Monday, September 26, 2016

Day 16–Berlin to Lucerne

The day started out on ICE 954 from Berlin to Hannover. The equipment was an ICE 2 trainset and the onboard displays nor wifi worked for this portion of the trip. At Hannover we had a short transfer to ICE 73 to Basil SBB. This train had an operator who had a habbit of making hard stops, otherwise uneventful trip. I did see some intresting equipment in Hannover, inclouding a DB class 103 electric, and a diesel TRAXX unit. While on the train, Security and what i think were border guards walked though the train but did not ask any questions. At Basil SBB we transferred to EC 311, a train eventually ending in Milan. it had a trent italia ETR 610 tilting trainset. We rode it as far as Luzern. After getting checked in at the hotel, we went for a walk around town and found where the charter buses park. after getting pictures of those and running one guy off who dident want a picture taken of his coach (he yelled at me than drove off) we got pictures of the city bus terminal outside the bahnhof and some trains at the bahnhof and some pictures of the trolley coaches after dark.
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Class 103 184-8 now used for parts at Frankfurt

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TRAXX P160 DE ME 92 80 1245 016-1 D-DB At Frankfurt
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181 201-5 at Frankfurt and Painted in the blue livery.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Day 15–Berlin

Had a free day in berlin today. started out with riding the #68 tram line to its terminal at Köpenick Station. Getting to Köpenick Station was a bit of a chore though. Strated out by taking the S7 line to Ostkruz, from there we got on a short S3 train (due to construction) to Karlshorst. From there we got on another S3 train to continue to Köpenick Station. I suspect the short S3 train was to keep some level of service reliability on the line due to construction. At Köpenick Station we got on a 68 tram, with a GT6N Tram and headed for the terminal at Alt Schmöckwitz. At Alt Schmöckwitz we saw a training car on the siding, and just before departure a Tatra KT4D #4592 the “Berliner Fahrbar – Drink and Drive” Tram showed up. This seems to be a specially fitted out KT4D with a bar one can take on charters. We rode the Line back to Richtershorn, where the line runs through  a park on the Langer see in a dedicated ROW. We walked along the trail catching two sets of 68 trams pass through plus the Berliner Fahrbar. After that we rode back to Köpenick, where we made our way back to Ostkruz. At Ostkruz, we boarded a S9 with DB 485 class equipment. the 485 class was originally built as the 220 class for the DR shortly before reunification. The series had been retired, but was reactivated shortly afterwards for spares and is now in service on a regular basis. The 485 class of cars have an interesting interior layout, something you might have expected from the DR. They have high walls separating the seats from the door aisles and a separate compartment with 6 seats at the end of the car. The traction motors also make a nice sound to them, much like an old streetcar on acceleration. On the way back we rode an 885 class trailer and it was much quieter as they are unpowered. Afterwards we went to Alexanderplatz, and took an M5 streetcar as far as Hackster Markt where it went out of service. They short turn cars here, and their schedule does not seem to tell you which cars short turn and which don't so you have to pay attention. After waiting for a few minutes another M5 came and took us to Berlin HBF, where we spent the next nearly two hours watching the trains come through on platform 12/13. We saw Regio trains, IC, and ICE Trainsets come through. No foreign trains though. Afterwards we went to dinner and took a 100 line back to Brandenburger Tor, well that was the goal. Due to the Berlin Race today, the buses were short turning at Siegessäule/Großer Stern. From there we walked back to the Brandenburg gate, the path was mostly lighted except for a couple sections at the very end where the race had the street totally closed and had a detour setup through a park, and caught a U55 line back to the HBF.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Day 14–Praha

