9th May 2016 - Leaping round Leipzig
Monday 9th May 2016
We had one day to spare in the Leipzig area before moving on so decided to start off with the new diesel hauled service on the Leipzig / Chemnitz RE service, a line which we had done many times around the turn of the century but only once to the best of our recollections since the class 219s finished on the route. Since then, the service had been in the hands of the vile class 612 units until the last timetable change when the route was taken over by Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn who drafted in the three DE2000 locos displaced from the Hamburg / Westerland line plus a couple of others.
We needed one of the ex NOB ones plus the two new ones but the 8:20 departure was one of the locos that we'd previously had so we went for a walk whist waiting for the next one an hour later, noting a required class 112 on an RE service to Magdeburg and one of our last two class 182s on S2. As we had diagrams for the latter it was easy to take note of what it should be working for the rest of the day and although we didn't have any class 112 diagrams it wasn't hard to work out what it should do.
Back to the diesels and the 9:20 was one of the new hired in class 223s so that was the next move sorted. The third diagram was passed shortly after leaving Leipzig and was the other hired in loco so we had to decide whether to double back from Chemnitz for it or wait for an hour until it caught us up. In the event, we arrived at Chemnitz to the sight of a required class 143 heading towards Zwickau which was leaving in two minutes so it was a question of leap first and ask questions later. We worked out that there was a minus two minutes at Hohenstein-Ernsttahl onto a train from Hof or plus thirteen minutes onto an RB service from Zwickau which had a rather tight plus six onto the Leipzig train back at Chemnitz. Naturally trains are never late when you want them to be and the Hof train passed just before we arrived at Hohenstein-Ernsttahl so we had to wait for the RB from Zwickau.
A small kiosk selling drinks and snacks was noticed just outside the station so we decided to get a cup of tea whilst waiting, nearly a big mistake as we hadn't realised that the serving lady needed to boil the kettle to make it. The saying about a watched pot never boiling sprung to mind but it did eventually and we had a fast walk back to the platform only to find that the train was running five minutes late, not especially helpful with only six minutes to connect. Just for a change the train was slightly less than five minutes late, in Germany when you see that a train is late you can usually double the time that is shown on the screens, and we arrived at Chemnitz with two minutes to spare, just long enough to dash through the subway towards the furthest bay platform where the Leipzig train was.
Time for lunch at Leipzig then operation catch-up to get the 182 and 112 that we'd seen earlier which was quite easy, catch the S2 towards Dessau and get off at a station where the RE also stopped. We had considered going to Bitterfeld but changed our minds when the S-Bahn service arrived at Delitzsch unt Bf where two class 232 "Kolumna" locos were spotted stabled opposite the platforms so we got off to get some photos and saw a third one further away attached to a blue shunter. Regarding the two locos next to the station, one was rather faded and there was something slightly strange about the other one which we couldn't quite work out until we stood directly opposite and realised that it was possible to see right through the side windows, there was no engine in there which made it sit a little higher than the other one.
We took the following RE service to Bitterfeld where there was what we first thought to be a class 143 on two double deck coaches but it was actually a class 114 which was required for haulage so we took that to Wolfen for the Magdeburg to Leipzig RE back. Items of interest at Bitterfeld were a class V60 loco on a short tank train with another loco of the same type stabled along with a class 294.
114.004 caught us up and we took this train to Halle to see what was around there these days after the invasion of new units last December and were pleasantly surprised to see that S7 was still hauled with one of the two locos on the route being required for haulage. There was not much else around and with half of the station being closed for rebuilding so we waited until the next IC which was one of the new double deck sets heading to Norddeich and took this to Magdeburg with the intention of catching another IC train back to Leipzig.
Part one was accomplished and on arrival at Magdeburg we made our way to the IC for Leipzig only to notice the platform indicator flip over to "zug fällt aus" (cancelled) as we walked up to view the loco number. We had earlier noticed that there was an IC from Halle to Koln that was cancelled but we didn't think that it would affect our moves though maybe it was a lack of conductor or driver who worked both trains to and from Magdeburg. Luckily we noticed the cancellation in time to rush down to other end of the station where there was an RE leaving a minute later in the opposite direction going via Dessau, taking 25 minutes longer. The loco was the same class 114 that we'd had earlier and proved our suspicions, taking into account the lack of diagrams, that there were only two locos doing the Leipzig / Magdeburg RE trains. The route via Dessau was worth doing as well with quite a bit of interest to see, including a couple of passing freights.
It was now time for dinner so we went to Auerbachs Keller again which was a lot busier tonight but we were still served quickly and efficiently meaning we could finish off the track through the new city tunnel to Stötteritz and Connewitz, both of which had changed almost beyond recognition from when we last in the area 17-odd years ago.
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