Steam Across the World

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by Seaboard92, Nov 9, 2018.

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  1. Nov 9, 2018 #1

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Conductor

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    Location:
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    Steam across the Atlantic

    Planning

    Well as I'm sure plenty of you know that traveling is a bug that once it gets you it gets you hard so after arriving back from riding the Canadian I started planning my next trip. I had been wanting to go to Innotrans which as you might know is the greatest railroad trade fair in the modern era in Berlin.

    And my parents namely my mother and grandmother also want to go to Germany but a bit later towards October. I was pricing flights and found a good round trip on Lufthansa from New York to Frankfurt so we book it. But I also had a work trip I had to figure out in it.

    So I planned for my work trip to be from New York-Chicago with both of our cars to be on the Joliet Rocket and then the day after the Rocket catch Lufhansa's B747-8i service from ORD to meet them in Frankfurt. So I booked my flight to New York from Columbia and my flight back from New York after Europe to Columbia.

    Day -1 packing

    For the first time since I can remember going on a trip I had everything packed two days in advance of the trip which is cause to celebrate if you are me.

    Day 1: Derailments and Deadheads

    So I go to the airport for the 6:00 am flight to Dulles on a United CRJ100 aircraft. Connecting there to a CRJ700 for LGA. It is an uneventful trip to this point with a hurricane brewing far off in the Atlantic and nothing super major. When I'm waiting for boarding to began I get a text from Joe and Chris telling me there is a problem.

    Amtrak proceeded to put one of our two cars on the ground in Sunnyside Yard while adding it to the Lake Shore Limited. That is where I'm going to leave the details because I'm not sure what I should or should not say about the derailment. So I'll leave it at that. So I get on the flight which ends up being a very bumpy flight around Dulles because of some serious cloud cover. Get there and find out my connecting flight is delayed due to a late arriving inbound flight.

    So with an extra hour to kill I take the Budd built mobile lounge to another terminal to eat at the Wendy's over there before returning to my gate and boarding the aircraft. It's a very short flight in duration and we made up some time. I leave the airport fairly rapidly after claiming my bag catch the Q70SBS to the first stop with the 7 train and take it to Queensboro Plaza where I wait for Chris to come for us to get lunch. Instead we go into the yard. I throw my bag on to the Braddock Inn and we walk over to the Wheel shop where the 38 is resting after its eventful morning.

    After a bit one of the supervisors comes over and takes our car out of there as he wants to prove his theory that we the PV people are at fault for the derailment so he proceeds to reenact it for two hours while we stand in the cold rain and watch. Of course I forgot my rain jacket so I was just cold.

    Eventually they stop doing what they are doing and we transfer supplies for our week in Chicago from the 38 to the Braddock and it's decided Joe will stay with 38 and Chris and I will go on with the Braddock to Chicago on 49. So Chris and I bid Joe farewell and we departed Sunnyside at around 3:00 PM and were in the station by 3:20 for boarding.

    We had one passenger partaking in our $100 deadheads so I went up to the concourse to wait for him and guide him down, while Chris went and bought him and I lunch at KFC in the station. I waited up at the gate talking with the agents looking for my passenger whole Chris went back down with our food. He then texted me and told me he had shown up at the train by the LIRR level so I went down.

    I apologized profusely for how our car looked with suitcases open along the floor, and other things we didn't clean due to the morning excitement. So we just had our lunch in our office on the A end of the car nearest the kitchen and relaxed. I worked on our Albany Limited press release, Chris worked on New River projects and the passenger was mostly self entertained.

    I did talk to him for a bit but not a lot because we try not to be overwhelming. We arrived in Albany a bit early but our Boston section with our locomotives was running a bit late. So much so I had time to walk to the head end and back. We watched the Boston section arrive which is something I think Chris enjoyed as much as he talked about it for the next week.

    We talked to two railfans on the platform next to our cars. One I would have sold a ticket to ride to. And one that I wouldn't want on the car at all. So after a bit we departed from Albany and we didn't even realize we were going over a hundred when we decided to check our phone for something else. We started cooking our pasta dinner before we reached the next stop.

    While we ate our pasta dinner with potato chips we watched Olympus has Fallen on the duel TV screens on the B end of the car. After the movie was over Chris went to bed, and I spent time on our vestibule which was rear most. There was something unique about passing towns that are the size of mine at night like I do back home as well.

    Some quality that is just fantastic for some reason or another. Just the thought were rumbling by people's lives and it makes no real difference to them. They don't know us, we don't know them but we just share this amazing space. I went to bed after passing Buffalo Central Terminal.

    Day 2: Arriving in Chicago

    I had my alarm set for 5:30 because we did not know if anyone was taking us up on the Toledo-Chicago deadhead offer. I awoke right as we were pulling out of Sandusky and looking back I noticed a set of headlights. Turns out that was the Capitol Limited running about two hours behind schedule because we were an hour behind.

    We pulled into Toledo about forty minutes down and the Capitol Limited pulled up right behind us which I thought was really cool. And as we pulled out they pulled in. The two of us then started making breakfast somewhere near Bryan, OH and had our office ready to open at nine am eastern time. As everyone who does ticketing, and office work for New River Train was on the road the office travels with us.

    The table closest the kitchen on the firemans side is the office, complete with Mac, speakers, wifi router, printer, ticket printer, postage machine, and everything else. Every once in awhile I would have to pull an envelope that was on a table to exchange or cancel tickets. Of which can take some time because they aren't in alphabetical order.

    Somehow I was able to still get the last hour in the vestibule into Chicago which was rather enjoyable. I always find the eastern approach to Chicago via Northern Indiana especially fun because I love urban industrial decay. We eventually pulled into Union Station at the tail end of the platform ending our deadhead.

    Shortly after our arrival multiple other trains arrived from points east. All of whom were brought back to the yard before us. We didn't start the shove back to the hard until about one pm. Before the shove I did postage on 4,800 tickets. Which isn't overtly difficult just tedious. And I had to pull a handful for changes in the process.

