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Pictures of the Month 2007 - 2009

Welcome to Pictures of the Month 2007 - 2009 Page. There is also a page for the Pictures of the Month 2010 - 2012.

List of the pictures of the month:
  December 2009: Snow Falling in Switzerland... 
  November 2009: People Rushing to Trains in U.K... 
  October 2009: NS Koplooper Design from Holland... 
  September 2009: Dm3 Monster Locos of Kiruna, Sweden... 

  August 2009: RzD Passenger Electrics in St Petersburg, Russia... 
  July 2009: NS Freight in Ranson, West Virginia... 
  June 2009: GO Rail Express Departing Tallinn, Estonia... 
  May 2009: A BLS Intermodal at Weil am Rhein, Southern Germany... 

  April 2009: BNSF Action in the Californian Mountains, U.S.A... 
  March 2009: Flirt EMU on test drive in Finland... 
  February 2009: Flytoget High Speed in Oslo Norway... 
  January 2009: Bright Winter Morning in Sumpter Valley, OR, U.S.A... 

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  December 2008: Canadian Pacific manifest at Castle Mountain, Canada... 
  November 2008: Variotram in Helsinki semi darkness, Finland... 
  October 2008: The infamous Tehachapi loop... 
  September 2008: Era of modern stack trains... 

  August 2008: Rare Latvian railway's EMUs in Riga, Latvia... 
  July 2008: Cable cars in San Francisco, California, U.S.A... 
  June 2008: Russian heavy EP1 electric in Petroskoi, Russia... 
  May 2008: Maglev mock up at Munich airport, Germany... 

  April 2008: M62 locos of Latvia and Lithuania... 
  March 2008: Premium Service for Premium Trains... 
  February 2008: Changing times at Paris Stations... 
  January 2008: Sumpter Valley in Snow, Oregon, U.S.A... 

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  December 2007: Waiting for Train in the Coolness of Paris Metro, France... 
  November 2007: BNSF Dash 9's Start their Journey through Mountains... 
  October 2007: VR-Yhtyma Pendolino Tilting at curve in Kerava, Finland... 
  September 2007: ICE Trains Stopping at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Germany... 

  August 2007: Dependable Urban Transit in Grenoble, France... 
  July 2007: Eesti Raudtee C36-7i and C30-7i Pulling a Heavy Tank Train... 

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SBB Cargo Traxx units in the snow, Switzerland
NS manifest led by 7549, U.S.A.
Winter in Sumpter Valley, U.S.A.
SBB RABe 514 number 054, Stadelhofen, Switzerland
Rigi Bahn, Switzerland

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 Picture of the Month December 2009: Snow Falling in Switzerland
SBB Re482 units at Muttenz, Switzerland
Swiss SBB Cargo Re482 in the snow at Muttenz Switzerland
Our picture of the month for the 2009 shows this time snow fall in the mountain railroading country Switzerland. The SBB Cargo brightly colored brand new Traxx locomotive rests between assignments at the station of Muttenz near the German and French border.
Picture by Ilkka Siissalo.
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 Picture of the Month November 2009: Rush  for the Trains at London Paddington Station
Paddington rush hour
People rushing forward to catch their trains at Paddington Station in London UK
Something you remember from the visit to UK? The British often seem to be rushing forward to catch their trains. Look at the background and you will see several people literally running! Sign for the modern times...  
The London Paddington station combines the early steam age train shed with several types of trains for the United Kingdom. Behind preparing to leave are two old class 43 diesel powered engines while the Heathrow Express class 332 EMU is the new state of the art modern high speed vehicle.
Picture by John McKey 2009.
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 Picture of the Month October 2009: NS Koplooper Design from Holland
NS Koplooper Design from the Netherlands
The Dutch NS has always had several interesting unusual designs for their EMUs. Pictured here is one of them: the infamous Koplooper parked at the Groningen station in the Netherlands. The design allows for walking from one EMU unit to another and better visibility from up to the driver. This unit is still seen in the old livery before the rebuilding. At the rebuilding the doors connecting trains are closed chancing the original functionality of the trains.

