Germany 1994


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Germany 1994:

Hamburg, Berlin & Dresden

4th to 10th September, 1994

By John Lunn

Sunday 4th September 1994:

Sunday morning just after 11 am saw 15 members and wives meeting on the S.E. concourse at Victoria for what is in all probability the last time we shall leave Victoria for the continent.  Amongst those assembled were Mr and Mrs Richardson who came up from Exeter on Saturday and Richard Gresley and Marion Rich, who had also travelled from Crewe on Saturday.  Mention should also be made of some of the Watford lot being present on this trip.

Our departure for Dover Western dock was on the 11.25 boat train which member 16 caught with five minutes to spare.  The journey was uneventful save for seeing a Class 92 and some SNCF locos in Dollands Moor yard and the discovery that owing to a mistake by the Secretary a good many members thought they were going home on Friday night 9th September; it took a few minutes to smooth some rather ruffled feathers (not least my own) but everyone was able to stay until the Saturday night, though a few hurried phone calls had to be made.  On arrival at Dover Western dock we transferred by bus to Dover Eastern dock from which all ferries now sail.  At Eastern dock we met the last three members of the party to bring our number up to 19.

Our ship to Calais was the Cote d' Azur and the crossing was as smooth as silk.  Arrival at Calais saw us quickly through the customs and on to the train where the party took up residence in the leading coach; our departure at 16.53 was behind diesels 67590 and 67592 which worked the train as far as Amiens where they were replaced by electric loco No. 16012 which completed the journey to Paris.  Arrival in Paris was at 20.20 to a newly renovated Gare du Nord station.  It should be noted that apart from the collection of port taxes at Dover no actual ticket check was made all the way from Victoria to Paris.

Our train for Hamburg departed at 21.30, so members used the short time to have food and drink or to simply look around the newly restored Gare du. Nord. Part of the renovation work was to include alterations to accommodate T.G.V. and Euro Star trains. At 21.20 as we boarded our train to Hamburg and significantly with no sign of staff or authority, Peter Lindop announced he had had his passport and F.I.P. card stolen. With no authority in sight and so close to departure time we decided to brave it out on the train. When the couchette conductor came around to collect tickets and passports we told him of Mr Lindop's plight; he simply rolled his eyes heavenward and carried on. I fully expected to be roused during the night or to find Mr Lindop missing on our arrival in Hamburg however neither took place.

Monday 5th September 1994:

Arrival in Hamburg was on time at 07.11 and to a grey and dismal morning.  Luggage was passed out of the train windows in the time honoured fashion and we then sought the left luggage lockers on the station.  After depositing our cases the all important task of taking breakfast was seen to. During breakfast I enquired after Peter Lindop as I had not seen him for a while, one member thought he had gone to the police station to report his stolen passport.  After breakfast myself and Roy Crocker went across to the police station to enquire after Peter.  It transpired that he had not been to report his loss, and even if he had the police had no interest in the matter, at all; we were told that Peter should report his loss on our return to the U.K.  Peter duly reported his loss to the embassy in Berlin, they issued him with a piece of paper which got him back into the U.K.  It is amazing to think that Peter travelled across three European countries and no one wanted to see a passport or F.I.P. card (until the return to England of course).

At about 08.40 I took up position on platform 5 to meet Katrin Buschhusen, our German member who was to spend most of the week with us acting as our interpreter and guiding us through the various arrangements made by our German members and ourselves.  However, I waited in vain, as we had passed on the stairs.  I was summoned back to the balcony and was greeted by Katrin and to our surprise and pleasure four other German members who had managed to take time off to be with us.  These four were Thomas Rausch, Jens Heinrich, Reiner Schulenburg and Gunner Heyde; there was also a guest whom Katrin had invited.