    They backed us back onto the Burlington then pulled forward past CP Lumber before shoving us into track nine with the rest of the train. Eventually the came and moved us to track 11 with the rest of the private cars. Once we were in our final spot the two of us got off walked up the ramp and over to the White Palace Diner.

    The White Palace basically being the all purpose meal choice of PV people in Chicago because it's so close to the yard. I believe I had the fried chicken but in this journey to Chicago I really taste tested the entire menu. After lunch we went back to the car and continued to work. I decided if I had to pull envelopes with changes as often as I did it would be alphabetized.

    So I spent the next three hours alphabetizing the envelopes. After that we watched a movie on our cars and we're both in bed by about ten local time.

    Day 3: Sitting around the yard

    Well as the title says we really didn't do a lot. We both were up at eight am so we could open the office by nine eastern. And as usual phone calls always come in promptly at three minutes till opening time. We gathered up our laundry before lunch to take it to the local laundromat also a block away.

    We went back to lunch at the White Palace for lunch where I believe I had the steak that time. Which was good but nothing to write home about either. We then went back to the car for a few more hours to work till it was time to go up to the viaduct to watch our friends last arrival into Chicago. Afterwards we went back and relaxed in our car for a little bit.

    We then walked over to the inspection building to meet up with our friends on their cars as the Southwest Chief made a roll over it. We met them and all walked to eat at a local pub not the White Palace as a large group of ten or so. I sat with a corporate flight attendant and his significant other.

    As well as the now former owner of the Zephyr Fleet cars and I learned a lot of cool things. Like Al was some sort of mechanical engineer and he worked on the Apollo project and still has something he designed on the moon. As someone who has studied Apollo in textbooks it's really cool to meet someone who worked on it in person.

    We had a nice dinner and afterwards Al took us around his baggage car he was selling off as well which is an 89 foot Texas Zephyr car. Inside was every railcar part you could ever want, including an 85 foot piece of fluted stainless steel from the Budd plant which is incredibly cool.

    Afterwards we went for night caps with their crew for an hour in Solarium before going to bed in our car.

    Day 4: Some Hicks from West Virginia

    Again we woke up by eight to open our office for the day. Around nine local time I went outside and started cleaning our windows for the upcoming excursions. In order to do that I borrowed a ladder from the Silver Peak which was across the track from us. It took me roughly thirty minutes per side but none the less it was done.

    After I finished that I started taking on water for our car. After I filled our car I filled all of the Zephyr Fleet as well. Due to the hurricane the Cardinal Train No. 51 was being annulled so the Wisconsin came in from our shops two days early with our sous chef.

    The Wisconsin is a lightweight Milwaukee Road office car that was taking part in the AAPRCO convention. The car formerly had been stored in our shops in West Virginia and was taking advantage of its one time shop move seeing Mr. Gardner, and Mr. Anderson taking away our switch and killing our business.

    So after getting that car shut down from its trip the three of us went to the White Palace Diner and I forget what I had this time. Afterwards we picked up our laundry, and went back to the car. We sat around for a bit and my phone was flooded with messages from friends asking if I was alright with the hurricane coming. Which was super sweet of them.

    So around rush hour the three of us walked up to the Whole Foods and grabbed groceries for the week as we were told, "where they take you for the steam engine do not leave the yard you could be shot." So we grabbed hamburger meet, buns, bread, cereal, and several other dishes.

    After we got back we watched two different movies on the car. A Halloween slasher type movie, and then something about the zombie apocalypse. Our air conditioner was in full blast so after the second movie the three of us sat in the vestibule of our car because it felt better outside then it did inside.

    So the three of us just sat on our vestibule listening to music from a blue tooth speaker while we just hung out. Eventually one of the managers at the group that chartered us walked by and said. "I see you hicks are hanging out on the stoop" and proceeded to walk on down. Which offended both west Virginians in our little group, and me because I'm not that type of person.

    Eventually we went back inside and went to bed.

    Day 5: Mass Confusion

    Again I was up early today by eight so we could open the office but I don't really recall doing much. I believe I was sending out press releases for the Albany Limited. At one point we all took a tour of the new 261 cars Fox River Valley and Silver Palace. Afterwards we were leaving for lunch at 12:45 after Joe had arrived in from New York on 49 and set off for the White Palace.

    On our way out we asked Steve Sandberg of 261 if he knew what time we were being taken to metra and he said 2:00 pm keeping kn mind the guy the night before who called us hicks said 7:00pm. So we ran up to the diner and ate in record time. On the way out we decided to hit Whole Foods again to grab some steaks because we believe in eating well.

    So we get back to the yard and on track 12 our car is no longer there. But we saw it on the running track from the viaduct so we walked over there and for on our car at 1:55 for a 2:00 departure. Instead we saw the California Zephyr, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief, Wolverines, Lincoln Service, the Hoosier State, and the Illini depart or arrive. Along with the evening parade of Metra Dinky commuter trains.

    We didn't end up departing for the Rocket Yard till 8:30 PM because they held us till rush hour was over. In the mean time we all congregated on our car with our generator running despite having a HEP equipped engine. Which ended up being all of the owners, and car workers congregating in our car while countless commuters passed by not even noticing us sitting around.

    We made hamburgers for our four man car personal on the way over the other yard which was really nice for us. We arrived at the other yard at 9:00 and their crew started running all over the place which could be compared to too many chiefs and not enough Indians. There was a near constant parade running by our car with no real clear order.

    At 10:30 we told the person we thought was in charge that were locking our car at 11:00 pm and if they needed to do anything with it to please get it done so that we can sleep. So they frantically serviced our car. At 11:00 on the dot we locked both ends of the car and we took our showers and went bed.

