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The history in brief

The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (Harz narrow gauge railway) can look back on a long history. It was built in the late Nineteenth Century to connect the Harz, with its natural resources, lumber and small-scale industry, to the rest of the economically resurgent Germany, and to promote tourism, which was in its infancy.

There were originally three companies that opened up access to the Harz on narrow gauge rails:

  • The Gernrode-Harzgeroder Eisenbahn AG (GHE) was founded in 1886
  • This was followed by the Nordhausen-Wernigeroder-Eisenbahn (NWE) in 1896
  • Last but not least came the Südharzeisenbahn from Walkenried to Braunlage in 1897.

Narrow gauge was preferred overall, as it was the more cost-effective option and, from a practical point of view, was 'easier' to implement on the difficult terrain. The railways were connected together by 1913. Today's Harzer Schmalspurbahnen alone - the Harzquerbahn, Brockenbahn and Selketalbahn - form a network over 140km long, that was and remains connected to various other normal gauge railways in the Harz and surrounding areas. The Südharzeisenbahn did not survive these turbulent times. Its downfall was its separation from the narrow gauge network in the eastern Harz as a result of the division of Germany. The GHE and the NWE were taken over by the Deutsche Reichsbahn in 1949 and remained in service until 31.01.1993.

In March 1991, the neighbouring municipalities and rural districts founded an operating company based on private law, bringing this chequered history to an end for the time being. They founded Harzer Schmalspurbahnen GmbH, which has been running the railway under regional ownership as a publicly-owned GmbH since 01.02.1993.

Since then, the HSB's role has been to ensure that all three railways in the Harz are maintained in their entirety as a tourist attraction, technical monument, and transport option for both goods transport and local public passenger transport.

Chronology

1886 - 1949

10.05.1886 Foundation of the Gernrode- Harzgeroder Eisenbahngesellschaft (GHE) as a public holding company
14.03.1886 Concession granted to construct and operate a narrow gauge railway from Gernrode to Harzgerode
07.08.1887 Opening of the first section of the Anhaltinian Harz railway from Gernrode to Mägdesprung after just ten months of construction
01.07.1888 Approval of the section of the route from Mägdesprung to Harzgerode
13.07.1888 Opening of the Alexisbad – Silberhütte section
01.06.1890 The 9.3km-long sub-section from Silberhütte to Güntersberge begins operation.
01.12.1891 Official commissioning of the section of track from Güntersberge to Stiege (8.6 km)
01.05.1892 Approval of the section of the route from Stiege to Hasselfelde
27.05.1896 Concession granted to construct and operate a narrow gauge railway from Nordhausen to Wernigerode, with a branch line to the Brocken
25.06.1896 Foundation of the Nordhausen-Wernigeroder Eisenbahn (NWE)
12.07.1897 Approval of the first section of the route, Nordhausen - Ilfeld
01.05.1898 Commissioning of the Ilfeld – Netzkater route
20.06.1898 Opening of the Wernigerode via Drei Annen Hohne to Schierke route
28.07.1898 Official laying of the first stone at Brocken station
15.09.1898 Approval of the section of the route from Netzkater - Benneckenstein
27.03.1899 Inauguration of the Drei Annen Hohne - Benneckenstein and Schierke – Brocken route sections. The entire 79.41km-long NWE route network was thus approved for transport.
15.07.1905 The opening of the Stiege - Eisfelder Talmühle section connects the GHE and NWE route networks – a milestone in the development of transport in the Harz.
01.04.1908 The NWE takes over operational management of the "Eisenbahnbau- und Betriebsgesellschaft Berlin".
01.04.1916 The administrative office of the NWE relocates from Nordhausen to Wernigerode
01.04.1918 Eduard Scharnhorst takes on a director’s position at the NWE and his farsighted, innovative actions make a significant contribution to the economic boom on the railways over the next few years.
1926 Establishment of an internal road vehicle company for timetabled and leisure services; The "Harzer Roller" becomes a symbol for the buses.
06.07.1927 The most serious accident in the history of the Harzquerbahn: Following heavy rainfall, a railway embankment close to the Thumkuhlental bridge is washed away. The engine and two carriages are derailed and six people lose their lives.
1945-1949 Restriction and cancellation of train transport on the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn due to pressure from the Soviet occupying forces
06.04.1946 Transport on the GHE is terminated on the orders of the Russian occupiers. The tracks from Stiege towards Gernrode are dismantled as reparations; only the section between the Herzogschacht interchange and Straßberg remains.
01.09.1946 The GHE becomes the property of the people i.e. the Prov. Saxony, and later the VVB Landesbahn state railway.

1949 - 1993

19.01.1949 The NWE is expropriated when the expropriation certificate is handed over by the Soviet military administration.
08.03.1949 Following preliminary work to restore the GHE route that had begun as early as October 1946, the Alexisbad - Gernrode-Straßberg route is reopened. Construction continues as far as Straßberg in the months that follow.