Picture by Sanna Siissalo 2009.
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 Picture of the Month September 2009: Dm3 Monster Locomotive in Kiruna, Sweden
LKAB Dm3 monster locomotive
LKAB owned and operated Dm3 triple locomotive near Kiruna iron mine, Sweden's north     
The three-unit electric locomotive type Dm3 was built in Sweden between 1960 and 1970. 15 3 module units were manufactures for use on the "Malmbanan" iron ore transportation route between the iron ore mines in the Kiruna region in Sweden and the Norwegian harbour of Narvik. The line passes over open tundra in arctic conditions. These huge monsters are 35,25 metres  (116 ft) long, weigh the massive 273,2 tons (602'000 lb) and can haul iron ore trains of over 30 heavy cars over the steep slopes of the Malmbanan route. Maximum speed of the Dm3 is 75 km/h (47 mph) and a typical operational speed is 45 - 50 km/h (28 - 31 mph). 
Picture: Ilkka Siissalo 2009
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 Picture of the Month August 2009: RzD Passenger Electrics in St Petersburg, Russia
Moscowskaya station is a busy terminus for the passenger trains for destinations both in the large Russian nation and some international connections. As common in the large railroading nations, the trains are huge, often almost 20 coaches long, so the necessary power is provided by electric traction. 
In the picture types Chs7 and Chs2, both Czech built, rest at the bay and will soon push their trains to the service area just outside the station. In the near future, the high speed passenger trains will be more common, as the track work and deliveries of Velaro trains progress. 
Picture: Hannu Peltola 2009.
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 Picture of the Month July 2009: Norfolk Southern Freight at Ranson, West Virginia
NS Diesels pulling a Freight in West Virginia
You can see the heat radiating from the fans of the Norfolk Southern ES40DC number 7549 and SD60I number 6747 (still in Conrail colors) as they work to pull the heavy train 37Q southbound through the sag north of Ranson West Virginia. Notice the blinking ditch lights (the lower lights of the engine) as the engineer has just sounded the horn probably approaching the level crossing. With numerous crossings in the U.S. sounding the horn is much more common than for instance in Europe. While the sound of the horn is very low it creates an interesting back ground environment.
The Norfolk Southern is one of the largest railroading companies (the class 1s) in the U.S. its diesels serving mostly the east side of the country.

Picture: Gerry Putz 2009.
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 Picture of the Month June 2009: Go Rail Express Departing Tallinn, Estonia
Go Rail Tep 70 number 0320 waiting for departure with a St Petersburg sleeper train in Tallinn, Estonia

Go Rail Express Train Departing Tallinn
There are numerous good news about the passenger railroads around the world from U.S.A., Europe and Asia. Some of the newest are from the Russia, which is building its international connections with a numerous trains to Helsinki, Finland, Tallinn, Estonia, a number of places in Southern Asia and as the latest even to Berlin, Germany. The Berlin connection involves (always feared) gauge change on the way at the Polish border! The Russians have interesting names for their trains like several Falcon/Hawk related names including Sapsan, Sokol and the Golden Eagle. Others use names of the famous Russian persons like the luxury train Alexander Nevski or Leo Tolstoy.

In the picture the GO Rail Tep70 pulled sleeper train is preparing to leave from Balti Jaam of Tallinn, Estonia for its nightly journey to St Petersburg and Moscow. Behind one of the Estonia's Soviet period Edelraudtee DR1Bs is just arriving to the station. Go Rail, Go!

Picture: John McKey 2009.

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 Picture of the Month May 2009: BLS Intermodal Freight at Weil am Rhein in the Southern Germany
BLS class 485 TRAXX locomotive number 005 is hauling an intermodal in Weil am Rhein, Germany

BLS Intermodal Freight at Weil am Rhein in Southern Germany     
A TRAXX series BLS class 485 locomotive vinylled as "Connecting Europe" leads the intermodal freight from Switzerland to Germany through a busy railroad town of Weil am Rhein, opposite Basel in Switzerland and Saint-Louis in France. Dozens of freight trains of several operators including Deutsche Bahn, DB Schenker, BLS Cargo, SBB Cargo, RTS, Fret SNCF and others roll through the station day and night.
For European Union member states, the ownership of the tracks is separated from the operations, the track is owned by the member countries and any operator, given predefined technical qualifications, can operate on it. Yes, this is just like on roads! The result: better service and lower prices for customers, and real renaissance for railroading, for the market share and volumes are getting higher most of the time. For railroad operators this means very real competition after a century of relatively little need to think about service development. This is also good news for many who foresaw the change, and very bad news for the ones not prepared.
Picture: Ilkka Siissalo 2007.