After introductions we caught an S.Bahn train to Elbgaustrae then walked the 10 minutes or so to the I.C.E. Depot arriving at 10.00 am on the dot. Just after we arrived a party of Japanese visitors departed and I noticed that they lined up in time honoured fashion in front of a locomotive for a group photo.  We took our place in the conference room where our host Herr Baue introduced himself and welcomed us to the Hamburg I.C.E. depot. Herr Baue gave a short lecture on the function of the depot and the I.C.E. units, this being ably translated by Katrin.  Some interesting and perhaps rather startling facts about these trains were given during the course of this lecture, the first being that the units are turned round in just one hour and this is monitored on computer screens; each unit on depot and its status is displayed along with any time delay. To make the 60 min turnaround possible, a small team of on train engineers ride between fixed stations monitoring the health of the trains and feeding the information into an on-board computer.  This information is then transmitted to Hamburg I.C.E. depot at a predetermined point by the driver, this system is known as DAVID.  Booked unit availability is 85% Mon-Thurs and 96% at weekends.  The maintenance programme is Km based and takes place after the following Kms have been completed, time stopped is in brackets.

Km

Time

35,000

1 hours

41,000

22 hours

60,000

24 hours

120,000

26 hours

480,000

26 hours

At 1,200,000 km heavy attention is given which sees the unit out of service for two weeks, this work is carried out at Nurenberg.  After seeing a video from which some of this information was obtained, we went into the main depot to view the units and to see how the maintenance work is performed.

Maintenance is carried out on three levels: under floor equipment, coach floor (from platforms) and roof height for ducts and pantographs.  Underside maintenance is carried out from robot controlled carts guided by buried wire.  On entering the depot the first sight to greet us was a row of bicycles, these being provided to transport small parts around the depot and for the cleaners moving themselves and their equipment around.  It was pointed out that every coach wheel set was positioned over a length of movable rail.  This was to enable the rapid change of a damaged wheel set, the task being undertaken by a large fork lift type robot; this was done without removing the bogie, which would remain in position even with a wheel set missing.  A thorough study was made of the underside of the unit during which Herr Baue explained various items of equipment and their functions.  From the underside we moved up to the inside, this was quite impressive and there appeared to me only small differences between 1st and 2nd class.  Airline type seats had TVs mounted in the back of the seat in front, other seats had radio/tape fittings, open coaches also had coat stands mounted on either side of the gangway and approximately in the centre of the car.  Other vehicles had conference rooms and compartments and also toilets for disabled travellers.  Herr Baue pointed out that the interior had been designed by interior designers rather than engineers with the result that each vehicle was 1 ton heavier than it might have been and maintenance was very difficult, even what should be the simple task of changing a lighting tube.  After a thorough investigation of the passenger accommodation we split into two groups to take it in turn to see the cab.  This space age air-conditioned drivers office was quite impressive with everything arranged around the driver within easy reach.  Following the tour of the train we returned to the conference room where Herr Baue was thanked for a very interesting morning and was also presented with an institution tie; ties from Regional Railways North West were also presented by our member Richard Gresley.  Following the formalities we returned to the Hbf station, running about 30 mins late we met up with the ladies who had also had an adventure courtesy of a sightseeing trip on a road train.  This conveyance managed to trap itself going the wrong way up a one way street, was unable to back up so the tour was cancelled and money returned but our hapless ladies now had to walk back.

Following lunch we were to catch the 14.51 InterCity to Berlin, however this was 25 mins late awaiting connections at Hamburg Altona; when our train arrived it was headed by a Russian built loco No. 234144, this being a class 232 with uprated ETH.  The entire route to Berlin is being rebuilt and electrified.  Long sections of the journey was on temporary single line whilst the adjacent road was rebuilt.  All this cost another 15 mins delay, however the journey was interesting and I doubt if any of us had seen engineering work on this scale before.  On arrival at Berlin Zoologischer Garten we attempted to find our hotel which was close to the station, however this only applies if you walk in the right direction!  After correcting our mistake we quickly found the hotel and checked in all of us being very tired and in need of rest; my rest however would have to wait a few more hours as it had been arranged for me to meet Herr Schnorr who was to be our host on the two days to be spent looking at the Berlin S.Bahn.

