Trip to Germany, France and Spain - September 2022

General Notes

A few days in Germany to cover two days of the Branch Line Society's "Niedersachsen Explorer" railtour; then via a flight from Berlin to Bordeaux for a few days travelling in Spain; then a few family days near Huelva; then a few more days travelling in Spain before heading home from Gibraltar. Most of the train travel was on a First Class InterRail, 15 days in two months.

Operating Company Abbreviations

  • DB = Deutsche Bahn (national train operator in Germany)
  • RENFE - Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (principal train operator in Spain)
  • SNCF - Société nationale des chemins de fer français (national train operator in France)

Track gauge

Unless otherwise stated, RENFE trains are Iberian (1668 mm) gauge. Gauge-changing trains are listed individually. All other trains and trams are standard gauge unless otherwise stated.

Place Arrive Depart Train Traction details & notes

Friday 9th September 2022

Timperley   09:14   Metrolink tram 3007+3015
Trafford Bar 09:26 10:14   Metrolink tram 3031 delays due to failed tram at Deansgate-Castlefield
Manchester Airport 10:46      
Manchester (MAN)    12:50 FR1593 Ryanair 9H-QAM B737-8AS delayed by late crew change and air traffic restrictions and poor weather over Germany; push-back 15:01; take-off 15:30 from runway 23L; performed a go-around at CGN due to very bad weather
Koln/Bonn Airport (CGN) 15:20     landed 18:19 on runway 32R; on stand 18:25
Koln/Bonn Airport   18:44 'S19' DB EMU 423037+423047
Köln Messe/Deutz 19:06 19:18 ICE 28 DB EMU 411066 delays and diversions due to signalling problems at Köln Hbf photo photo
Düsseldorf Hbf 19:38 19:50 EC 118 DB EL 101101
Dortmund Hbf 20:46 20:48 ICE 947 DB EMU 402066+088 dep 32 late
Hannover Hbf 22:28     arr 38 late, missing the last useful train to Uelzen
Hauptbahnhof   23:12 'U2' Hannover tram
Dragonerstrasse  23:17      
New passenger track for today: none.
Overnight: Ibis Hannover City. I had to cancel my hotel in Uelzen and book a night in Hannover, at the Ibis Hannover City, a short walk from Dragonerstrasse tram stop.
Notes: How can five hours spare time in a journey between UK and Germany be not enough? When flight delays and bad weather delay a flight by three hours, and a signalling failure in Germany delays trains by two hours......

Saturday 10th September 2022

Dragonerstrasse   07:18 'U2' Hannover tram 2017+2013
Hauptbahnhof 07:24      
Hannover Hbf   07:40 RE3 82864/82114 metronom EL 146502 photo photo
Winsen Luhe 09:38     short walk to
Winsen (Süd)   10:00   Verkehrsfreunde Lüneberg DL 46-01 photo
Branch Line Society railtour over parts of the Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen network: Winsen (Süd) - Mover photo - Niedermarschacht (rev) photo - Tönnhausen Hafen (2 x rev) - Winsen (Süd) (rev) photo – Neu Garstedt photo - Salzhausen photo - Soltau (Süd) (rev) photo – Lührsbockel photo -  Bergen photo - Beckedorf photo  - Eversen photo - Celle
Celle photo 17:30 18:08 RE3 82884 metronom EL 1465xx
Uelzen photo photo 18:39      
New passenger track for today: none.
Overnight: CityHotel Uelzen.

Sunday 11th September 2022

Uelzen   08:25   DB ICE
Celle photo 08:57      
Today's tour was supposed to start at the DB station at Celle but it was "moved" to start in the Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen at Celle Nord, a short walk away
Celle Nord   10:00   Verkehrsfreunde Lüneberg DL 46-01 photo
Branch Line Society railtour over parts of the Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen network: Celle Nord - Eldingen photo - Wittingen Hafen photo Wittingen DB photo photo – Hankensbüttel photo - Gross Oesingen photo photo - Celle Vorstadt photo – Beckedorf photo - Munster (Örtze) photo - Munster (Örtze) Emminger Weg
Munster (Örtze) Emminger Weg photo photo photo  17:00 ?   shared taxi
Soltau (Han) ? 17:59 RB38 14429 DB DMU 648485/648481 dep 8 late
Hannover Hbf 19:08      
New passenger track for today: none.
Overnight: ibis budget Hannover Hauptbahnhof