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 Picture of the Month April 2009: BNSF Freight at Cajon Pass Summit with Snowy Peaks, U.S.A.
BNSF freight at Cajon Pass summit in California, U.S.A.

BNSF Freight at Cajon Pass Summit with Snowy Peaks    
Californian Cajon Pass triple track main line is a scene of serious freight railroading, even during the recession of year 2008. Huge freighters bring containers across the pacific to many harbors of the U.S. West coast and the two mighty railroads BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad take these containers inland to the bigger cities through the mountains. While many California scenes are stone or rust colored, this picture shows the rare beautiful snow cover on the mountaintops while the quintet of BNSF locos on the tip of the stack train trundle by.      
Picture: George Cataulin, February 2008.

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 Picture of the Month March 2009: Flirt EMU from Stadler on test drive in Finnish Winter 

In Finland the Helsinki Metropolitan area passengers have recently seen Flirt (Fast Light Innovative Rail Transit) EMUs from the Swiss builder Stadler on their way to work. First two units are currently being tested mainly around Helsinki area, the other 30 units will be delivered once the initial test runs have been finished. The new units will add much needed modern low floor capacity to commuter transit and replace some of the obsolete 1960's technology EMUs.

In Finland much of the rail traffic used to be in hands of one state owned operator: VR-Yhtyma. Now in this case the track is owned by the state, the trains are owned by a new consortium and the trains are operated by a third entity. The changes are fundamental and in accordance to the EU directions, which will try to guarantee competition on the rails just the same way as on the roads. The new trains will still be operated by the Finnish state owned railway monopoly VR-Yhtyma. In the picture the Flirt (Class Sm5) unit number two has just gotten the signal colors to proceed from Tikkurila towards Kerava in February 2009.   
Picture: Stanislav Voronin, February 2009.

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 Picture of the Month February 2009: High Speed in the Norwegian Winter 
Flytoget, Oslo, Norway

High Speed Flytoget EMU in Oslo, Norway    
The country known for its thousands of mountains, valleys and fjords, Norway also has a network of high speed trains dashing through its terrain between the bigger cities. Here is a picture on a winter day at the Oslo main station with an Adtranz built NSB BM 71 high speed EMU leaving for its destination at the nearby Airport. All units are going to be lengthened to 4 car length by the end of the year 2009 due to constantly increasing demand for service.
Picture: Ilkka Siissalo, January 2009.

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 Picture of the Month January 2009: Picture from the Winters Wonderland at Sumpter Valley
Sumpter valley RR, Oregon, U.S.A.

The Bright Winter Morning at Sumpter Valley
The first train at Sumpter Valley morning plows its way through the snow. The pride of the Sumpter Valley Railroad, number 18 originates from the year 1920 and is built by then powerful locomotive manufacturer Alco (American Locomotive Company).

Ken Storey has taken numerous pictures on the mountains of Canada and Western U.S.A. and steam traction in the landscape. In 2009 we will have new articles as well as his pictures on these to honor his work on capturing many views to remember on the digital film.

Picture: Ken Storey, December 2009.

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 Picture of the Month December 2008: The CP mixed freight approaches in front of the majestic Castle Mountain AB Canada
Supter valley RR, Oregon, U.S.A.

The CP mixed freight approaches in front of the majestic Castle Mountain Alberta Canada
A huge freight train in the majestic scenery! Ken Storey captured this picture of the CP Gevo (ES44AC) number 8703 in front of the majestic Castle Mountain in Alberta Canada. See the train disappearing to the distance and imagine the sheer size of this huge castle shaped mountain!

Storey has taken numerous pictures on the mountains of Canada and Western U.S.A. and steam traction in the landscape. In 2009 we will have new articles as well as his pictures on these to honor his work on capturing many views to remember on the digital film.