Herr Schnorr had been waiting on our arrival at the hotel so after the formalities and a wash I returned to Herr Schnorr who gave me the final details of what we would be doing on Wednesday and Thursday.  After the formalities we repaired to a pub within the Europa Centre for supper and a long chat about our respective railways.

Tuesday 6th September 1994:

Tuesday was a free day and members split up to do their own thing.  One group headed for the Hartz mountains for some narrow gauge steam and I believe the Richardsons remained in Berlin to see the sights.  One member took a lone trip to Praha; the Kirklands and myself had elected to revisit the former East Berlin as we had been in the Institution party which stayed in East Berlin in 1980.  We were joined on this nostalgic tour by Mr and Mrs Barrett, R. Crocker and Peter Lindop; Peter having visited East Berlin briefly before the wall came down was also keen to see what changes had taken place.

We travelled to Friedrichstrae on the S.Bahn noting some familiar sights on the way.  On leaving the station through the now large expanse of the booking hall it was a job to work out where the customs post had been and also strange to think as we wandered freely that on our last visit our party had come close to being arrested because one of our party was missing.

We left the station and went out under the railway, past the now boarded up station bar which was the only place we could get a drink in 1980.  The sight that met us beyond the railway was a forest of tall cranes working on perhaps a dozen or more building sites from which new buildings would emerge like mushrooms.  Amongst the building work was the former hotel Metropole at which we had stayed in 1980.  This building had been taken over by a prominent hotel group and was itself being very extensively rebuilt.  We walked down the Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg gate only to find our way through the gate was barred by some large stands being erected for the formal departure of the last allied soldiers in Berlin that coming weekend.  This was a bitter disappointment to me as I had looked forward to walking across what was once no man's land and through the gate.  However we walked alongside the stands for a closer look at the Bradenburg gate and found to our surprise that an underground S.Bahn station had appeared.  There was no trace of this in 1980.  We walked round to the back or west side of the gate past the sites that will in a few years time be the British and U.S. embassies.  The U.S. Embassy will be rebuilt on its pre war position and a site latterly part of no man's land.  After all this excitement we wandered back towards the Alexander Platz past some considerable building work; it was interesting to note the apparent disregard for health and safety rules.  No worker we saw had a helmet or hard hat and I was surprised to see a man burning metal without gloves, goggles or hard hat.  We walked on towards the Alexander Platz past the building which housed an eternal flame of peace (now replaced by a statue).  Dave and I noted at this point the considerable increase in road traffic since our 1980 visit.  We went to lunch in a pub near the Rots Rathaus, the pub dated originally from 1517 but had sadly been destroyed in 1943 and subsequently rebuilt in its original form.  After lunch we all went up the Fernsehturm, (TV tower) from which we had a grand view of Berlin, a good number of photos being taken. On our return to the ground we strolled back towards Friedrichstraße stopping at the Berlin Cathedral (DOM). The renovation work on this building is superb, the interior being totally rebuilt.  Alongside the Spree canal a few of us stopped to answer a call of nature, the loo was decorated with pot plants and posters and on leaving a few pfenings were placed in a saucer to pay for the call, as the coins rattled a female!! voice called out thank you.  Walking alongside the canal we passed through the Museum district noting that the Nues Museum is still undergoing post war rebuilding, it was at this point that I saw the only building on this visit still to carry its wartime scars, a marked contrast with 1980 when many such buildings could be seen.  Returning alongside the railway arches it was noted that these had been recently rebuilt and now housed an array of posh shops.

A rather tired but happy group ret urn ed to the hotel for dinner, following which a few of us went for a drink and bumped into the Hartz mountain group.  It transpired that they had had a good-day, Tom Chaffin returning on the ICE.