01.04.1949 The Harzquerbahn, Brockenbahn and former GHE are handed over to the Deutsche Reichsbahn to administer and use them as a trustee.
1954-1956 Acquisition of 17 Babelsberg Neubaulokomotives (newly constructed locomotives). These still form the backbone of the timetabled rail transport on the Harzer Schmalspurbahn today.
13.08.1961 Interruption of train transport to the Brocken due to the erection of the Berlin Wall; it is still possible to travel to Schierke from Drei Annen Hohne with a pass, but only goods transport is allowed between Schierke and the Brocken.
1963-1964 Introduction of roll-block wagon transport on the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn
1972 Decision by the Ministry of Transport regarding the retention of the Selketalbahn and the restoration of the Straßberg – Stiege section. The entire route network of the narrow gauge railways in the Harz is put under monument protection.
30.11.1983 Opening of the newly-built 13.9km-long Straßberg - Stiege route after six months of construction; the vintage train is the first train to travel the route.
1983-85 This recommissioning increases the transportation performance of the Harz railways considerably. Goods transport increases by 67% during this period. 360,000 passengers are carried on the Selketalbahn in 1985 alone.
03.06.1984 Regular passenger transport restarts on the Straßberg-Stiege route
13.03.1991 The then rural districts of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg, the municipalities along the route, the community of Tanne, the town of Quedlinburg and the Kurbetriebsgesellschaft Braunlage set up a “local government foundation society for the maintenance of the Harz narrow gauge railways” under civil law.
27.05.1991 The first steam engine since 1987 arrives at Brocken station; start of restoration work on the Brocken line.
15.09.1991 Rail transport between Schierke and Brocken restarts with a large celebratory event and two special trains. Thousands of residents and guests turn out along the route to welcome the two special trains.
19.11.1991 The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen GmbH (HSB) is formed from the local government foundation society. District administrator of the rural district of Wernigerode, Dr. Michael Ermrich, is named the first Chair of the Supervisory Board on 19.12.1991.
01.07.1992 Timetabled trains to the Brocken start again.
28.10.1992 Contract signing at Drei Annen Hohne between the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) and the HSB, transferring operational management to the HSB.
24.11.1992 The HSB is granted construction and operational rights by the Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of the Economy, Technology and Transport.

From 1993

01.02.1993 The HSB takes over regional ownership of the Harzquerbahn, Selketalbahn and Brockenbahn. This transfer of authority, completed in a record time of just thirteen months, makes it the first non-state-run railway in West Germany with regular passenger and goods transport.
13.04.1994 Flooding in the Harz: The torrential rain that falls on 12th and 13th April 1994 causes significant damage throughout the HSB network. Stations are left under water, bridges and tracks are washed away. The damage along the Harzquerbahn is repaired quickly and operations resume. In the Selketal valley, the damage is so great that rail operations have to be suspended.
11.05.1994 The flood damage is successfully repaired thanks to fast and non-bureaucratic assistance. The reopening of the Selketalbahn following the repair of the flood damage is celebrated with a trip on the historic T1 multiple unit.
25.05.1994 Signing of the ‘state contracts’ between the state of Saxony-Anhalt, the Free State of Thuringia and the HSB in Drei Annen Hohne, securing the maintenance of the narrow gauge railways in the Harz as a technical monument, important tourist attraction, public transport service and for goods transport, and governing long-term cooperation and financial relations between the contractual partners.
21.08.1994 Train accident in the Thumkuhlental valley
29.08.1995 The then Federal President Roman Herzog visits the HSB and takes a trip up to the Brocken.
26.04.1996 The first newly constructed multiple unit 187 015 from the Wittenberge plant is given to the HSB for testing.
01.06.1996 Opening of the HSB holiday centre in Wernigerode, next-door to the historic town hall with an extensive range of souvenirs and services related to the Harz narrow gauge railways.
02.10.1996 Official opening trip with the first of two café wagons.
19.12.1996 Signing of a contract “for the expansion of local rail passenger transport” between the HSB and the Free State of Thuringia at Ilfeld station. It is decided that local public transport for schoolchildren and commuters on the Nordhausen Nord – Ilfeld line will be taken over on 01.01.1997.
January 1997 The HSB presents its own website for the first time.
20.06.1997 The first four apprentices at the HSB sign their training contracts.
05.07.1997 Opening of the Eisenbahnmuseum (railway museum) in Benneckenstein by Museumsverein Benneckenstein e. V.
12.07.1997 Start of electronic ticket sales at the HSB. The nostalgic Edmonson card tickets are now printed using a modern sales system.
