7th September 2015 - Unexpected Meeting
Monday 7th September 2015
Following two days of early starts we decided that it was time for a lie-in so we had a leisurely breakfast and wandered across to Hamburg Hbf for the 9:20 IC to Westerland (Sylt). We had intended to find a seat in Dagebüll Mole portion at the front of the train but there were several groups of school children of varying ages on the platform and the front two coaches looked to be very busy, so we trundled off down to the 1st class at the rear and managed to secure a compartment to ourselves. One of us would have had to take a walk down there before Itzehoe in any case to check the number of the class 101 loco which was on the rear of the train.
Once settled in, we sent a text to our friend from Austria who we knew was in Germany and heading in the same direction as we were eventually (ie Sweden) and were utterly withered when we got a reply within a couple of minutes saying that he was heading to Niebüll on IC2314, the very train that we were on! A further text was sent to say that we were on the same train and where we were sitting and a couple of minutes later, the compartment door slid open and we had company.
Sitting in the rear of the train meant that a walk was necessary at Itzehoe to get the numbers of the pair of 218s but we were nearly flattened in a rush of children trailing suitcases along the platform; we guessed that they had wanted the Dagebüll Mole portion but got in the Westerland coaches at Hamburg in error. We had considered going to Dagebüll Mole as well but as the two coaches were already well filled before the latest influx we decided to hang around at Niebüll instead, a location that we never tire of.
After waving off our friend who was heading to Denmark via Esbjerg we hung around soaking up the atmosphere with the intention of catching the 13:01 departure to Westerland but it when it turned up it only had five of the older type coaches. As these were largely of the compartment type with limited capacity and there was a good coach load worth of children waiting on the platform we decided to give that train a miss and have a laugh as the whole group crowded round one door trying to get on the train, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there was another door in the next coach a couple of feet away, let alone further options at the opposite ends of the coaches; “one door train syndrome” at its finest!
One hour later we were still enjoying ourselves in the lovely sunny weather but it was a case of having to get the 14:01 to Westerland or we wouldn’t be going at all on this trip. Perversely, this train consisted of the usual six modern coaches plus a further four tacked onto the front and was comparatively empty compared to the one an hour previously. DE2700.07 and DE2000.01, both required, were in the carriage sidings at Westerland and we had previously worked out that the DE2000 type loco outside the shed at Husum was also required so with three out of five “needs” being parked up, the bashing Gods were not being kind today.
There was just enough time at Westerland to grab an ice cream and get on the last IC departure of the day with a different pair of class 218s to the ones which we had caught this morning but just as the train was about to leave, DE2000-01 arrived in the opposite platform. Rather than leap off the IC in a panic, we decided to stay put and get off at Niebüll and wait for the RE service there, then to change again at Elmshorn to ensure that we ended up at Hamburg Hbf rather than Hamburg-Altona.
It was time for dinner by the time we got back to Hamburg so we ate at our favourite steak restaurant, “Block House”, before doing a couple of moves involving some unexpected (to us) class 143s to aid digestion.
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