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                 SEPTEMBER 22 - OCTOBER 7, 2000

Friday, September 22

As always in Europe, there were several new developments to examine and ride since my 1999 trip.
I wanted to make my third annual visit to Berlin and Leipzig, and, during my 1999 trip, my train from Leipzig to Berlin stopped at Berlin Schonefeld Flughafen (Airport). While planning this trip, I discovered that one of our own Canadian Charter Airlines, Air Transat, flies to Schonefeld Airport!
I therefore took off soon after 2100 on an L-1011 enroute to Berlin via Amsterdam.

Saturday, September 23

I landed in Berlin around 1230 and a free shuttle bus took me on a very short ride to the Schonefeld Station which can easily be seen from the airport building. With the new summer timetable effective May 28, new ICE-3 trains were placed in service Berlin to Munich via Leipzig and Schonefeld. As I discovered in 1999 between Zurich and Schaffhausen, these trains have passengers compartments at both ends right behind the driver's area providing full forward or backward views!

As I wanted to store my large suitcase in Berlin for my return there the next evening, I rode the 1317 ICE-3 for the 15-minute ride to Berlin Ostbahnhof, once the main station for East Berlin, and placed my luggage in a locker. The First Class portion was at the rear of the train and the line from Schonefeld into central Berlin joins the main line from Poland and Russia enroute to the Ostbahnhof.

I then awaited the 1419 ICE-3 to Leipzig. The First Class area was now at the front and I sat back to enjoy the driver's view of the line all the way into the huge Leipzig Hauptbahnhof where we arrived at 1602! The 3-level Promenaden Shopping area in the Hauptbahnhof was full of people on that Saturday afternoon.

I checked into the Novotel Hotel right across the street and had a good night's sleep after my overnight flight from Toronto. My front room faced the Hauptbahnhof!

Sunday, September 24

After a great hot all-you-can-eat breakfast, I checked out and headed for the Hauptbahnhof to catch the 0942 IC to Hannover. As I had until 2139 to get to Berlin Ostbahnhof to board the City Night Line train to Zurich, I was considering riding to Berlin in the morning, then to Hamburg, Hannover and back to Berlin. Then I realized that Expo 2000 was going on in Hannover! I therefore ordered a ticket for today on the Internet during the summer and it was promptly mailed to me.

After buying some recently published books on the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, I boarded the 0942 Hannover IC and watched from it the 0923 departure of a new ICE-3 for Berlin. It was a perfect and bright sunny day. Just east of Lehrte, we crossed over and joined the line to Hannover from Berlin.

Hannover also recently acquired a direct rail link to its Airport which is northwest of the city. It is at the north end of Hannover S-Bahn Line 5. I planned to ride the 1237 train to the Airport before heading for Expo 2000 and thought I would need to look at the station departure board at the Hannover Hauptbahnhof to find out what platform my Airport train would be on. However, in typical European efficiency, I was able to find out its platform number before arriving in Hannover! How? A pamphlet called "1hr Reisenplan" is provided in IC, EC and ICE trains giving not only its complete schedule complete with platform numbers (!) at each stop, but also schedules of the first connecting trains as well. It therefore said that the 1237 train for the Airport will leave from platform 2 and that I would arrive on platform 12. My train did so 2 minutes ahead of the 1230 advertised and I easily caught the 1237 which was a brand new ultra modern emu.

There are small First Class sections at each end of the 3-car train sets and I could watch over the driver's shoulder! He is provided with a space-age video display showing the status of all functions on the train. The 12-minute run to the Airport follows the main line towards Hamburg and then branches off to the left on a single-track line leading to a tunnel into the Airport Station.

The south end of S-Bahn Line 5 happened to be the Messe/Laatzen Bahnhof built for Expo 2000, so I boarded the 1325 train to ride directly to its West Gate. The Station is situated right over the main line from Hannover to Munich and even ICE's enroute from Hamburg to Munich stopped there.

At Expo I patriotically visited the Canada Pavilion and then rode the 2 high gondola lines over the Expo Site. Then a large and high ferris wheel also gave me a great view of the park.