Wednesday 7th September 1994:

Following an excellent breakfast the members departed for the S.Bahn to travel to Nordbahnhoff to meet Herr Schnorr at 09.00.  Our journey to Nordbahnhoff took us over part of the S.Bahn which has recently reopened following the collapse of the wall.  On arrival we were met by Herr Schnorr and also Gunter, Reiner, Gunner and Katrin, some of our German members; Katrin was again to be our interpreter.  We were taken to the nearby S.Bahn offices and installed in a conference room.  Herr Schnorr introduced himself and welcomed us on our visit to the Berlin S.Bahn.  After coffee and biscuits had been distributed Hartmut (Herr Schnorr) delivered a very interesting and informative lecture on the Berlin S.Bahn which gave details of how the present system was established 70 years ago and of its developments and extensions which continued up to 1941.  Post war problems of rebuilding had been greatly complicated when the wall went up in 1961.  This split the system into two illogical parts in East and West Berlin and also rendered large parts of the system inoperable.

Since the wall had come down a vast amount of work has been done on renovation and reconnection of the system, much of which should be completed by 1995.  Work to reconnect the outer limits will take until 1998 assuming support continues from the Berlin Council and whilst the southern part of the Berlin circle is now reopened, the northern part is being reopened in stages and will take until the end of the century.  During this time four signal systems have evolved: the 1937 SV system is still used in places, the HI system was introduced by the D.R. for use on lines in East Berlin whilst the BVG introduced the HP system in 1984 for use on West Berlin lines and in 1993 the DB introduced the K.S. system which will replace the other systems and by the year 2000 it is planned to control the S.Bahn from one panel box located at Westkreux.   Following the lecture which I should add had been accompanied by view foils, Hartmut ushered us back to Nordbahnhoff for our tour of the S.Bahn system on the Museumszug (Museum train).  This two car unit which was built in 1928 had been restored internally and externally to its original condition and the workmanship was a credit to all those involved.  On arrival at Nordbahnhoff we met the ladies who would be joining us for the tour.  Our eagerness to get underway was however dampened somewhat when Hartmut had to announce with some embarrassment that our train would be 60 minutes late owing to signalling difficulties.  The time was used by some to get a snack and for me to pay for the hire of our vintage train.  After performing this small duty Hartmut gave me a quick tour of the control office that covered the line from Hbf to Potsdam, this was in the charge of a young lady who kept track of operations via telephone and a train chart which she constantly updated; computerisation will be carried out when it can be afforded.

Our train arrived and we departed through the Nord Sud tunnel passing under the Spree canal, this was quite prominent as there was a marked lowering in the tunnel roof at this point; flood doors are also provided either side of the canal at Friedrichstraße and Oranienburger Straße.  Travelling via Yorckstrae and Mexicoplatz we arrived at Wannsee where the train terminated and made a shunt after which we were able to take a few photos before we set off for Schoneweide via Charlottenburg, Friedrichstraße and Ostkreuz. The section of line through Friedrichstraße to Hauptbahnhoff is known as the City Line and on this stretch we saw several different signal systems in operation.  At Schoneweide we had time to take refreshments and to take some more photos before we departed.  The next stage of our tour took us over the south end of the inner circle line.  Much of the inner circle had been closed after the wall went up and whilst travelling along the south circle it was very interesting to see the amount of renovation work to stations, track etc. in order to reintroduce passenger services.  We passed by Tempelhof with its airport before reaching Halansee where we went via an empty stock curve to regain the line through Charlottenburg and thence onto the city line stopping briefly at Alexanderplatz for some members to depart, the time now being around 15.00.  However a good many of us remained as Hartmut had invited those interested to go out to Birkenwerder to see and ride on the S.Bahn's Duo unit, more of which later.  Our journey in the meantime took us round to Ostkreuz where we took another empty stock line to obtain the route to Blankenburg, this later took us through Frankfurter Allee and Pankow.  On arrival at Blankenburg, our journey finished, we presented our two drivers (one of whom was a driver instructor) with ties and I was in return presented with the S.T.N. that covered our special train.  I must record here that to my regret I did not note the names of our drivers.  We caught a train from Blankenburg to Birkenwerder where after a few minutes wait the Duo train arrived.  This four car unit is fitted with two under floor engines which drive generators and it is also capable of working off the conductor rail.  There is 1500 HP available when working under electric conditions and this was amply displayed on the short journey to Oranienburg.  On arrival at Oranienburg we changed ends and then travelled into the depot with the unit.  This then gave us an opportunity to closely study the unit with the help of Herr Schnorr and the unit's driver.

