previous page (January and February 1946)

EARLY SPRING 1946 (March and April)

Early in March, the weather was a little better for getting about by road and on foot, so I took a lift west to the very hilly Lenne valley line (KBS 360 Hagen—Siegen—Giessen—Frankfurt). I left the truck at Altenhunden and the driver promised to look out for me on his return. This village is at the foot of the long incline leading south to a summit tunnel near Kreutztal. Over this line went much coal from the Ruhr to steel works at Siegen as well as  to Frankfurt and the U.S. Zone. 

The locos shedded here, as at Bestwig, were a big squad of BR 44s used both as train engines and as bankers. There were thirty on shed that day with nine more derelicts in sidings by the shed. Among the derelicts, there was one of the big pre-war 2-8-2Ts of BR 86, 86.492 from Bw Olpe. On the return from here I had to walk much of the way.

74.1067, a 2-6-0T, ran by on the roadside line (Altenhunden—Fredeburg; former KBS 239a and now closed). I got a lift for about thirteen miles in a 3-ton truck driven by a German. He was in the "Arbeitsdienst" (Labour Service), a British army unit of German P.O.W.s not yet released and usefully employed on general labouring duties. He was glad of company and very chatty. When I finally got back, I was pretty tired after a long trudge over lonely, snowy roads but very pleased with the day’s results. After this trip, I decided to go as regularly as possible on local journeys by lorry (or as happened, in the event, by local train) to sheds or on trackside observation when officially off-duty. The only snag was that every trip by lorry, or local train, to the nearest mainline at Nuttlar was about 24 Km.

Successive journeys in March and April took me first to Arnsberg, and then back to Nuttlar, where I saw 52.5261 of Bw Warburg, a new class for me on this line. It was being banked by a BR93 and, also seen that day, was 94.751 returning down the bank light engine. I finished this day out by travelling for the first time by civilian train, without a ticket. It was on the late afternoon train from Bestwig up to Winterberg behind 56.496 and was packed. A week later, towards the end of March,  I went by lorry on a long trip to Soest (KBS 340/342) and this meant a lot of hitch-hiking and a return over the rebuilt Möhne Dam, whose lake was now refilled. The roundhouse and sidings at Soest had been damaged by bombing. Except for a BR 50, three 42s (including one completely destroyed and unidentifiable inside a wrecked shed) and a BR 62 4-6-4T, the locos on shed were all Prussian; BR 38s (one from Bw Frankfurt Oder), 58s, 94s and 56s (one from Bw Seestadt Rostock). The next journey, at the end of the month, was by lorry to Brilon which was the nearest county town, or Kreistadt, to Winterberg. I went straight to Brilon Wald station (KBS 350) and took a train behind a P8 to Bestwig. The day was very bright so I took some quite good photos at the latter shed where a dead P8, a 42 and three 50s were to be found, all being newly allocated to Bestwig. Whilst waiting on Bestwig station for the late afternoon train up to Winterberg, I met the English-speaking driver seen earlier in the year. He insisted that I must travel with him on the footplate. This was my first and only long footplate ride. The engine was 93.738 and the fireman was a youth of about 17 who spoke no English. I tried to do some firing but made rather a mess on the cab floor! Firing is an art, as they both agreed, laughing. It was very impressive to see the way this hefty tank took its quite heavy train up the steep and very winding line into the hills and then over the top just north of Winterberg and down into the station. Here I climbed down on to the track on the offside to avoid going through the ticket barrier. The trip was well worth the packets of cigarettes I left with them.