Picture by Ken Storey.

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 Picture of the Month November 2008: Variotram in the Helsinki Market Street November Darkness
Supter valley RR, Oregon, U.S.A.

Variotram in the Helsinki Market Street November Darkness
It's always quite challenging to take pictures in the semidarkness, twice as tough when it's raining icy water and the temperature is around freezing point! Here the Helsinki Finland HKL operated narrow gauge Variotram number 231 from Adtranz (currently part of the Bombardier) stops to allow incoming passenger shelter from the rough weather. The location is the busy market and banking street Aleksi in the Helsinki city center.

One of the next updates for the will be the Finnish section upgrading, exotic place for the railroading for the most readers! While the sun is on the southern side of the Globe at this time of the year, the Northern Europe is a place of semi- and total darkness and cold weather, while the global warming has caused several winters with practically no snow!

Picture by Stanislav Voronin 2007.

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 Picture of the Month October 2008: The Famous Tehachapi Loop
Tehachapi loop

Tehachapi Loop on the hot summers day
The Tehachapi area illustrates the rugged nature of the Western USA. When the west was conquered, the Tehachapi pass was one of the routes where the mountains could be crossed. The track was built in the 1870's for the Southern Pacific Railroad. To accommodate the grade the track in the loop area goes around the valley floor and finally ascends on top of itself creating the famous Tehachapi loop!

Here a BNSF Railway manifest crosses itself on the Tehachapi loop. Notice the 5 huge diesels providing enough pulling power to help the train slowly across the terrain. has a lot of pictures of this train and around the loop area including Barstow and Bakersfield. More media will follow. We hope to have even some videos on the area added in the near future!

Picture by John McKey 2008.

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 Picture of the Month September 2008: Era of Modern Stack trains
CSX boxed freight

Stack Trains are the phenomenon of the railroads for today.
Here a CSX stack train of two Dash 8 locomotives on the point and maybe 50 cars behind zooms by the Berea station in Ohio. The author of the picture is just having a breakfast outside. A perfect start of a day for a railfan!

While the containers and trailers are today's answers for the transportation of goods, the railroads have made a come back with efficient container and trailer transportation systems. The volumes are so high that in the Westerns U.S. many rail corridors have been double or even triple tracked. The containerization is a worldwide boom, and the U.S.A. number one country developing ever more efficient solutions for logistics.

We will publish several railfan stories on the stack trains etc. in the near future, starting with the ones stretching from one horizon to another on the trip to U.S. on the summer vacation...

Picture by Hannu Luukannel 2008.

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 Picture of the Month August 2008: Rare Latvian Railway's EMUs in Riga, Latvia
EMUs in RigaEMUs in Tallinn

The rare Latvian built EMUs make a stop at their home grounds in Riga. If you take a closer look at the EMUs, you will notice that they are of the same type! The one one the right was rebuilt and drivers accommodations replaced with a new module (the drivers quarters from the Soviet period in Latvia are in general of poor quality). Latvia seems to somehow managed to preserve much of its Soviet style culture, even within EU! Here it is in strong contrast to its northern neighbor Estonia, which is a very dynamic and modern country. Beside the Estonian color schemes of the ER2 EMU.

Pictures by Hannu Peltola.

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 Picture of the Month July 2008: Cable Cars of San Francisco
Cable cars of San francisco, California, U.S.A.

The Cable Car Turntable of Pier 39 San Francisco
The cable operated railcars of San Francisco center take tourists on a scenic ride from the city center to two destinations, here the one next to Pier 39. The 1,25" moving cable is hidden under the streets between the rails and has power to pull cars full of people reliably even the steepest climbs up and down. To switch between the cables there are level spots at the street crossings. Here the cable car number one is turned around by Pier 39 and pushed back to line towards the city center with manpower.

Picture: John McKey 2008.

