Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday 18 June - Bonn and Konigswinter

Mass confusion this morning. We took the #16  tram to Bonn using our Koln area ticket. We then visited the transit office to find out that it was only valid in the Koln area and not Bonn. We had travelled illegally and it was a good job we weren't caught.
Bonn - the Electors Palace - Bonn university
Being a hot day the fountains were very popular
The Rhine was swollen and flowing fast.  Upstream traffic had a hard time making headway
After a short walk down to the Rhine we went on, legally, to Bad Honef and then returned to Konigswinter where we found a very pleasant location for lunch. It overlooked the river and had plenty of shade. Wheat beer and a wine spritz with tuna salad and pork cutlet. 
Bad Honef
View from lunch table
View from summit.  Looking towards Bad Honef
At the summit
We found the Dragelfeldsbahn caught the first car to the summit where there some fine views across Bad Honef and the river. The line is quite short but very steep.
The Drachenfelsbahn is a rack railway. The line runs from Königswinter to the summit of the Drachenfels mountain at an altitude of 289 m (948 ft). The line is 1.5 km long and is single track. There are two terminal stations, Köningswinter Drachenfelsbahn and Drachenfels, and a single intermediate station, Drachenburg, which also has a passing loop. The rail gauge is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) and it uses the Riggenbach rack to overcome a height difference of 220 m (722 ft) and a maximum gradient of 20%. The line is electrified, with overhead supply at 750 V DC.
The service is operated with four four-wheel electric railcars, built in Rastatt between 1955 and 1960, plus a fifth identical railcar built by the railway in 1979. Although double-ended, the railcars are unusual in that they have doors only on one side, as all platforms are on the same side of the track. 
Lower station showing the rack and complicated pointwork
Exhibit showing the motor, rack wheel and rack.
Original steam locomotive.  It was built on an angle to compensate for the gradient.  The boiler had to be nearly level.
The changeover from steam to electric.  The new electric car looks similar to those used today.
Click here to see pictures from the Dragenfeldsbahn.
Roadside running at Konigswinter
We stopped for an ice cream at Konigswinter and just missed a tram back to Bonn. There was a long wait for the next one as the incoming had to go to Bad Honef and back. It was a very, very hot ride back to Bonn and it was pleasant waiting for the #18 back to Koln as the station is underground and cool.
The #18 is the alternate way back to Koln and traverses some open country and pleasant dormitory suburbs. There is quite a lot of single track but the service is sufficiently well organized that this did not cause any delays.

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