After an hour or so we returned to the station on a set of empty stock which was operated with a class 201 diesel at either end and two coaches and a van in between.  This formation then departed frm Oranienburg this time in passenger service.  We boarded our train to return to our hotel for a wash and brush up but before departing Oranienburg.  However, I took the opportunity to present Hartmut with an institution tie and to thank him for the day's arrangements.  Katrin and Reiner had invited some of us to spend the evening with them and some friends in a cafe/ bar in what was East Berlin suburbia, a lively evening of chat, food and drink followed, and it was with some reluctance that we had to depart, Thursday was fast approaching.

Thursday 8th September 1994:

Following a sustaining breakfast we set off for Wannsee where we met Hartmut and Herr Braune (Ralph) of the DBAG and Gunner Heyde, Reiner Schulenburg and Katrin who had yet another day's translation, this time relating to the technical side of signalling.  I should mention that Ralph is the train crew manager, amongst other responsibilities.  After the formalities we split into two groups, one group going to the new signal box with Hartmut and the other group going to Wannsee depot with Ralph.  Katrin went with the signalbox group.  Ralph who could speak English took the group of which I was a member to Warmsee depot on a set of empties; on arrival we were met by Herr Beyer the depot manager.  Herr Beyer welcomed us to the depot and said a few words about the depot and its activities - an impromptu question and answers followed.

Wannsee depot dates from 1930 and was modernised in the 1980s.  The building is divided into four sections, these being repair shop one road, old unit section fourroads, new units section two roads and a wash road which is unusual in that a unit is driven into the building and the washer moves along the unit.  The depot is home to 107 old units of class 475 and I think 476 and 45 new units of class 480.  The older units are examined at 7000 km or seven days and the new units of class 480 at 20,000 Km.  From the lifting shop we moved to the four road section which housed the older units.  It was noted here that a guard is used to cover the collector shoes on the units: the shoes protrude a long way out from the bogie due to the underneath contact adopted by the S.Bahn.  Like B.R., D.B. has a problem with Graffiti and a unit was noted having this offensive paintwork removed.  This problem costs Wannsee depot alore 1,000,000 DM per year.  Moving next door we were given a detailed tour of a new class 480 unit and to assist with this a fitter Mark Scheffel was seconded as he could speak English.  These units are being built by A.E.G. and have similarities with our Networkers.  They operate from 3rd rail collection at 800v D.C. which feeds a 3 phase invertor supplying A.C. current to the traction motors.  The driver sits in a central position and has speed selection as well as three deadman positions, these being hand, button or foot; all MCBs are arranged overhead and a diagnostic screen is on the right.  A short run up of the motors was given; after looking at the cab, we went inside to see the passenger accommodation and the control gear on the sliding doors.  It should be noted that these units are fitted with sanders.

After presenting ties we returned to Wannsee station on another set of empties.  We now changed places with the other group, making our way to the panel box.  The official walking route to this was through a beer garden.  In the computer room Hartmut introduced us to Herr Engelhardt who gave an explanation of the functions of the computer room.  This being ably translated by Katrin.  From the computer room we moved to the operating floor.  There are two work stations and a separate work station in another room which controls mainline movements.  The S.Bahn panels control approx 15 miles of line from a bank of 8 colour monitors.  The upper monitors can be used for close ups of a layout, the lower screens having fixed diagrams giving the overall picture; route setting is done by using a pen on a master diagram rather than the trackerball used in B.R.'s I.E.C.C.  Assuming right-time operation, automatic route setting takes place using the train numbers to select the routes.  In the event of a timetable disruption, operation then becomes manual.  On the right-hand work station are two screens, one of which contains timetable information which can be updated or altered as required.  The second screen is an electronic log which records equipment failure and operating irregularities.  This will also supply a printed copy of the log which is then signed by the signalman at the end of his shift.  It should be noted that there is no direct communication between signalmen and drivers on trains.

