Tag Archives: DB

Medieval Window on the Railway—two views.

The old city walls at Oberwesel, Germany feature a 13th century watch tower.

The builders of the tower were clearly railway enthusiasts ahead of their time.

Ok, so you’d have to wait for about 600 years before your first train went by!

I revisited the watch tower last month and made these photos with my FujiFilm XT1.

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BETTUNNEL: Trailing Telephoto View.

This place presented a composition and lighting challenge.

To obtain a satisfactory and balanced telephoto view that emphasized the classic tunnel portal at DB’s Bettunnel near Sankt Goar, we found that midday sun offered effective lighting.

A trailing view of an IC passenger train places the locomotive at the right side of the tunnel portal.

However, the sloped angle of the DB class 101 electric had a tendency to reflect the sunlight in a less than ideal way.

I compromised in post processing by adjusting the highlight values in the camera RAW file, to bring it more in line with the rest of the scene.

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Double Headed Electric Freight-Three views.

Last week, late afternoon sun illuminated terraced vineyards south of Lorch along the Rhein’s Right Bank (east) which I thought made excellent conditions for railway photography.

I pictured double headed DB class 185 electrics leading a chemical train northward using my FujiFIlm XT1 with 18-135mm zoom lens.

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Castle and Trains.

Crossing from Sankt Goarshausen to Sankt Goar, Germany on a Rhein ferry offered for some stunning views of the river’s left bank (the west side).

Atop the hill overlooking the valley is the impressive Schloss Rheinfels.

DB’s busy double track left bank mainline runs on a shelf along the Cliffside, above street level in Sankt Goar, and well below the castle.

Mittelrheinbahn Siemens-built railcar glides northward along the Rhein.

I made these views using my FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens.

Are they photos of a castle with a train; or are they train photos that feature a castle?

And yes, there’s a view of the tracks from the castle.

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The Last Wink of Sun at Oberwesel.

Last night (Wednesday, 18 Sept 2019), we waited in anticipation along the Rhein at Oberwesel as the sun was about to disappear from view behind a hillside.

The right bank of the Rhein has a busy double track railway, which all day long had been flowing with freight trains and the occasional Stadler railcar in local passenger service.

At times the freights rolled on each other’s blocks, passing every three to four minutes.

However as the final rays of sun tickled the cliffs and ships glided up and down the river, we wondered if a train might exit the Ross Stein tunnel allowing us to make use of the low and fading sun. We were near nearly ready to depart, when  this freight burst into view.

I had my Lumix LX7 at the ready and exposed these photos.

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Hey! I Thought This Train Seemed Familiar!

I experienced the new CT rail Hartford Line commuter train for the first time on Saturday.

CT rail in Berlin, Connecticut on June 16, 2018.

I had this distinct sense of Déjà vu.

Then I reviewed the cover of my new book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe.

Wow! It’s like a German train at Berlin. Berlin, Connecticut, that is.

A German electric multiple unit graces the cover of my book.

CT rail 6400 crosses an old stone arch bridge at Windsor, Connecticut on Sunday June 17, 2018.

DB and CFL (Luxembourg Railways) EMUs working together on the famous Hanging Viaduct in Germany’s Mosel Valley.

I’m commenting on the paint liveries, not the equipment or the services.

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If you haven’t seen it, check out my latest book: Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe, now available from the Kalmbach Hobby Store.

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/01304

Classic Chrome: On this day, 24 May 1996 Views along the Rhein.

Classic Chrome: On this day, 24 May 1996 Views along the Rhein.

On this day in 1996, my father and I made a circle trip along the Rhein from Köln to Koblenz, traveling south via the Right Bank and north via the Left Bank lines.

Working with two cameras, I exposed these views on Kodachrome and Fujichrome slide film.

Looking back, its amazing to see how much has changed on German railways in the last 22 years.

Confluence of Rhein and Mosel rivers at Koblenz. 24 May 1996.

DB shunting locomotives at Koblenz Hbf on 24 May 1996.

View of a northward freight on the Right Bank line along the Rhein from the walls of the Festung Ehrenbreitstein (fortress).

A northward IC train passes Namedy, Germany at speed behind a class 103 electric.

