-CB fleet. It's certainly different. Green isn't exactly my favorite color, but anything replacing the worn-out decals on dull gray is probably an improvement. At the very least we get some variety...
Here's PB02 enjoying a bit of early spring sun next to the customs hall in Montzen. The blue containers are used for sand and oil storage.
Ascendos Rail Leasing (Crossrail) PB02 in Montzen.
You've seen a number of pictures from Eschweiler if you've looked at the Far-West Germany gallery on this site, but this one is different in that it was taken from the platform looking towards the large S curve leading into the station from Cologne. My usual perch is near the concrete shanty in the right background or up on the noise barrier to the right.
There are a number of angles possible here and I look forward to come back in spring to try them out as the evening light comes around more towards the west.
Crossrail's 185s are kept busy with a number of pan-European trains. This one used to haul only gray Ewals containers but over the past year has seen more boxes by other freight forwarders adding some color to the mix.
Crossrail 185 593 brings the Ewals-train 40162 (Novara/I - Genk-Zeehaven/B) westbound through Eschweiler Hbf.
Here 2819 has delivered the loaded Oberhausen limestone train to Aachen West and returns with the empty counterpart in fine style. The entourage has just passed idled Block 16 on the east throat of Montzen yard.
2819 races empty limestone train 48566 (Oberhausen/D - Hermalle s/Huy) through Montzen past Block 16.
2010 seems to start very nicely. The expected traffic lull has been much less pronounced than last year, probably a sign of the economy being better. Additionally, we have had snow on the ground since New Year's eve. Undisturbed by wind it also decorates the trees in a very picturesque way. Add sun to that and the enterprising foamer just has to get out and take photos.
Here's a colorful scene as an Euregiobahn Talent running between Heerlen/NL and Dueren/D approaches Haanrade in the Netherlands. In just 2 km it will cross the border into Germany for the remainder of its trip.
Euregiobahn RB20 in Haanrade.
The westbound ore empties usually run Mo/We/Fr mornings, and today I caught them at Remersdaal, crossing over from 'B' to 'A' track. 'A' is still blocked - and in fact completely out in major parts - all the way between here and Montzen due to construction activities inside the tunnel and within the Hindel interlocking.
Temperatures have been on a real roller coaster lately. Freezing yesterday morning, double digits and heavy rain today, and frost and snow forecast for New Year's eve.
RTB/TSP MRCE 653-05 with the empty ore train 48510 (Stolberg/D-Lillo) in Remersdaal.