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9th September 2017

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Published by membersonly, 2018-04-09 05:06:33


9th September 2017




This newsletter covers the World outside the British Isles from information
supplied by members.

Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Compilers or of the Society.

International Editor (to whom all email and postal contributions should be sent):
Paul Griffin, 7 School Bell Mews, Church Lane, Stoneleigh, COVENTRY, CV8 3ZZ
Email: [email protected]
Deputy International Editor: Derek Woodward, 68 Church Street, Matlock, DERBY, DE4 3BY


The Košice tram system throws out a long branch south to the vast US Steel works, with services R1-R7 bringing workers from all
over Košice. Three covered platforms linked by a subway are provided. Trams arrive (at least at weekends) on the platform by
the road and bus stops, but then go round a long loop to re-enter the station on the far platform and form the next service back
to Košice. On this platform a number of buildings can be seen, some of which still house cafes and shops on weekdays.


[338] Bosnia - Re-electrification commences on part of Novi Grad – Bihać line
The infrastructure department of ŽFBH has started work on re-electrifying the line between Blatna
and Bosanska Krupa. From Novi Grad to Blatna, the overhead line is intact and in operation but from
Blatna to Bosanska Krupa the overheads are present but have not been used for 26 years.

[339] Denmark - Copenhagen Metro track plan
Track plan with full distance information:
[340] Denmark – Rails (if not trains) in Greenland
A visitor commencing a cruise flew into Kangerlassuaq, the airport for western Greenland, which
despite its inland location has a lake nearby where he spotted two boats on wheeled cradles clearly
meant to be launched by the rails running down into the water.

Rails at Kangerlassuaq

The coastal town of Ilulissat provided further examples of rails, this time meant to allow ships to be
hauled out of the water for repair. The tracks were about 100 metres long.

Rails at Ilulissat

Your international editor has been to both towns, but completely failed to spot the rails. He has been
reprimanded for failure to pay attention to more important matters than scenery.
[341] Estonia – Lelle to Pärnu to close
The Estonian Government has decreed that it will no longer subsidise the 64km branch from Lelle to
Pärnu, so from the end of 2018 it will close. The trackbed may however be used in the future by the
Rail Baltica standard gauge line from Kaunas through Riga and Pärnu to Tallinn.

[342] France - A day trip through northern France
When visited in early March 2017, the deeply rural line between St-Pol-sur-Ternoise and Étaples Le
Touquet seemed to have a 50 km/h speed limit, allowed for in the timetable. After a stop in the
attractive walled city of Montreuil (sur-Mer although it is now a long way from the sea), the quickest
way back to Lille proved to be via a local train to Étaples Le Touquet. There were no obvious signs of
the tram that once left from the front of the station, went through the main square of Étaples then
across the river towards Paris-Plage – excellent pictures at:

St-Pol line from the walls of Montrueil

From Étaples Le Touquet he took the TER-GV to Lille Europe. TER-GV is a speciality of the region and
means a TGV that behaves much like a local train; no reservations are required although a supplement
costing EUR 3 for the whole day (longer periods available) is payable in addition to the normal fare.
According to the TER website the supplement ticket is valid for 1st class TGV travel, although he did
not know that at the time. Perhaps that’s why standard class was virtually empty. The TGV Duplex

reversed at Calais-Fréthun (low-level) before taking the high-speed line to Lille-Europe. On arrival at
Lille the train continued to Paris-Nord as a normal (mandatory reservation) TGV.

