Friday, August 18, 2017

In vollen Zuegen

Friday morning, it's almost time for the Intercity to Stuttgart to arrive at Zurich HB. The Minibar is being delivered, too.

45 minutes later, I finally managed to take a nice picture of the Rheinfall in Schaffhausen with Schlössli Wörth, the actual falls, and the Rheinbrücke where the rail line to Winterthur crosses the river. I've come through here several times, but usually in the dark, or the weather was bad, or I forgot to pay attention.

When I got off the Intercity in Singen (Hohenthwiel), I quickly realized something odd was going on. The Intercity to Stuttgart ends in Horb, 67km before its destination.

As usual, the SBB Re4/4 II was cut off and a DB BR101 coupled to the trainl for the rest of the journey north.

The leaving Intercity revealed a wide variety of freight trains on the sidings in Singen. This is highly unusual, ... and then it hit me. The engineer of the RE to Stuttgart confirmed my suspicion: These are all rerouted freight trains that would normally travel down the rhine valley from Karlsruhe to Basel, which is now closed for several weeks because of a tunnel construction mishap near Rastatt that rendered a section of this very, very busy mainline unusable. DB is rerouting freight through France, as well as along the east side of the Black Forest over the Gaeubahn. Since this line is partially single track, the many freight trains are displacing various passenger trains throughout the day.

I'd guess between DB, SBB, and Hectorrail there where more than a dozen extra locomotives stationed in Singen to handle all the additional freight passing through here.

The RegionalExpress to Stuttgart ends in Herrenberg, so the passengers of the InterCity that left 15 minutes ago will detrain in Horb, get picked up by the RE, which gets everybody to Herrenberg. From there they will need to take the S-Bahn to Stuttgart.

7 minutes until departure of my InterRegio Express to Ulm.

It turned out this was a very popular train formed with two BR612 Diesel units. With all my luggage I was happy to sit in the stair well at the end of one train set. I learned later that these units use tilting technology to achieve higher speeds on the curvy Bodenseeguertelbahn.

From Radolfzell to Friedrichshafen I enjoyed the views of Lake Constance. 

After Friedrichshafen the train takes the Suedbahn to Ulm. One last view of the lake.

Now that we had this super-touristy region behind us, the crowds were gone, too, and I got at least a folding seat.

... which I upgraded to a real seat 20 minutes later. Gorgeous summer scenery was going by outside the windows.

In Ulm a rather dilapidated pair of BR218s pulled IC2012 from Oberstdorf to Stuttgart. An odd combination to see these old locomotives before shiny white InterCity cars.

The RegionalExpress to Crailsheim pulled in on time, was quiet, comfortable, and reasonably empty. The BR611 in the background will leave for Neustadt (Schwarzwald) in a little while.

I arrived in Sontheim a.d. Brenz on time, and managed to catch the departure shot with the nicely restored station building before the train got too far away.

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