Sauerländer Kleinbahn

Everything here is nostalgia: the puffing of the steam locomotive, the wooden benches, the leisurely rattling of the wheels. Yet narrow-gauge railroads, such as the Sauerland Kleinbahn near Plettenberg, embody the technical progress of yesteryear: they replace the transport of goods by horse-drawn carts and bring the small iron industry in the narrow valleys of the Sauerland closer to the Ruhr-Sieg line and thus to the Ruhr region ...

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… For the water power gushing everywhere, attracting hammer mills, forges, foundries, small-scale iron mills and wire-drawing workshops to the remotest corners, is now proving to be a disadvantage: large trains have no access, and even narrow-gauge railways operate in the middle of the road due to lack of space. Today they have all disappeared – except for the the Sauerland narrow-gauge railway!

Its origins are quaint. When narrow-gauge railways began disappearing in the Sauerland in 1955, some carriages ended up on island railways on Juist, Spiekeroog and elsewhere. But even these are closed down at the beginning of the 1980s, and so suddenly wagons are for sale that are a part of Sauerland's industrial culture. This opportunity makes some railway enthusiasts think twice. Without further ado, they establish the "Märkisch Museum Railway" association and buy the rolling stock in question.

But where to put the carriages? Because of their routing as "tramways", the historic narrow-gauge lines are beyond consideration. In this situation, the town of Plettenberg provides a section of the long-disused railway line from Plettenberg to Herscheid. The "Herscheider", as it was popularly known, commuted there between 1915 and 1969. It was once supposed to be part of a train service from Kassel to Cologne, but apart from this section it never came into being. Today, the Sauerland narrow-gauge railway puffs its way through the idyllic Else Valley on a rebuilt, two kilometre track. The steam engine "Bieberlies" is an "imigrant" – it used to run as a light railway between Gießen and Bieber, but is similar to the engines that were in service for the Kreis-Altenaer Railway as from the 1930s. Most of the passenger cars originate from elsewhere as well, only the cargo wagons are genuine "Sauerlanders". The eastern end of the museum railway line is marked by Köbbinghauser Hammer station near Plettenberg. At the opposite end is the historic Herscheid-Hüinghausen station, equipped with beer garden and café.


The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Sauerländer Kleinbahn


Else? - Who is Else? We want to go to Lüdenscheid and not have another chat! ...

Full dialog text
Al: Else? - Who is Else? We want to go to Lüdenscheid and not have another chat!

Lu: Else is the name of the river here! Between Herscheid and Plettenberg, the stream drives many a hammer - you know, Alfred - with water power!

Al: And how do the people of Herscheid get their steel goods to Plettenberg to the railroad to Hagen or Siegen?

Lu: That's a case for our industrious Lieschen!

Al: All right - women's power again.

Lu: I'll say! I mean our little steam locomotives, which puff along the narrow track through the Else valley, up and down again into the Lenne valley to the big sisters. People just know how to help themselves in the narrow side valleys ...

Al: I like that! Horse-drawn vehicles are really old-fashioned. Let's take a small train - it's a lot faster!

Visitor information

Elsetalstr. 46
58849 Herscheid-Hüinghausen
Phone. 02357/4637

Opening hours:
Vehicle hall: Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.
driving times: 1 Sun (May-Oct), 1.+ 3. Sun (May-Aug)

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The Plettenberg small railroad (1961)

Short description (film without sound)

Historical film footage shows how strongly the narrow-gauge railroad, which went into operation in 1896, shaped the townscape of Plettenberg until its closure in 1962. The narrow-gauge railroad with its box steam locomotive created competitive transport conditions for the emerging industry of the region.

The Sauerland narrow gauge railroad in pictures

Sauerländer Kleinbahn

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Nostalgia is all around: the puffing of the steam engine, the wooden benches, the gentle rattling of the wheels. Yet small-scale railways like the „Sauerland narrow-gauge railway“ near Plettenberg embody the technical progress of yesteryear: they substitute the transport of goods with horse-drawn carts and push the small-scale iron industry in the narrow Sauerland valleys closer to the Ruhr-Sieg line and thus to the Ruhr District …

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Hestenberg round hiking trail P1 and art trail


By the way, Plettenberg is also called the four-valley town: Else, Grüne and Oesterbach pour into the Lenne here. This can be seen particularly well from the heights of the Hestenberg. And on the way we can take a break at cozy places or seek the refreshment of the old ice cellar. "P" as in "perfect panoramic trail of Plettenberg"!

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Round hiking trail at the Oestertal dam


The Oesterbach is really interesting: narrow valley, numerous springs and at the lower end the thirsty factories are thrumming. With the construction of a fancy quarry stone dam, one should be able to kill several birds with one stone here, too: Service water, hydropower, flood protection and bathing pleasure - what more could you want?

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