TER-GV at Etaples-Le-Touquet

[343] France/Spain/Switzerland - TGV services threatened
The need to reduce losses threatens the Paris-Barcelona and Paris-Genève TGV services. SNCF are
demanding a reduction in access charges for these routes from the French and Spanish infrastructure
managers, and if not granted are threatening to reduce the service frequency.
[344] Germany – part of line 3032 may close
It appears that the northern section of the Holzbachtalbahn between Altenkirchen and Selters (Schütz
industrial packaging) will close in 2018 unless a new route operator can be found. The 31.5km section
has a speed limit of 30 km/h and €13M is needed for track repairs. The transport agreements with DB
Cargo are to be terminated at the end of December. On 18 July the beginning of the line
decommissioning procedure was agreed.
[345] Germany – Part of line 6663 purchased
Line 6663 ran Aue- Schönheide – Muldenberg – Zwotental – Adorf, and the "Förderverein Historische
Westsächsische Eisenbahnen e. (FHWE) have leased the 17.7km Schönheide Ost – Muldenberg section
from DB since 2008. FHWE have now purchased the Schönheide Ost – Muldenberg section with effect
from August 2017. Two competing bidders were only interested in the scrap value of the rails and the

re-sale of the land. FHWE operate draisines between Schönheide Süd and Hammerbrücke, but it is
now planned to reopen Schönheide Ost – Muldenberg as a heritage railway, though much remains to
be done.

[346] Germany – Good news for the Merzig to Dellborner Mühle heritage railway
The unexpected closure of this heritage railway between Trier and Saarbrucken imposed by the
railway inspectorate and reported previously in BLNI was considered a grave risk to the future of the
railway at the time. However, funds have been found by the local municipality to repair the section
between Dellborner Mühle and a point just before Bachem and trains are running again on this
section. It is hoped that the remainder of the line will be repaired and in use within two years.

[347] Germany – Part of line 9278 closes
Just west of Betzdorf (on the Koln to Siegen rails) is the station of Scheuerfeld where line 9278 heads
first south, then east to Bindweide (from where a short branch goes south to Rosenheim) and
Weitefeld. Tracks used to continue to Emmerzhausen and Flugplatz Lippe. Freight traffic between
Bindweide and Weitefeld was discontinued on 28 July 2017 and after the last freight train the line was
blocked with a notice of decommissioning already sought. The 6.4km section had a 20 km/h limit due
to neglected maintenance.

[348] Germany – Heritage operations to resume between Minden Oberstadt and Kleinenbremen
The Mindener Kreisbahnen GmbH (MKB) own and operate the line from Hille to Minden Oberstadt
(line 9291) and Minden Oberstadt to Kleinenbremen (line 9299). Heritage trains also travel these lines,
but from 1 January 2015 the eastern part of line 9299 between Nammen Grube and Kleinenbremen
has been closed awaiting repairs and the six heritage days of operation have only used the Minden
Oberstadt to Nammen Grube section. Minden Oberstadt to Hille is a separate service. Repairs should
start from September 2017 and the full length of the line should be available for the 2018 season. Also
from September, the industrial harbour track 2 in Minden, which has been closed since 2008, will be
renovated in order to meet an expected upturn in freight traffic.

[349] Germany – Brickworks railway being restored in Brandenburg
The Ziegeleibahn Kleinkölzig served a brickworks at Klein Kölzig, located between Forst and Bad
Muskau, until 1961. The Klein Kölner Ziegeleibahn e. V. was founded in 2008 to rebuild earlier lines
and construct new ones. A rather poorly adapted map at: shows what has been achieved
so far, basically two loops, one 900 metres long, the other 1200 metres long. Reconstruction of the
approximately 4 km route to the old clay pits and the construction of a locomotive shed with
workshop are also planned for the coming years. There are running days on 9 September and 16

[350] Germany/Sweden – The Berlin to Malmö overnight train
A privately operated sleeper service runs between Berlin and Malmö three times a week each way
during the summer (as detailed in EGTRE), providing the only opportunity to use the Sassnitz to
Trelleborg train ferry. The northbound service was taken on the night of 26/27 July. Leaving Berlin, the
train consisted of a class 155 loco hauling five elderly couchette coaches.

