Sunday 7 July 2013

Monorail in Mosel

Well, not really within the normal realms of this blog, where I (with a certain off topic drift now and then...) usually keep focus on a narrow gauge railway in 1:35 scale. During my vacation I visited the Mosel area in south-western Germany and was surprised to seee a large number of small monorail systems.

Being monorail you can't talk about gauge and not having two rails I don't know if they really count as railways. The vineyards of the Mosel valley are located on steep hill sides and to transport the harvested grapes, tools, fertilizers etc. the farmers use small monorail systems. The vineyards of the Model valley are quite small and owned by many different farmers. Each have a monorail of their own, so both sides of the valley are lined with monorail systems. From Cochem and 10 km. south I guess I passed more than 30 monorail lines. You can learn more of the monorail system and their 'trains' from the website of a manufacturer of these systems: Clemens in Germany.

Interspersed between the monorails a few more normal two-rail lines reach the few hundred meters from valley road to the top of the field. These spurs are operated as inclines. Without measuring the gauge seems to be in the 40-50 cm. range and the rails are L-profiles rather than usual rail profile.
A standard 'train' on a Mosel valley wine monorail. On the western side of the valley between Ernst and Ellenz more than 7 such monorails can be seen clinging to the steep fields.

On another monorail line the steep gradient is obvious.
During a little outing from the Mosel I got to see a bit of the Maginot Line in France. Unfortunately I was 30 minutes late for the daily guided tour of the fortress of Hackenberg. Too bad, as there is only one tour a day. I had to contend with an outside view of the entrance and a Pechot-wagon and two skips parked outside. As much as I love skips and Pechot-wagons it didn't really seemed worth the long drive...

The Pechot-wagon outside Ouvrage du Hackenberg. As most of the Maginot Line rolling stock it was fitted with Willison automatic couplings instead of the original WWI-coupling. Two locomotives from the Maginot Line came to Nystrup Gravel via German ownership. I have built a number of Pechot wagons in 1:35.

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