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A Germanic Interlude

David Connor, 19th September 2017

David's presentation, which covered several distinct areas with Germanic connections, commenced in Dresden. The city's extensive tramway network retains the unusual 1450mm gauge that resulted from the early practice of measuring the gauge between rail centres rather than today's convention of measuring between the gauge faces of the rails. The Dresden fleet is now fairly uniform with articulated cars of different lengths from different manufacturers but with a similar exterior appearance. One exception is the CarGoTram freight service serving a VW factory in the inner city. This had ceased for a period but has restarted although David only managed a distant picture during his visit in July 2017. As well a trams Dresden has two funicular lines one of which is conventional but the second one is unique being a suspended cable-hauled Schwebebahn. Other lines covered were a 15" gauge park railway and a 750mm gauge steam worked line (Lößnitzgrundbahn) that starts from Radebeul Ost station in suburban Dresden and on its way to Radeburg has a level crossing with tram route 4.

The next subject was the new cross border tram line from Basel to Weil am Rhein in Germany which served as an introduction to the two operators now running trams in and around the city. The principle city routes are worked by the BVB with quite a variety of car types in a green livery. Two suburban lines that were originally worked by separate operators are now run by the BLT undertaking with through running across the city centre with one of them slipping briefly into France on its way to Rodersdorf. The final line covered in the Basle area was the 750mm gauge Waldenburgerbahn from Liestal to Waldenburg that has recently been taken over by the BLT.

Two routes of the city system had once reached into St Louis across the border in France and a new connection to St Louis station is now under construction. All of the places served in France are in Alsace and had been under German rule at the time of their construction. The nearby city of Mulhouse is also in Alsace and David showed us its recently built standard gauge tramway system that features tram train operation over an SNCF line.

Returning to present day Germany the final overseas visit was to the Kirnitzschtalbahn at Bad Schandau where four historic cars were in operation alongside the normal service for the weekend. This involved some interesting operation to utilise to the utmost the capacity of the small number of passing loops on this very scenic gutter running line along quite a narrow road. David's visit was on the Saturday and as a dedicated transport enthusiast he was travelled via Berlin and a very early flight from Tegel via Schipol to Humberside Airport for the Sunday event at the Sandtoft trolleybus museum.

Our thanks are due to David for a providing us with fascinating and varied selection of pictures.

Geoffrey Tribe

London Area - 19th September 2017

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