The train was very busy and your correspondent shared a compartment with five others. The service is
pretty basic, with no catering other than a few cold drinks and snacks sold by the train manager from
his compartment, although there is the opportunity to use the facilities on the ferry. This gentleman
also acted as the guard for the entire journey. One compartment in each coach is used for luggage,
which was fortunate as most of the passengers had large backpacks or suitcases.
As the train has no booked stops, your reporter was curious to see what route was taken. At Berlin
Gesundbrunnen the train proceeded towards Berlin Lichtenberg, an unexpected routing, although
later perusal of EGTRE showed that the direct line to Karow was closed until December so this could
have been predicted. After a lengthy wait at Lichtenberg, the train joined the outer ring and then ran
via Birkenwerder to Löwenberg where there was another long wait, apparently due to single line
working north of here. At Neustrelitz the train took the line towards Neubrandenburg, as expected.
Soon afterwards the train manager announced that the train was going to be 30 minutes late arriving
at the ferry terminal, but that the connecting service would be held! The reason given was that the
train was being diverted via Rostock, but this seemed unlikely as it was clearly already late and such a
routing would have added a lot more time to the journey, and indeed this turned out not to be the
case as it continued northwards towards Stralsund.
Approaching Stralsund the question on everyone's mind, or at least that of your reporter, was whether
the avoiding curve would be taken. In the event it was, and at some speed, before stopping at
Stralsund Rügendamm to allow German border police to join.
Joining the Mukran branch, the other main track objective of the night's trip, the train ran though the
yards, passing a large number of, presumably stored, locomotives, before running into a siding just
short of the ship, where the coaches were drawn back from the train loco and propelled onto the boat.
Your reporter was in the leading coach, so had a very good view as the stock was shunted right to the
buffers, in fact hitting them with some force. The reason for this became apparent when one of the
crew was seen to secure the back of the coach to a mooring at the buffers. By now it was midnight and
the ship was an hour late departing, so it was on the move within minutes.
Your reporter decided to ignore the attractions of the boat’s restaurants and bars and opted to get his
head down for the night. Despite the cramped conditions he actually enjoyed one of the best night's
sleep that he'd ever had on a train. The crossing was booked to take just over four hours and then the
train was due to stay on the ferry for another couple of hours, so a smooth crossing meant a good six
hours without the normal movement associated with a night train.
At around 06:45 the stock was drawn off the ship by some sort of road rail vehicle and propelled into
the adjacent two platform station which, it is assumed, was once used by foot passengers. A Swedish
electric was attached and then there was a wait for a path. The Trelleborg branch reopened to
passengers in 2015 and now has a half hourly service. The Central station there, with its overall roof,
has been beautifully restored and is inland of, and on a different alignment to, the ferry branch. Once
a service train had arrived the train set off through the freight yards, eventually joining the passenger
route approximately a kilometre later. Using the traditional route (now another rare line) to the
terminal platforms at Malmö Central, the train completed its journey around 5 minutes late. As your
reporter only had a small bag, he had been able to keep it with him, so was able to alight from the
train quickly before the chaos of reclaiming bags from the luggage compartment started, and make a
10 minute connection back to Trelleborg to visit the passenger station.

[351] Germany – Problems with the Rastatt tunnel closes main line
The line from Karlsruhe to Offenburg, between Rastatt and Baden-Baden was closed during late
August due to a ‘landslide’ in the Rastatt tunnel which is currently under construction. This had
seriously warped a section of the tracks above the tunnel. Some details of the Rastatt tunnel may be of
interest. There are in fact two 4,270m tunnels being constructed; the nucleus of a 17-kilometre-long
line, connecting Ötigheim with Niederbühl in the Rastatt district. Boring is taking place 20 metres
underground and runs under the River Murg to reduce the development’s environmental impact. The
tunnel boring began in spring 2016 and is expected to be complete in Autumn 2017. The tunnels are
designed to alleviate congestion on the current two-track Karlsruhe-Basel high speed line, providing
more options for long distance passengers. High speed journeys will be reduced by 30 minutes once
this addition to the corridor has been completed in 2022.

