4th September 2015 - Bayerischer Wald
Friday 4th September 2015
Time to move on this morning but only a relatively short distance to Passau so it was a choice of trying to work in a circuitous move involving some class 218s, dumping the bags and seeing what new locos we could scratch in (probably not many) or go straight there. We decided on the latter as there were two ALEX departures at 8:44 and 9:01 and we hoped that at least one of them would produce a new class 183 but no such luck so we caught the first train and got off at Landshut in the hope of seeing something worth photographing during the 45 minutes wait for the RE to Passau.
The 8:44 should have gone through to Prague but was replaced by a bus between Neufahrn and Regensburg and there was a minor farce when we arrived at Landshut. A lady, encumbered by suitcases, a child and a dog got off the train, flapped around on the platform, got back on a different coach, off the train again, then on; we were too far away to hear what the problem was but suspected that she wanted to go to Prague and was confused about where to get off for the bus. Landshut didn’t disappoint regarding items of rail interest either with 218.387 in old red livery on a ballast train and 212.100 in the yard.
The RE to Passau was hauled by 146.241 rather than the expected class 111 but although there was more chance of us scoring a new 146 it just had to be the one that we had between Frankfurt and Würzburg back in January! Still, it could have been worse as a couple of trains that we passed on this circuit were EMUs. Although we had done the line between Landshut and Regensburg numerous times, the track towards Plattling was new for us and quite interesting it was too with semaphore signals and some freight traffic, notably a BMW factory at Dingolfing.
We arrived at Passau nearly 10 minutes late following some delays on the single line and set off on the short walk to our hotel (Garni Herdegen) but the room wasn’t ready so we left our bags in reception and returned to the station where 146.241 was waiting with the RE back to München. We toyed with the idea of catching the Austrian REX train to Linz as it was a loco-hauled “City Shuttle” set but it was parked out of the way in the distance due to a lack of platforms whilst the station was being rebuilt so we decided to stick to “plan A” and carry on with the track bashing. Of course the loco on the REX was a required 1144, a fact we only discovered as we went past on the German RE, such is life.
Anyway, it was about time we did some new track in Germany so it was off to Plattling where we changed to catch a train to Bayerisch Eisenstein along a line which we should have been doing tomorrow on a special train but it had been re-routed. It was a scenic line, complete with some large bridges and a loop to gain height over the rolling hills, ending at a huge station on the Czech border.
As befitting a border station there was a shed, now a museum, and a space which looked as if there was once a fair-sized yard here. We had wondered why there did not appear to be any cross-border services between Germany and the Czech Republic and the reason was readily apparent, there was no need as both stations, though connected by rail, were a matter of yards from each other, albeit with different names; Bayerisch Eisenstein in Germany and Železná Ruda-Alžbětín in the Czech Republic. In fact the station building was one single large building which looked as if they were a mirror image of each other with a line drawn diagonally across the platform to show the actual border between the two countries.
There were two hauled trains on the Czech side, both hauled by class 754 “goggles” diesels, and we did wonder about investigating if a quick trip could be done on one of these but decided that it would be better to continue the track bashing in Germany. We had about 30 minutes before the return journey so had a walk down the road to the museum which, much to our surprise, was open and cost €4.50 to get in, it was also possible to pay in Czech Koruna. Museums are not normally our “thing” but this one had somehow piqued our interest so we decided to stay the extra hour and have a look round. The track could wait for another day as we only had time to do one of the two branches (to Bodenmais and Grafenau) today and there was a “tourist” line between Gotteszell and Viechtach to do as well.
The museum was well worth a visit, nicely laid out and with a good collection of rolling stock in the roundhouse which looked as if it had been totally rebuilt. There were also some signalling items and various other bits and bobs in glass cases and a lot of wall mounted boards telling the history of the local railways which somebody had put a lot of time and effort into. There was also a very nice collection of photos featuring lots of class 211 / 212 / 218 taken (we think) in the 1980s / early 1990s but, unfortunately, there were no dates on any of them.
Back at the station, there was a different class 754 in the Czech side, both the locos that were there previously had gone but there wasn’t really time to walk all the way to the far end of the Czech station so we contented ourselves with photographing the bright green DMU on the German side in the sunshine against the backdrop of the huge station building.
It was another nice run back to Plattling for a connection onto our old friend 146.241 which returned us to Passau where we were held outside the station for a couple of minutes whilst a freight ran through one of the few remaining through tracks. The RE terminated in a temporary bay platform and we could see 1144.004 in the far platform with the REX to Linz, “clawback” time; but there were only three minutes to get over there and it was just not possible in the time available with the number of people getting off our train. It was rather galling as if we had gone into the main platform as we did when we arrived from München then we would have been next to the steps and probably had enough time to get across; it would only have taken 35 minutes to go to Schärding and back!
Never mind, we had an early start tomorrow morning so it was back to the hotel to officially check in then a short walk to the nearby Bayerischer Löwe for slap-up meal.
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