29th August 2016 - Heading North
Monday 29th August 2016
It was only a brief visit to Wien on this occasion and it was time to move on, for a considerable distance as we needed to be in Sweden by the weekend. The main train of the day was to be the 12:27 from Praha as it would take us straight to Hamburg where we were staying tonight so we had to make sure that we would be there in good time. This meant catching the 7:09 Railjet, not our train of choice as the 8:09 EC would have been more interesting but we deemed a tight connection at Břeclav and 20 minutes to change trains at Praha coupled with engineering works en route to great a risk.
Of course the loco on the Railjet had to be the one that we'd had to Břeclav on Friday but needs must. Our first class ticket was most welcome as that section never got anywhere near full, unlike 2nd class where there were very few spare seats. We got through Brno quite easily considering a couple of platforms were closed and carried on, through a band of rain which was forecast, arriving at Praha 8 minutes late. The main station was still undergoing renovation with a couple of platforms out of use and shot blasting continuing on the overall roof so we chose a platform to go and "veg" at the end of away from the noise; luckily the rain had stopped by now.
As usual, the platform for our train was not shown until shortly before departure time (on one of the ones without an escalator, really useful for a busy international train). It looked as if the train was going to be busy so we were glad that we had reserved some seats but, naturally, these were the rubbish ones next to a window pillar. We thought that the best course of action would be to sit in them anyway and see what was available once everyone had settled in.
The EC we had contemplated catching was 20 minutes late and we saw it arriving at the time our train should have departed; they did hold the connection and we left 16 minutes late but were pleased that we had avoided all that stress and rushing around by arriving earlier.
A required ČD class 371 meant that we kept up our record of having at least one new loco for haulage a day, there would be next to no chance of getting anything new from Dresden. We passed through some more rain as we ran alongside the river Labe but the sun had re-appeared by the time we crossed into Germany. The loco change at Dresden gave us an opportunity for a leg-stretch and to make a note of the class 101 with a bonus that we saw two vacant seats next to a window and facing in the correct direction so we moved all our baggage down a few rows.
After departing, the train came to an abrupt halt after travelling around a train length and stood for a few minutes before setting off again with no explanation forthcoming. The coaches were all ČD ones, complete with one of their excellent restaurant cars so it was an ideal opportunity to have a meal rather than wait until we arrived at Hamburg when it would be after our normal evening dining time. There is usually no room for luggage in restaurant cars and we didn't want to leave anything unattended so we went to eat individually, using up some of the Czech Koruna that we still had plenty of.
The direct route from Dresden to Berlin was closed due to engineering works and instead of turning right towards Großenhain and Elsterwerda we carried on nearly to Riesa, turning off at Zeithain which got us a short stretch of new track to Röderau. The section of line we now took via Falkenberg (Elster) low level is freight only but we had previously covered it from Riesa on the last IR service in Germany which ran between Chemnitz and Berlin and we think it was the last booked passenger service to use the section between Riesa and Falkenberg (Elster) Low Level.
The train filled up a bit after leaving Berlin but couldn't be described as wedged, just one reason that we prefer to travel in 1st class on these longer journeys and we arrived at Hamburg seven late; not bad considering the loco had a couple of "hissy fits" along the way apart from the one leaving Dresden and there were long term engineering works on the approach to Hamburg as well.
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Recent Posts1st September 2016 - The Terrible Twins 31st August 2016 - Oops a daisy 30th August 2016 - Sylt Shuttle Plus 29th August 2016 - Heading North 28th August 2016 - Mistelbach Heizhausfest 27th August 2016 - A Nostalgic Return 26th August 2016 - Class Cleared 25th August 2016 - The Best Laid Plans....... 24th August 2016 - In search of More Diesels 23rd August 2016 - Heading Back East