[352] Italy - Fabriano to Pérgola to be included in tourist railway bill?
The Fabriano to Pérgola railway, suspended since 2013, could be included in the bill for the
establishment of tourist railways by re-use of disused or in-use lines located in those areas of
particular naturalistic or archaeological value. Services on the branch line between Fabriano and
Pérgola, completed on 12 October 1894 and inaugurated on 28 April 1895, were suspended due to a
‘landslide’ in 2013 at km 22 at Monterosso di Sassoferrato, and the line closed. Recent inspections by
the municipalities concerned have shown that the problem is in fact a washout of a section of ballast,
easily rectified by a simple maintenance operation. The railway, in 1926, pioneered the "Dirigente
Unico" system for control of signalling on a section of railway. For more than 70 years sulphur was
transported from nearby quarries each with characteristic bridges and galleries. There is now a
proposal for a steam hauled heritage operation based at the former locomotive depot at Fabriano.
[353] Poland – New curve at Sucha Beskidzka and progress on the new curve near Kraków Płaszów
On a recent Monday morning with two and a half hours remaining on his Bilet Weekendowy a member
took the opportunity to do the new single track avoiding curve at Sucha Beskidzka. Opened on 11 June

2017 it replaces one of three reversals on a journey from Kraków Główny to Zakopane. A new single
platform station - Sucha Beskidzka Zamek - has been built on the curve just prior to a new river bridge.
A basic structure with little if any facilities, it is reached by a set of stairs up from a large car parking
area at ground level. All through trains from Kraków to Zakopane and v.v. now go this way. The original
station at Sucha Beskidzka, where there is a Polregio depot, is only served by the few trains that start
and terminate in the town as well as the occasional summer through workings to and from Żywiec. As
these services go to/from both Zakopane and Kraków it means that all three sides of what is now a
triangle have passenger trains. As it is not possible to cross trains at Sucha Beskidzka Zamek, unlike at
the original station where it was a common occurrence, a new crossing loop has been constructed to
the north just before the next station at Zembrzyce. Travelling back to Kraków on the first train of the
day from the Zakopane direction there was still a crew change at the new station involving at least the
conductor which presumably means train crews having the inconvenience of walking to and from
facilities at the original station. Incidentally 'Zamek' is Polish for 'Castle'.
On a related matter, this journey also allowed an opportunity to check on progress on another new bit
of track that will replace one of the other reversals, i.e the one at Kraków Płaszów. Here a new double
track avoiding curve has been constructed with a grade separated viaduct at the Kraków Główny end.
Track and wiring look complete but work is continuing on fitting out on both a new two platform
station at Kraków Krzemionki - where the current station is on the route towards Kraków Płaszów - and
also a replacement station at Kraków Zablocie situated immediately south of the river on the main line
between Kraków Główny and Kraków Płaszów just prior to the northern end of the new curve. This
new line connects directly into an existing two track freight line although no attempt has been made
to upgrade the subsequent connection from this freight line into the current passenger line, so expect
some slow running here. Contrary to expectations the two track high level freight line towards Kraków
Płaszów yards is still retained and remains in use. In fact two westbound long steel trains were passed
just after 08:00 presumably coming from Nowa Huta and heading towards the Skawina – Oświeçim
line. This new curve is expected to open at the end of this year and it will be interesting to see if any
passenger trains are booked in the future to use the existing route to/from Kraków Płaszów. The
current overnight Gdynia - Zakopane KARPATY is a multi-portioned train which splits/joins at Kraków
Płaszów. If this service continues unaltered it may still be more convenient to do the splitting/joining
at Kraków Płaszów rather than at Kraków Główny and thus retain passenger use of the current route.

