RhB/MGB pre-quarantine trip
After monitoring all year for Ge 4/4 i 603 and 605, I thought I had missed my chance when they both worked on 19/20 September, whilst I was busy in Germany. First though on Friday I received info from David Prior that they should both be available on Saturday 26 September, then the news that from 28 September I would need to go into quarantine on entering Switzerland, then a couple of hours later the news that Germany was also putting my home country on the red list, meant that I had to get ready for an unplanned overnight and use up the last 2 remaining days on my Global Inter Rail pass whilst there were still places open for me to go to.
Saturday 26 September
Arrived in Basel off ICE209 to find that the planned Re 4/4 turn to Zürich was only running as far as Brugg AG and wasn't an Re 4/4 today anyway. EC51 had 503022+610010, which I did to Olten as I needed the 610. Nothing hauled towards Zürich at this time so I settled for scoring 500023 on IC1509. Things got worse when I found that engineering work had also suckered the next move as EC163 was starting from Sargans; I saw it leave Zürich ECS at 07:40. So the best power available to Chur was ICE 412049, which I had scored the previous Saturday.
To kill time I did 704 from Chur to Landquart for 629 back to Chur, then to the booking office to reserve my seat on the GEX to Andermatt for CHF33 as 605 had come up on PE903 as booked.
PE905 arrived on time with 623 and 605 promptly backed on the other end. Train was formed of one Excellence Class, one restaurant class, and three second class coaches. Two of these were quite full, but the one I was reserved in, closest to the restaurant car, was quite empty. As it was now 12:30, lunch was in full swing with waitresses passing through my carriage constantly to serve the two coaches beyond. Wearing a face mask is compulsory except when eating, but as the meal service takes well over an hour, it seems somehow rather pointless. The stock is looking a bit tatty now, the headrests had brown stains where there shouldn't of been, and overall I did not feel the quality that the service is marketed to purvey. But then I was only there for the lok on the front. Baled at Disentis expecting a required HGe 4/4 ii to back on, but it was dud 3 so I was glad to be heading back the other way.
HGe 4/4 ii 4 arrived from Andermatt, connecting into 629 on the 13:44 to Scoul-Tarasp which I did to Ilanz to pick up 603 on the 14:31 to Trin. The conductor volunteered that the train would go empty to Reichenau and that I could travel with them, but only if I was coming back as it wouldn't be platformed there. My original plan had been to stick with 603 for the rest of the day but when I realised that 704 was out I decided to travel home via Göschenen; I had also been nervous that with the engineering work IC936 might not be an Re 4/4 today. So baled at Trin for 704 back to Disentis where I was delighted to find required Deh 4/4 23 waiting on the 16:14 to Andermatt.
With the heavy snowfall of the day before the snowline was at about 1000 m above sea level. So a spectacularly white journey over the Oberalp Pass ensued. First we passed 4 on 852 as expected, then 856, which I was expecting to be a unit, was Deh 4/4 ii 92. At Andermatt, 51 arrived from Brig, then returned there at 17:37. Very surprised to see unit 2027 arrive from Göschenen and return there on the 17:29. This was flagged for the kick out at 17:50 which produced winner 54. Did this to Göschenen and waited there whilst 54 did the 18:14 to Andermatt and the 18:29 back down again. Then did required 524112 to Erstfeld for 460009 on the IR from Erstfeld to Basel for the ICE208 overnight back north.
An awesomely successful day. Huge Thank You to David Prior for the advance gen on the Ge 4/4 i.