My next train was the 1812 ICE-3 direct to Berlin. However, instead of leaving from the main Messe/Laatzen Bahnhof, it left from a Terminal B platform 500 metres north of it on the east side of the main line. This was because it turned east towards Berlin soon after its departure without stopping in the Hannover Hauptbahnhof. Indeed, had it done so, it would have had to reverse there.

My reserved seat was in the front car and I watched over the driver's shoulder along the high-speed Neubaustrecken which had opened about 2 years earlier! This was my third ride along it.

After arriving at Berlin Ostbahnhof, I obtained my large suitcase and eagerly awaited the 2139 City Night Line train to Zurich on which I had reserved a large Deluxe Cabin with my own washroom and shower!
On the south wall on platform 1 of the Berlin Ostbahnhof is a plaque showing the history of the station. It reads as follows:
1842-1881 Frankfurter Bahnhof
1881-1950 Schlesischer Bahnhof
1950-1987 Ostbahnhof
1987-1998 Hauptbahnhof
1998 - Ostbahnhof
Two major events took place in 1998 when the Station was given its present name:

The 2-year re-building of the elevated 4-track Stadtbahn through Berlin was completed.

The Neubaustrecken was opened on September 27 between Berlin and Hannover-yours truly rode it the very next day!

Monday, September 25

My room had windows not only on the side but also in the ceiling! I therefore closed the blinds on the side windows and left the ceiling ones open. Although I slept well, I woke up a few times. Once, I felt the train stop under a huge train shed. I knew we would arrived at Frankfurt (Main) Hautpbahnhof at 0401 and I looked at my watch. It was 0401!

After crossing the Rhine River into Basel SBB in Switzerland, we arrived at 0938 in the Zurich Hauptbahnhof. There I sent my luggage via the always dependable SBB and RhB to Filisur where I would arrive the following day.

Previously, the SBB ran some McDonalds dining cars which I have seen but have never been on. However, with the May 28 timetable change, they were converted to Coop Railshop cars. Coop is a major grocery store chain in Switzerland. These are rolling grocery stores with over 900 items for sale from floor to ceiling from milk to mustard! The SBB Web Site shows their schedules on certain non-IC trains between Zurich and Berlin, so I rode the 1030 train via Baden and Brugg to Olten at 1119. Then the 1138 took me to Luzern and then I returned to Zurich on the 1310 double-deck IC 2000 train.

In Zurich I checked into the Glarnischhof Hotel for 1 night in the heart of downtown near the famous Bahnhofstrasse.

At 4 minutes past each even hour a train leaves the Zurich Airport for Basel SBB. These trains are unusual in that they do not stop at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof, but instead turn west to stop at Z. Altstetten. I rode to the Airport and then rode the 1804 train to Altstetten and an S-Bahn double-decker back to the HB.

Tuesday, September 26

I woke early and rode the tram to the HB for the 0704 Cisalpino to Milan which I rode to Arth-Goldau on the Gotthard Line. Then the 0812 overnight train from Rome brought me back to Zurich in one of the handsome panoramic cars with large curved windows. I could see Lake Zug on the left side and, later on, Lake Zurich on the right side.

After breakfast in my hotel, I checked out and took an unusual route to reach Winterthur. Tram 7 took me to Stettbach on the northern outskirts of Zurich. Enroute, the tram went into a tunnel for 3 stops and did left-hand running in the tunnel!

The Stettbach tram terminal sits right on top of the SBB station of the same name at the north end of a tunnel built for the Zurich S-Bahn a decade ago. While awaiting the 1055 non-stop S-Bahn double-decker to Winterthur, an inbound tilting ICE roared past into Zurich from Stuttgart.

I went to Winterthur to ride on of the new ICN Swiss tilting trains being tested on existing schedules from St. Gallen to Lausanne via Biel/Bienne and Neuchatel. These are 7-car trains with power cars at each end. My 1127 train had 2 sets running together and I rode it to Solothurn west of Olten. Then the 1347 conventional train returned me to Zurich.