04.02.1998 Signing of a contract between the HSB the Fahrzeugbau Halberstadt plant for the construction of four new narrow gauge multiple units, in the presence of Dr. Jürgen Heyer, Minister for Housing, Town Planning and Transport of the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
01. – 11.05.1998 “HSB on Tour ´98”: The HSB undertakes its first promotional tour through the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Dortmund, Kassel and Wernigerode, together with representatives of rural districts, towns and communities on the network, the Harzer Verkehrsverband (Harz transport association) and the Hasseröder Power Truck. The highlight of the tour is driving through the Brandenburg Gate. The Mallet locomotive 99 5902 goes along too, on a low-loader. The objective of this advertising event, the likes of which have never been seen before, is to invite people to the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn in 1999, in order to increase awareness of the HSB specifically and the tourist region of the Harz in general.
13.06.1998 The 5,555,555th passenger since the HSB was founded is welcomed at Gernrode station.
27.07.1998 The HSB’s new radio network is officially put into service in the presence of the then Minister for Housing, Town Planning and Transport of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Jürgen Heyer
21.12.1998 The HSB’s new wagon carrier truck system officially goes into service for the goods transport for the Unterberg quarries. Thanks to the new wagon carrier trucks of type Vevey, four-axle normal gauge goods trains can now also be transported over the 1,000mm gauge HSB network.
17.03.1999 Cashless payment becomes possible in the trains on the HSB; train staff are equipped with portable terminals.
27.03.1999 Start of the “100 years of the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn” year of celebrations: Reconstruction of the historic first trip with two special trains from Nordhausen and Wernigerode to the Brocken with over 300 guests dressed in the style of the 19th Century, including then Minister President of the state of Saxony -Anhalt Dr. Reinhard Höppner and then CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG Dr. Johannes Ludewig; station festival in Wernigerode; celebratory reception in Wernigerode in the presence of the Minister President of the state of Saxony –Anhalt, Dr. Reinhard Höppner, and the Minister President of the Free State of Thuringia, Dr. Bernhard Vogel, as well as over 500 honoured guests.
16. – 18.07.1999 On the occasion of the fourth Saxony-Anhalt Day in Halberstadt, an HSB newly constructed multiple unit travels on the tram tracks in Halberstadt, which also have a gauge of 1,000mm.
17.07.1999 Dr. Reinhard Höppner, then Minister President of the state of Saxony -Anhalt, hands over two newly constructed multiple units, funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt and built at Fahrzeugbau Halberstadt, to the HSB.
21.07.1999 The “steam shop” is added to the HSB website. It is now possible to buy HSB souvenir items and tickets for various special trains in the virtual shop.
24. – 25.07.1999 The HSB’s first International Railway Auction is held as part of the “100 years of the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn” celebrations in the impressive setting of the Wernigerode Westerntor depot.
28.08.1999 The Minister President of the Free State of Thuringia, Dr. Bernhard Vogel, symbolically hands over the two newly constructed multiple units, funded by the Free State of Thuringia and built at Fahrzeugbau Halberstadt, to the HSB. In a vehicle exhibition as part of the anniversary celebrations for the 100th birthday of the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn, all four newly constructed multiple units are presented for the first time in Nordhausen Nord.
03.10.1999 Final event of the “100 years of the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn” anniversary celebrations in Wernigerode. This brings the celebration year to a close. Tens of thousands of guests were welcomed at the many events.
17.11.1999 Hans-Dietrich Genscher visits the Brocken as the patron of the anniversary year.
09.02.2000 Steam shop no. 6 is opened in Westernstraße in Wernigerode. Here, close to the historic town hall, the HSB offers guests all the information they could want about the narrow gauge railways in the Harz. Typical railway souvenirs and tickets are sold and guests can even take a look at the peak of the Brocken via the Internet.
19. – 21.05.2000 “HSB on Tour ´98”: The HSB undertakes its first promotional tour through the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Dortmund, Kassel and Wernigerode, together with representatives of rural districts, towns and communities on the network, the Harzer Verkehrsverband (Harz transport association) and the Hasseröder Power Truck. The highlight of the tour is driving through the Brandenburg Gate. The Mallet locomotive 99 5902 goes along too, on a low-loader. The objective of this advertising event, the likes of which have never been seen before, is to invite people to the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn in 1999, in order to increase awareness of the HSB specifically and the tourist region of the Harz in general.
08.08.2000 The Hochschule Harz university and the HSB sign a cooperation agreement intended to intensify academic and practical cooperation in future.
06.09.2000 The central electronic signal tower at Wernigerode Westerntor station is inaugurated as the first phase of construction for the technical safeguarding of rail control operations on the Brocken line.
09.09.2000 The HSB’s second International Railway Auction is held successfully at the Wernigerode Westerntor depot.
20.11.2000 The first Hasseröder beer train on the HSB sets off for the Brocken loaded with invited representatives of travel agencies and the press.
14.11.2000 “Hochschule Harz” is added to the name of the Kirchstraße stop in Wernigerode.
