The International Steam Pages

The Feldbahnmuseum 500 e.V 

Thomas Kautzor reports (the lateness of uploading is entirely my fault, RD) - if you read the whole report you will find a fascinating archive picture from 1969...

Saturday 8th June 2013 was one of three open days at the Feldbahnmuseum 500 e.V. (website , located in a rural suburb south of Nüremberg. I had to walk 10 minutes from the bus stop to get there and was surprised to find lots of cars parked outside the place. CFF 764.376 (Resita 1957, ex Viseu de Sus) is plinthed at the gate together with the body of a DR covered wagon from Radebeul. I was later told that the Romanian loco had been acquired from CFI Criscior to be exchanged against the little Krauss that was back then part of the Marxzell collection/scrapheap. As the owner of the stuff at Marxzell didn’t want to sell the Krauss, the idea was to exchange it against another steam loco. After the Resita had been acquired, however, he changed his mind and sold the Krauss, the Resita stayed in the hands of the FM500. Inside, behind the brand-new storage building/museum hall, I was surprised to find that the whole railway is in fact built on a steep slope, with the a steeply-graded line connecting the lower section and private garden railway with the upper loop. See for a map of the railway. As everything is in the forest, only the plinthed Resita at the entrance can be seen on Google Earth. The big blue building at the bottom left is a museum and not (yet) connected to the railway. The roundhouse and two more sheds are in the garden of a private house and not accessible to visitors. The green and yellow buildings are temporary structures to be replaced eventually by permanent ones. A lot of space is needed to house the large collection of locos, which next to the two steam locos includes a compressed air loco, an electric loco, a petrol loco, 16 battery locos, 44 diesel locos, 2 monorail diesel locos and 408 wagons. After being welcomed by the person who had taken my reservation on the phone, I made my way up the hill to the operating loop, where I could hear the Angolan OK make its rounds.

Compania do Assucar de Angola (CAA) OK 0-6-0T 12493/1934 (30 PS, 6.5t) used to operate at Tentativa sugar mill in Caixito, c. 60 km NE of Luanda. In the late 60s still had three of 0-6-0Ts and nine diesels operational. No. 12493 together with another two locos of the same type (11112/1925 & 12140/1930) and a smaller 0-4-0T (10311/1922, 10 PS) were bought by Sandstone and shipped to South Africa. They were all in very poor condition, but have or are currently being restored to working order by Lukas Nel at Bloemfontein, with none of the drawings available to him. No. 10311, regauged to 610mm., was put back into service in April 2011, while No. 12493 was rebuilt and sold to the FM500. The two other locos have also been regauged and are nearing completion.

The steam loco, hauling three purpose-built passenger cars, was doing 2-3x 3 rounds on the upper loop before being taken out for water and building up pressure. During those times a Diema diesel was used with a rake of five small open cars. Before the completion of the passenger cars, three underground miner’s cars were used behind the steam loco.

The railway was started in 1976 by Karl Heinz Rohrwild, owner of the Dorfner Group, a 225 Million Euro company founded in 1949 and active in building cleaning, building management and catering branches. The group currently has over 10,000 active employees in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. KHR’s passion was 500mm gauge underground mining railways and as a result the major part of the loco collection come from underground mines in Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. KHR did all work on his railway by himself until he passed away in 2005. Nowadays FM 500 employs six people permanently for trackwork, repair and restoration of the rolling stock and to remove leaves and snow from the premises during the winter (for the snow they have an rotary snowplow – pics. 6709/6713).

The little inside-framed MÜNCHEN (Krauss No. 5745/1908, 20 PS, 4.9t) formerly operated at the Ludovici tile works near Mannheim. After the tile works were closed it spent years at Marxzell. KHR had for a long time dreamed of acquiring it, but it was only after his death that his sons was able to buy it and have it restored. It has been operational since 2009.

Some more land has been acquired at the top of the slope onto which they hope to extend the railway, but still need permission from the local authorities. No locos can operate on the steeply-graded track connecting the bottom and top sections, so when locos need to be taken up or down they are hauled via a cable by a battery loco at the top.

As the line runs mostly through the forest, photography is challenging and the settings on my camera must have been wrong as most of my non-sunny pictures were somehow washed out. There is a small pond along the track, a small bridge and luckily at the far right side of the loop, where the line runs on a gradient, there is a large clearing which allows sunny shots in the afternoon.

FM 500 also operates charter trains for small groups. Sadly, the large wagon collection does not include any cane wagons, but I guess a long rake of tip wagons behind the OK would also do."

Resita 764.376:


The OK:

The incline and the top level joining to it:

Another stock shed with the incline behind and a Diema diesel on the passenger train

The museum interior with Loco 11 (Hatlapla Junior II 5097/1951, 6hp) and an overhead electric loco, Loco 59 (Barsa)

The rotary snowplough:

In the shed was loco 83 (KHD A2L514F 56281/1956, 25-28 hp) and outside a small diesel at work, loco 16 (O&K Montania MD1 9677/1938, 11 hp).

For those of you who have persevered, then here is a relevant little bit of history, one of the Compania do Assucar de Angola OK locomotives (#3) at Tentativa as photographed in steam by Jeff Lanham in October 1969. It's 0-4-0T OK 10311/1922 which was regauged and made operational at Sandstone in 2011. It is taken from my CD-ROM Safari Steam South:

Rob Dickinson