Then it was on to Filisur for the next 4 days. The fast 1633 train brought me to Chur where the 1755 RhB train was waiting right across the platform to bring me to Filisur. As was the case last year, the RhB's classic and handsome twin-unit dining car was at the rear of the 1755. This time, I boarded it and had a superb dinner! It made me think back to the great days of the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads which ran twin-unit diners on some of their famous varnish!
Upon arrival at 1858, I picked up my suitcase and checked into the Grischuna Hotel right at the south end of the station platform! Its Room # 2 was very cosy and gave a great view of the village below and of trains climbing towards and descending from Bergun. This is especially spectacular after dark when all you see are the train lights high above the village!

Wednesday, September 27

On Friday, November 19, 1999, a major railroading event happened in Switzerland! The 19.047 km. Vereina Tunnel opened on the RhB connecting Klosters to the Engadine Line to Scuol-Tarasp. This is the longest metre-gauge tunnel in the world. There is a longer narrow-gauge tunnel in Japan, but it is not metre-gauge. During the opening festivities, 222 alphorn players were assembled to play a specially composed piece. They could be heard 8 km. or 5 miles away!

As a result of this opening, travel from Zurich to Scuol-Tarasp takes only 2 hours 40 minutes with only one change at Landquart instead of 4 hours and 50 minutes with 2 changes at Chur and Samedan.
Today was my eagerly-awaited day to see this Tunnel for myself, so I left Filisur at 0758 for Chur and then the SBB 0916 to Landquart. There I awaited the 0945 Engadin Star, a new summer-only train (late May to mid-October) running from Landquart through the new tunnel to St. Moritz and then on to Chur about 4 hours later via the Abula Line. It also does the reverse run.

Soon a double train came in to Landquart-a Ge 4/4 III with coaches for Davos Platz and a Ge 4/4 I with former Bernina Express cars forming the Engadin Star. This is a very unusual train formation for the RhB! This train ran together to Klosters and then separated. Right after the Klosters station is a curving concrete bridge built in 1993 to replace the previous bridge built in 1930. This double-track bridge has a scissors-crossover leading to the Klosters Tunnel on the right for Davos Platz and the new Zugwald Tunnel on the left which is the beginning of the Vereina Line.
The Zugwald Tunnel is 2.17 km. long and runs entirely on a curve to the left (southbound) to Selfranga which is the northern terminal of the new auto-tranporter trains through the Vereina Tunnel which itself begins right after the terminal. No passenger trains stop at Selfranga.

The Tunnel begins with 3 tracks for about 500 metres, then 2 tracks to Kilometre Marker 2, one track to Marker 8, 2 tracks to Marker 10, 1 to Marker 17, 2 for about 1.75 km. and three to the south portal at Sagliains. These Markers are illuminated along the east wall of the Tunnel and are very helpful in showing the train's progress. Just before the main south portal, the single track Verbindungs Tunnel curves sharply to the west to provide a direct link to the Engadine Line towards Samedan, Pontresina and St. Moritz. The Engadin Star is the only passenger train to use this link.

I rode the Engadin Star to St. Moritz at 1145 and it would leave at 1600 for Chur. The reverse Star would leave St. Moritz for Landquart via the Tunnel at 1555, so I took the 1200 train to Filisur and then the 1359 back to St. Moritz.

I rode the Engadin Star back through the Vereina Tunnel to Klosters, the 1733 to Davos Platz and the 1831 to Filisur. This was so I could enjoy another great dinner in the twin- unit diner on the 1859 to St. Moritz which I rode to Celerina between Samedan and St. Moritz. Then the 2004 train (the last of the day) returned me to Filisur.

Thursday, September 28

As I had done every year from 1996 on, I rode the 0644 train from Filisur to Chur to ride the 0848 Bernina Express. However, this time, it was a brand new train! From May 28, new panoramic coaches with large curving windows were assigned to the Bernina Express and also to form part of the Heidi Express to Tirano from Landquart via Klosters and Davos. That is why I said that the Engadin Star consisted of former Bernina Express coaches.

