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The way to experience the Harz!

It’s hissing, it’s steaming, it’s thudding … through the heart of the magical mountain world of our Harz, past the romantic Selketal valley, all the way up to the Brocken.

We, the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, are one of the world’s last great steam adventures, with 25 steam locomotives. On our 140.4 kilometre, 1000 mm gauge network, experience our steam locomotives in action every day.

Experience this network – made up of the Harzquerbahn, Selketalbahn and Brockenbahn – which offers you so many superlatives in the very heart of Germany. Discover nature and culture on a trip on our steam trains; one of the biggest attractions in the Harz, Germany’s most northerly low mountain range!

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Travel time and narrow gauge worlds

In the summer holidays or the depths of winter, on Sundays or in the middle of the week – climb aboard and experience Germany’s most popular low mountain range in a historic steam train! Get away from traffic jams and the stresses of everyday life and experience the Harz mountains, with their countless beauties and breath-taking landscapes. Your HSB adventure starts at one of over 40 stations. Over one million passengers every year experience our daily trains between the World Heritage Site of Quedlinburg, Nordhausen in Thuringia, colourful Wernigerode and Brocken station, at a height of 1125 metres.

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Fun and exciting events in the Harz mountains 

Experience more than just ‘train travel’. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first visit to the Harz mountains or whether you come back for more time and again; we offer you unforgettable all-inclusive and exclusive programmes. Climb aboard one of our nostalgic traditional trains, pulled by historic Mallet locomotives dating back to 1897, or one of our special themed trains. Our event highlight “Faust – The Rock Opera on the Brocken” is absolutely unmissable!

Book your own chartered train or even individual vehicles. We will be happy to give you a quote tailored to your requirements.

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Steam legends and technological wonders

25 steam locomotives in one place, 10 of which are in service at any one time: unheard of these days, except in the Harz! Our steam locomotives display historic technology close enough to touch, and from a wide range of types; from the Mallet articulated locomotive from 1897 to Europe’s most powerful narrow-gauge steam locomotives, dating from 1955 and 1956. Our historic stock also includes two multiple units from the 1930s and a luxurious saloon wagon, to name just a couple of examples. Modern multiple units and a wide range of diesel locomotives are also part of this varied and interesting fleet. Those interested in technology can visit the historic workshop from 1926, look over the train staff’s shoulders during the trip or even complete an ‘amateur engine driver’ course themselves.

HSB in facts and figures

Company founded:19th November 1991
Takeover of train operation:1st February 1993
Chair of Supervisory Board:Peter Gaffert
Managing Director:Matthias Wagener
Staff:260 staff, including 12 apprentices
Passengers:Over 1 million per year
Route lengths:Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn 79.43km
Selketalbahn 60.97km
Gauge:1000 mm
Highest station:Brocken station at 1125m above sea level
Lowest station:Quedlinburg station 121m above sea level
Steepest incline:1:25 on the Selketalbahn
1:30 on the Harzquerbahn and Brockenbahn
Traction vehicles:25 steam locomotives (years of construction 1897 - 1956),
6 diesel locomotives (years of construction/conversion 1964 - 1990),
10 multiple units (years of construction 1933 - 1999)
Wagon fleet:88 passenger carriages,
19 rail service carriages,
30 goods wagons

The superlatives of the HSB

Things you can’t experience on any other narrow-gauge steam railway:

  • At 140.4km, the HSB is Europe's longest contiguous route network with timetabled steam train transport
  • Over 1.1 million passengers per year
  • Brocken station is the highest station served by trains using only adhesion operation
  • The only tunnel in any steam-operated narrow gauge railway in former East Germany
  • The greatest difference in height (1004m) from the lowest point on the route network, the town of Quedlinburg, to Brocken station
  • Wernigerode Westerntor station is the largest narrow gauge station with:              
        - 37 sets of single Points
        - a set of double crossing Points
        - two turntables
        - a traverser
        - 40 tracks
        - the first electronic signal box on any narrow gauge railway
        - 10 main light signals 
  • Over 400 bridges and cuttings
  • 25 steam locomotives, including the oldest operational Mallet locomotive from 1897
  • The strongest narrow gauge steam and diesel locomotives of series 99.72 and diesel locomotives of series 199.8
  • The oldest operational diesel-electric railway vehicle in Germany, multiple unit 187 025
  • The largest vehicle hall at around 10,000 m²
  • Mixed railway/tram operation through the use of the dual-system city wagon "Combino Duo" on the Nordhausen Nord to Ilfeld Neanderklinik section
  • With 260 staff, we are one of the largest employers in the Harz region