Steam escapes with a hiss, a heavy panting can be heard, then a long, lamenting whistle — and with a creaking and cracking the enormous black locomotive sets itself in motion and with it five wagons full of cheering people. No question about it — the elemental force and nostalgia of steam locomotives remains unbroken until today. You stand awestruck on the platform next to the shiny black behemoth waiting for the next journey and full of joy you listen to the rhythmic work of the pistons and cylinders, the rattling wheels and the deep whistles as the train glides through the Brandenburg landscape at full speed. Without the railroad, Berlin's growth from the late 19th century onwards would not have been manageable. In many parts of the city there were magnificent station halls such as the Lehrter Bahnhof, the Potsdamer Bahnhof or the Anhalter Bahnhof, and goods were loaded every day into hundreds of wagons on huge railway areas. Today, many of the tracks have been dismantled, but parks and meadows await you on the former wastelands whose names are reminiscent of the glorious past. And in between, there are always places where you can admire the steam locomotives in all their glory and ready to go.
We have selected seven tours in Berlin and Brandenburg, on which you can still experience the great railway history up to today. In the Südgelände in Schöneberg, the steam locomotive past presents itself above all with the charm of the abandoned when you stroll along overgrown tracks through the former railway wasteland. In the park at the Gleisdreieck, on the other hand, everything is neat and tidy — and on a visit to the adjacent Museum of Technology, you can also admire equally neat locomotives. In the Wuhlheide the steam locomotives still rattle through the park and the forest today: not only children feel lucky during a ride with the park railway.
Further east, there is even more lively railway history, even though electricity replaced steam almost 90 years ago. Between Berlin-Rahnsdorf and Woltersdorf in Brandenburg, tram line 87 has been rattling through the forest since 1913. And to this day, trams from the opening year still run here — along with no less nostalgic trams from the 1950s. Even further east and shortly before the Polish border, the Buckower Kleinbahn takes you from Müncheberg to Märkische Schweiz in the most romantic way: with two railcars from the 1930s.
And if you really want to experience the panting black giants in action, you should definitely take a look at the tours to Gesundbrunnen station and Schöneweide depot. This is where the museum trains of the two clubs "Berliner Eisenbahnfreunde" and "Berliner Dampflokfreunde" leave for their exits. Whether it's a city tour on the Ringbahn, a trip to Leipzig's Christmas market or a summer trip to the Baltic Sea — a trip on the historic steam trains is an absolutely unique experience.
Of course, all tours can be reached by train — with the lines of the S-Bahn Berlin. So you'll get into the right mood when you arrive on your tour.
The Schöneberg southern area used to be the largest marshalling yard in Europe together with the Gleisdreieck - but that is long gone. With the closure of the Anhalter station in the 1950s and parts of the marshalling yard Tempelhof were shut down and the southern area fell into a deep sleep. For many years, countless plants, bushes and trees grew between the water tower, engine sheds, tracks and bridges. It was not until 1995 that the southern area was revived: the unique natural space was now opened as a park, but some parts of the railway infrastructure were retained. As you walk along the trails here, you will experience how quickly nature recovers her space - and you can marvel at a well-preserved 50 Series steam locomotive parked on old tracks in a small grove.The starting point of the round trip is the S-Bahn station Priesterweg, which is served by the S-Bahn lines S2, S25 and S26. Through the underpass it goes into the park. At the entrance you pay at a small machine your entrance - from 14 years it costs one euro - and then you enter the former marshalling yard. First you walk past the old engine shed and Café Paresüd and then follow the narrow paths through birch groves further north.Soon you will see the steam locomotive and the old, rusty turntable between the narrow trees. On quiet paths, our route will take you past old tracks and cozy benches until you turn at the northernmost point of the park. Now you can walk back to the S-Bahn station via the Tälchenweg, whose brick walls were decorated by graffiti artists.