The ride was very enjoyable and I got off as usual at Campocologno just before the Italian border to catch the 1244 local train back north.

I was planning to change at Pontresina to ride a connecting train to Samedan and then on to Filisur, however both the Swiss and German Web Sites said I should get off the train one stop after Pontresina at Punt Muragl on the Pontresina-St. Moritz Line and walk for 5 minutes to ride a bus to Samedan. I did so and there was a bus sitting there with no passengers or driver. Before the driver appeared, another bus stopped and then left and I found out that was the bus I was supposed to ride on to Samedan! However, I saw another railway station on the Pontresina-Samedan Line with people waiting and I was able to catch the 1507 train to Samedan at 1511 to connect with my planned 1513 train to Filisur.

After a short rest in my hotel, I boarded the northbound 1718 Heidi Express and rode via Davos Platz and Klosters to Landquart in another new panoramic coach. Then the 1834 SBB train brought me to Chur for dinner and then the 1955 returned me to Filisur.

Friday, September 29

I set aside one more full day in Graubunden Canton to study the new Vereina Tunnel some more. There were 2 ways to get to it from Filisur: via Davos and Klosters or via Samedan to Sagliains. The Davos route requires one to ride a connecting bus from there to Klosters to catch the Vereina trains as the trains from Davos to Landquart leave at 9 minutes past each hour and arrive in Klosters too late to catch the trains heading through the Tunnel to Scuol-Tarasp.

I therefore took the Samedan route, but I did ride the 0800 shuttle to Davos Platz at 0828 and then rode to Samedan in style in one of the new panoramic cars on the Heidi Express at 0855 arriving at 0958.

At Samedan the 1000 from St. Moritz to Chur arrived carrying at its rear the First Class only Glacier Express for Zermatt. Then the train arrived from Pontresina to Scuol-Trasp which I rode at 1017 to arrive in Sagliains at 1104. Prior to the opening of the Tunnel, trains from Pontresina only ran to Samedan and trains from St. Moritz ran to Scuol-Tarasp.

In additional to being the south terminal for the car tranporter trains through the Vereina Tunnel, Sagliains is also a change point for connecting trains. A single island platform is provided for this purpose with only a small enclosed hut with seats for waiting. There is no ticket office provided, but Sagliains is very close to the long-existing stations of Lavin to the east and Susch to the west. Indeed, the Susch station can be clearly seen from Sagliains as can most of the progress of the trains between these points.

I boarded the 1107 train enroute from Scuol-Tarasp to Landquart to ride through the Tunnel. Upon arrival in Klosters at the north end of the Vereina Line at 1127, I awaited the 1132 train back to Sagliains at 1152. Here a connection is provided at 1156 for Samedan and Pontresina with a connection at Samedan for St. Moritz. However, I rode the 1207 back to Klosters for lunch where I discovered that a large new hotel is under construction-aptly named the Vereina Hotel!

According to my commercial video-tape on the Vereina Line, plans to extend the RhB Engadin Line beyond Scuol-Tarasp into Austria may go ahead because of the Vereina Tunnel. Previous plans to do the same when the line was originally built were thwarted because of World War I.

After one more round-trip to Sagliains from Klosters, I headed for St. Moritz via Sagliains and Samedan, then back to Samedan for my annual steak dinner in the Terminus Hotel before returning to Filisur.

Saturday, September 30

As I did in 1998, I took the 0800 shuttle to Davos Platz, the 0909 Glacier Express to Brig and the 1600 to Spiez. My favourite Bellevue Hotel awaited me where I had booked Room 3 overlooking Lake Thun for the next 6 days.

The 1800 train gave me a very pleasant ride along the shore of the Thunersee for dinner in Interlaken.

Sunday, October 1

I had never paid Wengen, a famous ski resort in the Berner Oberland mountains, a visit before; so I rode the 0608 train to Interlaken Ost, the 0635 Berner Oberland Bahn train to Lauterbrunnen and the 0708 Wengernalp Bahn train to Wengen to have breakfast and explore the town which, like Murren and Zermatt, is car-free.

