All these photographs were taken in 1985, before the end of the DDR, during a week long visit to East Germany. I stayed in Wernigerode at the Hotel zur Post. I'd travelled from England via Harwich and Hoek van Holland, before taking the through train from Hoek to Berlin. The DB BR110 electric gave way to a Deutsche Reichsbahn BR132 diesel at Helmstedt. This train stopped at the frontier station at Marienborn where I got off, in the company of two other British railway enthusiasts.
Going through the border formalities my German helped considerably. The two others spoke no German and, as a result, the border guards had a field day insisting they emptied their bags completely. I translated for the guards but the pornographic magazines in their luggage were duly confiscated!
Then it was off to the platforms for the local service to Magdeburg behind a DR centre cab BR112. At the first junction station, Eilsleben, there were 4 derelict steam locomotives; two BR50.35 2-10-0s, a BR 41 2-8-2 and a BR01 4-6-2. To get to Wernigerode we had to change at Magdeburg and at Halberstadt. I found a telephone in the station subway and tried to phone home. Needless to say this was impossible and my attempts to direct dial were intercepted by an operator who told me firmly that it was impossible.
The journey onwards revealed a BR50.35 in steam at the small depot at Oschersleben and one or two others en route to Wernigerode.
The Hotel zur Post was the recommended hotel in Wernigerode for foreign visitors and did not leave a good impression. Everything on the menu was paid for in coupons, which had already been paid for in advance. Basically, it was actually impossible to use all the coupons and the choice of food was basic to say the least. In the room the door lock was hanging loose and on my last morning actually came away in my hand. Toilet paper was old newspapers hanging from a piece of string.
However, the staff were friendly and helpful. When I asked if I could phone home they made considerable attempts to get me connected and eventually I was able to speak to my sister-in-law, who would pass the message on to my wife who was camping with the Girl Guides.
28th July 1985
I'd decided that it was best not to take photographs until I'd reached Wernigerode. I'd already come across the transport police who patrolled the trains and had asked to see our documents on the way from Halberstadt to Wernigerode. To my amazement the hotel took my passport, complete with its visa and told me that they'd take it to the police station to be stamped. In return I was given a hotel card with the message "passport at police station for stamping" written on it. I was then told just to show this to any police I met.
Now my plan for the day was to travel to Stendal via Magdeburg. I was going well outside the Bezirk (district) that Wernigerode was in and at first thought of cancelling my plans and just going to Halberstadt. When I got to Halberstadt I was wandering around the station when two railway police spotted me and asked to see my passport. I showed them the card and explained and I was told that this was alright. "OK," I thought, "let's go to Stendal." Despite, obviously, being a foreigner, and taking photographs I wasn't challenged all day and I returned to find my passport stamped authorising me to stay. There is a sequel to this however, so read on.
The photographs below are all in the order I took them and cover a range of subjects. At the time I was modelling the Deutsche Reichsbahn in TT scale so many photos were taken with this in mind. All photographs were taken as and where I saw something and I didn't go out of my way to see particular trains, with one or two exceptions.
At Halberstadt one of the modern DR "Halberstadt" express coaches, in this case a buffet car, is parked in a siding.
The DR had an extensive fleet of 'Reko' or reconstructed coaches based on a variety of rebuilt pre war coaches. In the view above is one of the four-wheel variety.
This is the more common six-wheel coach, which seemed to be permanently coupled.
The eight-wheel 'Reko' coaches were to be seen on virtually any type of train from locals up to expresses.
Halberstadt looking towards Halle, with the locomotive depot in the background.
Halberstadt station looking west towards the junction of the lines to Wernigerode and Magdeburg.
Another common sight on the DR were the mail vans of Deutsche Reichspost.
On the way to Magdeburg I took this photo of 50 3606 at Nienhagen, from the carriage window of my Halberstadt to Berlin train. Behind it is a 102 class diesel shunter.
It might be a Sunday morning but 50 3705 stormed through on a westbound local freight at Oschersleben.
44 2504 withdrawn together with 50 3501 at Oschersleben
The small sub-shed of Oschersleben catered for the locomotives used on some of the branches in the area.
112.378 had just arrived on a 3-vehicle local from Gunsleben.
Magdeburg Hbf station with 242.020 on a suburban train on the Magdeburg S Bahn network.
I travelled from Magdeburg to Stendal behind electric locomotive 242.019 on a service to Zielitz, where I changed into a Wolmirstedt to Salzwedel train behind another 242. I didn't have long in Stendal but, whilst I was there, 250.249 came through on a northbound freight.
