Rhein River Valley Part 1


The Left Bank at Boppard and Vicinity—September 2013.

Germany’s Rhein offers one of the World’s great railway experiences. Here busy double track railways occupy both sides of the river, largely in sight of one another. This narrow picturesque valley is dotted with old villages, castles, churches and blanketed with vineyards which adds to its charm and make for more interesting photographs.

Germany ICE high speed train.
An ICE train glides northward along the Rhein as morning mists give way to sun. Canon EOS 7D photo.

For the all the challenges of wandering down lightly travel rural branch lines, or seeking out unusual, peculiar and elusive railway operations, sometimes it’s nice to get ‘a fix’ and go to a place where you will see a great volume and variety of trains in a comfortable setting.

The Rhein in early September hit the spot. The weather was perfect; a mix of sun and mist made for great lighting conditions, while temperatures were comfortable. No rain, no heavy wind. And best of all every few minutes a train comes rolling up or down the river.

Historically, the line on the west side of the river, the ‘Left Bank,’ was almost exclusively a passenger line and featured a continuous parade of Regional, IC, EC, and ICE trains, while the ‘Right Bank’ carried freight and an hourly local service.

Today, there are fewer IC/EC/ICE trains on the Rhein as many through services run on the high-speed line between Köln and Frankfurt. While IC/EC/ICE trains still operate about once an hour in each direction (plus local stopping services) now there are more paths for freights on the Left Bank which makes the line more interesting and more varied.

Boppard is located south of Koblenz on a elbow bend and allows for a variety of angles as the sun swings around. I’ve found from previous trips that Boppard is best in the morning. These photos are a selection from three days of photography based around Boppard.

I worked with three cameras; a Lumix LX3, Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 3 with Provia 100F film. Only the digital results are displayed here.

Rhein river valley.
A container train hums northward behind an ERS Railways Class 189 electric. Canon EOS 7D photo.


Rhein valley
A DB Class 101 electric leads southward IC train through vineyards near Boppard, Germany in September 2013. Exposed with a Lumix LX3. The Lumix is fitted with a Leica lens that allows for great depth of field.
Rhein valley
Light cloud softens the morning sun making for better contrast on this back lit southward freight near Boppard. Careful placement of wildflowers adds depth and interest to the image. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
Desiro railcar
This class 642 Desiro railcar made for an unexpected visitor in the Rhein Valley. These are not the normal railcars used on the line. Canon EOS 7D with 40mm pancake lens.
German signals.
Old style Germany signals at Boppard. DB has been replacing this style of hardware with less complex signals. Many of the older signals survive on the Right Bank line. Canon EOS 7D photo.
German passenger train with castle.
A DB class 120 electric shoves on the back of northward IC train departing Boppard station. Lumix LX3 photo.
German passenger train at Boppard.
The morning sun glints off the side of an IC train paused at Boppard for a station stop.I’ve used the platform awning to shield the direct light of the sun from the camera lens to avoid unwanted flare. Lumix LX3 photo.







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