The Anonymous Widower

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 | Transport | , , , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , | 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 | Transport | , , , | 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 | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

London To Karlsruhe Via Paris

I took Eurostar and a TGV to Karlsruhe, using these trains.

  1. Eurostar – St. Pancras 08:19 – Paris Nord 11:47 – £115 from Eurostar
  2. TGV – Paris Est 13:55 – Karlsruhe 16:25 – £69.19 from Voyages SNCF

I took these pictures on the way.


  1. I bought both tickets on-line.
  2. Premium Economy in the new Eurostar trains is more cramped than the old ones.
  3. Eurostar’s Premium Economy gluten-free breakfast more than filled a hole.
  4. Paris Nord to Paris Est is just a Metro.
  5. I took a diversion via Republik, which was a good place to wait in the sun.
  6. I stayed in the Schlosshotel in Karlsruhe, which was one of several acceptable ones by the station.

I could probably have done the journey cheaper by flying, but it would have had more hassle.

April 30, 2017 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Trip To Karlsruhe, Bern and Göttingen

This trip is to explore some places and take pictures.

April 30th

St. Pancras – 08:19 to Paris Nord – 11:47

Paris Est – 13:55 to Karlsruhe – 16:25

Schlosshotel Karlsruhe

Bahnhofplatz 2



May 1st

Schlosshotel Karlsruhe

May 2nd

Karlsruhe – 6:58 to Bern – 09:56 – Change at Basel

Karlsruhe – 8:00 to Bern – 10:56 – Change at Basel

Bern – 16:04 to Frankfurt – 19:53

Clarion Collection Hotel Frankfurt City

Taunussreasse 48-50



May 3rd

Frankfurt – 06:17 to Zwickau Hbf – 11:58 – Change at Leipzig

Zwickau Hbf – 14:05 to Göttingen – 17:51 – Change at Gößnitz

Zwickau Hbf – 16:05 to Göttingen – 19:51 – Change at Gößnitz

Zwickau Hbf – 16:05 to Göttingen – 21:50 – Change at Gößnitz


Bahnhofsallee 1a


D 37081

May 6th

Göttingen – 07:55 to Beuxelles Midi – 13:35 – Change at Frankfurt

Göttingen – 11:55 to Beuxelles Midi – 17:35 – Change at Frankfurt

Brussels Midi – 19:52 to St. Pancras – 21:03


April 29, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Summing Up Karlsruhe’s Tram-Trains

Karlsruhe invented the tram-train and running them under the Karlsruhe model.

It’s a bit like having a vehicle that can go anywhere in your city carrying a couple of hundred people, where there is a railway or tram track.

The only other vehicle that offers a similar flexibility is a bus, but buses are less eco-friendly and they are difficult to make all electric.

Karlsruhe incidentally, only seems to have a few buses and you will notice in Building A Tram-Train Tunnel In Karlruhe, how few cars and taxis there are. So are all the people on foot or in the tram-trains?

Surely, the great thing about a tram-train network like Karlsruhe, is that once the main tracks are laid and electrified, as they will be in Karlsruhe, once the tunnel is open, your biggest improvements come by adding more and better vehicles to the routes.

I went to Karlsruhe to see The Latest Citylink Tram-Trains In Karlsruhe, as they are similar to those being introduced in Sheffield.

According to this article in the Internation Railway Journal, the city has just ordered another twenty five of these tram-trains.

On return from Dubrovnik I found this article on Global Rail News, which says that they’ve also ordered another twelve Flexity Swift tram-trains from Bombardier.

If you want to see what a low-floor Flexity-Swift looks like, go to Croydon. I don’t think that the London Tramlink could use tram-trains, as all the rail lines in South London are third-rail, but don’t underestimate engineers. You probably couldn’t have the automatic voltage changeover that you get with overhead wires.

Both these batches are low-floor, so expect one of the developments over the next few years in Karlsruhe is that more trams become low-floor. Obviously, some stations won’t be able to be modified, so the network probably won’t become 100% low-floor.

Are Karlsruhe playing this network expansion in a very canny way?

They now have a specification for a vehicle than can work all lines in its network.

  • Dual voltage of 750 VDC and 15 kVAC.
  • Low floor or adapted to railway and tram stations.
  • A defined loading gauge.
  • A preferred seating layout.

It strikes me that there will be several manufacturers, who would like to supply Karlsruhe, as they obviously know what works, as they invented the standard.

Karlsruhe also has the advantage in that the tram-trains they don’t want probably have a good residual value, as if say a city wants to built a tram-train network, provided that they obey Karlsruhe’s rules, then the tram-trains can be delivered and after testing, start a service.

The only problem is that Germany’s non-standard 15 kVAC may need to be changed to perhaps 25 KVAC. But that would probably be more affordable than buying a whole fleet of new tram-trains.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment