Baltic beauties

IMG_8804Last month’s return to the wonderful Harz metre-gauge network prompted me to pay a long-overdue first time visit to two more of the steam-worked narrow gauge railways in eastern Germany, both on the country’s attractive Baltic coast.

This charming duo is the 24km (14.5-mile) 750mm gauge Rügensche Bäderbahn (RBB) or Rasender Roland (“Raging Roland”), running along the south side of Rügen Island from Putbusto Göhren, and the 15.4km (9.6-mile) 900mm gauge Mecklenburgische Bäderbahn or Molllibahn (Molli), linking the town of Bad Doberan with the Baltic coast at Kühlungsborn West. Continue reading “Baltic beauties”

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Harz delights

IMG_7834Imagine an attractive and rural corner of Central Europe where you can travel on your own steam-hauled narrow gauge train just as the sun is rising, and then spend all day riding a vast narrow gauge network for around £13 a day.

What may sound like a dream is actually a reality on the delightful Harz metre-gauge system in eastern Germany, where for two consecutive days last week I was the only passenger aboard the 07.34 Gernrode to Alexisbad service.  Continue reading “Harz delights”

Metre gauge magic in Provence

 

IMG_5488There is something rather special about a trip on France’s longest narrow gauge railway, particularly when it means the chance of a front seat view from a 1970s railcar, as it snakes along the banks of the picturesque River Var.

But such delights may be about to end, as the Chemins de Fer de Provence (CP) should soon finally take delivery of the six ex-Mallorca Railways two-car diesel units that were supposed to have entered service here three years ago. Continue reading “Metre gauge magic in Provence”

Testing time in Wuppertal

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Intensive test running has begun on the Wuppertal suspension monorail ahead of its planned re-opening to passengers in August, ten months after damage to its track led to the suspension of services in mid-November.

During a visit to the town on 23 May, empty trains were running along the unique and world-famous 13.3km (8.3 mile) route at 3-4 minute intervals, with services being indicated outside stations, but the stations themselves remaining locked. Continue reading “Testing time in Wuppertal”

All change at Wolsztyn

 

IMG_1273In what could well be the final year of daily scheduled steam operation, a major change to the workings from Wolsztyn depot in western Poland is taking place immediately after its famous May Day “Parade” event, which occurs this year on Saturday, 4 May.

The start of a much-needed rebuild of the line from Wolsztyn to Leszno means that from 5 May until early September weekday steam operation will be switched to the shorter Wolsztyn – Zbaszynek route, meaning the return of daily steam operation to a short section of the Berlin-Warsaw main line. Continue reading “All change at Wolsztyn”

Two days in Provence

IMG_0043Paying a long overdue return to the remarkable Chemins de Fer de Provence (CP) metre-gauge line from Nice to Digne-les-Bains, almost exactly 30 years after my first visit, it was interesting to see how much has changed, but also what has not.

My original trip in late September 1988 had taken me on a famous named train called the Alpazur from the splendid Gare du Sud in Nice to Digne, where a SNCF railcar waited with the onward portion of the Alpazur to Grenoble. Continue reading “Two days in Provence”

Time running out for daily Wolsztyn steam services

IMG_9196Europe’s last scheduled main line steam services look set to end in little more than a year’s time, with the timetable change on Saturday, 7 December 2019, when a three year agreement to maintain steam working from Wolsztyn in western Poland is due to expire.

With a number of the depot’s remaining steam loco drivers approaching retirement and unwillingness on the part of the Polish authorities to invest in sustaining the world famous museum depot, it seems increasingly certain that 2019 will mark the end of regular steam operations. Continue reading “Time running out for daily Wolsztyn steam services”