(This page, left) DB ‘Traditionslok’ Meyer tank No. 99 539-8, fully restored as Saxon State Railway No. 132, marshalsstock at Cranzahl for one of the special workings on 19 July 1997. (Lower, left) Map of the 750mm gauge line from Cranzahl to Kurort Oberwiesenthal – all other lines are standard gauge. (Lower, right) Details of the link between the narrow-gauge track and that on the deck of the transporter wagon at Cranzahl. Short pieces of rail some 150cm long can be clipped between the two fixed lengths of rail. One of the narrow-gauge coaches brought in for the event is secured to the transporter wagon by a shunter. (Opposite, top) On 22 July 1997 the weather at Cranzahl was beginning to clear as one of the two Pressnitztalbahn Meyers No. 99 1542-2 shunts the DB’s restored ‘Traditionslok’ onto standard-gauge transporter wagons. Ex DR diesel-hydraulic No 202 452-9 waits to add No. 132 to the line of wagons, each bearing a narrow-gauge locomotive. (Opposite, lower) The last of the DBowned narrow-gauge locomotives is added to the train. In the foreground is Meyer No. 99 1564-6, followed by Zittau-based 0-8-0T No. 99 4532-0 and Meyers Nos. 132 (99 1539) and 99 1608, which had been reunited with its DB running number 099 713-0.
12■NARROW GAUGE WORLD – N0 52 (GDR) Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) inherited over 1,000 kilometres of 750mm gauge lines, most of which closed in the sixties and seventies. On German reunification in 1991 some 90 kilometres remained, on five lines, all of which became part of the new combined national German Railway, the Deutsche Bahn (DB). The Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal was one of four narrow-gauge ‘Bimmelbahns’ which retained a regular passenger service. The term ‘Bimmelbahn’ or bell railway refers to the bells carried by the locomotives, which are rung on the approach to a level crossing or station, in addition to the whistle. Even more remarkably, all four were still 100 per cent steam worked, and remain largely so today.
Not to be missed!
Early in 1997 the Deutsche Bahn announced, in a glossy leaflet, that the centenary of the Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal line was to be celebrated in style. Between 12 and 20 July four special trains were advertised each weekday, with six at weekends in addition to the daily service of nine trains each way. The specials were to be hauled by a number of guest locomotives, including three of the celebrated Saxon-Meyer 0-4-4-0 tanks and 0-8-0 No. 99 713 (Hartmann 1927), one of the ‘Traditionsloks’ (‘traditional locomotives’) retained in service by the DR and inherited by the DB. 99 713 was then based on the Radebeul – Radeberg line northwest of Dresden. In addition July 19 and 20 were to see two mainline steam specials originating from Nuremberg and Dresden respectively. These would utilise three of the historic steam fleet then operated by the DB: 01 Pacific No. 01 150 and two 4-6-0s Nos. 38 205 and 38 1182. Overall this event was not to be missed and arrangements were made for a visit. Despite the inevitable road diversions (Umleitungen), which then still plagued driving in the former GDR, we arrived at Cranzahl just after lunch on Saturday July 19. It was immediately clear that the event was being well supported as the usually quiet Cranzahl station was roped off, with the forecourt occupied by beer tents and gift shops. A local sports field had been utilised as a temporary car park. After climbing up to the station yard and paying the 5 DMs (under £2) entry fee, it also became apparent that more was on offer than had been advertised. On the standard-gauge lines 2-10-0 No. 50 3648-8 was in steam giving footplate rides a short distance up the line towards the Czech Republic, while the two 4-6-0s were being prepared for their return mainline working. In addition a number of both standard and narrow-gauge static locomotives were also on display. These were from the Verkehrsmuseum Dresden collection, many housed at the former depot at Hilbersdorf, Chemnitz. At Cranzahl the narrow-gauge platform and carriage sidings are situated to the south of the standard-gauge station, while further lines and the transfer sidings from standard to narrow-gauges are to the north. A narrow-gauge line therefore has
to cross both the standard-gauge mainline and the station forecourt. Both areas were a hive of narrow-gauge activity. It was clear that besides the preserved examples advertised, the other active 75cm DB lines had contributed stock for the festivities. Three Meyers were in steam around the station while a fourth, No. 99 566 (Hartmann 1909), was a static exhibit.
It is worth pausing to say a few words about the Meyers. In the 1880s the Saxon State Railway was seeking suitable powerful locomotives to work its 750mm gauge lines, which involved both steep gradients and sharp curves. In 1885 the railway purchased two Fairlie 0-4-4-0 tanks from R & W Hawthorn & Co of Newcastle. These were not however a success and instead, in 1892, the Saxon Locomotive Works (Hartmann) at Chemnitz produced the first Meyer 0-4-4-0 tank (Saxon
Railway class IV K). In all 195 were built in several batches between 1892 and 1921. Between 1928 and 1933 the pre-war state DR introduced a standard 2-10-2 tank; most of the class of thirty-two were employed in Saxony, where they were classed as VII K in the old Saxon State Railway system. The first arrived at Oberwiesenthal in December 1928. After the Second World War the GDR built a further twenty-four modified examples at the Karl Marx Locomotive Works, Babelberg (formerly Orenstein & Koppel), between 1952 and 1956. The first arrived at Oberwiesenthal in November 1952. Despite the introduction of the more powerful 2-10-2Ts the DR completely rebuilt twenty-five of the Meyers at RAW Göörlitz in 1962. These were in fact virtually new locomotives with welded boilers and remained in service on many lines until their closure. Their last regular working, of standard gauge china clay wagons on the Oschatz – Müügeln – Kemmlitz line, survived
NARROW GAUGE WORLD – N0 52 ■13