Minutes later a northward EC (EuroCity) long distance train passes Namedy, this view with a 28mm lens.

The scenic Mittelrhein are among the great railway trips profiled in my new book Brian Solomon’s Railway Guide to Europe, now available from Kalmbach Books/Kalmbach Hobby Store.

My new guide book on European Railway Travel with a cup of Barry’s Tea.

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Hanging Viaduct-German Outtakes Part-3

I’ve been reviewing hundreds upon hundreds of photos for my book on European Railway Travel.

Here’s a view I  like but it didn’t make the cut because I’m using a similar angle that works better. It was one of several views that I made on film, although was also working with my digital cameras that day.

This pictures the famous ‘Hanging Viaduct’ in the Mosel Valley near Bullay.

Exposed on Fujichrome Provia 100F using a Canon EOS3 with 100mm lens.

Two years ago I visited this unusual railway construction with my friends Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch and Denis McCabe.

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Köln Hbf—March 2017

At the end of March 2017, I revisited the Köln Hauptbahnhof (main railway station).

It was almost 21 years since I made my first visit here with my dad back in 1996.

I was delighted to see that a few of the old East Germany class 143 electrics were still on the move. Once very common, these old electrics have become relatively scarce.

This image was exposed digitally using my Lumix LX7.

Köln Hbf in March 2017.

Bavarian Twilight; Call this Photography in Mixed Lighting or Rabbits at Dusk.

Dusk is a great time to make captivating images, provided you get the exposure right.

I made this view at Buchloe, Germany in southwestern Bavaria. It was a little while after sunset, and the cool glow of a winter’s evening sky made for some interesting lighting. The platforms at the station were lit using common sodium vapor lamps, while a lamp in the yard on the left appears to be of the mercury vapor variety.

Among the advantages of twilight is the ability to find a good balance between natural and man made light. Once the glow in the sky fades, the black of night makes balanced exposures more difficult.

Here, I opted to use a Fujichrome emulsion (probably Provia 100F) that had filtration layers designed to minimize discoloration from the spectral spikes typical of man-made lighting, such as sodium and fluorescent sources. These spikes are largely invisible to the human eye, but can produce unnatural color casts on slide films.

A DB class 218 rests at Buchloe, Germany on 17 January 2007.

One of the features of this image is the old DB Class 218 diesel, a type known colloquially as a ‘Rabbit’ because of its rabbit-ear exhaust stacks.

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Karlsruhe Hbf—Train Shed Geometry and Red Electrics.

Germany’s traditional large railway stations offer endless opportunities for photographic composition.

Over the years, I’ve made several visits to the Karlsruhe Hauptbahnhof (main station) and have always found it photographically rewarding. I made these photos a couple of weeks ago  (April 2016.)

FujiFilm X-T1 image.
FujiFilm X-T1 image.

Classic signage. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
Classic signage. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

The train-shed lends to making geometric images while providing a visually intriguing setting for train photos. I like the sense of scale that the shed offers.

Any favorites?

An InterCity train pauses for passengers. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
An InterCity train pauses for passengers. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

When I first visited Karlsruhe in the late-1990s, DB's 101 class were the latest in new motive power. Now these are battle worn veterans.
When I first visited Karlsruhe in the late-1990s, DB’s 101 class were the latest in new motive power. Now these are battle worn veterans.

The curves of this class 146 electric complement the train shed while the bright red livery makes for a stunning contrast with the monotones of the station environs.
The curves of this class 146 electric complement the train shed while the bright red livery makes for a stunning contrast with the monotones of the station environs.

At the southend of the shed.
At the south end of the shed.

Pay attention!
Pay attention!

DB_Karlsruhe_Hbf_class_146_DSCF5674

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Rastatt Part 2; German freight hotspot.

Several lines come together at Rastatt, Germany, which is an historic city south of Karlsruhe.

Since most through traffic is focused on to a short double track section immediately south of Rastatt , the station serves as a holding area for southward trains queued up to pass through this bottleneck.

In addition to DB’s trains, freight is run by a of variety open-access and private operators. Freights share tracks with passenger trains including high-speed TGV and ICE services and the famous Karlsruhe tram-trains.

I made this selection of images on 19 April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1.

A container train passes Rastatt on the morning of 19 April 2016.
A Crossrail container train passes Rastatt on the morning of 19 April 2016.

A DB electric leads at train of swap-bodies at Rastatt.
A DB electric leads at train of swap-bodies at Rastatt.

An SBB Cargo electric waits for a signal to proceed south.
An SBB Cargo electric waits for a signal to proceed south.

The driver of a Crossrail electric cleans his windscreen while waiting for traffic to pass at Rastatt.
The driver of a Crossrail electric cleans his windscreen while waiting for traffic to pass at Rastatt.

A northward BLS freight crosses the double track bridge as it approaches the Restate station.
A northward BLS freight crosses the double track bridge as it approaches the Rastatt station.

Lines at Rastatt host a mix of freight and passenger trains including Regional Expresses.
Lines at Rastatt host a mix of freight and passenger trains including Regional Expresses.

An electric hauled chemical train glides into Rastatt in the evening.
An electric hauled chemical train glides into Rastatt in the evening.

Open access operators are plentiful in Germany.
Open access operators are plentiful in Germany.

Four trains at Rastatt station.
Four trains at Rastatt station, including a stopping Tram Train from Karlsruhe.

Catching antique SBB Re 4/4s at work was a prize.
Catching antique SBB Re 4/4s at work was a prize.

SBB Re 4/4 electrics up close.
SBB Re 4/4 electrics up close.

A diesel leads a local freight from a nearby automotive factory.
A diesel leads a local freight from a nearby automotive factory.

A northward SBB freight glides through Rastatt.
A northward SBB freight glides through Rastatt.

Trailing view of the same train.
Trailing view of the same train.

A regional passenger train passes a freight.
A regional passenger train passes a freight.

Once common, old DB class 151 electrics are now relatively rare on through freights.
Once common, old DB class 151 electrics are now relatively rare on through freights.

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BLS Cargo Electric Works North on DB; exercise in composition and contrast.

On 20 April 2016, I made this image of a Swiss BLS Cargo (Bern Lötschberg Simplon) electric leading a northward freight on DB’s (German Railways) heavily traveled double-track line north of Freiburg, Germany.

Although clear and sunny, the direction of the light was directly behind the locomotive, which is anything but ideal.

To make the most of this awkward lighting situation, I opted to feature the flowering tree that was well-lit by the angle of the sun, and work with the locomotive in silhouette, while taking a low angle to minimize distracting elements on the far side of the line.

In post processing, I’ve lightened the shadow areas of the RAW file to restore detail and improve the overall contrast to the locomotive.

Below are both the unimproved RAW file (only scaled for presentation) and my modified file.

This is a Jpg made from FujiFilm X-T1 camera RAW file (scaled for internet presentation). No contrast adjustments.
This is a Jpg made from FujiFilm X-T1 camera RAW file (scaled for internet presentation). No contrast adjustments.

Using Lightroom, I've lightened the shadow areas and made an overall contrast adjustment with the 'clarity' slider. My aim was to produce a more graphic and interesting illustration of the BLS electric and flowering tree. Exposed on 20 April 2016.
Using Lightroom, I’ve lightened the shadow areas and made an overall contrast adjustment with the ‘clarity’ slider. My aim was to produce a more graphic and interesting illustration of the BLS electric and flowering tree. Exposed on 20 April 2016.

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DB Rabbits on the Run near Lindau—four new photos.

Among my favorite German locomotives are the old ‘Rabbits’ (classes 215-218 and rebuilds), so-called because of their rabbit-ear shaped exhaust stacks.

On Monday, 18 April 2016, Gerry Conmy, Dennis McCabe, Stephen Hirsch and I made a project photographing this declining class of diesel on the line running east from Lindau.

Rabbit down grade racing toward Lindau.
Rabbit down grade racing toward Lindau.

Double headed rabbit climbing east from Lindau with a Zurich-Munich IC train.
Double headed rabbit climbing east from Lindau with a Zurich-Munich IC train. Note the exhaust stacks.