The signal box opened in 1992 when the S.Bahn route to Potsdam from Wannsee was reinstated.  Five old boxes have been replaced by the Wannsee panel plus others that had closed previously by the splitting of the system by the wall.  Wannsee panel is expected to last until the year 2000 at which time it is hoped to place the entire S.Bahn system under the control of a single facility to be built at Westkreux.  After our tour of the panel we returned to Wannsee station to reunite with the other group.  Hartmut Schnorr gave a short end of visit speech which was warmly applauded.  Following this an institution tie was presented to Herr Braune and ladies bows were also presented to Katrin and for Hartmut's wife.  Group photos were taken, after which the group split up and went their various ways for the remainder of the day.

Friday 9th September 1994:

This morning was an early start as we had to catch an S.Bahn train to the Hauptbahnhoff so that we could catch the 08.24 to Dresden.  Reiner met us at the Hbf and travelled to Dresden with us.  Our arrival was just a few minutes late, and we were met by Katrin and a number of our German members.  Before leaving however we booked our seats for the return to Berlin on Saturday evening.  Mathias and Gunter took our luggage to the hotel by car and we followed on by bus; transit tickets had been purchased for our use on the buses and trams.

Arriving at our hotel somewhat early caught the staff wrong footed, however rooms were soon allocated (two of us being given rooms already occupied) and there was time to unpack, rest and also to observe the traffic on the nearby railway before proceeding to Strehlener Platz for the start of our tram tour of Dresden City.

This tour had been organised by the German members and was to be driven by our member Gunter Otto.  Gunter is taking a Phd but at weekends he is employed by the City authorities as a tram driver, having previously been a shunt driver with the D.R.

Our tram was built in the 1970s and rebuilt in 1992; driving the tram was by foot pedal for power and brake, all other functions being controlled from the desk.  The system is electrified at 600 volts.  During the tour it was noted that route direction lights are provided for the drivers at roadside locations and some of these have an additional stop indication which works in conjunction with traffic lights.  Points are normally remotely controlled from the tram being electro magnetically controlled but at one or two places along our journey Gunter had to operate points manually, this had the effect of turning the route direction lights off.

The start of our tour took us out into the suburbs at Zschertnitz, this was mainly roadside running.  At Zschertnitz we went around a turning circle and then waited for clearance before starting the tour proper.  During this wait maps were provided and some information on the Dresden City transport system handed out and Katrin gave a resume of the route we would be taking as well as pointing out places of interest en route.

Departing Zschentnitz we headed back and past Strehlener Platz and on to Lenne Platz and along past the Volkspark and Zoologischer Garten.  The Volkspark is a very large park which is home to a 15" gauge railway which we would visit later.  Halfway along the Volkspark we turned left and headed towards Fetscher Platz and then went round in a circle back along the front of the Park and then round past the Hauptbahnhoff, the Hbf being quite an impressive station from the outside.  We turned right at the Hbf and headed for the Altstadt or old town.  Coming to the Post Platz we now went in a circle around part of the old town.  This was the most impressive part of the tour.  The work that has been put into restoring the many fine old buildings in this part of Dresden is a credit to all those involved.  It is a very beautiful city and one which well deserves a visit by anyone interested in such places.  After going round the Altstadt we headed past the Altmarkt and round towards the Elbe; crossing this great river on the Carolabrucke (Bridge) and then heading up to Albert Platz before circling around and crossing the Elbe once again, this time over the Augustus Brucke and back into the old city.  Our tour ended outside a splendid looking theatre near the Post Platz; some hurried photos of our tram and tram driver were taken before Gunter took the vehicle back to its depot.  As mentioned earlier there is a 15" gauge railway in the Volkspark and Gunter had arranged to take anyone interested around this after the tram tour.  Those members not going to the Volkspark set off at this time to variously view the sights and have lunch; those of us remaining took lunch at the theatre restaurant, being a warm day we sat outside - a humorous moment at lunch was when one of the German members ordered some more beer, the beer was ordered in English and five fingers held up to indicate the number required, too long in the company of the English tourists!!