I then planned to ride the 0857 train back down to Lauterbrunnen and then the 0932 BLM funicular and train to Murren, but I missed the train! It was on a stub-end track on the other side of the station building from where I was and I didn't see it! Fortunately, the next train was at 0923 which connected with the Murren trains at 0947. Even more fortunate was the fact that these trains between Wengen and Murren were making their last run on October 1 until December 16!

After a 15-minute visit in Murren, I caught my planned 1030 train and funicular back to Lauterbrunnen, the 1105 BOB to Interlaken Ost, the 1132 local to Spiez, the 1156 express to Brig and the 1323 to Tasch near Zermatt. My 3-minute connection at Spiez was made easier as the train from Interlaken arrived on Track 2 and the Brig train was across the platform on Track 3.
At Tasch I re-arranged a hotel reservation my clients from Toronto who just happened to be staying in the same Bellevue Hotel in Spiez!

Tasch is at the end of the road for cars travelling to Zermatt, so it has a huge parking lot and the Brig Visp Zermatt Bahn runs a frequent 11-minute shuttle service from a stub-end track in Tasch in additional to the main-line trains between Zermatt and Brig.

I rode to Zermatt for a visit until the 1610 train back to Brig for my annual steak dinner in the Victoria Hotel facing the station. I then rode back to Spiez non-stop in style on the 1905 Cisalpino tilting train from Milan on which I had reserved a window seat on the left side so I could enjoy the always spectacular view as my train climbed the South Ramp to the Lotschberg Tunnel.

Monday, October 2

I wanted to ride the funicular at Vevey (between Montreux and Lausanne) to Mont Pelerin, so I rode the 0856 to Brig and the 1018 to Vevey at 1145. Then the 1210 local took 1 minute to bring me to Vevey-Funi Station right by the funicular line. This line is 1,578 metres long and climbs 417 metres. There is a great view of Vevey and Lake Geneva from the top.

At its base there is also a convenient connecting bus back to the main Vevey Station where I caught the 1300 local to Lausanne for lunch and then the 1357 non-stop IC to Geneva. After a visit there, I rode the fast 1629 to Bern and the 1826 to Interlaken for dinner.

Tuesday, October 3

I have been riding in the front seats on the MOB's Crystal Panoramic Express between Montreux and Zweisimmen for the past few years, but this year there were some major changes. It is now called the Golden Pass Panoramic, makes 10 stops instead of 2 and consists of a former CPE car at one end, one of the MOB's new and more powerful Ge 4/4's in the middle (similar to the RhB's Ge 4/4 III) and a former Golden Panoramic Express (originally Super Panoramic Express) car with front seats at the other end along with additional panoramic coaches. The Ge 4/4's are painted black with various designs.

I rode the 0956 from Spiez to Brig and the 1127 train to Montreux to take an official of the MOB out for lunch as he had been reserving front seats on the GPP for a few of my clients during the summer. He was also kind enough to waive the 15 Swiss Franc charge for me to ride the 1428 GPP in the front!

After the as always enjoyable ride to Zweisimmen, I saw that the station there was being enlarged with a new underground passage to the BLS platforms for trains to Spiez and Interlaken. I caught the 1620 train to Interlaken Ost and rode in the Salon Blue car with comfortable revolving armchairs!

At Spiez I watched a typical example of European railway operating efficiency! My train arrived at 1657 from Zweisimmen. A train arrived at 1700 from Interlaken and the German DB AG ICE all the way from Hamburg in northern Germany left on time at 1700 for Interlaken. Then my train left at 1702 from Track 5 also for Interlaken to cross all the throat tracks at the east end of the Spiez station just before the train from Brig would arrive at 1703! Wow! With all the freight trains delaying the VIA passenger trains on our Quebec City to Windsor Corridor, we can't even dream of achieving such operating precision!
After dinner in Interlaken, I returned to Spiez.

Wednesday, October 4

During 1998-9, two major events took place in Paris-both of which cost staggering sums of money:

RER Line E opened with two huge underground stations-Haussmann-St. Lazare under the St. Lazare railway station and Magenta near the Nord and Est railway stations and connecting with RER Lines B and D. Beyond Magenta the line surfaces beside the main lines out of Gare de l'Est to connect with its various commuter lines. In the future, RER Line E will be extended at the other end to connect with the commuter lines out of Gare St. Lazare.

Metro Line 14, called Meteor, opened with 7 stations, all of which have glass walls with doors along all of the platforms. It is therefore impossible for anyone to fall, jump or be pushed onto the tracks! The trains run on rubber tires like several other Metro lines in Paris and are fully automatic with no drivers' cabs. Indeed, there are only full-width windows at both ends. Also, the trains are articulated with no doors between the cars so that one can look down the entire length of the train!

I rode the 0730 train to Bern to connect with the 0832 TGV enroute from Zurich to Paris Gare de Lyon where it arrived on time at 1304. Then I headed for RER Line E using RER Line D to Gare du Nord and then followed signs to the Magenta station. It has two island platforms and 4 tracks. I planned to ride out to a major commuter station called Noisy le Sec on the main lines out of Gare de l'Est. When I noticed that I was on the wrong platform, I rode an ordinary elevator up to cross over and was very surprised to see the elevator going down to the other platform. It was a funicular running on a sloping track with doors on the ends instead of on the sides!

The trains have new double-deck cars and one can see all the trains in and out of Gare de l'Est during the ride to Noisy le Sec. Indeed, during my return ride, I saw an express train heading out of Paris with many German DB AG cars at the front and then several French SNCF cars at the rear. This turned out to be the 1347 EuroCity Train 67 to Stuttgart and Munich. No doubt the French cars were cut off at Strasbourg before the front of the train entered Germany.

After returning downtown I headed back to Gare de Lyon to ride the new Meteor Metro Line 14 and it was very interesting. Two of the seven stations are Gare de Lyon and the huge underground complex in central Paris called Chatelet les Halles. With the opening of this line, there are now no fewer than 4 rapid transit routes running between Gare de Lyon and Chatelet les Halles-all using their own independent double-track tunnels: RER Lines A and D and Metro Lines 1 and the new 14 which has no stations between these two points making it one of the longest runs between stations on the entire Paris Metro (not including RER Lines on which the stations are usually much farther apart)! It is being extended to St. Lazare.

No visit to Paris would be complete without enjoying my favourite French delicacy-Croque Madame. It is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top!

I then boarded the 1652 TGV back to Bern. I knew that it would arrive there on Track 8 and that my 2128 train back to Spiez would be across the platform on Track 7. Fortunately, it arrived on the advertised at 2122 and I easily made my connection!

Thursday, October 5

This was my day to ride on the spectacular Gotthard Line, so I boarded the 0600 to Olten and then the 0738 fast train to Milan via Luzern from Basel SBB which I rode to Chiasso on the Swiss-Italian border at 1130. Then I enjoyed lunch on the 1230 EuroCity train 4 enroute from Milan to Dortmund in Germany which I rode to Luzern at 1535. Then the double-deck IR 1610 train returned me to Zurich to make my 3rd annual visit to the Bahn 2000 Information Booth at the outer end of Track 18 of the Zurich Hauptbahnhof. Here there is much interesting info on the many future rail projects in Switzerland!

After dinner I took the double-deck 1903 train straight back to Spiez for my final night there.

Friday, October 6

The sad day finally arrived when I would have to leave Switzerland! I rode the 0600 from Spiez to Basel SBB to change to the 0813DB AG IC train for Mannheim. In Basel I saw the City Night Line train which had brought me into Switzerland 11 days before.

While enjoying a good hot breakfast as I entered Germany, I saw a Class 101 locomotive with a huge ad for Bayer Aspirin on its sides! The Bayer factory is located along the Rhine River between Cologne and Dusseldorf.

Between Karlsruhe and Mannheim the line from Basel joins the high-speed line from Stuttgart and soon after that point an ICE roared past my train in the same direction. This was indeed my connecting train from Mannheim to Frankfurt. In typically efficient European fashion, the two trains not only straddled the same platform, the first class cars of each train were directly opposite each other!

