Insightful test drive on the public network

After several years without special trips on the public network, we are endeavouring to offer special trips again in the future. However, before we “hit the road”, we had to review the organisational processes and test our vehicles on longer routes.

In cooperation with our new rail transport company, UEF GmbH, timetabled routes from Darmstadt-Kranichstein to Hanau and back were ordered for 10 March 2024 and all operational vehicles were inspected once again. Just in case, our colleagues from Hanau came to meet us the day before with their V 60 447, which lined up at the end of the train (see Bahnwelt Update (KW14/2024)).
Around 100 club members and their relatives boarded the train on time in the morning. The train left Kranichstein shortly after 10:00 a.m. in the direction of Messel. At Dianaburg, the regulator could then be fully opened and the “ELNA” was once again able to show what it was made of. Unfortunately, the journey was delayed by two forced PZB brakes, which did nothing to dampen the spirits of the passengers and the photographers waiting along the line. A club colleague waiting along the line was asked for advice about the fault and his spontaneous remote diagnosis was later proved correct in Hanau. Without any further problems, we switched to the Odenwaldbahn in Babenhausen in the direction of Seligenstadt and on to Hanau.

When we arrived, we were greeted by our colleagues from Hanau. Our passengers were given the opportunity to visit the depot. Meanwhile, the workshop staff inspected the rolling stock and, of course, the locomotive. The suspicion we had previously expressed as to the reason for the PZB emergency braking was confirmed. The alternator was not supplying the required voltage to operate the PZB vehicle equipment without malfunction. The locomotive’s running gear required further attention. There was a need for readjustment in some places.

Shortly after 3.00 pm, the passengers boarded the train again, fortified by the catering provided by the Hanau kitchen team. Our train was shunted into the station (now with the V60 in front). From there, we travelled without stopping on the North Main line towards Frankfurt. Halfway along the line, the trained ear could hear a noise that caused the locomotive crew to worry. In Frankfurt East we requested an intermediate stop, which the locomotive crew used to inspect the running gear again. This time the problem was further forward, at the crosshead. After this repair attempt, we travelled on to Frankfurt Süd, where we were able to leave the train at platform 9 and there was room for further repairs. The timetable was a waste of time when the engine crew decided that we could start our journey home with the measures taken. We then took the shortest route to Kranichstein. Once there, all the remaining passengers were able to leave the train in the last light of day and drive the locomotive back to the engine shed.

Even though the day was quite exhausting and not everything went according to plan, we were able to gain important technical and organisational experience that will be helpful for future trips.

And it was definitely a lot of fun!

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