    Day 6: Joliet Rocket

    The group chartering wanted the car open at six am for their crew to come on and prepare it. So we had our car open exactly at six and we stowed our items. Our suitcases hit the luggage racks, our beds were de assembled and turned into tables again. Our bedding stored in the booths, the office de assembled and put in storage in the luggage rack.

    The first car host didn't come till 6:30 and walked thru our car and acted like they owned it which again annoyed all four of us. Eventually the one for our car showed up and she was fantastic. We set off for Joliet at 7:00 am on the deadhead down there. To which all four of us shared our vestibule with each other for the hour long deadhead.

    At Joliet the four of us went and grabbed a table in the back A end of our car because it wasn't full so we just spent time as a big happy family. Nothing really happened it was an uneventful trip.

    I got off in La Salle St Terminal to walk up by the locomotive but in reality to see what type of food was available from the catering company. This time unlike the times before they kept the entire train together instead of splitting us across two platforms.

    However first class used platform one and boarded off a foot crossing, and coach boarded on platform two. And instead of pulling the whole train into the station they cut the steam engine and tool car off and went further down the platform. Leaving only about four cars on the platform instead of the eight that would fit. All four of us thought that was kinda ridiculous.

    Especially because nine cars of twelve were off the platform. Some passengers with mobility issues did not even detrain when we could have just left four cars off the platform which would have been more doable for several passengers. But not our train so we mostly kept to ourselves.

    Afterwards we went back to Joliet for the afternoon trip the Car was full. So we all split up Joe randomly socialized amongst people, Chris, and heather sat in our kitchen, and I spent the time in our radio room. Our car is a former MARC car and the radio room is the former telephone booth. Which when you think about it is already a cramped space but with a full window.

    And I had a friend riding the car for the afternoon trip so he joined me in the radio room to chat which really took talent to get both of us in there. We had a lovely chat as always. He went and enjoyed the layover in La Salle St Terminal while I enjoyed talking to a vet tech at the clinic next to where our car stopped. Sure we were up a full story from the ground but we could still talk. Just loudly.

    On the way back I mostly just slept in the radio room which I was able to mostly block light from. By using my suit jacket on a hanger covering most of the window. Along with other things which made the room nice and dark to nod off. I stepped off in Joliet for a few minutes to say good bye to my friend on the platform and managed to get my meal cold because of that but food is food.

    Afterwards the four of us crammed into our vestibule and enjoyed a night time run with steam leading at seventy miles an hour into Chicago for thirty six miles. Afterwards we did the same type arrangement we had the night before. Night caps with the Zephyr Fleet owners Burt and Al on their next to last day owning a car.

    Day 6: Being forgotten

    We locked out car at midnight and woke up again at six to unlock the car and take our showers. Of corse the last person got colder water but oh well. We had breakfast before we started rolling to Joliet where this time it was mostly me in the vestibule. Being with the car and not a volunteer on this style trip is something I could get used to because it's lovely.

    On the morning run our friend John Of Ozark Mountain Railcar was on board and we had a really interesting discussion with him. To be honest it was mostly Joe talking to him and I believe I dozed off around Blue Island on the trip back to Joliet while he was talking. But of more interesting notes.

    When we were in La Salle St station my former partner Ryan (if any of you remember him) whom I had not been on good terms with for several years and not talked to) pulled me aside to tell me his opinion of this trip. Which I concurred with. Both of us apologized to each other for our behavior and now we're good friends again.

    On the second trip of the day again our car was fully sold out so again I hid out in the radio room basically bored. Nothing really to do, nowhere to go. I texted Julia to call me so I could talk about how I forgave Ryan. Which was an enjoyable phone call.

    We arrived back to Joliet and that's where the fun began. Ryan, and the four us cramming in our vestibule for a twilight open vestibule ride. Which was incredible. It felt like the old times when Ryan and I used to work together. And it felt like things were the way life should have been.

    So the train arrived back at the Rocket yard and we were told by the group we are taking you to Amtrak as soon as we finish the switching. So we get there and the HEP drops pretty much as we get there in preparation for switching. So we turned our generator on but in switching at some point our voltage regulator was messed up so the hvac unit wouldn't turn on.

    And that's an easy fix but we need to be still and blue flagged to do it. So we're switching and like oh well we can do it in an hour when we get to Amtrak. And it's a super easy switch move to do.

    Steps to do this switch fast and correct.

    1. Cut the diesel off.

    2. Shove into a track and set off the last two cars.

    3. Pull forward and drop cars 6-12 off on the next track over.

    4. Go back to the initial track and drop off the three NS coaches against the two Zephyr cars.

    5. Bring the remaining two cars back over to the six car cut. Do an air test and leave for Amtrak.

    Instead they chose to make up the cars going with the steam engine first and it left at 9:30 to go over to the NS yard complete with its train. Meanwhile we sat. And once the steam engine was gone what would you know all of the leaders with the group who chartered us left, all the volunteers left.

    The only people now remaining in the yard was the two 261 guys, the four of us, Ryan (planning on using us to get to his hotel), and the owner of Stampede Pass. Everyone else had gone all of the Metra officials. So here we are thinking we're going to move to Amtrak and not moving.

    Eventually we start playing Cards Against Humanity on the car with them and just having a good night. But the temperature slowly keeps rising, we refuse to cook because we don't want to heat up the car more than necessary. So we just eat whatever snack food we can find on board which isn't healthy, but it at least dulls the hunger.

    It's midnight were all sweating and we all were really excited when we saw a switch engine pass by on he mainline thinking they were coming to get us. No they tied down and then went home. So I get off the car walk up to the office there is nobody there. So I walk to the main entrance where there is a lone security guy who didn't even realize we were still there. They completely forgot we all existed. So he called someone who then called a crew to take us in ninety minutes.

    So we go back to our game and in ninety minutes an engine shows up and we get moved over so they can put a road engine on us. Then we sit still with no HEP. So it's now like four AM and I have a flight in 12 hours so I just finally give up and go to bed. But the car is so hot were all sleeping on top of the covers.