Back at magdeburg, my train from Magdeburg to Halberstadt was pulled by 110.754, complete with FDJ shield. The FDJ was the Freie Deutsche Jugend, or Free German Youth organisation which young East Germans were expected to join. The shield shows that some of the Halberstadt FDJ had adopted this locomotive; it was kept in a very clean condition compared to many DR locomotives.
119.192 appeared light engine and went on the depot.
Next to appear at Halberstadt was 132.380 on a Leipzig to Wernigerode express, which I took back to Wernigerode.
50.3553 ran in on a local train from Ashersleben.....
.....and then went to the depot.
50.3552 is seen running light after bringing in a freight train.
Monday 29th July 1985
Having got my passport back, complete with an 'Auftenhalt in Kreis Halberstadt' stamp allowing me to remain in the area I went off on a day long circular tour starting with a steam hauled trip along the Harzquerbahn metre gauge line to Nordhausen. I then took a standard gauge train from Nordhausen to Sangerhausen where I planned to catch a steam hauled 'Eilzug' semi-fast train to Güsten, where I'd then take a series of trains back to Wernigerode via Stassfurt, Blumenburg and Halberstadt.
As can be seen 99.7244, a 2-10-2T was at the head of my disreputable looking 6 coach train.
Just across the platform the narrow gauge shed had the unique 99.6101 standing outside. Impossible to photograph properly, this is purely a record shot.
Whilst my train was formed of pre-war coaches also in the station was this rake of 'Reko' coaches with new bodies on old chassis.
Climbing out of Wernigerode into the Harz mountains the 2-10-2T is seen attacking the gradients vigorously.
At Drei Annen Hohne the locomotive took water. On returning to the coach I was confronted by two transport police who took me back on to the platform and told me that it was forbidden to take photos here because it was in the 'Sperrgebiet'. This was the area close to the border where there were various restrictions. For instance, the branch from Drei Annen Hohne was only available for local residents to travel on and the continuation up to the Brocken was only for military traffic. After I explained that I hadn't realised this, but knew I couldn't take photographs from the train along the next section where the line followed the border and, in some places, the border fences they asked where I was going and why. Anyway, my explanations about steam locomotives seemed to satisfy them and they saluted and told me to get back on the train.
My camera remained in my bag until I was on the train from Nordhausen to Sangerhausen. At Berga-Kelbra this is 110.247 on the local to Stolberg. As can be seen by now the weather was not conducive to photography.
At Sangerhausen, as well as dead BR44 2-10-0, on shed my hoped for BR41 2-8-2 was being prepared to take over an Erfurt to Magdeburg Schönebek semi-fast train. This is 41.1074 and, after a chat with the crew, I was promised a noisy trip up the incline to Blankenheim.
True to their word the 41 was worked hard up the hill; I even got a friendly wave from the fireman.
At Blankenheim the train is crossing over to the line to Güsten...
.....whilst 131.007 waits in the pouring rain at the head of a westbound freight.
At Giersleben I saw 65.1002 a 2-8-4T in use as a stationary boiler.
The photograph above of 65.1002 appears on this website.
At Güsten I left the train whilst the locomotive took water and caught a BR132 hauled Eisenach to Magdeburg express as far as Stassfurt.
132.075 is seen rolling through the station at Güsten at the head of a southbound freight.
Just north of Güsten is Stassfurt where railbus 171.048 had arrived from Blumenburg.
118.106 rolls into Stassfurt at the head of a Magdeburg to Güsten train.
Whilst a few minutes later 41.1074 appeared with its train from Erfurt....
....and is seen again close up.
A busy scene at Stassfurt with my train to Blumenburg behind 110.150 and 118.106 with its Magdeburg to Güsten train.
I'd been buying single tickets all day: Wernigerode to Nordhausen and Nordhausen to Blumenburg, but then needed a single from Blumenburg to Wernigerode. Unfortunately, the ticket office was closed at Blumenburg but, because I was buying a ticket on the train, I was charged a supplement, even though I told the conductor the booking office was closed.
From Blumenburg 110.747 took me on to Halberstadt and then I caught the Leipzig to Wernigerode express behind 132.598.
Tuesday 30th July 1985
The plan for Tuesday was a journey from Wernigerode to Gernrode, followed by a trip to Harzgerode on the narrow gauge line. Then back to Gernrode and a circuit on the metre gauge via Stiege, Eisfelder Talmühle and then back to Wernigerode.
The next morning the sun was shining at last and a visit to the station found 99.7247 on a train to Nordhausen.
The Traditionslok Mallet No 11 was being prepared for one of its special duties at Westerntor shed.
An overall view of the narrow gauge station showing the centre locomotive release line.
