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It's a fine spring morning in June 2005 and we are waiting at the Basel Badische Bahnhof, the German station that lies just within the Swiss Canton of Basel. We await the arrival of ICE 878. The InterCity Express started from Basel SBB, just 5km to the south, and arrives promptly at 10.20. From the cab of the gleaming white ICE1 unit we see Switzerland slip by as we enter Germany at Weil am Rhein. The run to our first stop at Freiburg takes us along the edge of the Hochschwarzwald through pretty villages with vineyards that produce some of Germany's finest wines. There is plenty to see on the railway to distract us as this is one of the busiest international rail routes in Europe: each day there are 22 ICEs up and 22 down, Regional Express trains every half hour and EuroCity trains from deep in Switzerland to destinations in Northern Germany. But it's the colourful assembly of freight trains that are most noticeable. While the lion's share is in the hands of German freight giant RAILION, one third is in the hands of the Swiss railways- SBB, using modified RE482s in their dark blue and red livery. As we approach Freiburg we pass a Rolling Highway train that has just started her run to Nova in Italy. North of Freiburg it gets ridiculously busy, trains are passing us every few minutes, and southbound EC9 is brought to a halt because of the pure weight of freights in front of her. Offenburg is a major rail junction where we see a DLC class 66 from Rotterdam. North of the city the nature of our journey changes: we are on an ABS. A new high-speed line has been shoehorned along side the existing line along which the ICEs can run at 250kph, allowing us to sail passed the incessant freights. At Rastatt we follow the westerly of the parallel main lines into Karlsruhe were we have time for a look at the remarkable tram trains running through the city. Narrated and supported with animated graphics.
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