Monday 12th September 2022

Hannover Hbf photo   07:22 IC 2241 DB EL 101111 + ?C + 101003 photo photo 
Berlin Gesundbrunnen photo  09:25 09:32 RE 18925 DB EL 147002 photo 
Berlin Brandenburg Airport T1-2 09:57 10:16 RB22 18111 DB EMU 442128 photo 
wrong line past Diedersdorf loops, due to engineering works - called at Saarmund pl.1 (e/b) vice pl.4 (w/b) due to failed unit in pl.4
Golm 10:50 11:05 RB22 18114 DB EMU 442121
Königs Wusterhausen 11:54 12:05 RB22 18115 DB EMU 442121 photo 
Berlin Brandenburg Airport T1-2 photo photo  12:14 12:22 RE7 3716 DB EMU 442143+442321
Zossen photo  12:44 13:16 RE7 3719 DB EMU 442321+442143 photo 
via Abzw Selchow West - Abzw Selchow Süd
Berlin Brandenburg Airport T1-2 13:39 13:49 'S9' DB EMU 482???
Berlin Brandenburg Airport T5 13:57 13:59 'S45' DB EMU 482???
Berlin Brandenburg Airport T1-2 14:06      
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)   15:00 EJU4366 Easyjet A320-214 OE-IJQ; push-back 16:50, take-off 17:02 from runway 25L
Bordeaux Airport (BOR) 19:00     landed 19:06 on runway 05, at stand 19:09
Bordeaux Airport   19:30   bus
Gare St Jean 20:00     photo photo photo photo photo 
New passenger track for today: lines to and from Berlin Brandenburg Airport T1-2
Overnight: Hotel ibis budget Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint Jean
The easiest way I found to get to required track In northern Spain was to fly from Berlin Brandenburg airport to Bordeaux: both "required" airports for me; I had been scheduled into Berlin Brandenburg years ago when it was first supposed to be opened..... an afternoon flight allowed me to travel easily from Hannover and over the lines and curves to the new airport station.

Tuesday 13th September 2022

Bordeaux St Jean   06:29 TER 66413 SNCF EMU Z51529/51530/51510/51511 photo
* Dax photo photo photo       SNCF EMU 51529/51530 (via Bayonne photo)
Hendaye photo photo photo 09:07     arr 7 late
Hendaia photo   09:33 'E2' Euskotren EMU 901 (metre gauge) photo photo
Irún-Colón photo photo 09:37     short walk to Irún RENFE station photo photo photo
Irún photo photo   10:23 'C-1' RENFE EMU 449267/268 photo
San Sebastian photo photo photo photo 10:48 11:22 MD 18014 RENFE EMU 449055 photo (via Beasain photo)
behind ‘down’ platform at Magaz then via short curve
Palencia photo photo photo photo 15:20 [1] 16:28 [1] Alvia 4142 RENFE EMU 130005/006 (Iberian gauge) photo
via Villamuriel de Cerrato gauge changer to standard gauge - cross to RH track and via short curve - call at Valladolid Campo Grande - no call at Segovia Guiomar
Madrid Chamartin 18:00 19:04 'C-4' RENFE EMU 465 100+062 via Sol tunnel
Madrid Atocha Cercanías 19:17 19:23 'C-5' RENFE EMU 465 011+216
Mostoles el Soto 19:50 19:56 'C-5'  
San José de Valderas 20:07      
New passenger track for today: Irún - San Sebastian - Miranda de Ebro; Magaz - Palencia; Villamuriel de Cerrato gauge changer; Mostoles el Soto branch.
Overnight: Ibis Madrid Alcorcon Tresaguas, 10 minutes walk from station.    
Bordeaux to Madrid via the Irún border crossing into Spain: I had been as far as Irún many years ago - including across the border on all three gauges. Nowadays there is no cross-border passenger service on either the Standard or Iberian (broad) gauge tracks, the only service being the roughly parallel 'Euskotren' metre gauge route. From Irún to Palencia was mostly "required": though this train continued to Madrid it goes via the old broad gauge route and is not required, and is also much slower than the newer high speed standard gauge alternative. The train I selected to catch from Palencia to Madrid had come from Santander so would do the required gauge changer south of Palencia. Overnight hotel in the southern Madrid suburbs but selected to be on a required Cercanías (suburban) route, which I duly covered to the end before returning back to the hotel.