    Day 7: Flying across the world

    So I woke up at about ten am to find we were in La Salle St station and not the Amtrak yard. So I go outside and find an employee and he's like your leaving here after rush hour. Which could be any minute. We're still running a generator despite having an engine up front with HEP capabilities. So we're all sweating.

    To catch my plane I need to take Metra Train No. 105 the 1:00 PM service to Antioch, IL with a stop at O'Hare Transfer. So i need to leave La Salle at minimum an hour before to go buy a ticket at Union Station, and walk over. So they come to move as us at 11:45 am to take us to Amtrak so I quickly detrained knowing that switch moves in Chicago can and will take much longer then expected. So I walk over to Union and easy short walk.

    After I arrive I quickly buy a ticket and go train side and board in one of the few Metra cars without a green window tint. It's an easy short ride to the airport. And this time the shuttle is right there at the station and it whisks me away to the terminal fairly rapidly. I go over to the Lufthansa Desk at the extreme end of terminal 1 check my bag, receive my boarding pass, and go behind security.

    After security I went over to the airport Chilis because I was starving as we had run out of breakfast food and snacks on Sunday and it was literally the closest place to the gate. So I had a nice lunch by myself and had someone chatty by themselves at the next table. So I enjoyed talking to them.

    I have to say I'm a really big fan of Midwestern hospitality. After eating at the airport Chilis I walked around the area by my gate because if I'm going to be sitting for five hours I would much rather be active before that. The 4 pm flight started boarding at 3:15 and around 3:25 I was on my first B747-8i and my first 747 derivative plane. I lucked out and didn't have a person in the middle seat, and I had the window.

    I chatted briefly with the women in the aisle seat again very nice Midwesterner from Iowa. Having the window seat I did enjoy taxiing and our accent into the clouds where I could get a feigning view of Lake Michigan. I watched Man From Uncle on the IFE monitor and thought about why a sequel hasn't been written yet.

    Afterwards I had whatever Lufthansa thought was passable for food and attempted to sleep. I'm fairly confident I didn't really sleep at all despite being incredibly tired from the car work. So I just watched reruns of the Goldbergs off ABC on the IFE Monitor. I would highly recommend that show but for me it reminds me of childhood.

    We landed in Europe shortly after a breakfast service and I was Enamored with the window again on decent at the ribbons of light that were the autobahns around the Rhine region.

    End of Part I: Photos from Part I next followed by part II.
     
  2. Nov 9, 2018 #2

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Conductor

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    Location:
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    IMG_7276.JPG
    New York Sunnyside Yard

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    New York Sunnyside Yard Amtrak side.

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    The Long Island Railroad overtaking us heading into Manhattan.

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    The East River Tunnels from our back window looking into the vestibule.

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    Metro North along the Hudson line.

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    Metro North somewhere in the beautiful Hudson Valley

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    The Lake Shore Limited entering and exiting Bear Mountain Tunnel.

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    New Haven at Poughkeepsie.

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    The Maple Leaf and another P32 at Albany.

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    The Lake Shore Limited New York Section at Albany.

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    The Lake Shore Limited Boston section arriving in Albany late.

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    The Capitol Limited arriving into Toledo right behind us.

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    Overtaking a freight at Elkhart.

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    Rounding a curve along the South Shore Line.

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    The Dan Ryan Expressway.

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    A Norfolk Southern Hybrid locomotive

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    Arriving into Chicago Union Station.

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    BNSF switching out their coach yard in Chicago.

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    The Pere Marquette shoving into the yard.

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    The Capitol Limited arriving into Chicago.

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    Third Out in the Capitol Limited.

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    The California Zephyr shoving into Union Station.

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    The Lincoln Service

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    A Budd sleeper dorm.

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    A Cascades engine in the yard bound for Metra.

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    Chicago's coach yard.

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    Our engine coming to drag us over to track 12
     
  3. Nov 9, 2018 #3

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

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    Wonderful report and pictures! Thank you so much for sharing!
     
  4. Nov 9, 2018 #4

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Conductor

    Joined:
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    IMG_7303.JPG
    Metra Rock Island district from the Amtrak yard

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    The Lake Shore Limited shoving back into Union Station.

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    The Lake Shore Limited shoving back into Union Station.

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    Our car in the yard on track 12

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    Metra arriving into the city in the evening.

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    The Rock Island Heritage Unit from a long distance.

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    The Southwest Chief with four budds on the head end arriving.

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    Silver Rapids

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    Silver Solarium.

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    The private car track from the viaduct.

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    Metra passing from the running track.

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    The Southwest Chief departing.

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    A reflection of a Metra locomotive in the vestibule window.

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    A charger on the Illini

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    Chicago from the St. Charles Airline.

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    NKP 765 in the Rocket Yard

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    Frank Thomas in La Salle ST Station.

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    NKP 765 performing a run by in La Salle St.

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    Metra Rock Island District departing for Joliet.

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    NKP 765 on the afternoon runby.
     
  5. Nov 9, 2018 #5

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Conductor

    Joined:
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    IMG_7323.JPG
    The deadhead back to Joliet.

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    Joe's phone videotaping the deadhead.

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    Joe on the deadhead filming the engine.

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    La Salle St terminal with a pennsy car.

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    Our private train waiting to depart.

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    The North Central Service preparing to leave.

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    Metra F59PH at western avenue. Another yard I've worked out of.

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    F40C's a retired engine still on the roster

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    A United Boeing 737 type aircraft.

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    The CTA under the wing of a B747-8i

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    Canadian National from the sky.

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    My Boeing 747-8i
     
  6. Jun 18, 2019 #6

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

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    Day 8: Europe

    We landed a bit early into Frankfurt which is always a good thing when you are on vacation. Depending on where your gate is in Frankfurt you can walk for a long distance to customs and it just so happened that my flight landed as far down as possible. Which was alright by me after a long flight I needed some exercise.