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 Picture of the Month June 2008: The exotic Russian EP1 electric Bo'Bo'Bo' -locomotive at Petroskoi station
EP1 in Petroskoi, Russia

The Russian EP1 in Petroskoi
Take a close look at the bogies the rare EP1: Bo'Bo'Bo'! The Swiss SBB has similar wheel arrangement on some of their older locomotives. As the Russian north has incredible harsh winters (you must know the saying "cold like in Siberia") this triple B wheel arrangement helps achieving better traction with the more or less traditional technology. Interestingly, although the locomotive was built in 1999, the design dates back to early 1970's; the shell is quite similar to the 1973 Finnish SR1s!

Russia is working on modernizing it's fleet on the rails targeting probably ultimately to around 2000 new locomotives a year. Currently the deliveries are reaching around 1000 new units. Progress on the super fast segment has recently also been rapid as well so we will see another strong European railway nation emerging in the next 10-15 years.

Picture: Ilkka Siissalo 2008.

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 Picture of the Month May 2008: Maglev Mockup in Munich / München Germany
Maglev at Munich airport, Germany

A city of Munich was a few years ago dreaming of the Maglev between its airport and the city center. There was a a mock up at the airport to remind it of the future super high speed alternative. Maglev (magnetically levitating train) is capable of higher speeds than the traditional train, however the enormous costs of the infrastructure has been inhibiting its success and the effects of super strong magnetic fields to human health are also unknown.

So far the maglev technology has been implemented in Shanghai connecting the city to its airport. Chinese seeing the bigger picture in the longer run saw the advantages of this technology and at the same time enabled high speed low noise mass transportation within the city.

We hope to see more magnetic levitation technology implementations in the near future again, maybe even the city of Munich will restart its project if the costs can be halved from the current estimate. Given some time this might be possible.

Picture: Ilkka Siissalo.

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 Picture of the Month April 2008: M62 locos in Latvia and Lithuania
2M62 in Latvia

M62 switching Lithuania

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 Picture of the Month March 2008: Premium Service for Premium Trains!
Hikari Rail Star, Japan

Premium Service for Premium Trains - Boarding the Hikari Rail Star
As super high speed trains are closing fast to match the airliners in travel times on short and medium distances between the bigger cities almost world wide (with the exception of U.S.), the services are picking up as well. You might think this picture was taken in the airport with airliner personnel boarding and the front of an airliner visible. However, the picture was taken on of Kioto-Hiroshima Shinkansen in Japan, the nation with a history of the "bullet trains" since 1964!

Picture by Timo-Jussi Hämälainen.

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 Picture of the Month February 2008: Chancing times at Paris Gare de L'est
ICE3 and TGV, Paris Gare de L'est

With the Paris to East connections first phase completed, the Paris Eastern and Northern stations Gare de L'est and Gare du Nord now house a wide variety of super high speed trains arriving from Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany! Here a rare (but daily) visitor Deutsche Bahn ICE3 class 406MF super high speed train alongside the SNCF general purpose super high speed TGV-Reséau unit 552. Right next are the brand new TGV-POS's and Eurostar capital trains.

One might think that the competition is opening now, but since all the super high speed operators have pooled their marketing efforts, there is still no competition and rail travel is still a more expensive than flying, despite costs being lower. So believe or not the acquaintances of the editor are still flying even between London and Paris...3 people can fly for the price of one on train!

Thank You for sending numerous pictures to the publisher for the picture of the month! We saw through several hundred pictures, and finally it was easy to choose this interesting "Chancing times" picture from Sanna Siissalo. Many other pictures will follow later.

Picture: Sanna Siissalo, January 2008.

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 Picture of the Month January 2008: Beautiful Christmas Weather at Sumpter Valley
Sumpter Valley steam

The morning after snow storm a Sumpter Valley steam locomotive pulls two cars across the wilderness. You can almost feel the presence of the "Lost World" of the century before! Snow, blue skies, clean mountain air and an ancient steam locomotive... This picture taken by Ken Storey is a masterpiece with composition, use of the light and the subject. Sumpter valley is a living museum for old steam era vehicles. It's located in Oregon, USA.

Picture: Ken Storey, December 2007.

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 Picture of the Month December 2007: Paris Metro offering a refuge from the heat on a hot summers day
Sumpter Valley steam

Waiting for the metro on line 1 in Paris on a hot summers day
The underground gives a moments relief from the heat to tourists and the locals alike. On this line you can see several stations from the Franklin D. Rooselvelt both ways, since the line is straight and the stations just a few hundred meters apart.

