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Harz in December.

Discussion in 'International Heritage Railways/Tramways' started by KHARDS, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. KHARDS

    KHARDS New Member

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    I am thinking about going via Eurostar to spent a few days on the Harz system. Has anyone got any tips? I know there was an article about it in Steam Railway a few years ago, but I havent managed to find that issue yet.

    Where to stay?
    How many days needed?
    Best route from England by train?

    Any tips or info would be gratefully received.
     
  2. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    Fastest I guess is ICE to Hannover.

    I stayed in Weimar, and took the train in the am from Nordhausen to Wernigerode, and then up the Brocken, quite a historic part of the world as well as some fantastic views.
    That was a few years ago mind.
     
  3. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    The Steam Railway article would have been on the RTC trip December 2011 in conjunction with Steam Railway which I was on.

    I have been on 2 trips, the other with Railtrail last February and both times have been based in Wernigerode.
    Stayed in Altora - short walk from Loco shed on one trip and the HKK Wernigerode on the other. both good hotels but the food was better in the later.

    3 days to cover the whole network steam hauled.

    I think the most direct route is via Hanover. Eurostar - Brussels ,Thalys or ICE( the later has more room and is more comfortable) to Cologne. Change trains for one to Hanover and change again for Wernigerode. Not sure if it is possible to do it in a day on the way out, but it is on the return.
     
  4. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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  5. KHARDS

    KHARDS New Member

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    Thanks very much for the replies. I am hoping to book it all myself rather than go on a tour. Can anyone recommend a website for booking tickets. There seems to be so many agencies offering tickets in the EU.
     
  6. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    When I went I flew to Hanover and the DB to Wernigerode. I booked the DB tickets on their website. All worked smoothly over there.

    Plenty of hotels in Wernigerode. As has been said, there is no guarantee of a view from the top. When I went, I caught the first train up there in February and the staff to open up were on the train. So it was a question of a few photos in a blizzard and then back on the train.
     
  7. Desiro450

    Desiro450 Guest

    DB UK in Surbiton are generally pretty good. They handle rail staff bookings as well as 'normal' punters. If you want to do it yourself online then the DB website is pretty user friendly, if you get in early enough they do a 49 Euro 'London Special' ticket, from London to any station in Germany and vice versa. Only valid on ICE services on the Brussels Aachen part though, not Thalys. You can insert breaks into the ticket if you want to stop overnight somewhere, London to Wernigerode in a day is a bit of a flog.
     
  8. 5944

    5944 Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree about using DB to book tickets, either online or via the call centre. Stay in Wernigerode, plenty of accommodation and a few good restaurants and bars. The Altora is a bit more expensive than other places, but is very good and right opposite the shed yard.

    http://www.hsb-wr.de/en/mehr-erlebe...nszuege-zum-brocken/von-wernigerode/dezember/

    Depending how long you're planning to go for, this ticket may be useful

    http://www.nasa.de/index.php?id=66

    Not valid up to the Brocken, but allows 3 days travel on the rest of the network and standard gauge HEx services from Wernigerode to Quedlinburg.
     
  9. KHARDS

    KHARDS New Member

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    Many thanks. Current plan was Eurostar to brussels, one night there, then to Werningrode via Cologne and Hanover. Then 3 days on the line, one night in Cologne, back on Eurostar. One of our party won't fly, we are definitely taking the Eurostar.

    The websites I have looked at so far so trins cannot be booked more than 3 months in advance. Is this your experience?

    Any recommendations for the line? Is it all worth doing?

    Also, are there any decent standard gauge steam lines in Germany, or even decent museums? Anywhere I can find out about mainline railtours?

    Many thanks for the replies
     
  10. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    The Eisfelder Talmühle to Nordhausen section is least interesting part of the network and is not a must do in my opinion. There is only one steam hauled service each way on this section.
    The Selketalbahn section usually has the Mallett 5906 or the 2-6-2t 996001 hauling the service trains. There a limited steam ssrvice on this section and a lot of the services are Railcars.On the rest of the network the services are usually hauled by the 2-10-2t's.The other 2 Mallet are usually only on special services.

    There is a DB Museum in Nuremburg - 6 photos with link to first http://paulsimpson.zenfolio.com/p888271063/h31fb67dd#h31fb67dd
     
  11. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    It may be worth considering to go for a first visit with an organised rail tour as that often includes joining a charter as the bonus.

    Railtrail organises a number of tours to the Harz [http://tours.railtrail.co.uk/TourList.aspx?Type=WebItem&ID=6] with the inclusion of joining charters. On the last trip in February the party arrived in Wernigerode mid-afternoon on Friday after an overnight stay in Cologne with the option of travelling to Schierke and returning to Wernigerode on a charter hauled by Mallet 99-5901. On Saturday the charter was from Wernigerode to Eisfelder Tahlmuehle with photo stops [one runpast at each location] and a double departure from ET; on Sunday the charter was from Wernigerode to ET then up the Selketal to Hasselfelde and Quedlinburg. On Monday, because the promised locos for the charters had not been available and the standard 99.72xx 2-10-2Ts were used, Railtrail owner Dave Felstead organised a Railtrail charter with Mallet 995901 from Wernigerode to Benneckenstein where the party caught the normal steam working back to Drei Annen Hohne and the Brocken.

