In a complete first for this blog, steam trains have appeared!

The HSB (Harzer Schmalspur Bahnen) centered around the Harz mountains in Germany, while essentially a tourist operation, isnt quite your normal preserved railway. The fleet of 1950s steam engines run all day, every day providing a service between Werningerode and Nordhausen with extensions to Brocken. Brocken is 1125m above sea level, so you can imagine the steam engines get a good workout!


997237 departs from Werningerode Westerntor station, over the road intersection. It is quite a spectacle watching the traffic stopping to allow a steam train to pass through.


997239 arrives into Drei Annen Hohne. The engine has been worked non stop to pull the 7 coach train up to a height of 540m above sea level in just 15km!


99 7239 again, leaving Drei Annen Hohne for Schierke (685m above sea level) and finally Brocken (1125m above sea level).


In addition to the full size steam engines, there are a number of smaller engines which get sent out on charters or special running days. 99 6001 seen here being prepared at Werningerode.

Now on to Switzerland, where the weather wasn’t as good but the freight passing through Spiez heading from or to Italy was pretty much non-stop. The below photos come from Mulenen which is just outside Spiez heading towards Italy.


SBB 4/4 and 6/6 pair on a steel train. Note the approaching express on the other line; all tracks in Switzerland are bi-directional so it isn’t exactly unusual to see a passenger train overtake a freight train, both going in the same direction!


CrossRail TRAXX pair headed by 186 902 heading up the incline from Spiez.


Yet another pair of TRAXX led by 185 526. They are getting around Europe like an infestation, but at least there are a decent variety of colour schemes on offer. The blue and grey of these Railpool examples aren’t exactly overly inspiring though compared to some of those you can see…


BLS Vectron 475 405 on top of 485 004 heading towards Freiburg with one of the ‘roll on roll off’ lorry services. BLS have 15 of these machines on order in total, although they don’t seem to be particularly well used at present.


Another pair of TRAXX, albeit a slightly more colourful pair. 185 140 leads another UID classmate through Liestal.


BLS vectron 475 404 light engine towards Basel through a light snow shower.

There will be more to come, given time. Watch this space!