Thursday 17 October 2019

29. Internationales Feldbahnertreffen

Four days of trainspotting, more than 100 locos in 600 mm gauge, a guided tour in an old flourspar mine, good German beer and solid oldfashioned food from very large pots. That was the ingredients in this year's Internationales Feldbahnertreffen at the 'Voller Rose' mining museum near Ilmenau in Germany.
Adjacent to the mining museum is a large private collection with a particular focus on O&K Montania locomotives. Truely a unique collection. For those who can't live without steam three visiting locos made the meeting bearable. 

Each year enthusiasts that keep alive narrow gauge railways – almost all of them with an industrial connection – meet for the ‘Feldbahnertreffen’. A gathering of mostly continental, German speaking enthusiasts keep each other updated with their latest challenges and accomplishments. Apart from the networking and exchange of tips and tricks, a lot of train riding on the host society’s railway is on the programme. I enjoy these meetings immensely. Not only as a volunteer on a narrow gauge railway but also as a railway modeller. There is always inspiration and ideas to be picked up on the meetings.
A one cylinder O&K Montania locomotive type RL 1c with two wooden bogie wagons running slowly through a sunny spot in the wood.

The yearly meetings are a great opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts from around Europe. Here a group of French enthusiasts are photographed together on their WW1 US Army speeder.

The wooded area allowed some quite realistic timber railway images to be made.

A trip into the flourspar mine 'Voller Rose' was made with a two wagon train pulled by a battery electric loco. The the adit was narrow and the speed high. The sides of the adit was no more than 10 cm from my knees, so one had to better keep arms and legs tight to the body. An exiting ride and one wonders how, when there is no end to silly rules applying to a lot of things less risky, a ride like this is allowed. Germans are obviously sensible people. A volunteer driver and guide gave a short tour of the underground workings showing how the pneumatic tools of the trade worked.
A train with mine tourists exiting the adit. The loco is a typical DDR-product from Betrieb f├╝r Bergwerksausr├╝stungen, Aue type 360.

A view of the narrow adit leading into the mine. As the track is 600 mm gauge the narrowness of the adit is made quite clear.
There were no end to the trains running on the circular track stretching for 1,5 km in the woods and on the valley floor. Mine skips, ordinary skips, wooden bogie wagons, open coaches made up the trains while steam and motor locos were used for traction, many running solo or in pairs as the number of locos far outnumbered that of wagons. On the final day of the meeting a train with 50  Montania locos pulling one skip was planned. The locos were started and lined up for the event, but somehow the train never got off.
Part of the loco line up in preparation for the extraordinary train of 50 locos and one skip.
Next year's meeting will be in the Netherlands at the Stoomtrein Katwijk Leiden. More images from this year's meeting are available in my Flickr album ITF 2019.

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