Wednesday 31 January 2024

Cross-border Service Coming Soon (3)

All Change 2017

The closed line between Bad Bentheim and Coevorden was to be partly opened for passengers as far as Neuenhaus, one settlement north of Nordhorn.
The passenger service started two years later. Most observers of the rail scene would expect some infrastructure improvements over and above the very basic set-up for freight journeys.

They would be right!

As well as new-build stations, the line has been completely signalled. fbb is not familiar with German railway signalling systems, but to an untrained observer it looks like a mixture of tram-style white lights with "proper" signals where the trains might, say, meet the freight runs reported in yesterday's blog.

This time we are travelling from the north back to Bad Bentheim, starting just after the train has left the station at Neuenhaus.
Still no boundary fences are provided, even on quite busy roads.
The first stop is Neuenhaus Sud ...
... maintaining the design style of a very basic railway - but, unlike most modern trams, we do have a raised platform, The video quality is poor but fbb thinks that the yellow aspect on the signal is painted - the light above it flashes white continuously.

All the footpath crossings have been given warning lights for those crossing the tracko ...
... and we meet our first real signal as we approach Neuenhaus, terminus of the freight service.
Even the smallest side roads have automatic barriers, as far as fbb could tell.
The camera lens is wide angle which makes the corners look far sharper they they are in real life. 

A second train stands at Nordhorn.
The new platform ...
... sits close to its more illustrious predecessor.
The town's bus station is, of course, outside the building ideally suited for interchange.
There is an extra station called Nordhorn-Blanke a short trundle south of the original.
The terminus of the freight line is on the southern fringes of the town ...
... with the passenger service joining from the top left. Our video cameraman films one of the two overbridges that were spotted yesterday from the freight loco cab.
Remember that industrial site ...
... and that other overbridge.
The last stop before Bad Bentheim is Quendorf ...
... and soon we are approaching our southern terminus and interchange with the rest of the Deutsche Bahn network.

Speed limit 6 kmph on the approaches!
Under more traditional "approach control' ...
... we soon glide into our new-build platform.

It is worthy of speculation as to the cost of this basic (albeit less basic than the freight line!) railway with tram-like signalling and minimalist station structures.

It would appear to be a lot cheaper than, say, the Portishead branch at Bristol or the Leven branch in Scotland. 

Why do we make our UK "heavy" rail lines so heavy?

And plans have been announced to continue the Bad Bentheim service north to Coevorden across the border by a few miles into the Netherlands.

More on this tomorrow.

Being Pernickety, The Ladders Are Rickety
All TTA yank wagons that ran on BR lines had ladders. They were very necessary to get on top of the tank and open the lid! And for nit-picking modellers there was plenty of variety.
Most were "standard" with a tasteful bend in the middle and all were extended below the solebar as above. Some, however were straight ...
... and there were variations in the extra hand holds at the top - if fitted!
A few, it seems, had one central end ladder.
These did not descend below the buffer beam but there was one rung at the side to get the athletic top cap opener up to this bottom of his ladder!

Interestingly (fbb must be joking!) early production samples of the new Hornby tanker had one version with a single end ladder ...
... and fbb wonders if he will have to buy one to complete his collection.
So below are the ladders on the three OO models being compared - for now.

Triang/Hornby from 1973 - die-stamped metal ladders.
Many batches of Hornby TTAs were sold laddetless.

Bachmann c2002 - fine plastic ladders.
The top handrail is made from metal wire.

Hornby 2024 - very fine etched metal ladders. The top handrail is part of the etch.

Tomorrow; tank top walkways and buffer beams. It's just too much excitement.

 Next Bad Bentheim branch blog : Thur 1st Feb 

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Cross-border Service Coming Soon (2)

 We Know It Opened in 1910 ...

... and fbb has finally identified the station above that was celebrating.
It was Nordhorn at which we now see less raucous "celebrations" in 1974 when the passenger service ceased.
The final train was a whole five coaches long ...
... hauled ignominiously by a humble diesel shunter! Here is said train at Nordhorn.
So we had better try to pull all this together before our loyal reader gets thoroughly confused.
The whole line runs from Bad Bentheim in Germany (lower right) and eventually pops over the border to Coevorden in the Netherlands (upper left). 

In apologetic mood, fbb cannot tell you for certain what opened in 1910 and what exactly was closed in 1974.

What is certain is that freight continued to run from Bad Bentheim to Nordhorn.
It was proper freight, not just a few wagons!

Whilst the final passenger train was special, normal traffic on the line was always sparse and things like this ...
... or, even smaller like this ...
... sufficed for the few customers.

Fortunately, we can watch an on-line video, a cab ride in a freight train from Bad Bentheim to the freight depot at Nordhorn. Actually, there are TWO videos.

One is from the German news magazine Der Spiegel and is speeded up and ideal for this blog.
Sadly, the magazine holds tightly on to its videos and fbb has no means of downloading them. Well, maybe he has, but doesn't know how to ackle it.

A 30 minute cab ride through open country is only marginally less exciting than watching paint dry, so fbb has tried to distil the essence of the normal speed version in a series of screen shots.

We leave Bad Bentheim travelling East.
The line soon turns north, however, and the first thing we notice is a complete lack of "health and safety" lineside fencing.
Most roads are unprotected, although the section below does have a chunk of battier metal. There are only TWO overbridges on the route - both newish ...
...whilst most level crossings are un-gated, un-barriered, un-everythinged except a wooden coloured "X" sign.
The train-borne warning is multiple strident shrieks on the loco horn. You would not ignore that noise.

We pass some sidings that appear to be part-filled with a selection of rusty unloved and unwanted wagons left to rot.
There is one industrial site en route ...
... which was probably once rail connected but appears to be very disconnected now.

Isolated houses usually have a garden fence but very nominal in construction and nothing "official" on railway land.
We pass under the second bridge ...
... then at one point the train stops and the driver gets out ...
... then changes that point!

Have you seen any signals yet? Of course not, because there aren't any!

This is about as basic as a railway can get.

But hold fast; we are now approaching the terminal yard. On the left are some passenger coaches which look very much like those which formed the very last train in 1974!
We stop just after the DIY pointwork, presumably waiting for the "man" in the yard to tell us (by phone? by radio? by semaphore flags?) that it is safe to enter  - which of course it always is. And look ...
... there is a shunter here, but weirdly, we also espy ...
... a Nederlandse Spoorwegen loco some distance from its Netherlands home. Has it got lost? It is waiting to take a train back home - if so it needs to know that, at the time of the video, the track north of Nordhorn is very much disused. It will need to go "the long way round".

But our freight train has arrived ...
... having travelled at no more than 40 mph along a very extended siding from Bad Bentheim.

But in 2017 big changes were announced ...


Please note :

Episode 2 of the tank wagon phantasmagorica is postponed. Yesterday was too dull to use natural light for very detailed photography (depth of field limitations, you know!) so the great excitement will return tomorrow, light permitting.

It will be all about ladders!

 Next Bad Bentheim (and ladders!) blog : Weds 31st Jan