FujiFilm X-T1 photo.
FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

DB_218_east_of_Lindau_DSCF5388

The Zurich-Munich long distance trains are still worked with these vintage machines. Several years earlier, Dennis and I had explored locations on this scenic non-electrified double track line.

Soft morning light aided the effect of the pastoral setting.

I exposed these views using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Rastatt, Germany: Part 1 TGV and the Tram Train.

The railways around Karlsruhe, Germany are some of the most versatile and most thoroughly integrated in the world.

Karlsruhe was the pioneer of the ‘Tram-train concept,’ which enabled trams to utilize the heavy rail network.

As a result, trams can travel on city streets and reach beyond using the DB network.

Rastatt, south of Karlsruhe is a busy place where you can see high-speed passenger trains, Intercity and Regional Express passenger trains, freights, and Karlsruhe tram-trains using the same rails.

An SNCF TGV approaches Rastatt on DB rails.
An SNCF TGV approaches Rastatt on DB rails.

I made these views of a French TGV and tram-trains in April 2016 using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera. It was a bright morning and nearly ideal for photography.

The imaging challenge at Rastatt is making the shadows work for you and not against you. The curve of line, platform canopies and shadows cast by catenary masts and wires all result in visual elements that can make or break an image.

You have to love it: the TGV was 'looped' (over taken) by a Tram Train at Restatt.
You have to love it: the TGV and a freight were both  ‘looped’ (over taken) by a Tram Train at Restatt.

TGV_Rastatt_DSCF5522Tram_and_TGV_Rastatt_DSCF5524Tracking the Light posts Daily.

Magnificent Railway Stations: Köln Haubtbahnhof-Part 1

Among my favorite large railway station’s: The Köln Haubtbahnhof.

I’ve visited this great German railway palace on several occasions over the last 20 years and find that it always inspires my photography.

I made these images on a visit in August 1998. All were made on one roll of Ilford HP5 exposed using a Nikon F2.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 50mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 50mm lens.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.

Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.
Exposed on Ilford HP5 using a Nikon F2 with 24mm lens.

The Köln Haubtbahnhof is among great European stations featured in my new book Railway Depots, Stations & Terminals published this year by Voyageur Press. Don’t miss out, order your copy today!

http://www.quartoknows.com/books/9780760348901/Railway-Depots-Stations-Terminals.html

Also see my previous post:

http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/2015/08/30/new-book-railway-depots-stations-terminals/

More photos of Köln coming soon!

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Koln_1998©Brian_Solomon_663633

German Class 140 in Classic Livery near the Loreley Rock.

In early September, my friends and I witnessed the passage of this old German class 140 electric in classic green paint.

Every day in late morning or early afternoon it would work south along the Rhein’s Right Bank (east side) with a freight.

On this day we hiked out to the Loreley statue on a peninsula near the famous Loreley Rock at bend in the river. I made these photos with my FujiFilm X-T1. As the freight drew closer, I opted to pan, which helps set apart the green locomotive from the hillside beyond.

Near the Loreley.
Near the Loreley.

By panning, I've improved the visual separation between the locomotive and the background.
By panning, I’ve improved the visual separation between the locomotive and the background.

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Double-headed Empty Coal Trains

Pairs of red electrics leading more or less uniform consists of coal cars make for great subjects as they wind their way along the supremely scenic Rhein Valley.

Most locomotive-hauled trains traversing Germany’s Rhein Valley work with just a single locomotive, and an ever-greater number of passenger trains use electric multiple units.

By comparison to continual parade of these more common trains, dual-red electrics on coal trains/and empties are relatively rare, and only make an appearance every few hours (often just after you move to change locations).

Here I display two empty trains train, both exposed on 10 September 2015. The first is a morning view on the Left Bank with a pair of DB class 185 electrics, the second is in the evening on the Right Bank across from Oberwesel.

Both feature scenery and sunlight.

Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.
Glorious clear morning sun makes for a post card view of DB 185s passing Boppard-Hertenach on the Left Bank. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1.

Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half and hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Late in the day, a pair of elderly class 151 Co-Co electrics lead empties exiting a tunnel opposite Oberwesel. Within half an hour the sun had dropped below the ridge line, leaving this scene in shadow. Exposed with a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Real versus Surreal

I have no doubt that punchy delicious colours and heavily altered contrast can grab the attention of viewers. I saw Fantasia, I look at Facebook.