    During the trip the sun came out quite often; the snow was about 12 inches deep and the daily temperature was -10 degrees Centigrade but I managed to take over 400 pictures of the steam locos - including some taken on the repo yard at night when public access is allowed. This may be more expensive in terms of cost BUT in terms of photo opportunities it is well worth the extra - especially for a first time visit
     
  12. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    See links in this thread http://www.national-preservation.com/threads/german-steam-tours.36862/#post-491125

    For standard gauge - Try the Rubelandbahn ( if open - opened specially for the RTC/Steam Railway trip 2011 - ) a freight line between Blankenburg( Harz) and Rubeland which has steam hauled passenger trains and has gradients of up to 1 in 17. See Steam Railway No 372 Feb/March 2010 pages 54 & 55 for a Tony Streeter article on the line
     
  13. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    If you have very deep pockets. That's quite a premium over doing it yourself.
     
  14. Fred Kerr

    Fred Kerr Part of the furniture

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    May be a premium BUT you have all facilities and travel costs covered; you travel ON the charters NOT chase them and you are kept fully occupied on both travel and photographic opportunities. If you are looking for either a first visit or an only visit to a foreign location I would recommend joining a organised trip; if only comparing overall cost to the number of images taken the "premium" option often works out at a cheaper price per image taken.

    The Harzquerbahn also operates a webcam which can be found at : http://www.hsb-wr.de/startseite/ with locations at Wernigerode Depot; Drei Annen Hohne and the Brocken which should help familiarise yourself with the line; hope this proves of interest.

    Noting the suggestion re Rubelandbahn; AFAIK this freight line is diesel operated at present with steam traction only making occasional appearances in conjunction with charters so check this very carefully before making a visit.
     
  15. marshall5

    marshall5 Member

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    Hi Fred, It's not quite true that the Rubelandbahn is only steam - worked for charters. If you go to www.blankenburg.de and select Rubelandbahn it lists the 2013 steam schedule which is open to the public but not widely publicized. The remaining workings are 17-18/8, 26-27/10, 9-10 & 31/11, 1 & 7-8/12. I agree that if you've only got a few days an organized trip is the way to see the most in a short time. However I've always found a DIY trip very easy and inexpensive particularly if you take advantage of the DB 'Happy Weekend Tickets' (IIRC 38 euros for up to 5 people for the whole of Germany) and the 18 euro 3 day 'Harz Tour Card' - 2012 prices. Best Wishes. Ray.
     
  16. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Resident of Nat Pres

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    I would DIY the Harz in preference to an organised group anytime.
    Booking.com is a good site for seeking out accomodation. If you're not a track basher looking to cover the whole system then I'd suggest majoring on the section up to the Brocken. A side trip to the Seleketal section would be worth it for some Mallet haulage if one is rostered.
     
  17. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I did all my own arrangements for a fraction of £700, went where and when I wanted and ended up with far too many pictures as there are endless opportunities.


    You should be aware however a fair number of the people in the area don't speak English - esp those born a number of years before the wall came down.

    So a smattering of German will help - even if its stock phrases.
    If you are there on a Friday then you can join the tour of the workshops - although its all in German
     
  18. Spamcan81

    Spamcan81 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Interesting to see Fred making a "cost per shot" comparison. To me it's always been quality over quantity and I've found tue flexibility of DIY trip increases the chances of achieving my aims.
    Good point about being able to converse in German. I've found it invaluable when dealing with HSB crews and staff.
     
  19. Paul42

    Paul42 Member

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    Whether you go on a DIY tour or an organised trip is a personal choice dependant on a number of things

    Are you travelling alone or part of a group? Are you happy travelling alone?

    The majority of the people on the organised trips I have been on have been solo travellers with limited foreign language skills( like myself).

    Have you been to the area before? How well do you know the area and how much time have you got to research, to make the most of you time there?

    I could add a lot more but have not got the time!

    The most important thing is enjoying the trip/holiday whether it be DIY or an organised trip.

    Please can we get back to offering suggestions and advice.

     
  20. Desiro450

    Desiro450 Guest

    Nearly £800 for a few days in the Harz? Bloomin heck... Yeah, you have got the charters but if you haven't been before then you will enjoy the normal service trains for a fraction of the price. The 2-10-2s thrashing up the Brocken (especially in deep snow) are the best bit by far, plus the DAH to Eisfelder bit. The Mallets are not worth bothering with, look cute but minimal thrash. Having a bit of German is useful but not essential. Plenty of decent cheap hotels in town, The Altora gets the attention of the enthusiasts seeing as it overlooks the depot, not stayed there but eaten there a few times and to be honest its not the best place in town. Seems to suffer from a lack of staff and too many tour parties....
     

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