Wednesday 14th September 2022

San José de Valderas photo    09:42 'C-5' RENFE EMU 465 301+273
Madrid Atocha Cercanías photo photo photo photo 10:00 10:55 MD 17902 RENFE DMU 599 020 photo photo 
via Villaverde Bajo - Villaverde Alto - Villaluenga-Yuncler ‘up’ platform to cross late Alvia 197 11:35/11:42 - slow running from Oropese de Toledo to Monfragüe (arr 14:08 / dep 14:12, 47 late) due to signalling problems due to severe weather - omitted the Plasencia stop to make up time - via Plasencia Aguja km. 9,2 and the new line photo 
Cáceres photo photo photo photo  14:23     arr 26 late
time to go to the hotel to check in
Cáceres   16:07 MD 17907 RENFE DMU 599 045 photo 
via new line photo and Plasencia Aguja km. 9,2 and Aguja km. 7,2 direct to Plasencia photo 
Plasencia photo  photo photo  16:48      
time for a walk and dinner
Plasencia   21:28 RE 17018 RENFE DMU 599 ???
via Plasencia Aguja km. 7,2 photo photo - Monfragüe Aguja km. 255.4  - old line
Cáceres 22:36      
New passenger track for today: all passenger curves around Plasencia; Plasencia - Cáceres high speed line.
Overnight: Hotel Iberia Plaza América in Cáceres (15 minutes walk, or taxi ride)
The aim of today was to cover the more northerly of the two new sections of broad gauge high speed lines around Cáceres in Extramadura, plus the curves around Plasencia. There are now two triangular junctions at Plasencia, making six sections of line to be done: one of them (fortunately the one I did on a railtour a few years ago) has no service, but the others do - and my plan was to cover all five today. As it happens, bad weather caused signalling problems and my train from Madrid was delayed so omitted the booked call at Plasencia, thus destroying my plans! Fortunately a timetable check showed that I could recover the situation with less time in Cáceres and more time in Plasencia. I had time at the latter for a walk around town photo photo photo photo photo, viewing the closed line towards Salamanca photo photo photo photo photo, and dinner. For a map of the area see this map on EGTRE.

Thursday 15th September 2022

Cáceres   07:09 MD 18773 RENFE DMU 599 033 photo 
via new line, left track; Mérida (rev 07:54/08:00) - Zafra
Sevilla Santa Justa 11:16 12:18 'C-1' RENFE EMU 464 208
San Bernardo 12:22 12:35 '1' Sevilla Metro tram 301
Ciudad Expo 12:52 13:05 '1' Sevilla Metro tram 115
Oliver de Quintos photo  13:40 13:48 '1' Sevilla Metro tram 118
San Bernardo photo  14:08 14:20 'T1' Sevilla Tram 301 photo photo 
Plaza Nueva  14:32 14:53 'T1' Sevilla Tram 304 photo photo 
San Bernardo 15:03 15:10 'C-1' RENFE EMU 464 206
Sevilla Santa Justa 15:16 17:00 MD 13039 RENFE EMU 449 007 photo 
Huelva 18:34     then by car to my sister's house in Sanlúcar de Guadiana for four nights.
New passenger track for today: new high speed line Cáceres - Mérida; Sevilla metro and tram routes.
Overnight: Sanlúcar de Guadiana for four nights.
Another early start this morning; from just south of Cáceres to just north of Mérida we used the new high speed line, here it completely replaces the original route; I stayed on the train to the terminus at Sevilla Santa Justa. Next part of the plan was to do the single metro route and the single tram route here in Sevilla. Both pass through San Bernardo, one stop on the Cercanías south of Santa Justa. I got told off by the security guys for taking photographs at the metro western terminus at Ciudad Expo: on closer inspection of the Terms and Conditions I did note that photography is not allowed. I wonder why? Anyway out to the eastern terminus at Oliver de Quintos then back to San Bernardo. Upstairs next into the street for the short (five stops) tram route, from San Bernardo to Plaza Nueva. Part of the tram route is conventionally wired, but part is on battery, with a charging station at each tram stop. Then back to Santa Justa with a couple of hours wait for the train to Huelva to meet my sister and other family. Note it was too hot for any more sightseeing!

