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Monday Train blogging

by DoDo Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 11:11:04 AM EST

Where there are bridges, there are often trains! New from the diaries!! ~ whataboutbob

I don't expect this to be nearly as popular as PeWi's Thursday Bridge Blogging, but I hope there are other people around who don't just ride public transport, but can find aesthetic pleasure in them, just like car drivers in their vehicles.

In this first instalment, a photo I shot one year ago (click for wallpaper version; note image hosting server is sometimes slow):

Austrian IC train IC536 "DON BOSCO" towards Vienna descends the Semmering line, hauled by an ÖBB class 1116 "Taurus", one of the singing locomotives.


In terms of quality, Austrian railways are second-only to Switzerland. Even local trains run with comfortable modern(ised) trainsets, and higher-quality express trains like the one pictured run every hour.

The Semmering line was the world's first mountain railway, opened 1854. But as befitting for Vienna's gateway to South Austria and beyond (Slovenia, Italy), it long should have been relieved by a base tunnel. However, for one decade, the head of Lower Austria blocked it, claiming environmental damage. A rather ridiculous excuse, given that in the meantime a highway was constructed along the same route: a magnitudes higher environmental impact, both during and after construction...

Now it looks as if it will be built, with a slightly changed route (and 29 km long).

The "Taurus" family of modern electric locomotives (ÖBB classes 1016, 1116, 1216) realise an old dream of railways: they were the world's first true universal locomotives. Whether express train or local stopping train, long freight or mountain service, they can and do pull them all. Top speed is 230 km/h (143 mph), maximum continuous power 6,400 kW (8,700 HP) – the latter is almost 50% more than the most powerful US diesels, at less than half the weight!

When starting, the power electronics of the two older classes emit a loud, almost musical noise of step-by-step increasing pitch, hence they are dubbed the singing locomotives.

Display:
from a Far East train fanatic. My dream at the age of 14 was to ride le Mistral from Paris to Nice with a mistress (who must look like Mylene Demongeot) in a first class compartment. I was distressed when they introduced TGV and abolished Trans Europe Express, so the dream hasn't come true, yet.

I will become a patissier, God willing.
by tuasfait on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 09:55:01 AM EST
I don't know about Mylene, guess you might have to adjust that part of your dream - she was already famous when I was a teenager, hence she might not fit the image of a mistress anymore. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 10:03:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:-)))))

I hope you and Zwackus will post some Japanese stuff in further posts, especially other than Shinkansen!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 07:09:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sign me up...this is great! I'm all into train blogging, bridge blogging, special places blogging...and whatever else we can come up with...some much to blog, so little time....

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 09:56:16 AM EST
Well, how about a doll blogging? Just kidding. :-)
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 09:58:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Go for it, Fran, there probably needs to be a balance here to all this "guy" stuff..trains, bridges, etc.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 10:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and love bridges and trains. There's no place for reading like the Stuttgart/Mannheim -- Berlin ICE. (Especially when it runs at 240 km/h.)

I also love architecture, especially Gothic arches. I could spend DECADES looking at Romanesque and Gothic churches -- don't know much about the techinque, though --- I'd love to learn...

Another likeable thing: steam baths and saunas. And lakes, rivers and creeks to bathe in (with a fancy artificial pool or two).

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)

by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 11:33:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The steam baths and saunas sound good. I love the roman turkish version, especially the one at the Friedrichshalle in Baden Baden, though there are some other great places in the Black Forest.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 11:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so where was your best sauna experience? mine was: in that order: a turkish bath in Bursa, a sulfur sauna in Neapoli, the Gellert bath in Budapest (in 1988), and a finish Sauna in Finnland.

My favourite German Sauna is in Berlin. Keller Sauna Greifswalder allee or its continuation.

by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 11:51:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My favourite Turkish bath is Kiralyfurdo in Budapest (it is a smallish bath in the original 17th century building, with perforated dome and all). To see pictures, go to http://www.spasbudapest.com/tartalom.php?idx=9 and click on Kiraly.

Fran: what places do you like in the Black Forest?

My all-time favourite is Bad Liebenzell: the sauna area has a landscaped garden with a little pool and two wooden sauna cabins. Fabulous all year round: nothing like a quick outdoor swim in winter or getting a really good tan in summer. In Stuttgart I regularly go to Bad Leuze; that too has a wooden cabin in the middle of a courtyard, a "Sonnenterasse", and on weekend nights sauna guests can swim "Textilfrei" in the big mineral pool...

