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Trains in Moravia

by DoDo Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 04:42:32 AM EST

In Biking across Moravia, I photo-diaried my three-day August bike tour across eastern Bohemia and Moravia – but left out trains. Here they are in a sequel.

150 224 pulls fast train R 704 GALÁN from Ostrava to Prague where the line shortens across a valley curve near Brandýs nad Orlicí (German: Brandeis an der Adler). The class 150 and 151 "Gorila" locos are the most powerful (4,000 kW, = c. 5440 HP(metric) = c. 5,365 HP(US/UK)) of the Czech Railways (ČD), 150.2 is a 140 km/h rebuild

The photos below can also be viewed just for the landscape – all but two were made at locations other than for the photos of the previous diary. I also made up for an omission therein, by including two maps.

Maps & intro

Adapting Wikipedia's Czech Republic locating map, here is Moravia in Europe, with Prague and the two ends of my bike tour drawn in:

Adapting Trainspotting Bükkes's map of the Czech Republic, here is the part I biked across, with the most important cities along the road in large fonts, and my route drawn in:

Green is diesel lines; turqoise DC, blue and red AC electrified. Red dots mark my bike route

After WWI, a serious independent rail industry developed in Czechoslovakia, which got to be a major exporter in Comecon times, and survived even the regime change. (In fact, had I had more days for holiday, and had I set out on bike from Prague, I could have visited the Velim test circuit just when the TGV successor AGV was doing circles there.) Electric traction in particular was a technological world of its own, worth a few notes below the photos.

Day 1: eastern Bohemia's model railway landscape

Serious model railroading always involves landscape, and likes to focus on unique and adventurous solutions to geographic preconditions. The real-life inspirations are disappearing across the world due to line closures and/or modernisations, but ČD's east–west central artery still contains untouched gems. One is the giant cutting at Choceň (German: Chotzen).

Above: 123 004 with a 16-car freight train towards Prague. This fifties front design (as well as the electronics) was maintained across several freight and non-express passenger types until the end of the seventies

Below: 362 119, bearing the advertisement of a Czech bank, with Ex 574 PETROV from Brno to Prague. General-purpose class 363 introduced this edgy look (and 50% more power) in 1980, class 362 is a Czech-Republic-era rebuilt version, slightly uprated for light expresses

ČD's current flagship is class 680, a member of Fiat Ferroviaria's (now Alstom's) famous Pendolino tilting train family. After massive teething problems, they seem to run fine now. I travelled in one the previous day.

Tilting train technology is impressive, but from what I saw, the benefits weren't too clear. From the Prague Meetup to Pardubice, I 'won' four minutes vs. the normal EC train – but the latter makes an extra stop. (On the more curved section from Brno to Pardubice, the win is 12 minutes, but again with one stop less.) On a recently upgraded section near the Slovakian border, all trains could "bend into" a tight curve at full speed because of extra outer rail superelevation. Against such little gain, the cars' comfort is reduced by narrower cross-section and windows.

Above: a Czech Pendolino as SuperCity 505 to Ostrava. While motor car 681 005 is about to tilt left, the fourth car is still tilting right in an S-curve after Choceň

Below:Inside (video still). Quite cramped, aint' it?

A defining fact about the Czechoslovak rail network is the north–south divide between 3 kV DC and 25 kV, 50 Hz AC electrification. Consequently, newer Czechoslovak (and thus Czech and Slovak) electric loco types had three versions: DC (class 1xy), AC (class 2xy) and dual-system, i.e. capable of change-over (class 3xy).

Brno–Prague is something for the dual-system locos. However, all the dual-system "Gorilas" went to Slovakia (ŽSR, nowadays ŽSSK). Thus the heavy international EuroCity trains are pulled by the Slovakian locos all the way from Budapest to Prague.

Above: Behind my bike, ŽSSK 350 008 pulls  EuroCity 170 HUNGARIA, consisting of cars of the Hungarian State Railways MÁV, towards Prague; near Brandýs nad Orlicí

Below: photographer's luck. 163 213 and a sister on an empty run eastwards meet 162 035, as it hauls R 872 towards Prague. 162.0 and 163 are the DC sisters of 362/3 (see second photo at the Choceň cutting); 163.2 is a product of cross-type organ transplant: to have more 362, ČD just had bogies exchanged between some 162 and 363

Another "model railroad scene" is the eastern end of the station of Ústí nad Orlicí (German: Wildenschwert). Here, two streams draining a wide north–south valley unite in a T-shaped confluence into a narrow valley, which is narrowest right at the confluence. Yet just there, two rail lines follow the two streams, and unite only after side-by-side stations separated by a road. (Google Map).