06.12.2000 In Erfurt, the Minister for the Economy, Labour and Infrastructure of the Free State of Thuringia, Franz Schuster, and the HSB sign an additional contract for the provision of efficient, attractive and needs-based local rail passenger transport on the Nordhausen Nord – Ilfeld line.
17.03.2001 The HSB celebrates the tenth anniversary of the founding of the GmbH with a festival at Westerntor station, a party at the depot and, the event highlight, an evening parade of HSB steam locomotives on the Westerntor junction in Wernigerode.
04. – 06.05.2001 “HSB on Tour – Big station in Kiel”: The HSB visits Kiel on its third promotional tour with the historic Mallet locomotive 99 5903. All three days see large numbers of Kiel locals and visitors to the city visiting the interesting events on the stage and at the Harz information stands set up around the steam engine on Asmus-Bremer-Platz.
10.06.2001 The HSB is the first tourism company in the region to provide its timetable information via WAP mobile phones as an additional service. The service is provided for the data on the extensive HSB website, in cooperation with the Harz University of Applied Sciences. The new address for this is: wap.hsb-wr.de.
10.06.2001 When the timetable is updated, the new stops “Hesseröder Straße” and “Ricarda-Huch-Straße” in the urban area of Nordhausen are added to the network. The “Kirchstraße” stop in the town of Wernigerode is finally renamed “Hochschule Harz”.
01.09.2001 The HSB’s third International Railway Auction is held at the depot and is a great success. The largest lot so far, a standard gauge series 52 steam engine, finds a buyer.
15.09.2001 Tenth anniversary of the restart of train transport between Schierke and Brocken. The HSB celebrates by taking two special trains to the Brocken. When they arrive at the Brocken, the trains drive through a symbolic white ribbon. At a celebration at the Brocken resort, the guests honour the historic significance of the reopening of the Brockenbahn ten years ago.
22.11.2001 Official start of construction of the connecting track between the HSB and the tram in Nordhausen. From spring 2002, the HSB multiple units are to drive right up to Bahnhofsplatz, making it easier for passengers to change. In a further step, the plan is for newly developed hybrid vehicles to be running continuously along the tram and HSB network all the way to Ilfeld by the time the state garden show is held in Nordhausen in 2004.
01.02.2002 The first shared ticket machine of the Nordhausen tram and the HSB is put into operation on Bahnhofsplatz. Passengers can now buy tickets for all local public transport in the Nordhausen area from a single machine.
27.04.2002 Line connected to Bahnhofsplatz in Nordhausen – A shared platform now makes it easy to change between the tram and the HSB multiple units.
03. – 04.05.2002 „HSB on Tour – Big station in Braunschweig”: The HSB and its Mallet locomotive 99 5903 visits Braunschweig on its fourth promotional tour; thousands of guests celebrate on both days on Braunschweig’s Kohlmarkt square.
08.05.2002 From this morning, the HSB trains are running with the new technical safeguard of the train control system from Wernigerode to the Brocken. Over 80km of cable was laid and 27 new light signals installed for the section between Drei Annen Hohne and the Brocken alone.
26.09.2002 The ten millionth passenger since the HSB took over operational management is welcomed by the Transport Minister of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Karl-Heinz Daehre, at Wernigerode Westerntor station.
01.02.2003 Celebrations and events on the theme of “Full steam ahead for changing times” commemorate the tenth anniversary of HSB taking over operational management from the Deutsche Reichsbahn
28.02.2003 Franz Schuster, the Minister for the Economy, Labour and Infrastructure of the Free State of Thuringia, signs a new contract with the HSB in Nordhausen regarding the provision of services on the Ilfeld Neanderklinik – Nordhausen Nord route.
24. – 25.05.2003 „HSB on Tour – Big station in Dortmund”: The HSB and its Mallet locomotive 99 5903 make a return visit to the Westfalenpark in Dortmund.
18.12.2003 Signing of a declaration of intent between the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the HSB for the conversion of the Gernrode – Quedlinburg standard gauge route to narrow gauge.
21.04.2004 The technical safeguarding of the train control system on the Nordhausen Nord – Ilfeld route is completed.
01.05.2004 Start of continuous service with two-system city wagons (Combino Duo) between Nordhausen Krankenhaus (tram) and Ilfeld Neanderklinik (HSB)
07. – 08.05.2004 „HSB on Tour – Big station in Hanover”: The HSB is in the state capital, Hanover. Guests are treated to a colourful show at the Steintor.
11.05.2004 Ground-breaking ceremony for the Altstadtkreisel roundabout in Wernigerode (elimination of three level crossings at the same level in the urban area of Wernigerode using viaducts and tunnels).
11.05.2004 The Transport Minister of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Karl-Heinz Daehre, hands over the first funding notification for plans for an extension of the Selketalbahn from Gernrode to Quedlinburg.
05.06.2004 Events in Straßberg, Güntersberge and Stiege and special train trips commemorate the reopening of the narrow gauge line between Straßberg and Stiege twenty years ago.