If you look across the wide meadows of the park at the Gleisdreieck today, hardly anything reminds of the thousands of waggons and the puffing trains from the time of the steam locomotives. Until the Second World War, here were the hundreds of meters long trains that unloaded their goods at the Anhalter freight yard and at the Potsdam freight yard. After the war, it was less and less, but only in the late 1970s, the area was abandoned and the track triangle verwilderte. In the 2000s, the conversion into the park at the Gleisdreieck finally began with a lot of civil work. Here and there you can still find tracks, signals or electricity pylons today. For all steam locomotive aficionados a visit to the adjoining German Museum of Technology is recommended. There you can admire perfectly maintained and fully functional locomotives from the golden age of the railroad in the engine shed - and you can even steam away for special events.Your tour starts at the S-Bahn station Yorckstraße, which is served by the lines S2, S25 and S26. From here you cross the street only on the Yorckbrücken and then walk through the park at the Gleisdreieck to the Technikmuseum. After you have looked at everything about the history of the railway, it goes through the park to the south to the adjacent Flaschenhalspark.Here is also the so-called Monument Hall: In the Technology Museum preserves perfectly maintained buses, trams, mail vehicles and all sorts of memorabilia to more than 100 years old Berlin municipal traffic - however, the hall opens only to individual events a year. After a round through the Flaschenhalspark, you can start your journey home at the S-Bahn station Yorckstraße.
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Directly at the S-Bahn station “Betriebsbahnhof Schöneweide” is a listed roundhouse - the home of the steam locomotive friends Berlin. Here they look after and service four historic steam locomotives, a nostalgic diesel express train locomotive and a total of 14 passenger cars from the 1930s. On two days in September - on the Open Monument Day and the Berlin Railway Festival - the engine shed opens its doors and you can admire the impressive and lovingly cared for engines. In addition, the association offers more than 30 excursions on its trains per year under the motto “Berlin makes steam”. Whether in the historic dining car to the Christmas markets in Leipzig, Dresden or Wittenberg, to the Nikolausfahrt in Potsdam, leisurely through the Brandenburgische Weite or on the ring train tracks around Berlin - there is something for every rail enthusiast on the excursions.This short hike begins at the Schöneweide S-Bahn station, which is served by the S45, S46, S8, S85 and S9 S-Bahn lines. From here it is only a few steps to the roundhouse. For a visit, it is best to have a look at the dates here: berlin-macht-dampf.com.Our tip: This year the Open Monument Day will take place again with Corona requirements - on September 12 and 13, 2020, the depot will also open its doors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and you can admire the vehicle fleet up close. For the free tours you have to register in advance at email@example.com.Stroll along the roundhouse and the railway tracks to the Schöneweide S-Bahn station. From here all "Berlin makes steam" trips of the steam locomotive friends Berlin start. The S45, S46, S47, S8, S85 and S9 S-Bahn lines will also bring you home from here.
Did you know that you can reach the contemplative Buckow in the middle of the Markish Switzerland also completely by train? This is made possible by the Buckower Kleinbahn, which travels from the Müncheberg (Mark) station with carefully restored museum trains to Buckow station. At the time of its opening, steam locomotives were the first to operate here, but as early as 1930 it was switched to electric operation. The two still running trains actually come from 1930 and continue to perform well. From May to the beginning of October, the trains take you in a twelve-minute drive into the heart of Märkische Schweiz. On our tour we will take you from the station once on the mountain trail around the Schermützelsee and the hilly castle parkBut especially worthwhile are the only two winter driving days: On the second weekend of December, the Christmas market takes place in Buckow - and then on both days also drives the Buckower Kleinbahn. All information about the Buckower Kleinbahn can be found here: buckower-kleinbahn.deFrom the train stations Ostkreuz or Berlin-Lichtenberg, both of which are easily reached by S-Bahn Berlin, take the regional train RB26 to Müncheberg (Mark) station. Once there, you climb into the Buckower Kleinbahn and shortly afterwards you reach your destination: Buckow in Märkische Schweiz. If you feel like it, you can look at the train station in the small railway museum before you begin your circular walk.After a short walk through the tranquil town, our route bends into the forest and leads you along the shores of the White Lake to the Schermützelsee. In the constant ups and downs you hike along the mountain trail along the lakeshore - wonderful views of the hills of Märkische Schweiz and Buckow included. On the northern shore, the path slowly becomes shallower and winds its way under trees and past dachas. Soon after, you will reach Wriezener Straße, which leads directly into the town center. Our route bends here again and you make a nice round over wide orchards and through the castle park with its ancient trees.In the center of Buckow you can then stop in one of the cafes, bakeries or restaurants, before the nostalgic small train brings you back to Müncheberg (Mark).
