My journey across Europe started in the German city of Frankfurt am Main, and my second stop was the Austrian capital of Vienna, with a seven hour long train trip between the two.
Deutsche Bahn services the route with a number of direct services, but at the time we wanted to leave there were none, so we had to make a connection at Würzburg in Germany.
Our train originated elsewhere in Germany, and was actually a little late when it arrived into Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof (main station).
After a quick turnaround we boarded the train, and we headed out of the dead-end station.
Top speed on the route was only 200 km/h, with the train operating over a mix of newly built high speed rail routes, and existing tracks shared with freight trains and commuter services.
There were plenty of freight trains sitting in sidings along the way.
As well as commuter trains at major stations.
The hillsides became steeper as we headed south from Frankfurt.
Electricity seemed to be an ongoing theme along the way. An ‘unterwerk’ is a railway traction substation, which supplies the electricity to run the trains.
As well as substations, I snapped some photos of the high voltage transmission lines.
Solar panels out in the frozen snow covered landscape were not something that I expected to see.
Yet I found them all over the German countryside – apparently the country is the world’s top photovoltaics (PV) installer.
The staff onboard our train informed passengers of the status of the connecting trains at each station stop, so you knew whether you had time to dawdle between platforms, or to make a run for it.
Our train arrived at Würzburg Hbf a little late.
However our connecting train was also running late, so we were able to make our way to the other platform with no trouble.
I went for a wander up to the front carriage of the train, where the driver sits behind a glass window.
The passengers behind also get the same view.
Elsewhere in the train there are screens displaying the details of the service you are onboard.
Most of the journey was through open countryside.
But I spent most of my time waiting for the train to roll through populated areas, where there were more trains to be found.
I passed interesting rolling stock like this DB inspection train and way and works carriage.
As well as fruity coloured freight locomotives.
Shunting locomotives operated by private rail freight companies I had never heard of.
Modern electric freight locomotives.
A few leftovers from the days of the Iron Curtain.
And a train driver taking a piss between shunting moves.
Thanks to the Schengen Area we crossed into Austria with no fanfare at all – the only way I could tell was by noting down which station I was at.
As well as the different locomotives visible outside the train – ÖBB instead of DB.
Given it was the middle of winter, darkness fell quickly, and soon enough we had arrived in Vienna.
For the entire journey I had my GPS datalogger running – the resulting track can be found below.