I sometimes take great pains to bring you the best pictures, but only very rarely literally. Here, I realized a little too late that my view point in Oker (part of Goslar, Germany) was in the middle of a patch of nettles. So you better appreciate this picture of 218 474-5 pushing a train of "Silberling" (officially Type n) carriages from Bad Harzburg to Hanover. I do love the sky here, although I didn’t love the rain it brought about an hour later (luckily I was already back home then).
Every time I post a picture of a class 218 locomotive on this line, I include a comment along the lines of "nobody knows how long it will stay". And what do you know, we still have no idea. There is no adequate direct replacement for this class. Nevertheless, it has already made its final run
in many other parts of the country. In most cases it has been replaced by DMUs. DB has published countless tenders for replacement locomotives for the few cases where this isn’t possible (mainly for double-decker trains on non-electrified lines), but most were cancelled again. The latest news for the last one was that no offer complied with the conditions, but to save time, instead of tendering again they’ll enter direct negotiations with the manufacturers. Sounds like they are more into it this time, but I will remain skeptical at least until the contract is signed.
This still leaves the question of what would replace these trains, though: The Silberling coaches aren’t up to modern transportation standards anymore either, and DB has shown absolutely no interest in new single-decker coaches. So if this line does not move to double-decker, I guess it will end up being operated with DMUs.