I absolutely love German railways, and have travelled the length and breadth of the country, since I first visited in 2006.
When I visit, I am usually based in either Berlin or Munich, depending on where I want to travel on to, and I now tend to have regular places in both cities where I stay when I visit. In both cases, my accommodation is only minutes from the station.
I also try to visit the Harz Mountain Railway (Harzer Schmalspurbahn) at least once a year, usually in October, when I spend a week, photographing the mainly steam based narrow gauge network. I was introduced to the Harz by a good friend from work, and I fell in love with the place in the first visit. When I visit the Harz, I normally stay in Wernigerode, again, normally quite close to the railway station.
I have a personal preference for the more rural eastern half of Germany, with it’s easy rail links to Poland and the Czech Republic. When based in Munich, I also have access to Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France, which can all be visited on day trips, though, understandably, some of these do involve an early rise and a lot of travelling, but still, that’s all part of the fun!!
Is it easy to travel there? Yes, Easyjet run regular flights from Glasgow to Berlin and from Edinburgh to Munich. They are reasonably priced and fairly short journeys (around two and a half hours each way).
I generally have no problems with railway photography in Germany and I’m generally left alone as I follow the same rules that I would follow in the UK, (e.g. stay in public areas; don’t get in anyone’s way; obey instructions from station staff and police). I have only been moved on once, in Dresden.
Deutsche Bahn have their own station and on-train (at night), security. They are easily identifiable as they wear red berets and carry large batons. They have “DB-Sicherheit” (DB-Security) on the back of their jackets. If they do question you, tell them that your photos are for personal use only and that you are a rail enthusiast, the German for which is “ein Bahnfan”.
Links to German railways:
(Please note that some of these sites are in German. You can use Google Translate to translate them if required).
- Visit the Deutsche Bahn Timetable Page (All European timetables, including the UK)
German Railway Signalling (In English)
A German Railway Vocabulary compiled by J.B. Calvert (German/English)
If you’d like any help or advice about railway photography in Germany, please feel free to contact me and I’ll try to help as best I can.
© 1999-2018 J.M. Anderson