Monday 19th September 2022

Huelva   15:00 MD 13043 RENFE DMU 598 021 photo 
Sevilla Santa Justa 16:24 17:50 AVANT 8175 RENFE EMU 104 005 (standard gauge) photo
via Córdoba (pl.4 rev 18:35/18:40) - long curve west of Córdoba photo - Puente Genil-Herrera (19:02/19:04) - Antequera Santa Ana (pl.4 19:16/19:17)
Málaga María Zambrano  photo photo 19:45      
El Perchel   20:57 [-2] 'M2' Málaga Metro 3050 photo
Palacio de los Deportes photo 21:07 21:19 'M2' Málaga Metro 3080
El Perchel 21:29 [-1]      
New passenger track for today: Málaga metro route to Palacio de los Deportes
Overnight: Overnight Hotel Don Paco, Málaga.
Travelling again - Huelva to Sevilla then to Málaga via the high speed line and via a reversal at Córdoba to be in position for the MD train back again next day. Time to do other metro route in Málaga.

Tuesday 20th September 2022

Málaga María Zambrano photo   08:58 MD 13093 RENFE DMU 598008 photo
via photo Bobadilla -  photo Antequera Santa Ana (pl.7 10:00/10:09) - deviation over HSL over Aguadulce river bridge photo between Pedrera and Osuna
Sevilla Santa Justa  11:56 13:30 MD 13009 RENFE EMU 449045 via broad gauge line photo
Córdoba photo 14:49 17:10 IC 9330 RENFE EL 252012+252003+Talgo set (standard gauge) photo
via high speed line - Antequera Santa Ana (pl.4) 17:56 (dep 12 late)
* Antequera Santa Ana left-hand gauge changer 18:11 18:23   detach EL 252012+252003 photo; roll through gauge changer; attach RENFE DL 334022 photo
via Bobadilla (pl.2, pass 1829) - Ronda (pl.7, dep 19:23, 23 late) - San Roque-La Línea (pl.2, dep 20:39, 21 late)
Algeciras  20:32     arr 19 late
New passenger track for today: Antequera Santa Ana - gauge changer - Bobadilla - Ronda - Algeciras
Overnight Hotel Mir Octavio, close to both the railway and bus stations.
The two aims for today were the scenic broad gauge route from Málaga to Bobadilla and Antequera Santa Ana, continuing to Sevilla; and train IC9330 which (with its opposite number) is the only standard gauge electric loco hauled train in Spain, and then is put through the gauge changer at Antequera Santa Ana for the scenic run to Algeciras.

Wednesday 21st September 2022

Estacíon de Autobuses San Bernardo (Algeciras)   08:00 'M120' bus
Estacíon de Autobuses La Línea 08:45     walk across border into Gibraltar photo
Gibraltar Airport (GIB) photo   11:00 EZY1964 Easyjet photo
Easyjet G-UZHY A320-251N) GIB push-back 11:25, take-off 11:34 from runway 27; MAN landed 13:19 on runway 23R, on stand 13:23
Manchester Airport (MAN)        
Manchester Airport   13:42   Metrolink tram 3127
Cornbrook 14:26 14:30   Metrolink tram 3017
Timperley 14:45      
New passenger track for today: none.
Heading home from Algeciras via Gibraltar, which I'd not been to before today. Bus from Algeciras bus station to La Línea bus station, then a short walk from the bus station to the border checkpoint with Gibraltar. From there it's another short walk to the airport terminal building. Flight near enough on time, home by mid afternoon.