The Wuhlheide is not only one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Berlin, there is also a special treat for railroad fans: the Park Railway. On many days of the year, diesel locomotives and sometimes even historic steam locomotives chug through the park and through the forest on narrow-gauge tracks - from spring to winter. The special thing about it: Except for the train drivers, all employees are children. Whether ticket seller, controller or dispatcher - the children and young people are always there with a lot of fun. You can find all information and timetables for the Park Railway here: parkeisenbahn.de.IMPORTANT: In 2020 there will be a somewhat limited timetable due to the corona and mouth and nose protection is mandatory on the trains. Entry is currently only possible at the Park Railway Central Station.On this tour we take you in a leisurely round from the Wuhlheide S-Bahn station across the park. The station is approached by the S-Bahn line S3. On the way on your round tour you will not only pass many of the leisure activities in the park, but also the various stops of the park railway - you will recognize the stations by the small detours on the map.Otherwise, of course, it is also worth visiting the animals in Haus Natur und Umwelt, a climbing adventure in the climbing forest, a summer jump in the swimming lake or just a nice walk among the many pines and beeches. After your round, it's back home from the Wuhlheide S-Bahn station.
Granted, the tram line 87 between Berlin Rahnsdorf and Woltersdorf is not a steam train - but at no other place in Berlin drive so old trams in regular traffic. Most cars are from the 1950s and 1960s, but next to it there are other jewelry owned by the company: For example, the railcar 2, which has been in service since the line was opened in 1913 - but today only on special occasions. But also in the other trams, it is a wonderful nostalgic experience, from Woltersdorf comfortably through the pine forest to the S-Bahn stop Rahnsdorf rattle. On our route we take you from the S-Bahn station Rahnsdorf along the tracks of the tram and right through the Rahnsdorfer Forst to Woltersdorf. From there it's easy to get back on the tram.With the S-Bahn line S3 you drive first comfortably out of the city to the S-Bahn station Rahnsdorf. When you leave the small train station, you are already standing in the middle of the forest - and if you're lucky, one of the nostalgic trams stops at the tram stop. From here it goes first for a while along the tram tracks into the pine forest. The trail runs a few meters parallel to the railway line, but after a while our route bends to the southeast.The path snakes comfortably through the forest and over the sandy, open Woltersdorfer dune. On sometimes narrow trails and sometimes wide forest roads, we continue towards Woltersdorf. Soon you have reached the edge of the place. Here it is worthwhile to follow the lock road to the lock and to let the view over the Flakensee wander. There are also several cozy cafes here. Then it goes from the approximately 500 meters away tram stop Woltersdorf hospital with the Waldtram back to Rahnsdorf. Especially convenient: The regular VBB tickets are valid in the tram. Just solve an ABC ticket and off you go.
If you like going for a walk in Volkspark Humboldthain, you'll probably know a very specific sound: a rising, mournful whistling that suddenly stops and then there's a distinctive gasp - an approaching steam engine! On many days of the year, Gesundbrunnen station starts the special trains of the Verein Eisenbahnfreunde Berlin. Whether a city tour on the Berlin Ringbahn or a trip to small towns north of Berlin - a ride on the steam trains or the lovingly restored railbus is an experience for young and old. And even if you're not traveling by train yourself - the sight of the puffing steam locomotives and historic cars is pure nostalgia. On this route we take you from the North Station and through the Humboltdhain to Gesundbrunnen station. On the way, memories of the golden age of the steam trains in Berlin await you in several places. You can find all dates of the railway friends at berliner-eisenbahnfreunde.de.You can reach the North Station by S-Bahn lines S1, S2, S25 and S26. From here it goes first through the park at the North Station, where previously crowded the tracks of the Szczecin railway station and the future above-ground Nordbahnhofs. Of these, only a few rails are visible today, which are incorporated into the pavement paths. At the northern end of the park then further nostalgia: In the past, all long-distance trains rattled north over the impressive steel-framed bridges. Today they are rusted, but maybe they will be revived as cycle track bridges.About the Scheringstraße it takes only a few minutes to the Volkspark Humboldthain. Of course, it's worth taking a detour to the viewpoint at the Flakbunker. From up here you have a great view of the Ringbahn, the S-Bahn and also the long-distance train tracks around the station Gesundbrunnen. Some days of the year you can already admire the historic steam trains from the top of the train entrance. On the narrow Humboldtsteg you cross the S-Bahn tracks and a little later you arrive at Gesundbrunnen station. Either your journey continues with the railway friends or you take the S-Bahn S1, S2, S25, S26, S41 or S42 back home.