    I follow the signs to customs, and then to baggage claim and off I go to the Fern Bahnhof or long distance train station. When I get there I had to turn around and go back to baggage claim to find my mother and grandmother who weren’t capable of follow pictogram signs to the train station. When we got to the station we grabbed a quick breakfast in one of the grocery stores in the train station and descended to our track for our train.

    We boarded a modern ICE III variant enroute to Leipzig. It was one of the sets with very little first class seating so we were without a seat till the train emptied out in Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. The scary thing was this train started in Wiesbaden which isn’t that far away and it was standing room only when we boarded. We eventually took seats in the children’s compartment despite not having children because that’s all we could get.

    We relaxed and unwinded on the three hour journey to Leipzig. Along the way I spotted the Wartburg which is the castle Martin Luther translated the Bible in during the reformation. I really had to fight myself to keep from falling asleep between the rhythmic rocking and just being overly exhausted. Our train arrived shortly before eleven right on time and we detrained at the massive and lovely Leipzig Hauptbahnhof.

    We then walked across the street and tram tracks to our hotel where my mother and I dropped our stuff and then went back into town. Our goal every year is to beat jet lag which someone can do if they stay awake till ten PM on the day of arrival. Unfortunately that was not possible. After hiking around the Altstadt (Old Town) for about three hours and grabbing a quick meal at a local fast food restaurant. Then we slept for about three hours waking up again at five.

    After we all woke back up we slowly walked down the cobblestones to the Rathaus to eat at our favorite Leipzig restaurant the Ratskeller. In fact we like it so much we went there quite a few times. We sat outside as always under the ancient arches of the building on a cool early fall evening. I had the schnitzel as always (my European trips could be called tours of schnitzel) and enjoyed myself immensely. After dinner I walked around for a bit now that it was dark taking night photos of several sights. It was not our first visit to Leipzig. But our first spending the night in Leipzig.
     
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  7. Jun 18, 2019 #7

    Seaboard92

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    A very modern and new ICE IV.

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    Our ICE III bound for Dresden.

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    The Frankfurt coach yards.

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    A Hessian Scene.

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    A bit backlit but look at the beautiful steeple.

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    The decor of the children’s suite.

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    Another backlit steeple.

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    Welcome to Leipzig’s Hauptbahnhof. The largest train station by surface area in Europe.

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    The headhouse in Leipzig

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    Downtown Leipzig on the Nikolai Straße
     
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  8. Jun 18, 2019 #8

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    The Nikolai Kirche. Built in 1165 with baroque elements added in the 18th century. However it’s good looks aren’t what it’s known for. In 1989 it was instrumental for the fall of the Socialist Unity Party’s grip on power with the nightly prayers for peace. Which allowed for the Peaceful Revolution to occur.

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    The Mädler Passage. Which is home to one of Johan Wolfgang von Goethe’s favorite taverns. Featured in his book Faust.

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    Leipzig’s downtown.

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    Reichshof Leipzig. Built in the late 1890s to host a trade fair. And the city today is still home to multiple trade fairs.

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    My schnitzel.

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    The Thomaskirche which began construction in 1212 is famous due to its development of music. My least favorite composer Johan Sebastian Bach was the music director from 1723 until his death in 1750. Composing many of his works in this building. Wolfgang Mozart preformed here in May of 1789. And Richard Wagner was baptized here in August of 1813.

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    I actually don’t know which building this is but I like it.

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    Leipzig is lit up every night after dark in the days of freedom.

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    Part of the massive headhouse of the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof.

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    The Flying Hamburger DMU built in the 1930s as Germany’s first diesel powered streamliner. It held the average speed of 77 mph between Hamburg and Berlin until the record was matched and beat by Deutsche Bahn in 1997.

    Can you guys tell Leipzig is a place I would love to live?
     
  9. Jun 18, 2019 #9

    Seaboard92

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    Day 9: Innotrans and the New Train Smell

    I woke up early this morning to get one of the first ICE trains out of Leipzig for the big and beautiful city of Berlin. However we won’t be visiting the Brandenburg Gate or the Wall. We will be going to Innotrans the every other year tradefair at Messe Berlin for the rail industry.

    I was on an ICE I train in my own compartment leaving Leipzig at 5:45 and into Berlin shortly after seven. I had my favorite Chocolate Cake that Deutsche Bahn serves for breakfast as we were passing Lutherstadt Wittenberg where Martin Luther nailed his thesis on the church door. I alighted from the train at Berlin Südkreutz (South Cross) and took a clockwise ringbahn train several stops to the Messe where I got my credentials and went into the trade fair.

    I made a bee line straight for the outdoor rail yard where all of the new equipment is on display. Along the way I passed stand upon stand of everything from toilets, to window shades, to chairs, even to carpets for new trains. After about a fifteen minute walk I made it out to the display tracks. My friend Malcolm would be joining me in an hour. I photographed every inch of the modern trains complete with the new train smell. And Innotrans is the only place it isn’t weird to squat and look at the minute details of a truck assembly, or the frame. In fact that’s encouraged.

    Malcolm joined up with me after a longer commute from a closer distance than me and we proceeded to tour all of the new trains. As well as ride the steam engine they had giving short cab rides. After that we strolled around the various vendors inside picking up all sorts of free swag. I talked to a handful of them about things we need on our chapter cars like window shades, a new toilet system, and a few other minor things. We had a small lunch at some point on this hot day at one of the many eateries inside the event. I stood out from the crowd because I was in my suit whereas a lot of the visitors were a bit more casual than me. I wish I had worn my tennis shoes however.

    At around four PM Malcolm and I left for the S Bahn taking a counter clockwise train back to Südkreutz where we boarded an overcrowded ICE III set back to Leipzig. Neither of us were able to get a seat so we stood for the entire 90 minute ride. We arrived and I gave Malcolm instructions on where to find a glasses store seeing he needed some, and I went to change clothes across the street from the station in my hotel.

