THE BROCKENBAHN

RAILWAY .

This 19km branch line of the HSB/Harzer Schmalspurbahnen runs from Drei Annen Hohne to the summit of Brocken. It first became a popular way of travel when the line came into service on the 27 th March 1899. There are wonderful picture postcards from around 1900
depicting the journey past fleeing deer, tall firs and the rocky cliffs. Others
show smoke belching engines,
like the one here going uphill to Brocken,
leading their trains around some of the curves. More depict trains with the
Brocken Hotel and the station at Brocken.This popularity continued for many
decades until the line from Schierke onwards was closed to tourists on
August 13th 1961.This was due to the restricted zone orders imposed by the Russians and the East German (DDR) Government.

Fresh hope came towards the end of 1989 in the days following the opening of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain. Brocken's walls remained closed at first but a strong desire to visit Brocken welled up. Eager groups of protestors and walkers came to the Brocken outer walls on Sunday 3 rd December 1989 carrying banners reading, "A free Brocken for a free people." That day the Brocken Wall gates re-opened to the public.

Thoughts of re-opening the line stirred very quickly. Some groups of
people had worries about the damaging effect on Brocken's fragile
eco-system by the trains,and the growing number of visitors that they
would bring. The natural environment had been relatively unscathed
during the years of isolation. Eventually, even the doubters accepted that
tourists could be a liability but were an economic necessity and had a right
to visit "Father Brocken". So work began to restore the line and the renewed
services commenced again on 15
th September1991. Passengers often
watch the engines switch to the front again at Brocken Station, ready for the downhill trip.

The journey is an atmospheric one. Passengers are eager to find window seats whilst camera carrying passengers find vantage points out on the swaying carriage outer decks. The engine works hard up the hillsides as the train winds through the forests and around the curves. Some of these are big and others are very tight. As the journey opens out from the tight packed forests there are wonderful views, including those westward to the Wurmberg hillside and towards Torfhaus. The journey is even more fascinating and beautiful in winter.

The Brockenbahn Railway is economically vital to the HSB and full
coaches are carried almost all the year round.In 2000 travel on this line
comprised some 80% of the total HSB turnover. Most passengers do the
round trip. Others, like us, may travel to the summit by train and then walk
down by one of a choice of routes.
Here a train pulls into Schierke Station,
the platforms of which are often crowded. Yet the train may already be quite well filled!

A tip! If you have a car it is better to park at Drei Annen Hohne and to catch the train from there. Sometimes there may be 3 or 4 trains at this station simultaneously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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