Today started out on EC 171 to Prague. The Train was originally suppose to head south out of Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Berlin Sudkreuz, however when we arrived at the station the train boards said it was boarding at platform 12 instead of platform 1 and one announcement was made to this fact. The equipment on the train was Czech, with 2 DB locomotives pulling it. The 1st class cars were nice with leather seats in a 2+1 configuration, LCD information displays and other modern amenities. The cars themselves were built in 2006 by Siemens and they looked recently renovated at that. Due to the reroute, we never went to Sudkreuz, but instead out of berlin via Berlin Ostbhanhof. The line segments we traveled on were SLOW, we lost probably 40 minutes on this reroute and arrived at Dresden late. At Dresent the DB power was switched out for CZ power, which took almost a half hour with some technical difficulties. The rest of the trip to Praha Hadrazi Holesovice was fast and pleasant. At Praha Hadrazi Holesovice we took a tram to Vystaviste Holesovice where we caught the 91 Historical tram line to the tram museum. A beautiful tram and trailer set arrived shortly after we did and after a short wait we were on our way. The 91 historical tram route passes through downtown area on its way to the tram museum. When we arrived at the tram museum, they have a VERY large collection of equipment from the early 1900s to one of its newest pieces, a bus acquired in 2004. A lot of it has been completely rebuilt and restored from all sorts of conditions and is in very nice shape. They had a vintage T1, T2, and T3 streetcar set on display, several other older trams, some Maintenance of Way equipment, a vintage trolley coach, a multi section tram from 1990 as well several buses including an Ikarus artic. Once we were done at the Museum, we took a 25 line tram, to connect with the 18 to connect with the 22 line at Malovanka station. The 22 line took us downtown, where we walked through downtown taking pictures of the trams passing every few minutes, to the main train station at Hlavni nadrazi. The Main train station even after a modernization and addition of shops, still has a bit of a 1960s communist era feel. very dark, very narrow passages, and on top of it, they don't post train information at least for our train the EC 170 until 5 minutes prior to departure. This was not of much concern however as the train was not even on the platform yet. The ride back was pleasant until we got onto DB tracks and the detour, where about an hour was lost making our way back into berlin. We had to stop once in a siding to let another train pass, and made our way very slowly back into berlin.

Day 13 Friday at Innotrans

Friday at Innotrans was actually a really light day. Started out by looking at some of the exhibits, and saw the booth by Talgo, of course they were Talgo Corporate and did not know anything of Talgo’s US operations. After that I went and saw the bus exhibit. There were about 4 coaches there, all electric. One was a 60ft electric artic, one was a 60ft Supercapasitor bus by a company from Belarus, one was an electric Solaris Urbino 12, and the last was a VDG electric coach. I got to ride both the VDG and Solaris around the garden there at the exhibit grounds. After that I went and saw some of the exhibits on the rail tracks, including Hydrogen powered Alstom Cordata iLINT HMU (Hydrogen Multiple Unit?) Set they had on display. Also got to walk though the new Siemens Train for Turkey, it was similar to the ICE Trains in Germany, however 1st class had a pop out infotainment system. Capped off Innotrans with a trip through some of the vendor halls, there were a LOT of locomotive leasing companies, and railroads from around the world there. China was showing off some stuff including the “Straddling bus” that the cars drive under. The model they had showed the buses moving back and forth, and the cars “driving” under them. However, the cars behaved like many motorists do and wound up crashing into each other – but never hitting the bus. Finally left he event, and went for a ride on the 204 line in Berlin, that is actually using the Solaris Urbino 12 buses in revenue service. In Berlin they are equipped with a induction charging system by Bombardier. The ride was nice smooth, and performance was good. Layover times at the end were a bit longer i noticed so the batteries could be charged however. Once I rode the line to the end, i took a ring train around and finally a regional train back to the Hauptbahnhof. After that i did some train watching at the HBF and that was it for the day.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day 12–Thursday at Innotrans 2016

Today was my first day at Innotrans. Innotrans is a very large rail industry trade show held every other year in berlin. They have several tracks of equipment displays, along with several of the convention center buildings full of different equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and industry groups. We started the day by taking the S5 line to Messer Sud, and walked over to the event. Once entering the event, we went to the top deck to start looking at the equipment on display. First Stop was a Skoda 30T2 Streetcar from Bratislava, #7529. After that we saw several freight cars, which are smaller than US freight cars, anywhere from 1/2 to 60% of an American freight car’s total tonnage. The overall diameter is smaller as well. Than Siemens brought out a car for the Ridyah Metro, and it was a nicely appointed car with a 1st class and 2nd class section. After we toured that there was a vectron locomotive, a streetcar by Durmazlar, a PESA streetcar and some more freight cars on the “long” tracks. When we were done with that we went and toured the other displays starting with a Russian tank car, a wide gauge streetcar build by Solaris, a polish rail testing train, more freight cars and MOW equipment, a new dual gauge sleeper built by Stadler for Azerbijan Railways, and several new EMU and DMU sets of equipment from Siemens, Newag, and stadler, koncar, and others. We also saw a new Skoda freight locomotive, and a refurbished “Bmz” compartment car for Locomore, a crowd funded passenger railroad set to start in December. After that we toured some more passenger equipment, saw some freight equipment, and some of the exhibits in the public transportation section before calling it a day. We also got a cab ride on the steam locomotive that was on making trips to the interchange and back from the convention grounds.