12.06.2004 Approval of the Veckenstedter Weg railway tunnel in Wernigerode
20.06.2004 The HSB joins in the parade celebrating “775 years of Wernigerode’s town charter” with a Mallet locomotive on a low-loader.
24.08.2004 99 7232 returns to service as the first of the so-called Neubaudampflokomotives (newly constructed locomotives) following complete renewal of its frame and cylinders.
15.11.2004 The renovated platform 3 at Brocken station comes into operation.
18.11.2004 The historic restored saloon wagon of the Interessengemeinschaft Harzer Schmalspurbahnen e. V. is used on the HSB network for the first time.
22.11.2004 Ground-breaking ceremony in Wernigerode for the HSB’s new vehicle hall with automatic washing bay.
02.04.2005 The HSB operates on the new route between Wernigerode and Wernigerode Westerntor, built as part of the construction of the Altstadtkreisel roundabout, for the first time. The entire system is opened to other vehicle traffic in May 2006.
18.04.2005 Start of construction in Gernrode for the 8.5km extension of the Selketalbahn to Quedlinburg.
08.06.2005 Presentation of the “virtual steam engine driver” – a steam engine driver’s cab from a Neubaudampflokomotive on a CD in 3-D format that teaches the user how a steam engine works, virtually and extremely realistically.
July 2005 A new buffet car is in operation, predominantly on the steam train between Nordhausen and the Brocken.
19.07.2005 The redesigned Nordhausen Altentor stop is inaugurated.
01.10.2005 Steam shop no. 7 opens in the centre of Quedlinburg, on the Marktplatz. The HSB is thus making its presence felt in the town even before the Gernrode – Quedlinburg route opens.
01.12.2005 A new vehicle hall – the HSB’s largest structural engineering project to date – is inaugurated. Up to 65 rail vehicles can be parked protected from the weather in the hall, and be washed beforehand as necessary.
19.12.2005 The new HSB ticket office on the Brocken is put into operation.
04.02.2006 The rock opera “Faust” is performed on the Brocken for the first time. Over the next year, the HSB will put on nine more performances, which are all sold out in next to no time.
17.02.2006 The remaining gap between Gernrode and Quedlinburg is closed – the route to Quedlinburg now has a full railway infrastructure once again.
22.02.2006 The first HSB railway vehicle travels the newly constructed route from Gernrode to Quedlinburg.
04.03.2006 The newly constructed Gernrode – Quedlinburg route is inaugurated with two premiere trains, station festivals and tens of thousands of guests on a beautiful sunny day.
20.03.2006 Federal Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee travels in the saloon wagon from Gernrode to Quedlinburg.
08.04.2006 The first “Brockenexpress” travels as a special train from Quedlinburg to the Brocken.
24.05.2006 The HSB presents a new generation of passenger carriages to the public. The interior has been completely redesigned and adapted to modern requirements.
26.06.2006 Timetabled train transport begins on the new Gernrode – Quedlinburg section of the route.
30.06.2006 The renovated platform in Niedersachswerfen is inaugurated.
29.08.2006 The completely renovated station in Ilfeld is returned to passengers.
11.09.2006 The new HSB ticket agency at Quedlinburg station begins operations. It can be found in the service office of Q-Bus GmbH.
21.09.2006 The new HSB service “Through the Selketal valley by train and bike” is presented to the press in Mägdesprung: uphill on the romantic Selketalbahn and downhill on a rented bike.
15.11.2006 Life returns to the HSB reception building in Nordhausen: a hairdresser opens and negotiations are underway with other service providers.
January 2007 Hurricane “Kyrill” makes a significant mark on the HSB network: over 300 fallen trees block the narrow gauge routes in the Harz.
28.02.2007 During the night of 27th-28th February, the HSB replaces the software for its electronic signal boxes in Wernigerode and Schierke. It had become necessary to replace the previous software in order to take the changes to the HSB lines since the construction of the Altstadtkreisel roundabout in Wernigerode into account.
30.05.2007 The Mallet steam engine 99 5902 returns to Wernigerode after a general inspection. Following its technical inspection, which took around four months, the engine has also had a makeover: the familiar black has been replaced with an attractive dark green with black lines and the colours of the Länderzeit local news programme.
07.06.2007 The HSB welcomes its 700th amateur engine driver.
15.06.2007 The extensively renovated central platform is handed over in Quedlinburg. Use of the platform is shared with Veolia Transport Saxony-Anhalt.
July 2007 The rural districts of Wernigerode, Quedlinburg and Halberstadt are merged to form the new rural district of Harz.
07.08.2007 The oldest of the three narrow gauge railways in the Harz – the Selketalbahn – turns 120 years old. The HSB celebrates with the first performance of the rock ‘grusical’ “Die Harzschützen” in the castle courtyard in Harzgerode on 10.08.2007.