It’s not a matter of right or wrong, or right or left. With modern software, tweaking colour and contrast has never been easier.

Below are three versions of an image I exposed digitally in the Rhein Valley. Not necessarily in order: One image is RAW (straight out of the camera, only reduced in size for internet), the other two have been altered.

Of these latter two images, one is my interpretation of how the scene appeared at the time I exposed the photo, the other is pure fantasy.

DSCF1013-Photo_by_BrianSolomon4
I’m calling this version Image A.

DSCF1013_Photo_by_BrianSolomon3
This one is Image B.

DSCF1013Photo_by_BrianSolomon2
Image C.

I’ll let you sort out which is which. Of the three, which do you like the most?

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Freight with Castle, Rudesheim

There’re some locations that just jump out at you. This view of the Rhein’s Right Bank is one of them. The combination of the river with vineyards rising above punctuated by the ruins of a medieval castle make for a postcard view.

The railway is an added bonus. Red Die Bahn locomotives are a nice touch. It helps to have bright afternoon sun.

DB_Doubleheaded_Chemicals_train_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2152

DB_185_Freight_across_Rhein_w_Castle_near-Rudesheim_DSCF2165Exposed near Rudesheim, Germany using my FujiFilm X-T1

 

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Heavy Load Rolls Along the Rhein—You don’t see this every day!

Four photos!

There we were, poised at Filsen on the Right Bank line anticipating a northward train, but not knowing what would come around the bend next.

Previously, my attention to the signals, had revealed that once the signal cleared to green, a train would pass within 3-5 minutes. However, more than 8 minutes had passed. I wondered what was the cause of the delay.

Then, we were surprised by a lone DB class 145 electric hauling an exceptional load: twenty axles distributed the weight of this Schnabel railcar.

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

DB_transformer_car_at_Filsen_close_DSCF2342

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.
Exposed on September 11, 2015 using a FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

While this was not what I expected to see on the move, my cameras were ready to record what passed. In addition to these digital images, I exposed a 35mm colour slide for posterity.

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Exceptionally Busy Double Track—September 12, 2015—Dozens of photos!

Die Bahn/Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) operates an intensive nation-wide railway network. The traffic on many lines is impressive.

Conveying volume in photographs is perhaps best done with image sequences.

On the morning of September 12, 2015, Stephen Hirsch, Denis McCabe, Gerry Conmy and I arrived at the Bonn-Beuel station (located on the Right Bank line between Koln and Koblenz) to make a few photographs.

Our choice of locations was fortuitous. As it turned out, planned line works at the Bonn Hauptbahnhof on the Left Bank line had resulted in diversions, and this normally busy line was pushed to its potential capacity.

In addition to the normal half-hourly passenger service and parade of freights, the line was also handling InterCity and EuroCity long distance express trains, plus a mix of freights that might ordinarily use the Left Bank route.

In addition to the two main tracks, Bonn-Beuel has passing loops (passing sidings), which were well used this day. In several instances, a train was held on the main track, while higher priority traffic was routed via the loops around it.

This selection of images is intended to demonstrate how DB handled a mix of traffic on a double track mainline; keep in mind that stopping passenger trains and freights coexisted on the same route.

I’ve included the time that each photograph was exposed, and organized them in chronological order.

10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while an diverted IC is accelerating away from the station in the distance.
10:35 am. Looking south at Bonn-Beuel. A freight is in the loop, a diverted IC train is northbound, while another diverted IC, southbound,  is seen accelerating away from the station in the distance.

10:36 am.
10:36 am.

10:36 am.
10:36 am.

10:38 am.
10:38 am.

10:39 am.
10:39 am.

10:42 am. Notice the freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I 'm sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me.
10:42 am. Notice the southbound freight rolling away on the near line in the distance. I ‘m sorry to say I missed the coming on shot, as I was distracted by the other two freights coming toward me. (One is hidden by the southbound)

10:42 am.
10:42 am.

10:47 am.
10:47 am.

10:53 am.
10:53 am.

10:56 am.
10:56 am.

10:59 am.
10:59 am.