On Gunter's return we set off for the Volkspark and the 15" gauge railway. This railway was opened progressively from 1950 with additions in 1953 and 1968.  It was originally one of the Pioneer Railways which had been established across eastern Europe, Russia and China to train young people in railway operation.  This railway is 5.6 km in total length and is operated in accordance with mainline practise; the signalling system is of the D.B. HL system and is controlled from a central signal box.  I was impressed by the heavy section of the rail used and also that some of it was welded.  Weekday operation is in the hands of two battery electrics, the older one was built in 1968 and is of a diesel outline.

The second loco and the one used on our train was a twin unit locomotive built in 1987. The journey time is approx 30 minutes through some pleasant park land and past the zoo.  After going around the system we got off at the zoo station at which the signal box and steam shed etc. are located.  We first looked in at the signal box which was being operated by two or three young folk and supervised by an adult.  As I am not at all up on German signalling I cannot offer a comparison with main line practise, though the operation was to mainline standards.  After looking around the signal box we walked across to the loco shed where to my delight I was introduced to locomotives Nos 1 & 3.  These two 4-6-2s steam engines were designed and built by Roland Martens in 1925 and were adopted as a standard class for the 15" gauge at that time.  The locomotives are largely in their original condition apart from the addition of smoke deflectors and air brakes, they were also fitted with Scharfenberg automatic couplings from new.  Some basic dimensions of these engines are as follows:

Cylinders

5 9/10" x 7 7/8"

Driving & coupled wheels

20 7/8" dia

Grate area

4 3/4 sq ft

Boiler presure

185 lbs sq inch

Total weight

8.1 TONS

I was interested to see that the locomotive is fitted with a smoke box superheater.  I thought this rather odd as the Germans had been in the forefront of superheating on locomotives and in 1925 the smoke box superheater would have been rather outmoded.  Much time was spent talking to the young man who was looking after the engines and in taking photos. I also learnt that No. 2 is still in existence and is a present in Leipzig.  Time was advancing and it was with great regret that we had to depart.  This had been a very interesting afternoon and one in which I personally was at last able to make acquaintances with a pair of locomotives about which I had read a fair amount.  On our return to the hotel we had just enough time for a quick wash and brush up before again departing for the venue our German members had booked for a social evening.  The bus journey was some 20 minutes through some impressive suburbs and almost out into the country.  During the bus journey I learnt that other members had been seeing the sights in Dresden and four members spent the afternoon at Radebul Ost looking at the Meyer Locomotives used on the line to Radeburg.  There was a short walk from where we got off the bus to the restaurant and this was through the streets of a pleasant village.

On arrival at our venue we were greeted by many of our German members and before long we were in the company of 10 out of the 11 Deutsches Zentrum members.  Before the proceedings got under way I was introduced to Dr. Lehnert from Dresden College of technology.  The brief meeting with Dr Lehnert was to see if further future visits by German students could be arranged and to work out approximately what would be required.  This short meeting concluded, the social evening got under way.  A long pleasant evening was punctuated by speeches from Katrin and our vice chairman David Kirkland.  It was good to renew acquaintances and to see new friendships being formed, this was a very pleasant evening indeed.

Saturday 10th September 1994:

Saturday morning came far too early for all of us.  We had to be at Hainsberg at about 09.00 for the final event of the week, which was a trip to Kipsdorf on a 750 m gauge steam operated branch of the D.B.AG.