23.03.2008 On behalf of the HSB, a passenger train runs on the standard gauge line Blankenburg and Rübeland for the first time.
01.04.2008 The HSB opens an agency in Halberstadt: information about the narrow gauge railways in the Harz is now available in the district town. Tickets for HSB events can also be purchased there.
18. - 20.07.2008 This year’s HSB promotional tour takes it to Braunlage, Goslar and Nordhausen. For the first time in the company’s history, a steam train drives onto the square in front of the station in Nordhausen up to the stop shared with the Nordhausen tram.
November 2008 The Harzer Schmalspurbahn is the first in Germany to start a training course for steam engine drivers.
03.12.2008 The newly built loading ramp for narrow gauge rail vehicles is put into operation at Wernigerode Westerntor station. Its first job is to load a passenger carriage onto a road low-loader.
April 2009 The first three graduates of the steam engine driver training, started in November 2008, pass their final exam and receive their certificates.
06.05.2009 The second buffet car is put into service. In just six months, a passenger carriage has been converted into another buffet car with 39 seats in the HSB’s own workshop.
18.06.2009 The completely renewed steam engine 99 7234 is available for trips to the Brocken again
16.10.2009 The “Harzer Schmalspurbahnen” as a tourism factor – The HSB is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Harz by a long way. A study by Harz University of Applied Sciences confirms its outstanding significance for the first time.
30.11.2009 The 70th performance of “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken"
02.12.2009 For the first time in over 200 years, Goethe’s “Faust Part II” is used as the basis for creating a rock opera from the literary work.
19.02.2010 Premiere of the new rock opera “FAUST II” on the Brocken. 260 visitors come to the premiere from near and far
26.04.2010 Inauguration of the new “Schurzfell” stop in the urban area of Nordhausen
07.05.2010 The new bike carriage of the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen starts operation on the Selketalbahn
19.05.2010 Harzer Schmalspurbahnen hand over the renovated Hochschule Harz stop
20.11.2010 The 100th performance of “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken”.
07.12.2010 Presentation of the new book “NachtZüge – Dampf-Träume am Brocken” [Night trains – Steam dreams on the Brocken] by photographer Olaf Haensch
10.12.2010 The Rübelandbahn working group is founded for tourism marketing
26.05.2011 Platform 3 at Eisfelder Talmühle station is renovated with the support of the Free State of Thuringia
15.09.2011 The Harzer Schmalspurbahnen celebrate 20 years since the resumption of train transport to the Brocken. Two special trains honour the historic events of 15th September 1991.
October 2011 Welsh railwaymen are our guests for a week and work on the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen
November 2011 The anniversary year “125 years of narrow gauge railways in the Harz” is kicked off with an official event at the Wernigerode Westerntor depot
09.02.2012 The special “125 years of narrow gauge railways in the Harz” stamp goes into circulation from Deutsche Post. The special stamp depicts one of the HSB’s historic steam trains in the centre of a hilly landscape of spruce forests so characteristic of the Harz.
15.03.2012 The special stamp is officially presented on the Brocken by the parliamentary secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Hartmut Koschyk.
28.04.2012 The first large station festival of the “125 years of narrow gauge railways in the Harz” anniversary year is held in Nordhausen. The star guests are the band “Geier Sturzflug” and Gojko Mitic. Railway fans particularly enjoy the many special trains and shuttle services to the southern Harz. An HSB steam engine runs onto the Bahnhofsplatz in Nordhausen once again. Tens of thousands of excited guests enjoy a colourful programme of events for all the family.
01.05.2012 120years of the Stiege - Hasselfelde section
May 2012 Start of construction for new level crossing safety systems in the Hasserode district of Wernigerode.
09.06.2012 As part of the anniversary year, the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen celebrate a large station festival in Wernigerode; its patrons are Dr. Haseloff, Minister President of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, and Ms Lieberknecht, Minister President of the Free State of Thuringia. Almost 30,000 guests visit the festival during the day on a large area directly next to Westerntor station. A colourful programme is offered for the whole family, including rides in the driver’s cab of a steam train, a children’s steam railway, the chance to visit the Westerntor workshop and many special trains. In the evening, around 3,000 enjoy the band SCOOTER. A huge fireworks display closes the event.
June/July 2012 Historic guest multiple units are used for timetabled and special train journeys on the Harzquerbahn and Selketalbahn: multiple unit T 102 from the Interessengemeinschaft Historischer Schienenverkehr e. V. in Aachen (“Selfkantbahn”) and multiple unit T 42 from the Deutscher Eisenbahn-Vereins e.V. (DEV) in Bruchhausen-Vilsen
July 2012 The chair of the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales visits the Harz and the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen. This is thanks to the close, friendly cooperation between the HSB and the Ffestiniog Railway Company. For example, the two railways hold a staff exchange once a year.