To see photos of the B. Liebenzell sauna, go to http://www.bad-liebenzell.de, click on Kur und Erholung, then on Sauna Pinea, and then on
"Aussenbereich Sauna".

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)

by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:15:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Textilfrei, is good, I hadn't heard that one before. I have a tough time convincing my wife, that that is normal. sigh she is just too English to realise that...

I have not really lived, or travelled in the South of Germany to be able to explore these places,

reg. Bad-liebenzell, I also like the sound of "Überraschungsaufguss" at midnight... and I agree Budapest has fantasic baths.

sigh, why am I in England again?

by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:24:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'll do some sauna blogging tomorrow...

The whole concept of Aufguss is pretty weird. I don't know if Finns do it. Do they do it in Berlin? (Btw, my favourite German word is Katzenkratzentrommel: denotes a drum-shaped object covered in sisal rope, with not one, but three catnip mousies inside.)

Being British and (not) being Textilfrei: isn't Textilfrei the very thing a self-respecting Bloomsbury person would do? Or all the British expats in France, Italy or Greece ;-)

Unfortunately I don't have your range of experience with baths and saunas (from Bursa to Finnland via Italy, wow!). I've merely been lucky to have lived in Budapest and in Schwabenland (Swabian and Bavarian farmers  used to have a home-grown version of the sauna, at least this is what they claim here).

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)

by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:38:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the only negative aspect about an Ueberraschungsaufguss is, that it destroys glasses. I am near blind without them, so I wear them in the sauna. Now when you do an aufguss the humidity and temperature rises so quickly that it destroys the protective plastic layer on my glasses, which are made from real glass. This is very annoying and has cost me two sets already.

the nicer effects are obviously that you really start to sweat with all those nice herbs in the aufguss. but you need a good Sauna master, one that fans you fresh air...

regarding textilfrei. britain has dropped the tradition of public baths, i think in the fifties. it has never really been into Nudist beaches or topless sunbathing in public gardens. even if they are english. nudist behaviour on the mediteranean beaches might be more widespread now, but not among those that go to the sauna back home.

There simply is no real sauna culture in Britain. you find your occasional sauna and steam room, but very rarly are there dedicated spaces, if they are they are usually seen as dodgy and pick up places for gay's.
and the public baths obviously don't allow nudity, have no beds to rest on, no foodwarm facilities and no ice-cold plunge-baths.

Nothing.

by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 01:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To me the surprise was, that people might actually put on swimmsuits to the sauna or turkish bath, especially in the US and even being women only. However, textilfrei is much nicer when you are used to it.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it is also more hygenic. You sit on your towel and don;t sweat into the wooden beams. oh don't get me started on british Sauna practice.
DoDo will be mightliy suprised where his train bloggin' lead too.
by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 01:39:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
don't get me started on british Sauna practice.

Listen, lad, just stay home and get your bath proper like, (three inches of lukewarm water at the bottom of the tub on a Friday night), and don't you go getting yourself mixed up with all that foreign stuff. You'll be glad you took my advice.

Perverting a nice clean train blog like that!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 04:24:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, I went to that on a later trip, was a little touchy though, since I had just ruptured my ligaments and the masseusse was a little, aeh, shall we say, rough...
by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:26:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the kiraly bath that is
by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:27:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I too recall two masseuses in the Kiraly. Could have passed for (male) wrestlers. I also recall their roughness; I didn't have torn ligaments, merely very stiff back muscles (nerdish lifestyle and all). Not only did they torture my poor back, they had to ridicule every single knot and kink...

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)
by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, sounds I stick with ayurvedic abyanga massage, feels good during and afterwards.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:50:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bad Liebenzell definitely is one of my favorites - from a time when I spend quite some time in Stuttgart, it was easy to get there. I am not sure about the Leuze, I know I went to one in Stuttgart, but am not sure anymore where it was. I have to look up the other places though.

Nearer to where I live is Bad Bellingen and Badenweiler, both nice though not comparable to the Friedrichshalle or Bad Liebenzell.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 12:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did a quick check of B. Bellingen and Badenweiler on the 'net, they both look great! I came to prefer B. Liebenzell precisely b/c it's so close to Stuttgart, and I found a great little hotel on the hill just above the sauna.

Stuttgart has three main min. baths, the Leuze, Bad Cannstatt and Berg. Berg is still family-owned, and much of the equipment is quite old. It reminds me of the swimming pools when I was a kid in the '60s, wooden booths for changing and so on. The clientele too is very old-world, unlike yuppified Bad Leuze.

