Nuremberg to Plzen and back in a day
- Thomas Cook Publishing
- 27/Jun/2012 15:32
The German section of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable includes timings for two cross border routes to the city of
. As part of an InterRail trip I decided to sample both routes on a day trip from my Nürnberg base.
A class 610 diesel unit was provided for the first leg of my journey to Schwandorf (ERT Table 886). This connected in to one of the two daily München to Praha through services operated jointly by
(a private German operator) and Czech Railways. On this particular day the five-coach train was absolutely packed, with people occupying all the corridors and vestibule areas! There was half a coach of first class seating and I managed to grab the last window seat in a compartment shared with a group of South American Eurailers! So with windows wide open we trundled through the German/Czech countryside via
im Wald (ERT Table 885). There was some pretty countryside in the border area but the route was not as scenic as I had imagined, but good fun nevertheless!
Plzeň Hlavni is a busy junction with platforms located either side of a rather grand booking hall. After an hour or so observing railway operations at Plzeň Hlavni station I joined the 1410 local service to Klatovy, four rather old (but well maintained) coaches hauled by a class 242 locomotive (ERT Table 929). All seemed to be going well when, at a station called Přeštice, everyone suddenly got off the train! I thought I’d better follow and, as suspected, some buses were waiting to take us to Klatovy. A little bit annoying to say the least, but it was all very well organised, and none of the locals seemed particularly bothered about it! The road virtually followed the rail route to Klatovy and a fellow passenger pointed out the bridge maintenance work, which was the reason for the rail replacement service. We were only five minutes late arriving at Klatovy where two Czech diesel units were being held for onward rail journeys, including my connection to Železná Ruda. The journey between Klatovy and the German border is particularly scenic, certainly more so than the route via
im Wald, in my opinion. Having missed the rail section between Přeštice and Klatovy, I certainly intend to return in the future.
The frontier station is unusual in that it actually straddles the Czech/German border and so has two official names! On the Czech side it is known as Železná Ruda-Alžbětín. Half way along the platform there is a sign marking the border point and the station name changes to Bayerisch Eisenstein! It’s all very relaxed these days with, of course, no border controls. I’m sure it was all very different at this location during the Cold War period! My journey continued through the very scenic Bayerische Wald region to the junction station of Plattling before returning to my base in Nürnberg.
Chris Woodcock, compiler of the German section of the Thomas Cook European Timetable.
European Rail Timetable
Rail Map of Europe