A Special Museum on a Special Day

It was a long weekend here in Germany last week, and the Eisenbahnmuseum Bochum put on a good show to celebrate its 40-year history. Well, I confess, of course I hadn't found out about any of it until it was almost too late.

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In the spirits of the East Meets West theme, many locomotives from other railway museums across Germany joined their brethren in Bochum-Dahlhausen. I attended on the extra-special day, May 1, der Fototag (Photo Day), where locomotives paraded down the track, providing lots of photo ops for foamers of all sizes and shapes. Of course, the typical Bochum-weather did not bother to show us any blue sky, but boy, do those steam locomotives look beautiful in the rain.

Three pairs of diesel and three pairs of steam locomotives participated in two rounds of parades throughout the day. Each pair shared performed similar duties for the Deutsche Reichsbahn and Deutsche Bundesbahn. First was a presentation in their individuality, and the…


Let me come back to my own side of the pond for now and write about a locomotive in the warm parts of the continents. The slight mystery surrounding them intrigues me a little, but I'm sure it's nothing a seasoned railfan can't educate me on.

I shall begin by talking a little about the previous life or lives of what are known today as the MP32PH-Q. Unlike its brethren MPXpress locomotives, it is a direct re-iteration of its ancestors from MPI's Morrison-Knudsen days.

By Artystyk386 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

When MK Rail was still a thing, they were known for rebuilding locomotives of other origins. Many transit agencies enlisted their service to provide spin-offs of the proven EMD GP38 and GP40 locomotives. Known as the GP40WH-2 in their previous life under MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter), the MP32PH-Q already packed lots of mileage hauling passengers under their belt. These days, they work down south, serving in Florida and soaking up all the sunshine the…

DB Class 420

Shall we continue with the retro theme of the recent weeks? The DB Class 420 EMU screamed 1970s the very first time I laid eyes on it (not in a bad way). It's not bad looking by any means. In fact, it is actually refreshing to see something relatively old among all the shiny modern passenger equipment around me in the NRW.

By Manfred Kopka - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Like the Class 111 locomotive featured last week, the Class 420 was developed by the Deutsche Bundesbahn for the S-Bahn service. It, however, was assigned to the S-Bahn networks of Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt am Main instead. Each trainset consists of 3 cars. As usual, they can doubled up and work in multiple units. Like older subway cars, these mass-transit mainline trainsets do not have through gangways between cars. If you were unlucky, you'd be stuck in a very packed car, while the next one could be nearly empty.

By Michael Bienick - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

By Rolf Heinrich, Köln, CC BY 3.0, Link


DB Class 111

Beautifully made videos by TheKnaeggebrot in stunning Southern Bavaria

Aha, it's that time of the week, and I haven't forgotten about this blog this time around (which is a little sad, really). Let me bring your attention to the DB Class 111, another locomotive from the Deutsche Bundesbahn days. It seems to be making a comeback? (Not sure if that's really the case, but there seems to be more and more of them on RegionalExpress trains around the area I live in, and even on some S-Bahn trains).

By Lars Steffens - Flickr: Baureihe 111, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Built from the mid-70s, throughout to the mid-80s, the Class 111 was originally designed for regional trains and the then new S-Bahn Rhein-Ruhr. Capability for InterCity service was added in the early 1980s, with an increase of maximum permissible speed from 93 to 100 mph. Like many locomotives of the same era, the Class 111 was built by a consortium of builders, consisting of Krauss-Maffei, Henschel, Krupp, Siemens, AEG, an…

DB Class 120

The Class 120 is an inconspicuous looking locomotive (in today's standard, anyway). It occasionally, casually drifts across the rails right in front of my eyes, almost blending into the background, hardly noticeable at all. I would've probably have never thought much of it, until now.

The amount of information the English Wikipedia page has provided is a bit of a pity. Luckily, though, it is 2017, and there's Google Translate (well, hopefully at least one version of me in some alternate universe is actually learning German). There is no way this post can contain (nor should it) all the wealth of information found on the locomotive's German Wikipedia page. Here, I'll just show off a few what I think are highlights.

Von Benedikt Dohmen (User:Benedictus), Archiv-Nr. 63/28 - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

So beneath the underwhelming looks of the Class 120 is one of the first production three-phase AC locomotives equipped with regenerative braking. It was developed …

AVE Class 100

I slacked off last week again, didn’t I. Anyhow, let’s continue with the Paella theme and check out the AVE Class 100. As you may recall, AVE stands for Alta Velocidad Española, the service name used by the Spanish national passenger operator, Renfe, on its high-speed trains.

A Class 100 on the Madrid to Barcelona high-speed line

The story here sounds similar to some of the other countries that got into the high-speed rail business by importing in the later parts of the 20th century. The Class 100, like the first KTX (Korea Train eXpress), are derived from the iconic TGV Atlantique. Like the KTX, the styling of the AVE Class 100 has been modified slightly, resulting in a more rounded nose. Nonetheless, it does not require any effort to spot the family resemblance.

By SeeSchloss - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

The trains went into service in 1992, after the first standard gauge high-speed line was completed in Spain from Madrid to Seville (it was almost going to be Iberian gauge, like t…