[354] Poland – Passing through Gorzów Wielkopolski
With the main line 'viaduct' closed long term, arrival from Kostrzyn was along goods lines into the
'separate' 2-platform station south of the out-of-use one, with a train to the Zbąszynek line occupying
the other platform face and creating overcrowding. A long, narrow and unpleasant subway linked to
the main station for the connecting bus to the next station east, described by HAFAS as Gorzów
Wielkopolski Teatralna (which does indeed describe the name of the street/district in which the
station is located) but the PKP timetable properly uses the Wschodni name as indeed do the station

Gorzów Wielkopolski Wschodni

In fact the rail replacement bus from the main station was not operating due to extensive traffic
problems arising from the viaduct works, so a walk to Wschodni was necessary!
Our members limited Polish deduces that this is a newly-constructed station opened earlier in 2017. As
can be seen in the picture above, it does not look like a temporary station (which some reports would
suggest). Onward travel was on a TLK service towards Krzyż. TLK81100 was a 2 coach service (two
'corridor composites', one declassified) hauled by an Intercity SU42 (number 1005). This was visible
from the station 'parked' to the east (possibly on the former westbound line) and it reversed into the
station once the local train had cleared the line. What was not at all clear was how the loco runs round
the stock on arrival.

Engineering works on the viaduct before Gorzów Wielkopolski

[355] Russia – New line opens north west of St. Petersburg
A new 65km long double track electrified railway line between Losevo-1 and Kamennogorsk is being
tested and the first freight ran on 27 June 2017 at 40 km/h (25 km/h through stations). By the end of
2018, 2,000 construction defects will have to be eliminated before transfer of ownership from the
Russian Federal Agency for Railway Transport to the RŽD can take place in 2019. The railway is
intended to relieve the direct route between St. Petersburg and Vyborg and is designed for the
transport of 60 - 100 million tonnes of freight per year, which corresponds to up to 60 train pairs per
day to the ports of the Gulf of Finland. Since railway stations were built on the new railway it seems a
passenger service will follow in due course.

[356] Slovakia – New line over bridge in Trenčín fully open
The new railway bridge over the river Váh in Trenčín (west of the station on the line to Bratislava)
opened with one track back in May. From 31 July 2017 the second track entered operation. Length of
the new line is about a kilometre, and presumably the old line and bridge will be abandoned.

[357] Switzerland/France – Cross border extension not happening
The metre gauge branch from Nyon to La Cure was inaugurated on 12 July 1916, and then extended
across the border to Morez where it connected with the SNCF network. La Cure to Morez closed in
1958, but there have been plans to reopen the line as far as Les Rousses. Sadly, this will not happen
now after a new study concluded that extending the line out of the existing station was impractical.

[358] Switzerland – Sissach – Läufelingen - Olten to close, but not until 2019
The district council of the Canton of Baselland has decided to terminate the passenger traffic on the
Alter Hauenstein bahn between Sissach, Läufelingen and Olten (timetable 503) in December 2019. This
saves 840,000 CHF annually.

[359] Switzerland – Wasen branch gets trains for a day
The 5.2km branch from Sumiswald-Grünen to Wasen im Emmental closed to passenger services in
1994, and freight traffic was withdrawn beyond Ruwa's Burghof plant from 2005. According to L'Echo
du Rail, for the first time for 8 years steam passenger trains ran to Wasen from Sumiswald on 10 June
2017 – see
fahrplan-gotthelfmaerit. The occasion was the annual and traditional Gotthelf Märit at Sumiswald - see It could be worth looking out for these trains in future years:
Gotthelf-Märit takes place every year on the second Saturday in June. The next dates are: Saturday 9
June 2018 and Saturday 8 June 2019.


[360] Australia – Melbourne tram changes
A stretch of Melbourne tram route 58 from Domain Interchange on St Kilda Road via Domain Road and
Park Street to Toorak Road was closed from 1 July due to construction of the new cross city
metrotunnel project. A brand new section of route 58 along Toorak Road between Park Street and St
Kilda Road opened on 12 July. On a recent visit it was observed that the curve and wires from Toorak
Road towards the former route along Park Street have been removed but the points are still present at

Domain Interchange to Domain Road although a stretch of wire has been taken down. See

[361] Australia – Gold Coast light rail extension progress
In Queensland the Gold Coast Light Rail stage 2 extension from Gold Coast University Hospital to
Helensvale station has track laid and wiring almost complete where it comes alongside the Gold Coast
line south of Helensvale station. Work on the additional platforms at Helensvale also looks almost
complete. The 7.3km extension is due to be open for the Commonwealth Games to be held in the Gold
Coast in April 2018. See