    I met up with him again thirty minutes later at the Nikolai Kirche from the Peaceful Revolution when the communist dictatorship and occupation was thrown out. After that a short walk later put us at the Ratskeller where we shared his birthday dinner outside again. After we ate dinner I took him for a walking tour of the Altstadt before taking him back to the Hauptbahnhof to catch an ICE for Berlin and I went back to my hotel.
     
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  10. Jun 18, 2019 #10

    Seaboard92

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    A Deutsche Bahn Regio at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof.

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    My ICE I that whisked me to Berlin. If you want to ride these you need to act soon as all are slated for retirement.

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    Innotrans.

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    The Chinese were well represented this year at Innotrans.

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    The new Siemans long distance coach on display.

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    One of the Alstom displays.

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    Three different EMU’s this year was predominantly regional trains.

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    Lucy the little 0-4-0T steam engine giving rides.

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    The ÖBB CityJet Eco.

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    Inside the CityJet Eco by Siemens
     
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  11. Jun 18, 2019 #11

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    More Innotrans display.

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    A departing ICE at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof

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    Leipzig’s City Hall.

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    The Commerz Bank Leipzig which sits right next to the Thomaskirche.

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    Dispatch we have a problem
     
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  12. Jun 18, 2019 #12

    Seaboard92

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    Day 10: Franconian Cities

    Today Malcolm did a second day visit at Innotrans while I decided I wanted to see a region of the country I’ve not explored as of yet. So I went to Franconia which is a part of Bavaria. And is the home to the Franconian dialect. The unofficial Capitol of Franconia is Nüremburg however I’ve already been there so I concentrated my time on Würzburg, Bamberg, and Coburg. My mother and grandmother would join me for part of the day as they were bound for München (Munich) of which Bamburg is a stop.

    So we rode the train together south. Today would bring me tons of new Rail milage for my atlas of lines because we would be riding on the new high speed line via Erfurt. The ride was fairly fast and uneventful. At some point the conductor came on the intercom advising people due to an accident up ahead we would be rerouting and would become several hours late. Which would have majorly messed my plan up except a few minutes later he announced it had been cleaned up and we will be on the regular route. To which two German businessman commented “#fakenews”. To which I about keeled over laughing.

    I arrived into Bamberg on time and made the connection to the RE bound for Würzburg and settled in for the next hour long ride. Soon after we arrived into the city and I started walking into town. I followed the tram routing into the city and within moments I was surrounded by the history of it all. The Altstadt however is not original because during the war it was 90 percent destroyed over the course of seventeen minutes by the British in March of 45 to break the spirit of the populace. And because Würzburg was and still is a traffic hub.

    However they did an amazing job restoring the baroque feel of the Altstadt. I crossed the Main and walked/hiked up to the castle above the city. That took roughly one hour because the trails to get up are quite long and wind their way up to the top of the hill where the castle lays several hundred feet above the city.

    After grabbing a few photos of the city down below I started my hike down which was significantly faster and shortly afterwards I was sitting at a lovely sidewalk cafe enjoying lunch. Arriving early I was able to beat most of the tourists who were now getting off of their river boats and over powering the city. I then walked back to the train station and boarded a train back to Bamberg.

    Bamberg was first mentioned in 902 and has been an important university and trading town since then. My freshman year of college I almost went here as an exchange student as it was one of three German options. I walked into town imagining what my life would have been like had I studied here instead. I was struck by how many river boat groups were all over the town. Which honestly has caused the town to lose some of its charm as they spread themselves out over the street with no regard to the locals much less the other tourists who can’t get around them.

    I must have bumped into at least ten different groups in my short time here. I managed to see most of the historical sights within about three hours. Looking at my watch I decided I had time for a quick visit to Coburg which is where the British Royal Family is from.

    So I walked back to the train station and caught a train to Coburg and had exactly 90 minutes if I wanted to get back to my hotel tonight on the last train. So I sped walk around the Altstadt and up to the castle which I regret I only saw in the distance as I wanted to make sure I had time to catch my train. But I did manage to get quite the workout in Coburg. I caught a regional train which ran on time to Lichtenfels where I had to connect to another regional train for Bamberg with a ten minute connection to the ICE for Leipzig.

    We arrived into Lichtenfels on time however the connection showed up five minutes late. And on the journey to Bamberg we kept losing time with the tight connection. The moment the doors opened in Bamberg I was sprinting like an Olympian down the platform, down the stairs, under the tracks and up to the next platform. Where the ICE III was just pulling in. I grabbed the first door and took a seat in first class. Of course my mother and grandmother didn’t tell me they were in the second section behind my portion of the train because they didn’t know which section they were in. So I enjoyed a quiet ride on my own to Leipzig. And yes I had the cake again.
     
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  13. Jun 18, 2019 #13

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    IMG_1102.JPG
    A view from the Erfurt-Leipzig high speed line.

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    A view from the Erfurt-Bamberg high speed line.

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    Vineyards and trains what more can someone ask for.

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    Remember trains are wider than the track.

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    Downtown Würzburg.

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    One of the many rebuilt churches in Würzburg.

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    Looking down the tracks towards another rebuilt church.

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    Looking up at the castle from the Main in Würzburg.

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    Looking down from the Castle into Würzburg.

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    Inside one of the rebuilt churches.
     
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  14. Jun 18, 2019 #14

    Seaboard92

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    A street scene in Würzburg.

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    Welcome to Bamberg.

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    Bamberg’s university square.

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    I wonder what the flood insurance must be on the Rathaus from the 1700s is.

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    You can’t crop the tourists out of the photos.

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    Half timbered heaven.

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    One of Bamberg’s many churches.

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    A street scene in Bamberg.

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    Coburg.