112.533 is seen at the head of my train, an Ilsenburg to Halle service of double deck coaches.
Halberstadt had a metre gauge tramway system.
At Halberstadt 50.3583 is seen running light engine.
106.907 is shunting carriages from an arrival from Blankenburg, which came in behind 112.483. My train on to Quedlinburg can be seen approaching. It was a Salzwedal to Thale service behind 110.682.
A BR22 (former BR39) No. 22.029 is at Thale. It was converted to a stationary boiler.
At Quedlinburg I changed to a Thale to Aschersleben train behind 112.376, which took me as far as Gernrode.
Gernrode was the place to see the Mallet locomotives and this is 99.5906 just arrived from Harzgerode.
99.5902 is at the head of a train to Stiege awaiting departure.....
....and crossing the road outside the station. Notice the typical cobbled East German main road.
99.5906 is being prepared on shed..
Over at the standard gauge station 50.3684 is on a freight working east.
After travelling behind 99.5906, this is Harzgerode station. It was on this journey that I fell into conversation with an old man who insisted on giving me his address and asked for me to send him British railway magazines. The rest of the passengers looked on with some surprise at our discussion as East Germans weren't encouraged to be over friendly with Westerners. I tore out the page from my notebook later on and destroyed it.
Two views of 99.5906 as it runs around its train at Harzgerode.
Back at Gernrode, the unique 2-6-2T 99.6001 has arrived from Eisfelder Talmühle and is serviced on the shed before...
......it moves off to collect...
......the stock for my train, which was going to Hasselfelde. I changed trains at Stiege into a Nordhausen service behind 99.7244.
This train is seen after arrival at Eisfelder Talmühle where 99.7236 is at the head of a two wagon freight of timber and coal to a power station near at Silberhütte on the line to Gernrode.
Standard gauge wagons on narrow gauge transporter 'Rollwagen'.
99.7236 on freight at Eisfelder Talmühle
The coupling between the locomotive and the 'Rollwagen'
Wednesday 31st July 1985
On arrival back at Wernigerode I realised to my dismay that my 'Aufenthalt' permit had been incorrectly dated and that it expired on the Wednesday. The staff at the hotel were helpful but said I'd better go to the police station in Wernigerode to have it corrected. So on the Wednesday morning I spent several hours having this sorted out in rooms with portraits of Brezhnev and Honecker and staffed by very unfriendly police women. I was first told I needed a form from the hotel rather than just a written note. There was then a shouting match on the phone between the police and the hote,l after which I had to go back to the hotel again before finally getting my stamp to allow me to stay legally.
Luckily, the delay was only a couple of hours and still meant I could follow my day's itinerary, which included a steam hauled express from Halberstadt to Thale and a trip on the isolated 25KV A.C. electrified Rubeland line
119.122 is seen at Halberstadt on a train to Magdeburg.
112.438 leaves Halberstadt on an eastbound parcels train.
106.907 is shunting the yard at Halberstadt.
Halberstadt station with 119.122 on a train to Magdeburg.
50.3533 has taken over the Thale portion of an express from Berlin.
At Quedlinburg 50.3618 was on a westbound freight.
50.3553 after arrival at Thale.
Three views of 50.3553 at Thale as it is turned on the unusual turntable at the end of the platform lines. The slogan on the office building reads ' Higher output for the good of the people and peace. Forwards to the 11th Part Day of the SED''.
A Bulgarian bogie van at Thale.
DR style train indicator boards. The next service on the far platform will be for Quedlinburg and Thale, whilst the photo is taken from my train for Halberstadt pulled by 110.754.
119.192 heads north through Halberstadt on a freight.
A 6-wheel 'Reko' baggage van.
Blankenburg station with 112.483 on a double deck push pull train that I'd travelled on from Halberstadt.
251.010 about to leave Blankenburg on a train to Konigshütte.
At Michaelstein all trains have to reverse with locomotives running around. Here 251.009 arrives from Konigshütte with a train for Blankenburg.
251.010 at Konigshütte the locomotive is running round before returning to Blankenburg. Unfortunately I didn't managed to photograph any of the freights I saw with banking locomotives.
I returned from Blankenburg to Wernigerode on local trains hauled by BR112s and changing at Halberstadt. Being, obviously, a Westerner I was asked for my passport on almost every train between Wernigerode and Halberstadt; clearly being near the border was a factor.
Thursday 1st August 1985
This day started with a trip up to the 'end of the line' at Ilsenburg on a Leipzig to Ilsenburg express. The line used to continue beyond Ilsenburg to Goslar before the Iron Curtain went up and now runs through once again. Then I took the Ilsenburg to Dresden express to Leipzig.
