Saturday, November 06, 2010

Introducing the Welztalbahn

So, I need to test the yard and freight arrangements in Emsingen.

And I still have the tracks around Steinle covered with tape. Just moving cars around in Emsingen didn't sound too interesting, or useful, so I came up with a schedule of trains I could run on my layout, which also happens to more firmly place locations on the map.

To recap, Emsingen and Talheim are located along the fictional Welztalbahn in the south-west Black Forest. The Welztalbahn provides the shortest link from Freiburg to Hausach on the Schwarztalbahn and on to Stuttgart, via Kinzigtal and Gaeubahn. North of Emsingen, an unelectrified branch line serves the Prechtal.

Even though the Welztalbahn is electrified and built out as a single track mainline, due to its tight curves and steep grades it has lost considerable interregional traffic to other routes in the region.
If you take a look at a map of the south-western Black Forest region, you will notice the real-world Elztal, and its respective rail line. My Welztalbahn is located in the same area, but does include the planned but never built track to connect Elztal with Hausach on the Schwarzwaldbahn. Hence providing an excuse to run heavy freights, and regional passenger traffic. Only Emsingen and Talheim are actually modeled, the remaining destinations mentioned below are represented by staging.
Nevertheless, there are several regularly scheduled regional trains on the line, plus local traffic.

There is at least one daily Eilzug Stuttgart-Freiburg and back.
Commuter service runs between Emsingen and Freiburg. There is local service from Prechtal to Emsingen using a Schienenbus and, during commute hours, on to Freiburg.

Two pairs of heavy freight trains are regularly seen on the Welztalbahn. An oil tanker train running from Basel to Freudenstadt and returning empty, as well as a gravel and rock train from Schramberg to Freiburg, returning empty.

A local freight (Nahgueterzug, Ng) services Emsingen once daily. It arrives from Freiburg in the morning, and returns from Hausach late in the afternoon. The industries in Talheim are serviced with a transfer run (Uebergabe) from Emsingen, i.e. the Ng drops cars for Talheim in Emsingen.
Of course, aside from providing visual interest, the purpose of the passenger and freight trains is to make the job of switching the Ng and Ueb a bit more challenging, since the through track, and sometimes even the house track in Talheim and Emsingen need to be kept open for passing trains. This is particularly challenging in Talheim, due to limited trackage, where I usually end up using Track 2 to temporarily hold cars while switching. 

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