11:02 am.
11:02 am.

11:06 am.
11:06 am.

11:06 am.
11:06 am.

I decided to relocate to the island platform, as this offered a better angle for the sun.

11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.
11:10 am. Looking north at a southward EC train bound for Switzerland.

11:11 am.
11:11 am.

11:13 am.
11:13 am.

11:14 am.
11:14 am.

11:17 am.
11:17 am.

11:18 am.
11:18 am.

11:18 am.
11:18 am.

11:21 am.
11:21 am.

11:24 am.
11:24 am.

11:24 am.
11:24 am.

11:27 am.
11:27 am.

11:27 am.
11:27 am.

11:29 am.
11:29 am.

11:32 am.
11:32 am. Regional express arrives.

11:33 am. Regional Express departs.
11:33 am. Regional Express departs.

11:35 am.
11:35 am. Southward IC arrives at Bonn-Beuel.

11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.
11:36 am. Panoramic composite of a DB class 101 with southward IC train.

11:38 am.
11:38 am.

11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.
11;40 am. Notice the southward freight passing in the distance. Obviously my view of this was blocked by the passenger train.

To avoid getting blocked again, I walked further south along the platform.

11:47.
11:47.

11:48 am.
11:48 am.

1150am_Green_class_140_Bonn-Beuel_DSCF2851
11:50 am. An old DB Class 140 in heritage olive green paint.

11:53 am.
11:53 am.

11:59 am.
11:59 am.

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TRAXX Roll Freight at Kaub—September 11, 2015

The Right Bank of the Rhein is a busy freight corridor. Trains run in waves, and often follow each other several minutes apart on their north-south journey across Germany.

Kaub station sits wedged into a hillside with a castle above, and a sweeping curve to the south. In the afternoon, the sun swings around, which makes it a great place to photograph trains on the move.

Bombardier’s TRAXX locomotives family includes several classes of electrics. While the DB red class 185s may seen repetitive, open access operations make for a bit of variety. It seems that there’s always another freight working its way up or down the Rhein Valley. And this provides an opportunity to refine photographic angles and technique.

Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.
Doubleheaded DB class 185 electrics lead a southward freight at Kaub, 4:40 pm.

Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.
Northward intermodal train at Kaub, 4:41 pm.

Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.
Southward freight with a DB class 185 electric at Kaub, 5:15 pm.

VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.
VIAS Flirt makes a station stop at Kaub, 5:19 pm.

5:24pm.
Kaub, 5:24pm.

Kaube, 5:28 pm.
Kaub, 5:28 pm.

Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.
Southward empty auto train at Kaub, 5:40 pm.

Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.
Swiss BLS intermodal train at Kaub, 5:58 pm.

I made this selection using my FujiFilm X-T1 digital camera.

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Extra Post—Freight from the St. Goar-St. Goarhausen Rhein Ferry.

The wonders of technology! I’m writing and posting this from a bus on the roll. The bus offers better WiFi than I have in my apartment.

Anyway, here’s a view I made from the Rhein ferry looking down river toward the famous Loreley Rock on Wednesday September 9, 2015.

Exposed with my FujiFilm X-T1. One of the great features of this camera is the active level in the viewfinder. Such a tool aids making level images from a boat!

St Goar, Germany.
St Goar, Germany.

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Vineyard View at Hatzenport, Mosel Valley, Germany, September 5, 2015.

 

Terraced vineyards and stunning scenery make for a picturesque setting to photograph trains.

Looking west at Hatzenport, Germany.
Looking west at Hatzenport, Germany.

Using my Lumix LX7, I framed up the all-stops DB local train with some grapes in the foreground and an 18th century church in the distance.

The Lumix lens offers excellent depth of field, camera controls permit precision focusing.

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Five Years Ago-Double-Headed Electrics Lead Ore Over the Bullay Bridge.

Some Irish friends and I spent a week in the Mosel and Rhein Valley regions to photograph special trips organized for the 175th anniversary of German railways.

On this day, April 7, 2010, I exposed this view of a double-headed iron ore train crossing the Mosel on the big bridge at Bullay.

Exposed at Bullay, Germany with my Lumix LX-3.
Exposed at Bullay, Germany with my Lumix LX-3.

