"Lange Heinrich" / "Long Henry".
Embedded in the Northwest German plains area is the Emsland area, a region rich in bodies of water and moors. At the start of the Seventies until the end of steam locomotive operation on the DB in October of 1977, it became the Mecca for railroad enthusiasts from all over the world. The last steam giants on the German Federal Railroad ran with passenger trains to Norddeich Mole, and heavy freight trains were in operation between Emden and the large industrial centers on the Rhine and Ruhr.
The star on the Emsland line was the "Lange Heinrich" / "Long Henry", a 4,000 metric ton ore train between the Emden switch yard and Rheine, always with two of the last great freight locomotives from the classes 042, 043, and 044 as motive power. The high-capacity hopper cars were loaded with imported raw material in Emden's outer harbor and were hauled by steam and diesel locomotives to the switch yard and there were assembled into long unit trains of 2,000 and 4,000 metric tons.
The power output of one of the powerful locomotives was just enough to bring the load for the 2,000 metric ton trains over the lightly ascending exit onto the mostly flat 140 km / 88 mile route to Rheine. The "Langer Heinrich" trains were twice as heavy and required the use of two locomotives, which got underway after a furious start, often with slipping wheels.
The trains usually had oil-fired class 043 locomotives from the Emden and Rheine Districts as motive power. The classes 042 and 043 were often used in combination, occasionally two of the class 042, and quite rarely the last of the coal-fired class 044 helped along with the other two classes. The classes 042 and 043 had been equipped for oil firing during an overhaul and had entered the motive power roster at Rheine in 1967.
There were many locations along the route for taking impressive train photographs. A favorite among knowledgeable photographers was a bridge at Aschendorf, south of Papenburg. The trains could be photographed in almost their entire length on a curve leading to the right.
Even more ideal and probably the best place in the Ems area was south of Lathen. There, the route ran between two sand dunes in a curve to the left and offered an unobstructed view of a complete 4,000 metric ton train under the best lighting conditions. A requirement was of course good weather, exact knowledge of the schedule for the trains, and being there early in the morning, when the sun was still low on the horizon. Long before the train entered this section of the route, a distant column of smoke and the unmistakable rhythm of the exhaust announced its approach. The waiting was then rewarded with an unforgettable view of the entire consist from the front of the locomotive to the end of the train consisting of fifty cars.
(From notes by Horst J. Obermayer).