Diesels run here, too, with local freight. Heavy six-axle freight loco 770 526 and former branchline passenger loco 742 506 with a long train of oil tank cars. You can witness a not too rational dispatching operation: the train is passing the opposite tracks to a siding – thereby holding up a EuroCity (waiting to my back)...

The city of Česká Třebová (German: Böhmisch Trübau) grew next to one of the most important rail junctions of the Czech Republic: where the mainline from Prague branches to Ostrava (–Kraków) and Brno (–Vienna). North-east of the main station is another "model railroad scene": a flyover within an S-curved cutting.

163 043 passes the city and the flyover non-stop with R 1540 from Ostrava, while another 163 waits with a cement train below

I'm ashamed of the crude alignment and timing mistake in the last train photo for the day, but I have to include it – for the background!

A ŽSSK 350 (in all likelihood the same as above, on its way back) with ČD cars (as EC 177 to Vienna) reaches the watershed between North Sea and Black Sea at Svitavy-Lačnov (German: Zwittau/Mährisch Lotschnau), with half of the Anenská Studánka windfarm on the horizon (the two Fuhrländer FL250 [250 kW] and one of four DeWind D6 turbines [1250 kW])

Day 2: level crossings in the upper Svitava valley

The streams on both sides of the watershed carved themselves into the sediment of a wider, ancient valley (see photos in previous diary). The villages are in the mini-valleys, the gentle slopes of the ancient valley are in heavy agricultural use. Occasion to photograph industrial-era pastoral scenes.

A tractor and a backyard-retrofitted Škoda Favorit wait at a level crossing near Hradec nad Svitavou (German: Greifendorf) while a ČD Cargo-owned 363 passes on an empty run to Česká Třebová

In this rural area, the light early afternoon local traffic on the electrified mainline is carried by railbuses.

814 049 as local Os 4776 to Česká Třebová in the "real" valley south of Hradec nad Svitavou. Czechoslovak railbuses were a ubiquitous Comecon "export hit", class 814 "RegioNova" is a twinned, heavily modernized version (something ŽSSR also tinkered with in Slovakia, see my photo of a class 813)

In the towns that followed, with their old houses and old industrial facilities tightly packed in the narrow valley, I again felt like on a model railway – especially at level crossings.

Right above the steep shore of the Svitava river, Os 5002 to Pardubice leaves the stop of Moravská Chrastová (German: Mährisch Chrostau) across a "level" crossing

From Letovice, Brno's commuter trains appear. Unlike Prague's, they are all older trains.

242 233 reaches Sasina's Y-shaped level crossing with Os 4729 from Letovice. Class 242 is a late (1975) AC member of that family with the fifties design (see first photo in the Choceň cutting)

In the late afternoon, I crossed the wide basin north of Blansko that cuts the Moravian Karst in two. There, I met upon one of the normal long-distance expresses that still run alongside the elevated-comfort (and elevated ticket price) EuroCity and SuperCity trains.

The very last rays of the Sun fall on the 362-headed Ex 571 SLAVKOV near Dolní Lhota

Day 3: in the "canyon" of the Svitava, Brno, way home

Beyond Blansko, the mainline passes the narrow part of the Svitava valley with several bridges and tunnels. For some reason, the two tubes of the third tunnel were dug far apart. The road passed above, with an excellent morning vista of the adjacent bridges.

A ŽSSK 350 with ČD cars (as EC 279 JAROSLAV HAŠEK to Budapest) reaches the western bridge. Above the western tunnel were two train-spotters, the only ones I met upon during my trip – in the German-speaking countries or Hungary, they would be everywhere

Brno's commuter trains include electric multiple units. (EMUs, like locos, come in DC, AC and dual versions: 4xy/5xy/6xy.) No commuter trains without graffiti pollution.

560 023, with its late sixties boxy design, on the railway dam in resort town Bílovice nad Svitavou

There are two mainlines connecting Prague and Brno. Apparently, there is a division according to train types, because I saw one single freight train after the Česká Třebová bifurcation.

ČD Cargo's 363 004 reaches the last bridge in the narrow valley with a mixed freight. Brno's residential area begins right at the invisible end of the bridge

After WWII, Czechoslovakia bought the license of a landmark type, the American bogied tram PCC, and two state companies developed it into the Tatra product line – and became the world's biggest tram manufacturer (until the nineties that is).

