Picture above left is of a vintage locomotive hauled special at Wernigerode
We first really met these wonderful steam trainsin June 1990 as we
The Brockenbahn or Brocken Railwayis really a branch of the main line,from Drei Annen Hohne to Brocken summit. Much of the railway operates in severe terrain, with sharp curves and gradients of up to 1in 30. The track is 1 metre gauge. It is mainly steam operated by elderly, but well maintained 1950's steam locomotives. These are supplemented by ugly red diesel locomotives known as Red Camels, and with diesel railcars for some local passenger routes.
Short history.The railway's first train ran from Wernigerode to Schierke on 20 th June 1898. HSB was an essential part of the local transport network, carrying freight and local passengers between the small towns, villages and remote parts of the east Harz. It was also an important part of the planned economy of the DDR (East Germany). Following the post 1990 changes this subsidized railway was not to become part of the German national railway system. It is now a communal company with the support of the states of Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen. As industries collapsed much of the freight traffic was lost. Very little was regained. There are now few through passenger trains on the 2 main lines. The main thrust must now be on the nostalgic tourist attraction of steam operated regular service and special trains, especially on the economically vital Brockenbahn branch. Frequent, heavily loaded trains run at peak times all the year round to the summit.
Further HSB photos. Left. A southbound Wernigerode to Eisfelder Talmühle train approaching Sorge. Right. Approaching Drei Annen Hohne on the way down from Brocken via Schierke.
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