Where do you live now? Around Freiburg or Waldshut-Tiengen?

A dog's a dog. A Cat's a Cat. (T.S. Eliot)

by BFA (agnes at ims dot uni-stuttgart dot de) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 01:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I live near Basel in Switzerland.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 01:05:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo, beautiful picture. I know nothing about trains, but am looking forward to learn more about them.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 10:00:56 AM EST
DoDo, I hope you become at least as popular as the bridge blogging and as you noticed, there was a train on some of my bridges anyway - I love trains.

I had to catch one to go to school in my neighbour town and jumping onto a driving train and opening the door was  my greatest skill (I invented the phrase, "just on time" in the early eighties).

so many more please!!

by PeWi on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 10:52:40 AM EST
If it is not confidential, when and on which line was that?

Maybe next week already, I'll do a train blogging to focus on 'adventurous' rides, if I find a good photo to head a short story I already have.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 06:04:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am so jealous!

Where I live, in the northwest corner of the United States, the train service sucks.

It's a real catch-22, no one rides the trains because the lack of trains running, and the high price, but they can't lower the price or put on more trains because there aren't enough riders.

I have taken the trains down the coast at times and really enjoyed it.

by david anderson on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 03:01:34 PM EST
Northwest corner of the USA, don't you have the Talgos? Is it them that have this problem, or do you mean urban mass transit near a city, or do you not live near a main corridor and speak of some rural line or AMTRAK?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 06:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Found on the official site. Funny-looking combination of European and American technology, with the US locos at both ends almost twice as high :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 06:15:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was little, I remember being really impressed the first time I saw a turbotrain:

It ran the Strasbourg- Mulhouse (North-South in Alsace) line and it was so huge!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 06:12:16 PM EST
And as a special bonus: a bridge in Creuse used by these trains:

Both pictures from this fansite

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 06:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Awesome! As for the Turbotrain, I'm just envious! I'm too young, I only catched the very end of the magnificent diesel luxury express trains (I was only lucky to see a German TEE trainset class 601 in the Rhine Valley in what must have been one of its very last ordinary runs) - and never saw a turbine-driven one (wonder what kind of noise it made).

BTW, for our US readers: some of such French Turbotrains were sold to the USA, where AMTRAK ran them until they would have to be overhauled. Three years ago, some of them were supposed to be refubrished for New York - Albany service, but budget constraints led AMTRAK's leadership to sabotage the project. (Also for US readers, a recommendation: I could follow this story in this US e-zine.)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 06:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dang, trains!  I don't think I'll be able to get anything in on today's edition (don't know how to post pictures yet, must go to work in a bit, and it's Tuesday here in Japan), but maybe next week I'll try and post some of my pictures of Japanese trains.

While we're on the subject, has anybody here played any of the Railroad Tycoon games?  I've been a huge fan since the original back in 1990, and highly recommend Railroad Tycoon 3 to anybody with much of an interest in the topic.

by Zwackus on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 07:05:46 PM EST
I had a cracked version of the original more than a decade ago on, what must have it been, a brand-new 286. I remember I was a lousy stock-market broker :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 06:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was working in the iron ore mines in Mauritania, I sometimes took this train:

It is used to carry iron ore from the mine to the port of Nouadhibou on the Atlantic Ocean and it was (and probably still is) the longest train in the world (up to 3 km). As you can see, there were two cars for passengers, but the Mauritanians used to ride free on the iron ore freight cars with whatever they were taking with them, including cattle...

Here is were the track leads:

Now, I take almost weekly this one to go to Paris or Brussels...

I sure preferred the first one, the dust was awful, but the passengers much nicer...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 07:14:10 PM EST
Wow!!!

I planned a later instalment just on heavy-haul ore trains, but here: the currently longest (and heaviest) are in Australia, BHP's regular trains are up to 3.6 km, and BHP holds the world record with a test train twice as long (100,000 tons total!).

PS. do you have close-up images of cattle and people atop the ore? It would fit nicely for the theme I plan for next week!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 06:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi, DoDo,

I am coming to Budapest next week. Will you be around?

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 04:53:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amtrak runs a ski train from Denver to Winter Park, Colorado. Here it's entering the six mile long Moffat Tunnel at about 9000 feet altitude.


by asdf on Tue Sep 27th, 2005 at 08:53:17 AM EST


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