The International Steam Pages

The Chiemsee Bahn, 2013

James Waite reports on his 31st July 2013  visit, having seen the railway out-of-season on 1st October 2012. See also Filippo Ricci's photoreport from Summer 2012

The Chiemsee must be one of the largest lakes in southern Germany. Thereís been a regular shipping service on the lake at least since 1845 and tourist traffic grew rapidly after the opening in 1860 of the Munich to Salzburg main line opened through Prien, only two kms from the lake shore at Stock. The metre gauge Chiemseebahn between the two places opened in 1887. The roadside nature of the route called for a steam tram loco together with five open and two closed third class coaches together, one brake compo and a 1st class saloon. Most remarkably the railway has run using the same stock ever since, the only significant addition being a small secondhand diesel, dressed up to resemble a steam tram loco, which went into service in 1985. Nowadays the railway prefers to operate the steam loco whenever itís available for regular traffic and to keep the diesel in reserve. The diesel is most likely to be used at weekends when traffic is lighter and the steam loco receives routine maintenance.

The railway used to start on the western side of the Prien station which was closer to the town but involved crossing the main line on the level. In 1909 the present narrow gauge station on the eastern side of the tracks was opened. The depot has always been at Stock. The station there has been entirely rebuilt within the past twelve years. Unfortunately this has involved the demolition of the old loco shed though no doubt the modern, large depot building provides a much more satisfactory working environment.

Most of the distance between Prien and Stock has become built up. There are several small hotels and guesthouses close to the line. Back in the 1970ís and 1980ís some of their proprietors regarded the railway as an anachronism which was damaging their business and called for it to close. Thankfully the Bavarian State Conservation Office listed it as a historical monument in 1980, thus staving off any immediate prospect of closure, and nowadays its heritage value is more widely recognised amongst the local community.

The loco was reboilered by Arn Jung in 1950. It must be larger than the original as its rated power output increased from 60 to 100hp.

I first visited in October 2012, a few days after operation had finished for the year, and was shown the loco shortly after the staff had started on its routine winter maintenance. I returned on a very hot afternoon in July 2013 when seven coach train were running and were well filled. The loco appeared to handle the load with ease.

This is a delightful line. There are several interesting photo spots despite its short distance. There canít be many lines where all the original stock is still in use and provides most of the trains. Highly recommended.

These are from October 2012:

The railway company also runs the ferry services on the lake. The last steamship disappeared many years ago. This stylish steam launch in the new depot is a long-term restoration project .

Work was under way on stripping down the loco for its winter overhaul on 1st October 2012. Here its left hand piston and rod have been removed.

These are from Summer 2013:

Running around and waiting to leave Stock with the lake in the background:

The line passes this pond a short distance out from Prien station.

Crossing the main road midway between Prien to Stock, the only major level crossing on the route:

Setting off from Stock station:

The line has five open and two closed third class coaches together with one brake compo. Thereís also a 1st class saloon which was sold to a museum at Marxsell bei Karlsruhe in 1975 but returned in 1993. It seems not to be in regular use.

Rob Dickinson