No wonder then that Brno is the only city I have been to where the diversity of trams matches that of Budapest. There was apparently no money to replace older trams, so all Tatra families (and one Škoda) are represented, plus all-around modernised versions of these.

#1551 on Náměstí Svobody (Freedom Square). This (well, at least some parts of it) was a T3, a sixties type which was the most-built in the world with over 14,000(!) units. As a near-total reconstruction type T3R.PV, it even has a low-floor section in the middle

When I climbed the Cathedral's hill (on bike for reasons explained in the previous diary), I found a park on the edge of the precipice, with great panoramic view from east to south-west...

A ŽSSK 350 with ČD cars (as EC 278 JAROSLAV HAŠEK from Budapest) reaches Brno main station. Behind the more distant mountain range visible (which features up-close on the last photo of the previous diary) is the border with Austria

On my train ride home, in the then under total reconstruction station of Břeclav (German: Lundenburg, the last city towards both Austria and Slovakia), a sad sight greeted me: the on-going scrapping of an old type. One I fondly remember for cross-border freight runs in my childhood.

Two cabs in the light of the setting Sun. They belonged to class 230 locos, the freight version of the first major AC family from the sixties. Just one of the characteristic large bent plastic windshields is still in place, which gave them the nickname Laminátka

On the goodbye photo, you see the station sign of the last stop of my train in Slovakia.

:: :: :: :: ::

Check the Train Blogging index page for a (hopefully) complete list of ET diaries and stories related to railways and trains.

I'm cheating for brevity: Day 1 was not yet in Moravia. Neither the above-the-fold photo, but that had another reason: the kickstand of my bike "gave up" under the extra load at my first stop on Day 2, so I could no more leave it spectacularly in the forefront...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:49:12 AM EST
An illustrated book on mass transport around Europe could be informative. We probably have the writing and photographic skills here to do it.

It would be a resource about how to get around Europe without flying or driving in your car, a comparison of different countries approach to mass transport,  and a 'human interest' montage of the train/tram/metro/bus experience.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 07:17:07 AM EST
Excellent idea.  rg - does this idea fit your thoughts on the subject? Seems to me that we have pictures, diaries, and experiences that could be brought together to make an excellent book.

Chris Cook just wrote to me, and one of the subjects was Pirsig's motorcycle trip from Minneapolis to San Fran. How much more interesting to combine different peoples' experiences in different corners of the world?

DoDo - what do you think? Your diaries would probably be a major component, so you have first right-of-refusal.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:18:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo would surely know if such a book exists already - which would be the first question.

I would guess that most mass transport operators or regulators would be happy to contribute in some form.

If there is any interest I could open a diary to at least kick around some themes/ideas for content.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it should be a practical pocket guide to travel - all of that information exists online at sites such as this, for Finland.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:41:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. I'm not sure what exactly you have in mind with the book, but the narratives I can picture are "from public transport passenger to (prospective) public transport passenger" and, from me personally, "from railfans/railwaymen to non-railfans". On the latter, that's what I am trying to do in my Train Blogging -- to bring some technical details closer to the general passengers (as a parallel to the technical knowledge of car drivers) and to make some of the aesthetics that railfans see recognisable to the general passenger again. But I guess your project would demand a somewhat different take.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:05:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a project that could utilize the Europe-wide skills of ET and promote mass transport as something that we all support - those are the reasons I mentioned it.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:20:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are multiple books, all with different focuses (and depth of geographical coverage).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the list of all past train blogging should be posted again...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I shall update it (I can update it in the archive, too...) and put a link into the diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:06:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now done, check end of diary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:56:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For international and long-distance travel in Europe, there's The Man in Seat 61, the website and now the book.
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 02:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would suggest avoiding his booking links. A random check of the website he links to for booking from the US turns up $167 for a couchette ("Freedom") from Munich to Berlin on the night of Jan 29, compared to 80 Euros on the DB website.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 03:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great pix, DoDo. I wish there were passenger trains in Colorado.

Can I use this opportunity to ask a couple of questions? Colorado Springs (population 300,000) is about 100 km south of Denver (regional population 3,000,000). There is a rail corridor that is heavily used for freight, primarily coal. Ongoing discussions suggest that the freight traffic should be relocated eastward to other routes that avoid the cities that line the front (east edge) range of the Rocky Mountains, thus opening up the rail system for passenger traffic.

Some people suggest that such a system could reach all the way from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Pueblo, Colorado, a distance of about 250 km and a total population of perhaps 4,000,000. You can see from this map that there is a lot of open space once you get south of the Denver metropolitan area.

