The International Steam Pages

Saxon Narrow Gauge Steam 2011 

James Waite reports on a two day lightning visit in April 2011 where the live action was an incidental pleasure - the main purpose being to grice some interesting narrow gauge static preserved items.

The first two photos are from the Radebeul Ost - Radeburg line where we called in on our way south from Berlin, the first passing the lake south of Moritzburg and the second outside the shed at Radebeul Ost.

The old goods shed at Radebeul Ost has been converted into a small museum, a no-expenses-spared sort of place that I should think must have been publicly funded. It's home to two 750mm gauge locos. One is 0-8-0T no. 99 4532 (OK 10844/1923), one of three similar locos supplied from 1909 to the Trusetalbahn in Thuringia. There it was named "Trusetal" until 1949 when the line was taken over by the DR. It moved to the Zittau system in 1963 and took up residence in the Radebeul Ost museum in January 2010. The other is Saxon IV K 0-4-4-0 Meyer tank loco no. 99 604 (Hartmann 3792/1914), one of the few of these locos to have got through the 1960's without being rebuilt (to use the official phrase - in practice the rebuilds were new locos). The museum only opens on occasional Sundays in the summer. We weren't there on one of these but there were a couple of ladies working inside who kindly let us in.

The small green "Fairlie" loco in these photos is the 600mm gauge Pechot Bourdon in the Dresden Verkehrsmuseum (Baldwin works no. 43367/1916). Several hundred of these locos were built for the French army before and during WW1. Many of them were still in use up to the German invasion of France in 1940, particularly on the military railways serving the forts on the Maginot line. Most of them were cut up by the German occupying forces during WW2 but a few were moved east for further service. This one ended up on the Magdeburg Trummerbahn, used for clearing rubble from bomb-damaged buildings at the end of the war. Two more ended up at Kostolac colliery in Jugoslavia and one of these is now preserved at Pozega museum where it is the only other survivor of the type. Next to it is no. 99 535 (Hartmann 2276/1898), another of the Saxon 750mm gauge Meyers that wasn't rebuilt in the 1960's. It's not been restored to museum standard, just cleaned up, and so looks satisfyingly "real". The green 0-4-0 tram-type loco is no. 36 from the metre-gauge Forst tramway (Krauss Munich 2796/1898). The museum is also home to two standard gauge locos, 0-4-2T "Muldenthal" (Hartmann 164/1861), a really ancient-looking machine, and a replica 0-4-2 named "Saxonia". The museum is housed in one of the old baroque buildings in the centre of Dresden, a very splendid place indeed.

The next four are of the metre gauge Fairlie from the Reichensbach-Oberheinsdorf line in the far south west of Saxony, not far from Hof and the old West German border. Three of these locos were built by Hartmann in 1902, generous provision for a line only just over 5km long! One of them was supposedly sent to Greece by ship in 1943 but the ship was sunk off the coast of Crimea and the loco now lies at the bottom of the Black Sea. Seems an odd route to take to get from Saxony to Greece! The other two lasted until the line closed in 1962. This one (DR 99 162, Hartmann 2648/1902) was restored to its original condition in 1971 and spent many years in store on the Harz line but is now kept in a small museum building, purpose-built in the general style of a Saxon narrow gauge shed at Oberheinsdorf. Here it's looked after by the local council with the assistance of an enthusiasts group. It's open only on a few Sundays each year (details at The mayor of the community very kindly opened the museum up for us for this visit. The chap in one of the pics is Martin Wollmann, an old friend from Berlin who did all the driving for this trip. He's the webmaster of the site , a useful resource on the many closed narrow gauge railways in the old East Germany. These weren't the first narrow gauge Fairlies in Saxony. Two 750mm gauge ones, Saxon no's 18 and 19, were built for the state railway there in 1885 by Hawthorn Leslie. They spent at least part of their careers on the Freital Hainsberg - Kipsdorf line and were withdrawn between 1903 and 1909.

The next photo, of the green Meyer, is at a museum newly set up at Wildsruff near Freital in a reconstructed building which used to be one of the DR's main narrow gauge repair shops. There's a plan to rebuild a few km of track from the old line here which was closed in 1972 and to operate the loco.

The night shots are at Freital Hainsberg depot:

Most of the remainder are from the Freital Hainsberg line the following day, all near Rabenau. It's the one which was destroyed by a cataclysmic flood in 2002 and was reopened in 2008 as far as Dippoldiswalde after a huge reconstruction effort. We spent the night at the Rabenau Muhle Hotel in the gorge next to Rabenau station (an excellent place) where most of the damage from the flood was done and where all the bridges over the river had to be replaced. There are some dramatic photos on view in the hotel of the flood filling the whole width of the valley. The view from the balcony is from my hotel room and two of the new bridges are in these photos.

The final two shots are back on the Radebeul line on our way back to the airport, the first near Radeburg and the second at the tramway crossing in Radebeul.

Rob Dickinson