Friday, September 30, 2016


I didn't make it to the Little Mermaid, but they have a replica in the transit hall at the airport. Not quite the surroundings of the real thing, but better than nothing...

As we boarded, they were still fueling the plane.

Row 30 seat F on flight SK 935. Not quite as generous as seat A in the same row on the inbound flight. There is also an aisle offset as the seating transitions from SAS Plus to SAS Economy, which creates awkward navigating challenges for the food cars, and I was always a bit worried about people walking by when I had drinks on my table. Overall, while this seat still has a lot of space, it's not quite as nice as the window seats in the same row.

Food also fell off a bit compared to the inbound flight. The main meal after take-off was good on both flights (love the fresh buns!), though I enjoyed the breakfast much more than the heated tomato/red peppers/dough thingy we got today.
I picked up the car at the airport and made it home alive in Silicon Valley commute hours traffic. It took me "only" 2 hours to go from SFO to south San Jose. After a couple hours with the kids and dinner, I crashed at 8pm after being awake for almost 26 hours with only a couple "power naps" in-between.


Super-pretty wooden arrival hall at main station 
I have a layover of almost 5 hours, so I planned for taking the train from the airport the city center and have breakfast in Copenhagen. The train ride takes about 15 minutes. Trains run every 20 minutes.

The train from the airport. There are no longer direct trains to Sweden/Malmo due to the refugee situation. For travel to Sweden passports are being checked at the airport station.

I grabbed some danish (hah!) at Andersen's Bakery next to Tivoli across from the main station and walked towards the city center.

Town Hall 

Morning sun at Christiansborg Slotsplatz 
Borsen (the old stock exchange)

Nyhavn is an inlet with lots of pretty, colorful houses. This is as far as I got on my walk. 

I misestimated how far away the Little Mermaid is from the main station, so I took the metro from Kongens Nytorv to Norreport Station and headed back to the main station. Several trains ran late, so I got to take a few more photos here.

The airport train has arrived. Back to the airport we go!

I'm  now in the transit hall and head down to the gate. Boarding starts in 15 minutes.


Yawn. It's way too early. Alarm went off at 3:15, by 3:45 we where on the road.

Flight departing at 6:00am.

1.5 hours and a short nap later I'm back in Copenhagen.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bad German is Spreading

I almost went into conniptions at the exit of Breuninger Garage in Stuttgart. The madness is spreading. Not surprising, really. The same manufacturer Scheidt&Bachman makes the payment machines at Stuttgart Hbf. Too bad that a German company doesn't speak proper German.

The Last Day

Farmers Market at Marktplatz in Stuttgart
It's the last day of this trip. We headed to Stuttgart for some shopping, including a visit to Modellbahn Center Schueler, where I spent almost as much time chatting as I did browsing the store. Very nice people, great selection. Lots of inspiration. I will be back.

Flower Market at Schiller Platz

The lunch at Alte Kanzlei was excellent. Angebratene Maultauschen mit Ei, gruener Salat, und Kartoffelsalat. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo. ... Still salivating when thinking about it, though.

On the way back to the car we took a quick peek inside Markthalle. Lots of booths with fancy foods in an architecturally interesting setting.

Another place I haven't been to before --- even though it is really close to where we live --- is Eisenbahntreffpunkt Schweikhardt in Waiblingen. The store is well known in the Stuttgart area and beyond, for good reason. I didn't remember to take a photo inside. Think of a small super market (for those of you in the U.S.: about the size of a typical Trader Joe's) and instead of rows of shelves filled with food, imagine rows of shelves filled with model railroad stuff.  Rolling stock from all major and smallish German manufacturers in scales from Z to G, the respective buildings, kits, electronics, etc. I was in sensory overload.

Next to the store there is a nice garden railroad, operated and maintained by a local Garden Railroad Club. Several trains can be run across the layout with push buttons. The layout is obviously set up for operations, would be fun to try that out at some point in time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Marbach am Neckar

Marbach am Neckar is known as "Schillerstadt". Friedrich Schiller, the famous German poet, was born 1759 in the house above.

Schiller wasn't the only famous son of this town. Tobias Mayer's birth house also still stands, and has been lovingly restored.

Walking up and down the hills in the Altstadt is fun. I had forgotten how pretty Marbach is. Well worth a visit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bahnhof Uslar in the morning

Uslar station is located on a secondary rail line between Northeim and Ottbergen, known as the "Sollingbahn", since it traverses the mountainous area of the Solling in southern Lower Saxony.

Like so many stations all over Germany, the station building in Uslar is no longer used to support railroad operations, and the tracks have been "optimized" for years. Pretty much everything railroad related that used to be here has been ripped out over the last 50 years. At least so far there is still a passing track in place.