But I have my doubts. The population density is pretty low, and the commuter traffic between Colorado Springs and Denver is also low--although it seems high during rush hour. I'm just not convinced that a passenger system would work out.

Q1: What sort of population density would be typical for practical European passenger systems? Is there an example of a passenger system that operates practically in isolation, connecting only three or four cities spanning 200 km of distance?

Q2: What would the fare be on such a system? Could one hope to get from my house to Denver for perhaps $25? There would be massive government subsidies involved in any case, but just for comparison's sake, what sort of fare would you see in such a case in Europe?

by asdf on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:19:57 AM EST
it's worth. I worked briefly for the UP railroad in 1965/66 between Denver and Cheyenne. It was almost strictly freight, even then. The main passenger traffic was east-west through Cheyenne, and it was already dying in favor of airplane travel (and cars, of course). That part made some sense, as a passenger train from Chicago to Portland was a long one @ 70 mph, the Greyhound bus was way cheaper, and there's really not much to see across that whole route, until you hit Oregon. At 160 mph the trip would not be substantially longer than the airplane route, considering check-in rituals, baggage issues, etc.

The 50-mile commutes and the 200-mile visit-your-relatives trips or the 400-mile visit-Yellowstone vacations actually seem more plausible to me in terms of economic viability - especially when hooked into train systems that go on to Santa Fe, Flagstaff, San Diego, etc. In other words, 'commuter' trains that keep on going for vacationers and such.

C. Springs to Denver - I don't know, but what's the vehicle traffic on the Interstate that is made up of college students going to and from school, work commutes, vacations, etc.? At this point I suppose that this information would tell the tale in the short run.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... isn't that useful an indicator for regional stopping trains ... that's more a question for local transit than regional travel.

Just Denver and Colorado Springs, with a geometric mean population of around 1m and just a bit over 100km apart seems like a good starting stage for a system.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 12:12:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a general comment, commuter traffic is less for transport between cities, more for the agglomeration, where through connection can be an added benefit. I.e., the line you describe may serve the commuters of Denver and Colorado Springs and Cheyenne along that route, and also enable them to take longer intercity trips now and then. Looking at Google Maps, just between Denver and Colorado Springs, the 20 km in Denver metropolitan area provide for multiple stops, Castle Rock with its 30,000+ certainly for another, it's only the next 40 km until Monument that's truly underpopulated.

Q1: In Ireland, the North of Scotland, Norway and Sweden, and in Finland, you surely find low population density areas, with long lines serving only a couple of major cities. Though twice as long, a good parallel could be Athens-Thessaloniki in Greece: it's in relative isolation (no big cross-border and transversal domestic rail traffic), 3.2 million in Athens metropolitan area, one million in Thessaloniki, the only major city in-between is Larissa (250,000 in the wider area), the only other cities are Larnia, Katerini (both c. 60,000) and Thiva (25,000), all the other stops are towns and villages with a few thousand or less, often long distances apart.

Q2: That's a much harder question. It depends on how much you invest, with what interests and on how long-term, and how many passengers can be expected, and how high subsidies the state pays. So all I can do is to dig up prices for some similar distances on various European railways, which I'll do in a follow-up comment sometime later tonight (CET).

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

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 02:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay... some prices, all for 100 km, from two countries chosen for expectations of higher prices, and one for low population density:

  • SBB (Switzerland): CHF 31.00 ($26.00 as of now)
  • DB (Germany): €17.10 ($21.70)
  • VR (Finland), in regional trains: €12.00 ($15.20)
  • VR (Finland), in regional trains: €15.60 ($19.80)
  • VR (Finland), InterCity [elevated comfort express] trains: €17.90 ($22.70)

In all three countries, local passenger traffic is subsidized. (ICs tend not to be, but I don't know about Finland.) However, also in all three countries, mainlines are electrified and upgraded for high speeds with considerable investment, which I don't expect from the Colorado project. So this is a number one can estimate only the order of magnitude of, but it should be just in the $25 ballpark you mentioned.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 04:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks very much for your comments!

I expect that the Colorado passenger rail project will not make much headway until a freight train derails and dumps a car full of sulphuric acid right in the middle of downtown. Then the question will be "Who knew that this was such a risk???"  :-(

Anyway, as a reward here is a link to an interesting article. The Edwards Railcar Company in Alabama has built a self-powered car to be used for tourist trips to Machu Picchu in Peru. They recently tried it out on the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad here in Colorado (and New Mexico) which is the right gauge and also a reasonably high altitude (about 3000 meters).

by asdf on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:24:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very cool!