Picture: John McKey, July 2006.

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 Picture of the Month November 2007: BNSF Railway Dash 9's start their journey across the mountains
BNSF Railway Dash9's

BNSF Dash 9's 4020, 5049 and 5121 at the point of the train glide past near the coastline in Seattle. A typical set of BNSF Railway 4400 Hp C44-9W's add momentum to some 120 empty grain hoppers. Hordes of GE Dash 9's and ES44's can be found all across the BNSF networks in the USA. The covered hoppers are taken over the mountains, filled with grain and pulled back to the coast. The grain is probably shipped to China in exchange for manufactured goods for the U.S. consumers. Interestingly the situation has changed from a few decades ago, U.S. and other western countries now supplying food and raw materials and China making much of the manufacturing.

One of the few sunny days in Seattle, sun makes great reflections from the sea surface and buildings to trains. There will be a lot more pictures from the Pacific Northwest in in the near future.

Picture: Ilkka Siissalo, October 2007.

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 Picture of the Month October 2007: A Finnish VR-Yhtyma Pendolino Sm3 Tilting at the Curve
Pendo tilting at curve in Kerava, Finland

VR-Yhtyma type Sm3 Pendolino tilts at the Curve in Vantaa Finland
The sets of Pendolino trains form the backbone of the national operator VR-Yhtymä's fast traffic. These tilting trains have the ability to run in freezing cold of tough winters of Finland. Just imagine the snow flying around the train when it dashes through the total darkness (days are considerably shorter in the North)! No wonder the trains are pressure sealed like airplanes...

Here is a double set of Pendolinos, usually the Pendolino sets are run either as single units or double, very rarely even triple or quadruple sets are seen. It is doubtful the quartets would fit at the platforms on the intermediate stations, so those might be just for the testing purposes and moving rolling stock to where it is needed. Notice the Pendolino unit behind tilting visibly to give more comfortable ride for the passengers and enable the trains to run faster on conventional track.

Picture by Stanislav Voronin.

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 Picture of the Month September 2007: Deutsche Bahn ICEs at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Germany
Berlin HBF

The passengers of the two ICE1 trains leave their trains to crisp but sunny weather in January 2007. The ICE1s and ICE-Ts are a common sight in Berlin.

Many of the older stations were originally built to create a comfortable environment for the passengers. After numerous years of "functionalism" the Berlin Hbf is a sign that a station can be both functional and piece of art itself. The structure is mainly of glass and steel and built into numerous levels, of which two are for trains, both long distance and local. The levels in between are for services and interchange to local buses. The topmost levels are set up as offices. The Station forms a big cross but the visible parts look like a huge tube covering the trains. Building the structure was exceptionally demanding with some of the lower levels located under the Berlin waterways!

Picture: John McKey January 2007.

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 Picture of the Month August 2007: Dependable Urban Traffic in Grenoble France
Grenoble Trams, France

The French city of Grenoble is a typical example of an European urban area with a working network of trams. Citadis trams serve the three lines, driving slowly in the center and fast in the suburban areas. In the suburbs the tracks are set up like the train routes. The SNCF is receiving similar Citadis trams in 2007. Those will be equipped with dual electrical systems. SNCF has prospects of trafficking them both on the train and the tram tracks. IS

Picture: Ilkka Siissalo. Taken near the Grenoble University Campus area in June 2007.

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 Picture of the Month July 2007: Eesti Raudtee C36-7i and C30-7i Pulling a Heavy Tank Train
Heavy oil transport by EVR in Estonia

Eesti Raudtee C36-7i 1542 and C30-7i 15xx (3600 Hp / 2700 kW and 3000 Hp / 2250 kW) are pulling a 2 kilometer long tank train of Russian oil through Estonian countryside in a heavy rain. Almost 80 of these North America originating iron horses are busy hauling unit trains between Russian border and Estonian ports. Volume seems to be huge and even in the local production respectably high. According to the train personnel C30-7i and C36-7i diesels from 1980's are very reliable ... and to everyones surprise seem to fit well even to the local switching!

Picture: Hannu Peltola June 2007.

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