SNCB Liege/DB Aachen area

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by childwallblues, 25 Jun 2019.

  1. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    I shall be in this area for two days next month and wonder were are the best places to see both freight and passengers.

    MTIA
    Dave
     
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  3. Catracho

    Catracho Member

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    On the German side, definitely Aachen Hbf and Aachen West stations. All passenger trains serving Aachen call at the Hbf: regular Thalys/ICE services, additional IC trains on fridays/sundays, several RE/RB lines (including one each to Belgium and the Netherlands) and the trains of the Euregiobahn commuter network. Freight coming in from the Cologne area also runs through the main station, almost always continuing to Aachen West. That station sees even more freight traffic than Hbf, since freight trains coming in from the direction of Mönchengladbach also pass through there, but not the main station.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jun 2019
  4. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    If you fancy some more unusual photos, a fair bit of freight uses the Montzen/Moresnet freight-only line west of Aachen into Belgium, across a massive viaduct at the village of Moresnet. You might need something other than a train to reach it though.
    A bit further afield, near Düren, there's a completely separate electric coal railway serving a huge opencast mine for RWE - see http://briansolomon.com/trackingthelight/tag/rheinbraun/ but there's been recent environmental protests about brown coal extraction in Germany, so I'd be wary about hanging round with a camera!
    Good luck and mind your languages, as it's a bit confusing round that triple border point of B-NL-D.
     
  5. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Freight in Liege avoids Guillemins station and the 1 in 40 incline and goes via Kinkempois in the Meuse valley - sorry I can't advise on how to see stuff in that area.
    As Catracho says, Aachen West for freight; there is also a yard at Rothe Erde on the Cologne route.

    Beyond Moresnet Viaduct eastwestdivide mentions is the big Montzen yard - the area doesn't look easy to reach by public transport though.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jun 2019
  6. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    There's a bus stop in Moresnet village, almost underneath the viaduct, but I went by bike, so I don't know what the timetable's like or where it goes to/from:
    Bus stop.jpg
     
  7. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    You can find the departures and routes quickly via Googlemaps - they don't appear to go anywhere useful to enthusiasts apart from one random trip to Welkenraedt. No doubt there is a local journey planner as well.
     
  8. Fireless

    Fireless Member

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  9. 433N

    433N Member

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    They are fun. Got one from Welkenraedt to Aachen last week. Bit like a Belgian pacer.

    Expect more graffiti than the stock photo and many seem to be wearing an eye patch now !
     
  10. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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    They all do at one end ;) I can definitely recommend a ride on one!
     
  11. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    For passenger trafic you could just spend an hour or two, preferably at peak time, in the Liege Guillemins station. All passenger train in this area go through it. It may also be interesting to go to the old station of Liege Montegnee, half way in the incline, where the fixed steam engines that hauled the trains up the incline were once located. This is a good place, I think, to observe the trains going up and down.

    If you want some rural railroading, take a train to Spa and back. Wonderful scenery too.

    If you like old style passenger coaches, take a train on the Luxembourg line. Even better scenery, but not too much trafic, a train every two hours in each direction.

    There is still some freight trafic in Kinkempois (this is near Liege and reachable by public transport) but it might be difficult to find a good observation/photography spot. The freight line going through Kinkempois has recently been reopened to passengers.

    Montzen is further away and needs a car. It will probably be disappointing, the marshalling yard is almost entirely deserted now, almost all trains pass through without stopping. But the cherry on the cake in this area is the Moresnet viaduct, and if you are in rail history, the remnants of the military lines. Also look for the inverted signals on the line east of Montzen, which has right hand running...

    Regarding classic belgian EMUs, it's nice to catch them while they still last: the new M7 stock, to enter service in 2020, will probably make them redundant. The first were built before WW2, the last in the end of the 70ies. Those with a number higher than 660 have thiristor controlled traction. Very few with JH camshaft traction control gear survive today, if any. The seats (benches, actually) are a bit rough, but their ride is surprisingly smooth, thanks to their Schlieren bogies.
     
