It was a lucky shot. I was changing trains at the Köln Hauptbahnhof in 1999, when I made this photo from the platforms at the east side of the station.
A DB Class 120 electric had been specially painted by or for Märklin model trains to commemorate the 70thanniversary of Disney’s Mickey Mouse.
One of the great things about exploring German railways is a tremendous variety of trains complete with unexpected surprises in the form of specially painted locomotives, antiques on the roll, and special trains.
MittlerheinBahn operates modern Siemens-built electric multiple units on all-stops local trains on the picturesque Left Bank route between Köln and Mainz, Germany.
Trains operate on an hourly basis throughout the day, with more frequent services at peak times.
The service is affordable, comfortable and the scenery provides an unending tapestry of wonder.
These trains come at such regular intervals, it would be easy enough to let their passage go undocumented while waiting for more unusual movements, such as freights with colourful engines. But I always try to make the most of all trains.
Over the course of a week I exposed dozens of images of MittlerheinBahn’s trains, often using them as a catalyst for complex scenic compositions. Would these views work if there were no trains in them?
The KölnTriangle building in Köln Deutz on the east bank of the Rhein offers a magnificent view of the railway bridge and the famous Dom.
A few days ago, Gerry Conmy, Stephen Hirsch, Denis McCabe and I spent about an hour watching the trains here. To the northeast is the Köln Deutz Bahnhof and a maze of related trackage. Beyond is a junction and a yard.
From above, it’s like an enormous model railway.
Photography is challenging because of the plate glass barricades in the roof garden. I largely overcame difficulties with reflections and dirt by using a very wide aperture and holding the camera lens as close as possible to the glass, while shading the camera with my hand.