The rail line touches the town of Uslar only tangentially. A long time ago there was a branch from here to a station closer to the town center ("Stadtbahnhof") and on to Schoenhagen, which fell into disuse for passenger service in the late 1950's and freight service in the early 1970's. Ever since there was bus service from the station on the outskirts of town. Today, passenger trains run only every 2 hours or so in each direction, so most of the time, the area in front of the station looks like this.

I guess it's only a matter of time until even this service will disappear.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Road Trip to Uslar im Solling

Old Town Hall
It's always nice to return to the home town of my parents. The plan was to visit my aunt, whom I haven't seen for years. I picked up some cake, and took a few minutes to look for photogenic opportunities. There were many to choose from ...

Fountain at Old Town Hall
The old school house. Now a museum.
Church and the New Town Hall
Lange Strasse and Hotel Menzhausen
My digs for the night: Gasthaus Johanning in Eschershausen.
I've been coming here for family parties ever since I can remember.
Morning in Eschershausen.
Aunt Barbara and me in the morning sun before I head back south.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Schwaebische Waldbahn Welzheim - Schorndorf

Continuing with the general theme of the last week, today's excursion took us to the Schwaebische Waldbahn (Swabian Forest Railway) between Schorndorf and Welzheim. Trains run 3 times on Sundays alternating between steam and Diesel operation. Today was a Diesel day.
Today's 2nd train has left Schorndorf 10 minutes ago, and is running on the Wieslauf Valley floor near Miedelsbach towards Rudersberg. This is a typical train for this line from the end of the steam era to the end of operation by Deutsche Bahn in the 1990's: A class 212 pulling a baggage car Pwghs-54 and one or more Bn "Silberlinge" 2nd class passenger cars for local service.

45 Minutes later 212 084 is pulling hard on the mountain section between Rudersberg and Welzheim.

After crossing the road from Schorndorf to Welzheim at Breitenfuerst, the train has only 2.5 km left to its final destination Welzheim.

As we caught up with the train at Welzheim, the crew had set out benches and a beer table for lunch on the station platform.

The Welzheim station building was built following a variation of the standard Wuerttemberg station plans similar to Murrhardt or Sulzbach, and was remodeled after Deutsche Bahn sold the buildings.

Just like on the Murrbahn, the track was built with steel ties. More recent reconstruction of turnouts used wood ties. Modern upgrades generally use concrete ties.

Lunch is over. It's time to head back down to Schorndorf. We come along for the ride.

The trip through the forest is a lot of fun and the views of the Wieslauf Valley are very nice. I tried to take several panoramic shots that might be useable as backdrops at some later time.

Once we left the forest, there were apple trees and garden plots everywhere.

Starting in Rudersberg, there is regular train service on the line and the line is fully signaled with automatic block authority. The conductor checks his smart phone for the time before requesting a green signal for departure.

Riding the train is fun! 
A large old factory is located right next to the train station in Schorndorf.

We got dropped at the station platform at track 5 in Schorndorf, and the train performed a switching move to a runaround track nearby to get the locomotive on the other end of the train. Here it is, arriving back at track 5. The conductor is busy with setting a switching route which disables the Indusi magnet so that the train can pull into track 5 without triggering the emergency brakes due to positive train control.

On the way to Schorndorf I noticed a couple nice church steeples but wasn't fast enough to take a decent photo, so I paid attention on the way back to Welzheim. Here's the Lutheran church in Haubersbronn.

And the Lutheran church in Rudersberg, not far from the workshops of the WEG, which operates passenger service on the lower end of the Wieslauftalbahn.

We're back on the mountain section and start the climb towards Welzheim surrounded by Streuobstwiesen (meadow orchards).

A signature scene on this line is the Struempfelbachviaduct, a curved viaduct built from pounded concrete, 122 m long, 25 m high with six arches, on a tight 200 m radius and a gradient of about 2%. There was a group of a dozen people on the north end of the viaduct taking photos as the train squeals across.

We arrived at Laufenmuehle ahead of schedule, so there was enough time for me and the crew to take pictures of the train in a pretty setting.

Back at Welzheim, the crew is preparing for the runaround move to get to the other end of the train.

While waiting for the turnout to be unlocked, the crew is taking a break and refresh at the water column.

We headed back to Breitenfuerst for coffee and cake at the station Bistro & Cafe,  as well as some more photos. The train cars in this photo sit on a disconnected track and  are used as eating area, kitchen, and storage for the Bistro. The longer car looks like a Bm fast passenger car, the rear car was a BD3yg 3-axle "Umbauwagen".

Platform detail at Breitenfuerst
The last train of the day to Schorndorf
Goodbye. This was fun.