  12. Spoorslag '70

    Spoorslag '70 Member

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    The locals to Aachen (and thus to Spa) are completely worked by JH ones, arguably because of electro-magnetic interference with the German signalling.

    I also think that the thyristors start at 685, with 660ff being MS70JH.
     
  13. MarcVD

    MarcVD Member

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    Now that you say it, I remember having read that info somewhere else already. I think it was also
    the case for the Visé to Maastricht workings, but now there the problem seems over. Also, as far as I remember, SNCB started the process of qualifying the Desiro EMUs to Aachen, so the doubles on
    that service will also disappear soon.

    I checked. JH till 664, thyristor as of 665.
     
  14. Spoorslag '70

    Spoorslag '70 Member

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    From what I know from the German side, the idea is to extend the ICs terminating at Welkenrath (/-raedt) to Aachen, the 18s and the I11s (correction from yesterday, the M6 don't fit through the "Buschtunnel", it seems like some reshuffling would be required) shuold already be permitted over to Aachen. It's always planned "from next December" and always quietly disappears, mostly due to the Belgians not liking the proposal (the Welkenrath terminators only run during the week and the service to Eupen can not be changed due to political reasons).
    To be fair, my biggest problem with the Desiro would be whether they correctly announce Hergenrath (German and then French) and the visual information also works accordingly, as I can fully understand Eupen not being too happy about further discrimination.

    The problem on the Maastricht line is a lack of certification for the modernised breaks (MS80), the thyristor "doubles" shuold be able to run there (they are pretty much identical to the MS75s (except for the cosmetics), which run into Roosendaal without problems).
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2019
  15. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    Many thanks for all of your replies. Aachan West will be my base.
     
  16. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    tHANK YOU.
     
  17. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    I rode 643 from Wellkendraet to Aachen on Tuesday and 649 return. 697 was on the Spa branch at Pepinster. 649 was again on the Aachen service on Wednesday whilst 663 was on the 0819 all stations from Liege to Verviers Central.
     
  18. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    Anything else of interest from your visit? I'm heading out that way again fairly soon.
     
  19. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    Not really too much of interest in Liege. Loco wise 2115 was in the station sidings on a rake of coaches. Otherwise it was all Class 18
    on all to/from Wellendraet/Eupen. There was plenty of freight passing through Aachen Hbf with Class 111 on the Cologne services.
     
  20. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

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    Thanks for that. Those 111s are getting a bit long in the tooth now aren't they? And their staple work, push-pull with RE services, seems like it's being gradually eroded by the arrival of new EMUs.
    Check back in a couple of months for my own trip report.
     
  21. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    111 class still runs all RE4 trains to Dortmund.
    I suspect with more RRX trains coming, they will dissapear next year.
     
  22. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    I did wonder why 12 car trains with Class 18 locos run up the 5km branch to Eupen. Presumably political refers to the area being part of Germany until the Treaty of Versailles ceded the area to Belgium in 1922.
     
  23. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    The Germans in Belgium seem quiete Happy being Belgian. Certainly more than Flams and Waloons.
    The political reason, I imagine, is that each region wants a direct service to Brussels.
     
  24. Fireless

    Fireless Member

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    Pretty much spot on.
    Eupen is the capital of the german speaking community of Belgium.
    At the time the line reopened (1984), Belgium was very keen on equally investing into both regions (the german speaking community is a part of Wallonia).
    As there was money to burn in Wallonia due to the flemish port extensions, funding wasn't an issue at all and they got the rather good service (Eupen has a population of less than 20000) on top of that.
     
  25. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    Many thanks for all your comments. The area and its railways was of great interest to me.
     
  26. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    I am back to Aachen on 3/4 September this time travelling from Schiphol vis Brussels Nord. Will report back later.
     
  27. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    The Belgian Grand Prix is taking place at Spa this weekend. I do not know whether SNCB put on additional trains but they are advising passengers to change at Verviers Central for a special bus service to the circuit.
     
  28. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    646 was on the Welkenraedt to Aachen service on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
     
  29. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    You mean a DB unit? So you know If it terminated at Wrlkenraedt or did it continue to Spa?
     
  30. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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  31. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    No a Belgian unit.
     

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