Sometimes, as photos age, the ordinary train you caught while waiting, seems more interesting than the extraordinary train that you’d set out to capture in the first place!

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Looking Back along the Rhein.

April 10, 2010.

Germany’s Rhein valley is one of my favorite places to make railway photographs. The combination of great scenery, a fantastic variety of locations, the historic architecture, and a continuous parade of freight and passenger trains on both sides of the river make it hard to beat.

And, at the end of the day (in the most literal use of the cliché), the beer is great!

A southward DB freight rumbles along the Rhein. Exposed near Braubach on April 10, 2010 using my Lumix LX3. This photograph require a nominal walk from road level up the footpath seen in the foreground. Somewhere down there is the hired car and some friends from Ireland.
A southward DB freight rumbles along the Rhein. Exposed near Braubach on April 10, 2010 using my Lumix LX3. This photograph require a nominal walk from road level up the footpath seen in the foreground. Somewhere down there is the hired car and some friends from Ireland.

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Rhein River Valley Part 2

 

The Left Bank at Oberwesel—September 2013.

Oberwesel is south of Boppard and also on an elbow-bend in the river. It’s spectacularly set along the river and against steeply rising hills while featuring castles and a medieval city wall.

German passenger train.
A DB class 120 glides southward through Oberwesel in September 2013. Canon EOS 7D photo.

The old city wall is set up as a tourist attraction and can be easily used as a platform for photography. Not only does this provide great views of the line on the Left Bank, but gives superb angles of the dual tunnels on the line serving the Right Bank.

I visited Oberwesel in April 2010, but the light was a bit dull, so I’ve been aching for another try at it on a clear day.

While there are some good angles in the morning, I found the best light angles were obtained after about 2 pm. September is a great time to photograph because the light is good throughout the day and it’s past the peak tourist season. Jostling elbows with the masses while trying to focus on a IC train might be challenging.

Locomotive with castle walls.
A diesel running as a light engine northbound made for an ideal opportunity to frame a train in the window of a medieval wall tower. Canon EOS 7D photo.

The parade of trains is unceasing. If one side of the river starts to lag, the other will seem to make up the difference. It was only during the lunch that traffic seemed to lull. Certainly the passenger trains kept coming, but the freights must of all paused for a snack.

Not far from the south edge of city wall in Oberwesel, we found a suitable restaurant with outdoor seating, a choice of beer, and a view of the tracks

A few hours at Oberwesel gave me more great images than I knew what to do with. I could make this a multi-installment post. Will you still be there for Oberwesel Left Bank Northward Views Part 12? Hmm?

Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
A DB Class 101 leads an InterCity passenger train southbound. This view is from the top of an old wall tower at Oberwesel, Germany. Canon EOS 7D.

Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
The Oberwesel city walls give good views of the line on the far side of the Rhein in the afternoon. A Swiss BLS locomotive is about to disappear into the tunnels opposite Oberwesel. Canon EOS 7D photo.

Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
An ERS Railways Class 189 hums along with a southward container train along the Rhein’s ‘right bank.’ Canon EOS 7D photo.

Rhein River Valley at Oberwesel.
Rich afternoon light graces a Taurus electric leading a northward InterCity train at Oberwesel. This view was made from the city wall. Canon EOS 7D photo. 

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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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Happy Birthday Tracking the Light!

 

Tracking the Light’s first full year.

Benburb Street LUAS Crash
Benburb Street LUAS Crash

 

It was exactly one year ago (July 19, 2012) that Tracking the Light made its debut.

In the last year this site has had nearly 24,000 visits.

Of the nearly 235 posts, the following topics have been the most popular:

1)    Gallery Post 1: Sperry Train at Islandbridge Junction on August 30, 2012 

2)    LUAS Tram Crash on Benburb, Street Dublin September 10, 2012 

3)    Installment 1: Central Vermont Railway at Windsor, Vermont

4)    Gallery Post 2: Looking Back on Irish Railways 1998-2003

5) Tracking the Light Extra! Breaking Views!

Irish Rail 0117077 leads a wagon transfer over the River Liffey at Islandbridge at 4:25pm on April 10, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.