RAILDATE 2024.05.03

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The Weekly Poser: Where is this?

No extra words this week, just the photo. Where is it?

Bonus question: Taken on 6th November 2022, what was the special occasion?

Last week's Where is this?

Extreme adhesion on 6% grades is required for this network of quarry lines in central Europe. Standard gauge, electrified at 25Kv, this switchback is just the beginning. The design protects the mainline junction (below) from runaways. Where is it?

Answer: Michaelstein on the Rübelandbahn, Harz, Germany.. Congratulations are due to the following for their correct answers: Colin Penfold, Peter Binnersley, Gérard van Teeffelen. Gérard took this picture (opens in another tab) in 1992 of a passenger service at Michaelstein, with the driver preparing to run loco 171 005-2 round - timetabled to take 8-10 minutes.

Starting at Blankenburg, a cluster of limestone quarries is reached by this remarkable line. It originally reached the narrow gauge Harzer Schmalspurbahnen network at Drei Annen Hohe (jct. for The Brocken), and carried passengers to Tanne (later cut back to Königshutte), but several branches have closed as quarries were worked out. The line was electrified by the DDR in 1966 but had been de-electrified by the time I first visited in 2001. Some sources suggest it wasn't de-electrified until 2005, but that doesn't tally with my observations. Re-electrified in 2007 at the non-standard (for Germany) 25Kv.

Leasing company HVLE operated Bombardier (now Alstom) TRAXX locos (F140 AC2?) on the line when I took this picture in August 2012. The map is from Wikipedia.

(Below) Passenger service in 1990 - with the elevation of some stations shown. It's very uppy-downy and Blankenberg is 288m. The first train is 04:36! Timetable World. Use the Bookmark tool to find Table 719. Services numbered 16430 to 16445 would be the all-day diagram for one loco and consist, and 16481-9 a second peak-hours consist. 16441/2 are missing and there is 54 minutes spent at Königshutte where they would fit in, which makes me think there may have been a connecting ghost train to/from Tanne. The village of Tanne had been very close to the former border and travel would have been subject to extra restrictions, which were removed by 1990 of course. The border guards needed transport too.

The line hosts occasional steam excursions. Next opportunity is May 18/19th. Rübelandbahn Sawmill Express. Image credits: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Rübelandbahn. The second pic looks like Michaelstein from above.


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©  Matthew Shaw 2024