There is one thing I could not decipher from the poster at the link. Is this a renovated museum car, or a new car intended to look like a museum car, or just a new car with a classic look?

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

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:38:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe it's a new car with a classic look. They are also involved in restoration projects, which complicates the discussion.

My concern would be that the Machu Picchu route appears to go through Poroy at an elevation of 12,000 feet, which is considerably higher than anywhere on the Cumbres and Toltec line. They may find that their diesel engines are not powerful enough at such an altitude. I believe that this problem was discovered in several cases when railroads converted from steam to diesel in the 1950s...steam not being affected by altitude...

by asdf on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 10:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, to be precise, steam's power being improved by altitude :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 12:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure? I would think that it depends entirely on the gauge pressure of the steam, which is relative to the surrounding atmospheric pressure. Thus the force on the pistons would be constant regardless of altitude, at a given gauge pressure.
by asdf on Wed Nov 19th, 2008 at 09:14:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maximum tractive effort does indeed depend on steam pressure relative to the atmosphere and the piston surface only. But power also depends on boiler output. At greater heights, the same relative pressure is a lower absolute pressure, and thus necessitates heating to a lower temperature -- meaning, you can produce more steam with the same heat.

I have some book that mentions this effect, IIRC just in a comparison of diesel and steam traction on an Andean line, maybe I can find it tonight (CET).

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

by DoDo on Thu Nov 20th, 2008 at 04:46:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
# VR (Finland), in regional trains: €12.00 ($15.20)
# VR (Finland), in regional trains: €15.60 ($19.80)
# VR (Finland), InterCity [elevated comfort express] trains: €17.90 ($22.70)

The second should be: express trains.

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

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FYI: VR is launching a recruitment drive. I assume that traffic projections demand expansion of services.

Although all is not well at the top of VR. The Chairman and the CEO recently resigned under pressure from Government interference.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 05:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you manage to see and photograph so many trains?  Do you choose your cycle routes to give you a better chance of being able to catch so many on camera?  These are great photos.  I must get out and about more...
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:59:35 AM EST
Heh, these aren't half of the train-related photos from the trip...

On this trip, there were several reasons. I got the idea to cycle here from seeing the beautiful landscape, and cyclists in it, from trains (see third photo here). The train and the bike route share the least steep passage across the water divide. The line I cycled along was very busy (I shot the above-fold and three other pictures, as well as 14 more photos I didn't post, during a lunch break and immediately after). I did make many stops (resulting in slow progress). I did some detours for specific photo locations.

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

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An old colleague of mine, a Finnish movie animator, is crazy about trains. He builds his own. He's even built one on which he can sit and drive around his country place. He engineers everything meticulously from raw metal.

There's a whole page of train-related entertainment here

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 12:28:43 PM EST
He engineers everything meticulously from raw metal.

<hats off> That's the real hard-core :-)

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

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love the train diaries.

But I have to admit that my first thought when I saw the top picture was "why is there a tombstone next to a railroad track?"  lol.

I liked those brightly colored railbuses.

by Maryb2004 on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 12:51:44 PM EST
It's a milepost -- or, more accurately, a kilometre stone. And it allows me to mention another oddity.

While in many ways (some outlined in the diary), Czechoslovakia survives on the railways, there are traces of the Habsburg Empire, too. The kilometre numbering to Prague is still that from Vienna!

What's more, from Brno to Prague, the numbering "continues" a no more existing second through connection, conserving the memory of competing railways in the 19th century. For, when Austria's state railway built the Vienna-Prague connection, it built a line of its own to Brno, bypassing the existing line of a private railway. Through trains soon switched to the latter, while the parallel state-railway-built line was broken at the border in 1945.

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

by DoDo on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 03:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you know that the 1950s electric locos were cloned in North Korea? (Scroll down the page about half way.)
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 03:19:21 PM EST
No, I didn't! But I know about the ChS2 supplied to the Soviet Union, maybe that's the more direct inspiration. (I note E499.0, the later class 140, is four-axle; the North Korean loco is six-axle like the ChS2 and its Czechoslovak origin, the E669.0 (later 180) class.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 04:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe not. I find that in 1958, 10 Russian wide-gauge E499.0s were exported to Korea (a Polish web forum says South Korea but that must be a mistake).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 04:29:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, I recently read an excellent account of a rail trip from Vienna to Pyongyang. Among other things, there are many photos of North Korean trains and stations, including a twin-section version of these Pulgungi locomotives.
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Nov 16th, 2008 at 05:46:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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