Tuesday, 20 June 2017
I’ve just returned from my first filming trip of the year to Germany and Belgium. Apart from the usual problems on the Belgian motorway network (in real need of some TLC) it was a great trip. Though I have to ponder how many more years I will be able to do this with such ease; I’m not talking about the inevitable aches and pains of getting older, I’m referring to BREXIT and the implications that might have.
As things stand in 2017 I have free range – obey local laws and regulations and the continent (including Norway and Switzerland) is my oyster – even the Spanish have lightened up a bit and I have never had any problems in France (though I have never filmed in Paris or Marseilles)
In two years time I have the prospect of having to have a visa just to enter an EU country let alone “work” there! As a hobbyist in addition to being a film producer I have a big incentive to keep travelling – but for many of us I have a feeling that it might be just too much bother, fewer trips to those beloved ‘hot-spots” at the very least. I for one will greatly miss my ‘freedom of movement’!
Nearly three weeks in Belgium and Germany, in almost continuous sunshine, has raised my spirits. German rail freight is alive and well and that in Belgium is not so shabby either! After years in the doldrums B-Cargo (B-Logistics) has been steadily turning itself around into a forward looking confident and competent freight operating company. It (B-Logistics) has a new private sector owner Argos-Soditic, a new brand name (LINEAS) and a new livery. The port of Antwerp has a new connection between the left and right banks (the Liefkenshoek rail link) and there are impressive plans for new connections to the hinterland – even the Iron Rhine is back on the cards!
In Germany freight traffic is down a little overall because of the ‘dash FROM coal”, but wagonload and intermodal seem in good heart – new operators taking advantage of intermodal shuttles every time you look!
Taking a week to travel down and film the Rhine was pure joy especially in the uninterrupted sunshine that was my companion in mid May. Lots new to see (it is a household joke with family and friends that I have must wear ‘Vectron repellent’ rather than anti bug spray! - but no more!) But despite lots of lovely Siemens’ latest – on looks alone the Bombardier TRAXX3 MS has my vote in the traction beauty contest.
On the passenger train front DB Regio has new units and new liveries and the State (county) locals all look in ‘out of the box” condition. The double deck IC 2 looked splendid but there was no sight of the new ICE4 sets – wrong place, but you never know what might be spotted slipping through Oberwesel!
German ‘drone’ regulations are mercifully very similar to our own. A brief ‘chat’ with air traffic control cleared up any areas of potential differences, which helped for incident free flying. The whole of the Rhine from Cologne to Mainz was at my feet! -and therefore yours!