Early in April, I went quite a long way, to a large main junction station to the east on KBS 350. This was Warburg, very close to the American Zone border. For some reason or other, I bought a ticket from Winterberg to Nuttlar and travelled 3rd class departing at 0747 . I still possess this particular ticket. After a short wait at Nuttlar, P601 arrived from the west behind 38.3443. This was an all stations train leaving Hagen at 0510 and reaching Warburg at 1120, 151km in just over six hours. For the first time I got in the ‘Dienstabteil’ which was a compartment in every train of non-corridor stock reserved for railway men travelling on duty, or ‘on the cushions’, as they say in Britain. I never had any difficulty in doing this, and an interesting conversation usually began especially as I always offered chocolate or cigarettes at the outset. Eating the chocolate with them was rather a penance as it was War-time ‘dark’ chocolate which I did not like, but it all helped. Bw Warburg was undamaged and there were plenty of locos stored dead there; BR 38s, 42s, 44s, 50s, 58s and one or two with boilers holed by cannon shells fired from aircraft. There were two BR 41s (one from Bw Sangerhausen) and a 78 4-6-4T, the first I had seen round there. The station was in charge of a Royal Engineers Sergeant who told me to see everything I wanted. On the return journey in P640 (Kassel to Hagen) and again hauled by 38.3443 of Bw Arnsberg, I noted at Scherfede an old 0-6-0, 53.7752 and a strange looking 4-6-0, 38.4611. The latter was a former Polish class 0k22. built in 1934 and taken into German stock in 1941. Both were very derelict looking. I found that the BR 53 was a Prussian engine given to Poland as reparations in 1918 and taken over again in I 941. I went through to Bestwig and changed straight into the train to Winterberg which was waiting at 1745. The train was again hauled by 56.2776. This had been another very successful journey.

My last trip out before the fourth home leave was not quite so good. I went west again to Altenhunden, and then north along the valley road to Finnentrop, where I dropped off the truck. There was a small shed here and a yard, both undamaged. As I was walking across, a German railway policeman came over and I suggested I really ought to get permission to go around and that I should phone the army at Siegen . I ‘chatted him up’ and offered cigarettes and he agreed I might look round, take photos and then go off with nothing said. 

It was a bright spring day and I got a few snaps, including a very early BR 50; 50.025. There were BR 55s shunting, three BR 38s, all from Bw Hagen-Eckesey, but only two BR 44s. one being from Bw Vorhalle, a goods engine shed just north of Hagen on the Bochum line (KBS 330).

I went on my fourth home leave on April 16th by truck direct to Münster. The rail journey from Neheim had now been given up. We arrived at Münster quite early so I went into the ruined city from the barracks. I went to the shattered cathedral and saw the flower-covered grave of Cardinal von Galen (nicknamed ‘The lion of Münster’ because of his continual and outspoken criticism of the Nazi party) who had died shortly before. As I was in Münster officially, I went to the station and decided to ‘bash’ the shed which adjoined it. There were many BR 50s, some 55s and 56s, two dead 78s and three of the large 86 2-8-2Ts, also dead. In nearby carriage sidings was a P8; 38.1861 allocated formerly to RBD Ost, but with no shed plate; yet another evacuee from the Russian Front. I wrote in my diary about 52.2000 which passed hauling a ‘very large 12-wheeled tender’. This was the first I had heard or seen of the Kriegsloks fitted with condensing tenders for the long winter runs on the Eastern Front. Later in the year, mainly in the American Zone, I saw many more. On the way to Hook of Holland next morning, I again recorded many BR 50s, 55s  and 57s and a dead Prussian P10. 3-cylinder loco, 17.235 at Rheine. At the stop at Bentheim for an engine change (and for a quick meal and to collect sandwiches), I got a photo of 03.296 of Bw Osnabrück Hbf., whilst over the border at Hengelo was 38.1856 (NS 3853) commandeered by the Dutch.

94.816 (Bw Düsseldorf Derendorf) is stored at Altenhunden on 4th March 1946.

One of the heavy brigade, 44.733 at Altenhunden shed on 4th March 1946

BR 74.787 is stored at Altenhunden on 4th March 1946

On a beautiful sunny day 50.211 stands in Winterberg station on 22nd March 1946.

42.626 at Bestwig shed on 28th March 1946.

38.3410 at Bestwig shed on 28th March 1946.

50.098 (Bw Hagen Gbf) being serviced at Bestwig shed on 28th March 1946.

Two views of 50.1469 (Bw Bestwig) at Bestwig shed on 28th March 1946.

One of the earliest of the BR50s:  50.025 at Finnentrop on 12th April 1946.

55.1666 stands in the yard at Finnentrop on 12/4/46.

03.296 at Bad Bentheim on 17th April 1946.



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