2015-09-23 Harz - Selketalbahn

During our 2015 visit to the Harz, Germany, I travelled all three constituent lines of the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen. This album covers our journey on the Selketalbahn.
Map Harzer Schmalspurbahnen  By way of a birthday present my wife suggested to have a steam tour on the HSB. I chose the regular steam train that runs once a day on the  Selketalbahn  from Gernrode to Alexisbad (on the right on this map), a stretch of 23 km of in total 53,2 km from Quedlinburg to Eisfelder Talmühle where it connects to the Harzquerbahn. DSC02232  We chose Gernrode as our starting point. Aerial Gernrode  1. The track coming from Quedlinburg 2. The old main station building and trackbed of the now disused standard gauge railway line 3. The station building of the HSB 4. The sheds 5. The line to Alexisbad DSC02392b  The disused standard gauge railway station. Discussions about extending the HSB from Gernrode to Quedlinburg date as far back as the '90s. When in 2004 the standard gauge railway from Quedlinburg - Frose was closed it was also decided to convert the section Quedlinburg - Gernrode to narrow gauge and to connect it to the HSB in Gernrode. This was completed in 2006.
DSC02220  The far more modest HSB station building DSC02221 DSC02229 DSC02222  The sheds. These once played a central role in the operation of the GHE, the original operator of the line. This position is now lost to the HSB's central workshop in Wernigerode. Gernrode is just an "Einsatzstelle", literally point of operation, which means as much as a service depot which limited amenities.
DSC02226  View to the west on the service spurs and some more service and staff buildings DSC02230  The water column. DSC02234  A modern day destination announcements combined with old days style. Nice detail. DSC02238  Our train on the point where it diverts from the former standard gauge trackbed
DSC02240 DSC02242 DSC02250  We hopped on and it didn't take long for the train to take off again. DSC02255  It was a very cloudy day so it was difficult to get a decent shot of the locomotive in the heavily wooded area.
DSC02263  The valley of the Selke imposes steep gradients (up to 33 in 1000) and sharp curves (50 m radius) often without hardly any intermediate track as clearly can be seen on this photo. Gernrode lies at 204 metres above sea level, Alexisbad at 325 meters. Selketalbahn Video 1  Click the image to start the video DSC02267 Selketalbahn Video 2  Click the image to start the video
DSC02276  In Alexisbad the connecting diesel train to Harzgerode was already waiting.  Harzgerode was the original end station of the line but after extension of the line to Stiege the section Alexisbad - Harzgerode became a branch line CIMG3849b CIMG3850b DSC02278  In the meantime the locomotive is being resupplied with water.
DSC02279 DSC02282 DSC02284 DSC02286
DSC02287 DSC02289 DSC02297 DSC02299  Some TLC
CIMG3853b  Hard at work to catch the steaming beast ... DSC02300  .... with this result CIMG3857b  Happy birthday to me! CIMG3856b2  A South African friend of mine calls train spotting "treinbekruiping", in english loosely translated as "sneaking up on trains". Well, he is sort of right.
DSC02303b  The resulting shot from all this arduous work DSC02305  How can five coupled axles get around curves of 50 metres radius? Drivers BR99-23-24 colored  1-2. The first two coupled axles have sideplay and are guided by the leading running axle in a  Schwartzkopff-Eckhardt  bogie. 3. The main driver axle (third) has no sideplay but the wheels are flangeless 4. The fourth coupled is the only "normal" axle, having no side play yet flanges on the wheels. 5. The fifth coupled axle again has sideplay and is guided by the rear running axle in a  Krauss-Helmholtz  bogie All images from  Wikipedia DSC02307
DSC02308 DSC02311 DSC02312  Running round to take the train back to Gernrode DSC02316
DSC02321b  The now largely disused station building of Alexisbad DSC02322  Coupling up DSC02328  On the return ride during the stop at Mägdesprung DSC02334  Running through the Selke valley
DSC02344 DSC02356b DSC02374  By the the time we had returned to Gernrode the sun was trying to come out and the weather would only improve from then on. DSC02375
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DSC02386 DSC02387 DSC02391 DSC02388b  We had a most enjoyable ride