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    Coburg under the arch.
     
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  15. Jun 18, 2019 #15

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    Coburg’s Rathaus

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    Sunset over Coburg
     
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  16. Jun 18, 2019 #16

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    Day 11: Riding a Mikado across Thüringen

    Today would be the third steam engine of my trip and one of my favorites actually. Class 41 Mikado (2-8-2) 1114-9 based in Eisenach. I met up with Malcolm on board an ICE from Berlin and off we went to Erfurt to catch the steam excursion. Had we arrived a bit earlier I might have showed him around the city and it’s tourist sights like the Krammerbrucke. But we didn’t have time. He looked for a place to ship a package home with flyers and booms from Innotrans to no avail.

    We photographed the steam engine pulling in before finding our seats on the vintage Reichsbahn equipment that made up our train. Our train being made up of five Deutsche Demokratisch Republik (DDR/GDR) Reichsbahn coaches, and a tool car behind the Mikado. Even though our train was an excursion from the Eisenbahnnostalgie of Thüringen the trains cars belonged to Deutsche Bahn the national operator. As well as the entire excursion crew being Deutsche Bahn Employees.

    Of which is a stark difference compared to American steam excursions where Amtrak sends a conductor, and a pilot engineer. Deutsche Bahn provides three conductors, three costumes staff members for the kids, and two customer service employees for the train. Our excursion which was a one way deadhead move largely operated for school groups and kindergartens between Erfurt and Gera. The passengers then took a Deutsche Bahn regional back to where they boarded after arrival.

    The train set out exactly on time and our 1930s steam locomotive raced a modern ICE III set out of the station as we raced toward Weimar. Malcolm and I stood in a pair of open windows and photographed the scenery without a pane of glass. The DB conductor came by and checked our ticket, offered to sell us a return passage and was on his way. Shortly thereafter the customer service employees were handing out coloring books, crayons, and candy to the majority of the passengers of whom were under the age of ten.

    We had a good clean run along the mainline and branch lines to Gera without delaying any of the scheduled trains at all. And the passengers loved it. Deutsche Bahn really knows how to get good PR because everyone left with a smile. And the brand was well represented on everything the crew handed out.

    After we detrained we took a railbus to Leipzig. Had lunch with my family before heading off on another regional to Cottbus for our next excursion. It was an uneventful ride and shortly we were checking into our Raddison across the street. Which included our transit pass for the city. So off we went exploring cottbus.

    We had dinner in a local bar and watched the local soccer team get beat during a strong thunderstorm before going back to our hotel. I chose to go swimming and there was an old women swimming laps. And being a competitive person I’m like that sounds like fun. I figured I would beat her.

    That didn’t happen she used to be on the Olympic team for the DDR so I got a good work out. Then we met our German friend Christian/Jake who will be joining us for the next steam trip.
     
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  17. Jun 18, 2019 #17

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    IMG_1124.JPG
    Looking out the head end of an ICE near Halle (Salle)

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    Erfurt’s Bahnhofplatz

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    Our train backing into the station.

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    Our Mikado running around the train in the Erfurt Hauptbahnhof.

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    The old and its replacement side by side.

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    Racing an ICE out of town.

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    Rounding one of the many curves on the way to Gera.

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    At a service stop. You can see how many Deutsche Bahn employees they send.

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    A DDR diesel.

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    Our train in the Gera coach yard.
     
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  18. Jun 18, 2019 #18

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    The railbus at Leipzig.

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    Welcome to Gera which feels like it’s still behind the Iron Curtain.

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    Welcome to Gera.

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    A Gera cityscape.

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    Outside the bar we went to for dinner.

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    Gera in the blue hour.
     
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  19. Jun 18, 2019 #19

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    Day 12: Doubleheading to the Czech Republic.

    We woke up at four AM to be on our excursion that departed at five AM. Originally I was slated to be one of the firemen for the first leg but because of a burn advisory our steam locomotives weren’t allowed to run between Cottbus and Dresden. So I took my seat with my friends in one of the fifteen coaches. And we had an Aldi breakfast on our way down to Dresden while a DDR passenger diesel pulled us southeast. We arrived on time and changed motive power leaving our diesel behind for not one but two steam engines. A class 52 Decapod (2-10-0) and a class 35 prairie (2-6-2) were attached and we whistled out.

    The scenery was rather enjoyable like a mixture between North Carolina and the Pacific Northwest. I spent most of the ride in the bar car where they were selling beer for one euro per drink and making brisk business. We had a handful of water stops and then we arrived in Doksy, Czech Republic.

    I walked up to the power and photographed that before walking up to an overpass and photographed the runby. After the runby I walked over to a waiting bus from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic dating back to the 1960s. Which then whisked us off to the Castle Bezdez nearby. After twenty minutes on the bus we were at the foot of the mountain with the castle. After that we hiked up with fifty elderly Germans who were on the bus with us.

    Malcolm huffed and puffed up the mountain trail while all of the Germans just passed him without breaking a sweat. I moved up the steep trail fairly fast as well. After an hour of exploring the ruined castle we started heading back down the trail in a light drizzle on our way down the mountain. We caught our bus and went back to Doksy where the three of us looked for food.

    But no one bothered to tell the city a fifteen car excursion was arriving into the city so all of the restaurants ran out of food before we arrived. So we didn’t manage to eat on the layover. After exploring the town we went over to the train station and waited to re board.

    On our way out of town to the wye we had an engine on both ends of the train. We stopped to take water from a Soviet era fire truck before heading to the German border. Our water stop took a bit too long so when we got to Germany we lost our spot. So we had an hour long stretch stop at the frontier where some passengers left for a regional train back to Dresden earlier.

    After we were able to leave the frontier we went on into Dresden where we sat for an hour trying to switch an engine out. Then we made a fast run back to Cottbus with the smaller prairie. We returned to Cottbus just before one AM and went back to our hotel.