[362] Costa Rica - The Monteverde Trainforest Railway
The Monteverde Trainforest Railway., which still features in some guide books and was located around
5 km from Santa Elena in the Monteverde Cloud Forest area, has ceased operation. The 2 foot
(610mm) gauge line was 6km long and had two diesel hydraulic steam outline "American" 4-4-0
locomotives which were built in the UK in Stratford on Avon by Severn Lamb Ltd (who have just built
the new 610mm gauge Mail Rail passenger trains). Each train could have three coaches and fares were
US $65 for a 90 minute journey through the forest. Presumably the fares reflected the large
construction costs but were too high to attract sufficient customers.

[363] Mexico - Durango rail bypass opens
A new rail bypass around the city of Durango was opened on 15 August and will be used by the
Coahuila Durango company. The new line, 26.5 km long, is expected to raise through train speeds to
80 km/h from 20 km/h on the old line through the city centre.

[364] Taiwan - Taiwan TRA South Link Line and Alishan Forest Railway news
Electrification works have commenced on the South Link Line (Chaozhou - Taitung section) which will
close the last non-electrified gap on the round the island railway. This particular section has some of
the best railway views on the Island.
It has been reported in China Post that the Alishan Forest Railway has reopened some more of the
lines closed due to storm or earthquake damage in the past. According to the item, the line previously
closed between Fenqhihu and Shenmu has partially reopened from Shenmu to at least Erwanping on
the upper section: This is not
reflected on the Alishan Forest Railway website, which shows regular trains running from Alishan to
the top of the first switchback at Shenmu. There is mention in the China Post article of a Monday only
special package trip which covers the Erwanping/Zhushan parts of the upper section, but there is no
mention of this on the Alishan website:
As Shizulu is further up the hill than Feniqihu, it may be that there are services beyond Feniqihu or
even irregularly between Feniqihu and Shenmu, possibly even as part of the previously mentioned
Mondays only package. But this is pure speculation unless more information can be found, either by
diligent searching of Chinese language websites or someone actually visiting the area.

On the lower section the service has changed a little bit from last year, with three trains now working
the Chiayi - Feniqihu section on a Sunday, two on a Saturday and the usual one during the week. The
Sunday only 09:50 Dulishan to Chiayi and 13: 00 return no longer runs according to the posted times.
[365] Turkey/Georgia - First train on a section of Kars – Tbilisi railway
A ceremonial first train ran on the Turkish section of the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars (BTK) railway corridor on
19 July 2017. The officials also inspected the tunnel across the Turkey – Georgia border as part of their
visit. The 849 km BTK programme of route modernisation and new construction is designed to create a
rail corridor from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

This will replace the former route through Armenia which has been out of use since the Turkey –
Armenia border crossing was closed in 1993. The BTK project includes the construction of 110 km of
new standard gauge line from Kars via the border at Kartsakhi to Akhalkalaki in Georgia, where there
will be facilities for gauge changing and trans-shipment between the 1435 mm and 1520 mm
networks. From Akhalkalaki 153 km of unused 1520 mm gauge line to the junction at Marabda is being
rehabilitated. Completion of the corridor is expected later this year. The BTK route is expected to carry
up to 500 000 TEU/year, and an agreement has now been reached for the construction of a freight
terminal in Kars. Although the route is primarily intended to carry freight, Stadler is supplying
Azerbaijan’s national railway ADY with a fleet of gauge-changing sleeping cars for a planned Baku –
Istanbul passenger service.
[366] USA – New commuter railway starts operation
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) granted the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART)
District permission to begin commuter-rail services on 25 August. SMART's initial 43-mile route
includes 10 stations between the Sonoma County Airport and downtown San Rafael, California. The
service was free on the opening day. Plans are underway to expand the route to Larkspur, California,

by 2019. The line also will extend to Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale, California. The full project
should run 70 miles along the Sonoma-Marin corridor.

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