The Leipzig express has just arrived at Ilsenburg behind 132.368 and 119.120. Both locomotives also took out the return working, although I think only the 132 continued to Halle, where a BR211 electric took over as far as Leipzig.
119.181 on a freight at Ilsenburg.
243.019 is on a Leipzig area double deck S Bahn service.
211.066 and 211.058 on a train to Stendal.
A panorama of Leipzig Hbf station. Just visible to the left of the signal box is a railway policeman who is coming to tell me that that, whilst I can take photos of the station looking at it, I mustn't take photos looking the other way into the main operating area. I didn't tell him that I've got lots of photos of that view at home! Click on the photo to see the full sized image.
One of the Leipzig S Bahn trains behind a BR242 locomotive.
A pre-war 244.108 was on station pilot duties.
The journey back to Halberstadt was on a Leipzig to Wernigerode express behind a BR211 to Halle and then a BR132. On Leipzig West shed was a BR52.8 'Kriegslok', a class which I'd see several of the following Saturday.
Friday 2nd August 1985
I was determined to see as much of the railway system as possible in this part of the DDR so, on my last day in Wernigerode, the plan was to go to Halberstadt and then to Aschersleben, across to Güsten and then through Dessau to Rosslau before returning to Güsten for a steam hauled trip back to Stassfurt, followed by a return to Blumenberg, Halberstadt and Wernigerode.
'Traditionslok' No 11 was in action at Wernigerode Westerntor station,
99.7240 crosses the street with the first train of the day from Nordhausen...
.....with a young boy riding the open balcony.
No. 11 storms along the street...
.....and across the bridge.
120.140 comes off the shed at Güsten.
120.037 heads south through Güsten with a long freight.
At Rosslau 118.714 heads north on a freight.
My train from Berlin to Aschersleben runs into Rosslau behind 132.097.
Back at Güsten the Eisenach to Schönebeck Eilzug has a different BR41 , No. 41 1103, which I ride behind the short distance to Stassfurt. At the shed at Stassfurt there are two BR41s, a BR44, a BR50 and a BR03 4-6-2 03.2256 (all stored) as well as BR01 No 01.024 as a heating locomotive.
The photograph above of 03.2256 appears on this website.
The photo above of 01.024 at Stassfurt appears on this website.
41.1103 is ready to leave Güsten.
102.256 is at Güsten
Saturday 2nd August 1985
My final day in the DDR began by taking an Ilsenburg to Halberstadt train behind 112.481 and then 132.424 on a Halberstadt to Berlin express as far as Brandenburg. The reason for visiting this station was to see the BR 52.80 shedded there. Then I travelled around the Berlin Aussenring line to Berlin Karlshorst behind another BR132, before using Berlin S Bahn EMUs to travel to Ostkreuz and then on to Ostbahnhof and later on to Alexanderplatz. After a visit to the East German side of the Brandenburg Gate, I then walked to Friedrichstrasse for the border crossing into West Berlin.
This was a very unpleasant experience. First I had change all my DDR money back into Deutsche Marks and then go through the passport and border controls. Basically this meant passing through a series of locked compartments where documents were checked and questions asked. Then it was up onto the platforms with the armed border soldiers visible everywhere.
Finally, I took the S Bahn into West Berlin at Zoologischer Garten station and the bright lights of West Berlin. This was a tremendous shock after a week in the dull and dismal DDR. Later that evening I caught the overnight sleeper to Basel and Frankfurt behind 132.439. At the border between West Berlin and the DDR the border guards came aboard and everybody had to leave the compartments, whilst the train was checked for stowaways inside and outside of the carriages. Roof panels were even removed!
Sometime in the early hours I remember wakening with the bright lights at the border station at Gütenfurst and, shortly after, the announcements at Bebra station, at three in the morning, of "Welcome to the Federal Republic of Germany".
A DR van at Wernigerode
A Hungarian bogie van at Wernigerode.
On a very wet Saturday afternoon 132.395 runs into Brandenburg on a Köln to Görlitz Interzone express.
The 'Reko' type bogie luggage van.
52.8135 heads east on a short freight at Brandenburg.
132.251 is at the head of a westbound Soviet Army leave train made up of Russian coaches. I suspect I shouldn't have taken this photograph!
52.8184 leaves the locomotive depot opposite the station.
52.8178 runs in light engine.
52.8178 on the shed.
52.8178 by the coaling bank.
118.547 on a double deck local train.
Berlin Ostkreuz station
One of the Berlin S Bahn EMUs at Ostkreuz.
Berlin Ostbahnhof station with modernised S Bahn EMU.
My last photograph in the DDR was the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall beyond.