    For the passengers though it was reasonably priced at 60 euros per person including eighteen hours of a double headed steam, with a charter bus to a castle. That’s far better than the prices we charge here which for the Joliet Rocket started at $100 for a half day trip with one steam engine
     
  20. Jun 18, 2019 #20

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    Our excursion at Dresden Neustadt

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    Our vintage Soviet Bloc passenger diesel at Dresden.

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    Our two steam engines at Dresden.

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    A sample of the scenery.

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    Rounding one of the countless curves on the line.

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    Passing a local train.

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    More Soviet Era equipment in use.

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    Does that give you an idea how long we were.

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    A close up on the two engines up front.

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    Czech scenery.
     
  21. Jun 18, 2019 #21

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    Entering Ceska Lipa.

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    More Czech diesels.

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    Our train at Doksy

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    The current backdrop on my phone. At Doksy.

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    Castle Bezdez

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    The hiking trail up to the castle.

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    Castle Bezdez ruins.

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    One of the other tour options on our trip was a steam ship ride on that lake.

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    Looking towards Prague.

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    Castle ruins.
     
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  22. Jun 18, 2019 #22

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    IMG_1161.JPG
    Looking out over the ruins.

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    Our Soviet era bus.

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    Doksy downtown.

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    The south end of our train.

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    A meet in rural Doksy.

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    The Soviet era fire truck that came to fill us up with water.

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    Rounding the wye

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    On to another meet.

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    At the German frontier.

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    Out of slot and cooling our heels
     
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  23. Jun 18, 2019 #23

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    Isn’t steam heat awesome.

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    Nothing beats steam heat.

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    An East German conductor watches passengers loading. Making sure none have plans to go west.

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    At Dresden

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    A once common scene here in Dresden
     
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  24. Jun 18, 2019 #24

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    Day 13: The Berlin Children’s Railway

    Today we woke up around eight and checked out of our hotel. And crossed the street and had breakfast in the train station. Christian/Jake who was driving back to Frankfurt brought me a small present which was a model Amtrak F unit. Then Malcolm and I boarded our ODEG RE for Berlin.

    That was a mostly uneventful trip for the most part at least till Berlin. Due to track work our train which normally would take the Stadtbahn was avoiding the main station. So for me to reach my hotel I detrained at Berlin Gesundbrun and transferred to an ICE II for one stop to the main station. Up four levels and I’m on a S Bahn for West Berlin. I drop my bags off at Hotel Bristol and walk back to the station for a train into East Berlin.

    I went to lunch along the river Spree at the Berliner Republik and had a schnitzel which was good. Always a good time to be had sitting outside. Afterwards I boarded a train at the border station of Freserichstraße to head further east. I transferred trains at Ostbahnhof formally the Hauptbahnhof of East Berlin to the S3. Malcolm got on with a bike and off we went into Wulheide Park. We met our friend from NARP/RPA Brian another one of the young members here.

    Together the three of us explored this little explored park that was once the Soviet Young Pioneers Children Park. Complete with the Berlin Children’s Railway. What makes this railroad unique is the engine crew, obs, track crew, signed crew, station crew, and all personal are made up of children between 8-18 years of age. It is a training program dating back to the Soviet days to educate children interested in industrial professions. They operate on 7.5 Killometers of track with a 600 mm gauge.

    They own and maintain 4 steam locomotives, 5 diesel electric locomotives, and multiple passenger cars. As well as four signal towers (switches are not hand thrown), multiple gated or signaled crossings, and five stations. It’s already a cool operation for a park and out of this world with children running it under little supervision.

    So we started hiking towards the Badsee junction seeing that’s where the next scheduled train was due. And Malcolm wanted to write a magazine article for trains magazine on the unique railroad so we went to where there would be people for him to interview. While Brian and Malcolm interviewed the tower man at Badsee I photographed their 100 year old steam engine going over the main park path into Badsee junction. In fact their interview accidentally delayed the train a few minutes as the towerman was so interested in the interview he forgot to line the train.

    After that Malcolm went to the Hauptbahnhof of the Children’s Railway which is an intermodal stop between trams, City Bus, and the Parkeisenbahn. While Brian and I caught up walking around the grounds admiring how cool and semi abandoned the park was. It was a light rain but we didn’t mind as we walked around photographing the three trains the children were running this day. Eventually to reach Malcolm again we bought a ticket and rode the Children’s Railway to the main station where he got on. And made a round trip or two in the rain.

    We walked over to the FEZ which is a children’s museum to use the restroom before leaving the park by streetcar. At the s Bahn interchange stop we bought some fries and caught an s Bahn for alexanderplatz. I thought they would enjoy Loxx which was similar to Minitur Wunderland in the Alexa. However there was no sign of the large model Railway anywhere. So we took the best cheap tour of Berlin a person can get. The 100 bus.

    Which is a city bus that runs from Alexanderplatz to Zoologischer Garten and happens to pass a lot of the key sights. All for the price of a regular bus ticket. When we arrived at the Zoo I thought a fun place to go would be the Monkey Bar that I’ve heard so much about. It’s a bar that overlooks the monkey enclosure of the Berlin Zoo. So we had dessert and drinks in this hip bar.

    Afterwards we went back to the Hauptbahnhof to put Brian on his IC back to his home in Münster. Then I went and got a burger before going to bed at the Bristol
     
  25. Jun 18, 2019 #25

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
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    The ICE II I took one stop.

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    The Swissotel in West Berlin.

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    The remains of the Kaiserwilhelmgedachteskirche

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    The river spree from the S Bahn.

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    The view from my lunch place.

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    The Bahnhof Badsee

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    One of the diesel electric trains running down the mainline.

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    Coming into the Badsee Junction under a full head of steam.

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    Coming out of the grade crossing and underpass under the Deutsche Bahn mainline.

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    One of the diesel trains heading towards the S Bahn intermodal Station.
     

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