August 2012 The Swiss guest locomotive “Locomotive 105” from the Blonay – Chamby museum railway is used for special and timetabled trains in the Harz.
07.08.2012 125th anniversary of the opening of the first section of the Selketalbahn. The HSB honours this anniversary with a special train from Gernrode to Mägdesprung. Most of the enthusiastic passengers also wear historic costumes to take part in this memorable trip.
10.08.2012 Large parade of Mallet steam engines in Wernigerode. The guest engine from Switzerland is presented alongside her sister engine from the Harz, 99 5906, for the first time.
18.08.2012 Large station festival in Gernrode as part of the anniversary year: on a beautiful sunny day, the star guests at the festival at Gernrode station are Sidney Youngblood and Gojko Mitic. Over 30 special trains and shuttle trips come and go from Gernrode.
December 2012 Following a successful general inspection including a newly constructed frame and boiler, the steam engine 99 7247 returns to the Harz. This makes it the tenth locomotive to be completely renewed.
18.12.2012 In the Hasserode district of Wernigerode, the level crossing in Friedrichstraße has been equipped with modern half-barriers and light signals and a new level crossing safety system built in Amtsgasse. Both systems are now put into operation. This significantly improves the safety of road and rail traffic. For the first time, the level crossing in Friedrichstraße has pavements on both sides to allow pedestrians to cross the tracks safely.
January 2013 "Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken” thrills visitors to the Grüne Woche trade fair in Berlin. Mephisto is a guest in the exhibition halls and at the HSB booth.
09.04.2013 The new and fully-revised HSB website is officially launched and can be found at www.hsb-wr.de.
13.04.2013 At the 163rd performance of “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken”, the 40,000th visitor since its premiere in 2006 is officially welcomed in the Goethesaal on the Brocken.
01.06.2013 Peter Gaffert, Mayor of Wernigerode, succeeds Dr Michael Ermrich as Chair of the Supervisory Board of the HSB after being unanimously elected by the Supervisory Board members. Dr Michael Ermrich is named Honorary Chair of the HSB Supervisory Board.
09.06.2013 The HSB is a guest of the 14th Thuringia Day in Sondershausen, with steam locomotive “NWE 13” taking part in the parade.
05.07.2013 In cooperation with the Lion’s Club Goslar – Bad Harzburg, the HSB exhibits at the 96th global meeting of the Lion’s Clubs at Hamburg’s Jungfernstieg.
22.08.2013 Official opening of the renovated Netzkater stop
24.08.2013 The special railway event “Tag der Eisenbahnmuseen” (Railway Museum Day) is held for the first time in cooperation with the Interessengemeinschaft Harzer Schmalspurbahnen e. V., Freundeskreis Selketalbahn e. V. and Bahnhofsmuseum Benneckenstein.
06.09.2013 Official opening of the refurbished tracks and central platform at Wernigerode station, in the presence of the Secretary of State of State Development and Transport of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr Klaus Klang.
10.10.2013 The ten-year anniversary of the cooperation between the HSB and the Fraunhofer Institute in Magdeburg is celebrated at Wernigerode Westerntor station with a public presentation of the “Virtual Steam Train Driver’s Cab”.
28.10.2013 At Drei Annen Hohne station, the 22,222,222nd guest since the start of operations on 1st February 1993 is officially welcomed in the presence of various high-ranking representatives from Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
November 2013 Between 4th and 29th November 2013, the entire Selketalbahn and the Ilfeld Neanderklinik – Drei Annen Hohne section of the Harzquerbahn are closed for construction work. The work includes the renovation of three bridges on the Selketalbahn and the level crossing at Mägdesprung. Comprehensive track improvements are made at Eisfelder Talmühle.
01.12.2013 The 191th performance of “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken” is held, closing the 2013 season. Around 6,800 guests attended the performances this year, bringing the current total since the first event in February 2006 to around 46,000. The popular, large-scale event will continue in 2014 due to high demand.
05.12.2013 After around two months of construction work, the HSB puts a new level crossing safety system into operation in Ricarda-Huch-Straße, Nordhausen. A half-barrier system with traffic lights now provides improved safety for drivers and pedestrians.
13.12.2013 The official roll-out of the new HSB steam locomotive models 99 6101 and 99 6102 (scale 1:87) is held at the HSB engine shed in Nordhausen, in cooperation with the manufacturer Tillig Modellbahnen GmbH. At the same time, the new model of the bar carriage of the “Mephisto-Express” is presented, and is now available exclusively from the HSB shops.
31.12.2013 The HSB’s “New Year’s Express” sets off from Nordhausen for the first time. The evening’s highlights on this special trip to the Brocken include a candlelit pit tour of the Rabensteiner tunnel near Netzkater and a colourful fireworks display. The magnificent food, live music in the dance-floor carriage and excellent view from the Brocken at midnight created an exuberant atmosphere among the excited guests in the sold-out train.
