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Welcome to Frankfurt in the German state of Hessen. It's early June 2007. The weather is dry but overcast, brightening towards Mannheim. We will be travelling south with ICE1071. The high-speed train started her day's work in Hamburg, ran to Hannover (Hanover) and then down Germany's first NBS to Kassel and Fulda. Frankfurt was reached through Offenbach and Hanau. We join the train at Frankfurt Hbf. for an 0954 departure. Our route may surprise you as it's not the Riedbahn through Gross Gerau but the Main Neckarbahn through Darmstadt. Controversially this is the proposed route of the IC3M trains that will link Frankfurt with Paris in just a few weeks time – perhaps! Before Darmstadt we pass through Neu Isenburg, home to the Frankfurt Auto-Zug and then Darmstadt Hbf, a station in the middle of a modernisation programme. Things really get interesting south the city as the freight line from Mainz Bischofsheim and the Rhine routes join us. From here to Mannheim Rbf it is a continuous string of freights: passing us heading north and in loops heading south. Not the prettiest run in Germany (wait for the Pfalz for that) but certainly busy! – a 'must have' for freight enthusiasts!