Having had breakfast and checked out of the hotel we made our individual way to the Hbf station, all our members and all 11 German members met on the station concourse.  Luggage was disposed of and we then caught an S.Bahn train for the 10 km journey to Hainsberg.  This train was made up of three new double deck push pull vehicles propelled by an electric loco.  Stepping off the S.Bahn train at Freital Hainsberg, the unmistakable smell of coal smoke greeted us and as the S.Bahn train departed it revealed an extensive narrow gauge yard and three road loco shed below us. There were six 2-10-2T on shed at least three being in steam and one other had departed earlier in the morning.  These locomotives date from 1928 when 099723 was built but 743 dates from a batch built in 1952-56.  After giving the locomotives a thorough look over (many photos being taken) we returned to the rear of our train where our hired saloon was attached.  This vehicle painted orange and cream, and fitted with curtains had been hired for our day's outing to Kipsdorf and return.  On taking our seats bottles of beer and soft drinks and also snacks were passed round; four different types of beer to each person and a description of each was given by Reiner.  Mick Boyd of the Watford lot observed that he must have died and gone to heaven, being sat behind a steam locomotive surrounded by beer and good company and all before 09.30!

Our train with nine on and headed by 099723 departed at 09.19 and headed out into the country following the Weissritz river.  Gradients were steep and the country resembled that in the Peak district in England.  We emerged from the trees past an artificial lake created in 1914, the journey being most enjoyable and very much in a party mood.  We passed an Up train at Rabenace and we later stopped at Dippoldiswalde for water and a few more photos.  I should mention that Gunter Otto had been unable to get into his flat on Friday night and as a result spent the night in Dresden bus station.

The approach to Kipsdorf is on gradients of 1 in 40, the final approach being at 1 in 33 but this was handled by our loco with ease.  In Kipsdorf we watched 743 run round the train and detach our saloon before it went off to the depot.  Kurot Kipsdorf is high up in the hills and is just 5 km from the Czech border, it may have been high up but the 20 min walk to the restaurant for lunch took us a good deal higher.  After an excellent lunch we assembled out side the restaurant for group photos to be taken following which a steady stroll back to the station saw us arrive in good time for our return journey.  After inspecting 099723 and taking more photos the group boarded our hired saloon for the return journey to Freital Hainsburg.  The party continued on the return trip and this time with our saloon now leading we could contemplate the smokebox of 723, it could be said that the party was enhanced by music and perfume (loco exhaust and coal smoke) as the end door was open for the length of the journey.  All too soon we arrived back at Freital Hainsberg and after collecting up all our belongings and locking up the saloon we made our way to the mainline platform for the return to Dresden.  This short journey was completed rather quickly and with time to spare in Dresden, snacks and food for the journey home was purchased.  Bob Reid and myself observed a class 156 No. 003, this being one of four experimental locomotives ordered by the D.R., the class will not now be expanded following the amalgamation of D.B. and D.R.  The driver of 156003 invited Bob and myself into the cab for a closer inspection and despite the fact he could speak no English we still managed to learn something of what this loco could do.  All too soon however it was time to depart.  After bidding the last of several farewells to our German friends, we boarded the Hungaria and departed for Berlin, Paris, Calais and London on what will almost certainly be the last time the Institution uses the classic sea route.

Our journey home was uneventful (so far as this report is concerned) save for a brief glimpse of 2-10-0 No. 528075 in Freidrichstrae station and noting that our train into Paris was worked in by 14019 one of 10 S.N.C.F. quad volt locomotives now working out their last days on trains to Belgium. The boat train from Paris was worked by 16041 to Amiens, thence by 67599 to Calais and our ship to Dover was the MV Stena Fantasia.

December 1994

Postscript:

I would like to record my thanks to Hartmut Schnorr for the arrangements he made on our behalf for an in depth look at the operation of the Berlin S.Bahn system and for his excellent lecture on the S.Bahn system which I hope he will deliver in London at a future date.

I would also like to extend my special thanks to Katrin Buschhusen who translated for us on all our visits throughout the week and who along with our other German members made the various arrangements on our behalf in Dresden, and who by their presence during the week and especially at the weekend when all members were together helped to make this a week which will never be forgotten by those taking part.  Last and by no means least I would like to thank Peter Lindop who provided me with the details repeated here of the S.Bahn and tram tours.

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