10.01.2014 The steam locomotive 99 6001 returns to the Harz after passing its main inspection. During the inspection, conducted at the steam engine plant in Meiningen, the locomotive was fitted with a newly-constructed and welded boiler.
30.04.2014 The ten-year anniversary of the “Nordhäuser model” is honoured with an official celebration at the HSB station Nordhausen Nord and Verkehrsbetriebe Nordhausen GmbH (VBN), in the presence of Inge Klaan, Secretary of State at the Thuringian Ministry of Construction, State Development and Transport. The event includes the opening of a photographic exhibition on the development and history of the “Nordhäuser model” in the freshly-refurbished reception building. In addition, HSB CEO Matthias Wagener officially hands over the new “Dampfladen” shop in the reception building to Birgit Keller, Chair of Südharzer Tourismusverbandes e.V. and District Administrator of Nordhausen district.
17./18.05.2014 To celebrate the 100th birthday of the steam locomotives 99 6101 (“Pfiffi”) and 99 6102 (“Fiffi”), two fully-booked photographic special trains run this weekend with 99 6101. The trip on 17th May takes participants from Wernigerode up to the Brocken and back. The next day, the train travels from Wernigerode to Nordhausen and back.
01.06.2014 The special train “Surprise Trip for Children’s Day” runs for the first time. This special trip takes participants from Nordhausen to Silberhütte and includes a colourful programme of fun for children in cooperation with Freundeskreis Selketalbahn e. V. and the Unterharzer Waldhofverein Silberhütte.
03.06.2014 30 th anniversary of the resumption of passenger transport between Straßberg (Harz) and Stiege. The HSB honours this anniversary with a special trip from Quedlinburg to Stiege. Around 100 enthusiastic passengers and contemporary witnesses take part in the event, many of them in historic 1980s-style costumes.
19.06.2014 After around four months of construction work, the HSB puts the new level crossing safety systems into operation in Harztor – one at “Am Kirchberg” (OT Niedersachswerfen) and one at “Rosensteg” (OT Ilfeld). A half-barrier system with traffic lights now provides improved safety for drivers and pedestrians.
07.07.2014 The new mobile sales terminals for train conductors and the project to provide dynamic information for HSB passengers in future are officially presented in Wernigerode. Thomas Webel, Minister for State Development and Transport of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, hands HSB CEO Matthias Wagener a funding certificate for the implementation of the project, which is currently in the intensive trial phase and conducted in cooperation with Nahverkehrsservicegesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt GmbH (NASA). The goal is to provide passengers with digital real-time information at all HSB stations and stops in future, in order to optimise customer service.
18. - 20.07.2014 This year’s “Saxony-Anhalt Day” is celebrated in blazing sunshine in Wernigerode. The largest state festival is held for the 18th time and attended by around 200,000 visitors. The HSB is also involved with a wide range of activities centred around Wernigerode Westerntor station. At the neighbouring festival site at Ochsenteich, the HSB runs its children’s steam train, while the original case performs excerpts from “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken” on the Radio SAW stage. On the last day of the festival, the HSB’s “NWE 13” steam locomotive is one of the much-admired highlights of the parade through the town centre.
23.07.2014 A new attraction is added to the “Dampfladen” shop in the reception building of the HSB’s Nordhausen Nord station, operated by Südharzer Tourismusverband e. V.. Together, Birgit Keller, Chair of the association and District Administrator of Nordhausen district, and HSB CEO Matthias Wagener present the new “Experience steam locomotive technology in virtual reality” activity area in its new premises. It is now open to all visitors during the regular shop opening times, with no need to pre-book.
23.08.2014 The HSB presents a new mural on the engine shed at Hasselfelde station. Measuring around 4 x 4 metres, the oil painting was created on site in just six days by Gunter Czyrnik from Eilsleben, working from a photographic template.
01.09.2014 The HSB has a new ticket agency for passengers located around the Selketal. Tickets are now available every day from Hotel Habichtstein in Alexisbad, opposite the HSB station. The previous ticket office in the station is closed. This will improve the service for passengers significantly in terms of opening hours.
24.09.2014 The HSB officially presents the future train collision avoidance system to Saxony –Anhalt’s Transport Minister Thomas Webel and representatives of the press at the INNOTRANS trade fair in Berlin. Trials have been running since the start of 2014. The system is expected to be implemented in practice by 2016 and further increase safety, initially on the single-track sections of the route.
04.10.2014 The “Harzer Bergwerks-Express” special train runs from Nordhausen via Netzkater into the Selketal to Straßberg-Glasebach and back for the first time. The route includes visits to two mining museums, guided walks and culinary treats.
07.11.2014 With its performance of “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken”, the HSB now offers this classic of world literature as a special event for schools. The first extraordinary “lesson” of this kind takes place on the Brocken in front of 260 school students from the Harz region. Three further schools events are held later in the month.