The Anonymous Widower

Hybrid Trains In The Former East Germany

In my travels from Göttingen, most of the local trains were diesel multiple units as local lines like the South Harz Railway are not electrified. On the other hand, the main lines through Göttingen, are all electrified.

In September 2016, I wrote German Trains With Batteries, which indicated a project in Germany to create hybrid trans, based at technical universities in Chemnitz and Dresden.

As some of the journeys I took in diesel trains, were under electrification, it would certainly appear that the German’s approach is sensible.

There would also appear to be lots of lines without electrification and diesel passenger services all over the area.

If the universities can come up with an economic and practical solution, there are certainly a lot of places to use these hybrid trains.

I think it is interesting to compare the German approach with that of Porterbrook/Northern with their development of the Class 319 Flex train.

  • The Germans are starting with a diesel Desiro Classic, whereas the British are starting with an electric Class 319 train.
  • Batteries are an important part of the German solution, but may not be part of the British one.
  • The German trains are nowhere near as old as the thirty-years-old British ones.

But the objectives of the two projects are to improve passenger services without doing a lot of expensive electrification.



May 8, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Level Crossings And Signal Boxes

As I travel around Germany on trains, I am surprised at the number of level crossings and signal boxes.

Level Crossings

On the South Harz Line, there must have been half a dozen between Northeim and Nordhausen.

I don’t know if the Germans have a similar policy to Network Rail of aiming to remove all crossings, but if they do, they have a lot to do.

But the area did suffer the serious Langenweddingen Level Crossing Disaster in 1967.

Signal Boxes

Every station seemed to have a signal box.

Although, I did find this in the Wikipedia entry for the South Harz Railway.

Signalling on the South Harz line will in future use electronic interlockings that are remotely controlled from a centre in Göttingen.

So it does seem there is a certain amount of ongoing modernisation.


I’m very much of the opinion, that there is still a lot of technical modernisation to be done on German railways.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Would I Go Back To The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways?

The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways is not a small system and if I was in the area again, I would certainly pay the railways a visit.

The trip I took from Nordhausen to Wernigerode between two Deutsche Bahn lines is possible on almost an hourly basis througthtout most of the year, although it would be a better trip in sunny weather.

I didn’t do the trip up the Brocken, which is a peak of over a thousand metres high. That is best accessed from Wernigerode, if you only have a short amount of time available.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Wernigerode Station

Wernigerode station is the Northern terminus and main depot of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways.

It has an interchange with the Deutsche Bahn, that runs between Goslar and Magdeburg.

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

It appears to me that the station has a common layout for this part of Germany, where there is a loop that serves the platform closest to the station building.

Trains on Deutsche Bahn seem to be about every hour and although the local diesel services seem to link together fairly well, the information isn’t as good as it might be.

I certainly think that if the weather had been better, it would have been a more interesting town to visit.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Drei Annen Hohne Station


Drei Annen Hohne station is a junction station on the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways.

We stopped on our way to Wernigerode to change locomotives, so that our locomotive could be replenished with water.



May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

By Steam Between Eisfielder Talmühle And Drei Annen Hohne Stations

At Eisfielder Talmühle station, we changed from the diesel rail-car to a steam-hauled train.


  1. I sensed that the train climbed quite a bit.
  2. There were a lot of level crossings.

It’s certainly a spectacularly railway.





May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment


Nordhausen has two stations close together.

These pictures show the two stations, the Bahnhofsplatz that connects them, the trams and the town.

It’s certainly not difficult to get between the two stations.

I was hoping I’d find something to eat, but I couldn’t find a food shop, so had to be content with a good coffee and a banana. Although, since I’ve looked on the map and find that there is a Lidl in walking distance of the stations. I have struck lucky for gluten-free food in the former East Germany before, as I wrote about in Lunch In Chemnitz, but on this visit I wasn’t very lucky.


May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Along The South Harz Railway

Getting from Göttingen to Nordhausen for the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways was not the simple process it should have been.

My first attempt was to take a train changing at Eichenberg totally failed, as I wrote about in A Wasted Journey To Eichenberg.

After getting back to Göttingen, I took a direct train along what is known as the South Harz Railway.

The route is not electrified and it looked like it had been improved since the reunification of Germany.


May 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A Wasted Journey To Eichenberg

This journey illustrated a lot of the problems of Deutsche Bahn.

They may have some good trains, but they use methods, that if a train company used in the UK, would see them featuring heavily in the pages of the tabl;oids.

I wanted to get from Göttingen to Nordhausen and I just missed the hourly direct train. So the ticket machines suggested I change at Eichenberg.

These pictures show Eichenberg station.

The train didn’t arrive and there was no announcement about what was happening. But there wasn’t any. Even the web page gave no information on lateness. Eventually, as it was cold on the platform, I went looking for help, but the station was unmanned and totally devoid of any useful information. Whilst, I was away, the train turned up unannounced.

I then had a choice of wait two hours for the next train on a cold station or catch another train to civilisation. Luckily, it was Göttingen and I was able to restart my journey.

The moral of this story, is that if there is a direct train in Germany, then make sure you catch it. Even if you have to wait for an hour in the warm.

May 4, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment


Göttingen is a German university town.

I took these pictures as I explored after a very good German gluten-free breakfast.

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment