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SUMMER 1945 (July to September)

For some reason there were about a score of wagons in the station sidings, all derailed but upright. These were laboriously re-railed during July using an engine, a chain and planks. At the outset, passenger traffic was two through trains from Bestwig to Frankenberg, early morning and evening, crossing at Winterberg. A conditional train, about midday, appeared in the February 1946 and, by July 1946, there were three regular trains each way, but none on Sundays. The normal locos were the hefty top-heavy looking BR 93 2-8-2Ts, BR 58 small 2-10-0s, both versions of the BR 56 2-8-0s and even one day late in July 1945, 57.2627, a Prussian 0-10-0.

 In this high Summer period, the only time I got away from Winterberg was when two of us took a truck to Mandern on the Brilon—Korbach—Wabern line (KBS 532), very near to Fritzlar. We went to get diesel oil and petrol in huge drums and Jerry-cans. We had to man-handle the lot with some help from the Americans who ran the fuel dump. The northern end of this line was disused with a broken bridge between Selbach and Netze. Three old BR 55 O-8-0s (Prussian G8) stood undamaged but dead and rusting on a siding in the boiling sun; no camera unfortunately.

  My second home leave journey was quite exciting. Three of us left Winterberg by road, very early, on the way to the Rhein-Main airfield at Frankfurt on August 15th. A R.A.F. Lancaster was supposed to take a load of R.A.F. leave men but never appeared. It was, of course, V.J.Day and nothing was flying at Rhein-Main. The Americans seemed to be having noisy parties in various huts and buildings. We were getting very fed-up and worried when, towards evening a R.A.F. Dakota, flown by two Warrant Officers, appeared. We begged a lift in this worn-looking and very noisy cargo plane to Northolt airfield in London. On reporting to the official R.A.F. departure airfield near Huntingdon (where I saw L.N.E.R. 10000 painted black and on a fitted freight) we got into trouble for taking an unofficial lift home, despite the non-arrival of the Lancaster and were told to return via London and Belgium. We had overnight stops at London, Tilbury, Blankenberghe and Mons. Our road journey after Köln was through the Bergischland, a lovely hilly wooded district, often alongside KBS 416 and 415. No traffic was running and the only locos were dead or damaged Prussian types.


I spent early September 1945 in Winterberg and the only note­worthy visitor, apart from the usual locos mentioned earlier, was the first I had seen of the light 2-10-0s of BR 50, 50.2671, one of the UK series, the forerunners of BR 52, the ‘Kriegsloks’. I went once by truck to the main local town, Arnsberg, and this took me along side the Ruhr Valley line; Hagen—Bestwig—Warburg—Kassel (KBS 350). The infant River Ruhr rises at a spring on a wooded hill just north of Winterberg. Arnsberg, though little damaged, had two bridges across a loop of the Ruhr and separated by a short tunnel. Both had been destroyed but by this time were partly restored for single-track working with the usual U.S. Army bridging. The westerly bridge, a stone viaduct of several arches over the deep gorge of the river at this point, was still only partly rebuilt when I left in January 1947. The tunnel mouth had been wrecked in an attempt to block it. It was here that I got a good view of the splendid BR 44 2-10-0s which I discovered were in charge of the heavy coal and coke trains from the Ruhr mines into the U.S.Zone near Kassel and probably on into the Russian Zone.

Later that month, the wireless mechanic and I went to our H.Q. at Mons to get various spares for vehicles and radio gear. As usual, we went through the Bergischland to Köln, Aachen and then on to Liége. My colleague had got to know a Belgian family in Liége and they pressed us to stay overnight. We slept on mattresses in the lounge which over­looked the famous incline up which the Liege to Brussels line climbs out of the Meuse valley. There was traffic moving up and down all night. There were. of course many U.S.Army 2-8-0s, some 0-10-0Ts used as bankers and three of the odd-looking long-framed Flamme Pacifics, besides much else. Next day in Mons, I spent some time near the station but saw nothing but Belgian locos apart from an old World War One vintage U.S. Army 4-6-0, then in Belgian stock.

93.344 (Bw Frankenberg) at Winterberg on either 13th or 17th July 1945.

BR 58.1277 at Winterberg on the midday freight train on 17th July 1945.

BR 57.2627 at Winterberg on a Bestwig to Frankenberg passenger train 26th July 1945


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