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130 Jahre Weißeritztalbahn

130 years of the Weisseritztalbahn

Dampfende Lok fährt über einen Bahnübergang.
It's full steam ahead on the Weisseritztalbahn in Saxony's Freital-Hainsberg, as it heads to the East Ore Mountains.  © dpa-Bildfunk

The Weisseritztalbahn has been puffing its way through the Rabenauer Grund, the ruggedly romantic valley of the Red Weisseritz near Rabenau, past the Malter dam, to Kipsdorf, a winter sports destination in the East Ore Mountains, for 130 years. The »Bimmelbahn« has long become the preferred mode of transport among fans of historic steam trains, hikers in the Rabenauer Grund and Dippoldiswalder Heide, bathers at the Malter dam, and winter sports enthusiasts in Kipsdorf.

The narrow-gauge train has actually been operating for longer than 130 years on the first section from Freital to Dippoldiswalde, which was opened as early as 1882. The second section commenced operation a year later. The largely historic steam trains climb 350 metres in total over the entire 26.3-km route, stopping at 13 stations and crossing 34 bridges.

After its completion in 1883, the narrow-gauge railway brought a real boost to industrial development and tourism in the Red Weisseritz Valley. Many businesses were established, transporting goods by rail. And hotels, pensions and guesthouses all sprang up to host a number of recreation-seeking guests. The Weisseritztalbahn continues to puff away today, but only for tourists.

The 100-year flood in 2002 dealt a hefty blow to the historic railway. The surges of the Red Weisseritz eroded tracks, washed some of them away, and destroyed the railway's buildings.

The section between Freital-Hainsberg and Dippoldiswalde has now been restored with the help of donations. Following prolonged reconstruction, the second section to the health resort of Kipsdorf finally also resumed operation on 17 June 2017.

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