There are several modern skyscrapers in downtown Frankfurt and I felt that at least one of them might have a public observation deck. So I e-mailed the Frankfurt Tourism Office and, sure enough, the Main Tower has one! So I set aside nearly 2 hours there to go up.

I loaded my luggage onto a cart in the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof and checked it, cart and all, before taking a taxi to the Tower. It is a round glass 60-floor building and the entrance fee is 6DM. The elevator is most unusual as a video panel in its wall lights up when it starts moving showing the building, the elevator, the increasing (or decreasing) height in metres AND an analog speedometer!! The elevator reaches a speed of 18 km/h.

After climbing a few stairs at the top, I was on the very roof of the Tower with only an antenna higher than me. A great 360-degree view can be had of Frankfurt and there is a clear unobstructed view of the great Hauptbahnhof and every train going in and out!

From the building I walked a couple of blocks to the Taunusanlage S-Bahn station and rode 1 stop back to the Hauptbahnhof Tief (lower) station to await my 1246 ICE to Dusseldorf. Before its arrival, EC 29 was standing there slightly delayed on its long run from Magdeburg via Dusseldorf and Cologne to Wien (Vienna).

My ICE delivered me slightly ahead of its 1530 advertised in the Dusseldorf Hauptbahnhof to await the 1557 IC to the new through station at the Dusseldorf Airport which opened on May 28. While waiting, I saw the northbound train "Metropolitan" stop enroute from Cologne to Hamburg-its next stop. This is a deluxe extra-fare business train with a light grey livery on both the locomotive and cars. There is a Web Site for it.

After the 5-minute run to the new Dusseldorf Flughafen, I visited it for 18 minutes and admired its ultra-modern design before boarding the 1621 ICE to Essen at 1644. Buses connect it to the airport for the present, but a moving beltway is being built.

I stayed at the Ibis Hotel close to the Essen Hauptbahnhof to have dinner with Stefan Dringenberg who is an expert on Swiss Narrow Gauge Railways.
His Web Site is

Saturday, October 7

I got up early to catch the 0646 ICE to Berlin Ostbahnhof enroute to the Schonefeld Airport to fly home via Amsterdam on Air Transat. After a great hot breakfast in its dining car and a high-speed 250km/h. run on the Neubaustrecken between Hannover and Berlin, it delivered me right on the money at 1052 at the Berlin Ostbahnhof! Then a 15-minute ride on the 1111 IC to Munich brought me to the Airport where I checked in for my flight home and my sad departure from Europe!

There are many developments awaiting my 2001 trip to Europe:

The Mediterranean extension of the high-speed TGV Line from Valence to Marseille and Montpelier in France is opening on June 10, 2001 and TGV's will cover the nearly 500 miles or 800 kilometres Paris to Marseille in 3 hours flat!! The original TGV Line from Paris to Lyon which fully opened in 1983 has been rebuilt over the past few years and its 270km/h. speed limit will be increased to 300 km/h. to match that of all the TGV Lines opened since then. Please see the Web Site.

There will be 3 major developments in Switzerland:

The 5,302 metre Adler Tunnel has opened near Prattein on the eastern approaches to Basel SBB on the line to Olten. This eliminates a major bottleneck.

The ICN tilting trains will run on accelerated schedules this summer between eastern Switzerland and Geneva. They will run as they are at present via Biel/Bienne and Neuchatel which has been a secondary route between Zurich and Geneva compared to the main route via Bern and Lausanne.

Due to their tilting feature and to the completion of a 2 km. double-track line on a new alignment west of Neuchatel, the ICN's will equal the schedules to Geneva via Bern. Because of this, trains will run every half-hour Zurich to Geneva-alternating between the Bern trains and the new tilting ICN's via Neuchatel.

Due to the completion of a new larger tunnel near Vauderens on the line between Bern and Lausanne, double-deck IC 2000 trains will run west of Bern to Lausanne and Geneva for the first time.

Only in Europe, you say? Pity!!

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