On a recent trip to Bonn, Germany I got the chance to visit the Drachenfels Railway. It’s a metre gauge (3 ft 3 inch) rack railway that runs from Koenigswinter, just south of Bonn, to the top of the Drachenfels mountain. It’s a single track line, 1.5km (just under 1 mile) long and climbs 220 metres (722 feet) to an altitude of 289 metres (948 feet) with a maximum gradient of 1 in 5 (20%). Enough maths, here’s the start of the journey.
It’s an interesting ride, passing Schloss Drachenburg on the way.
You arrive at the summit terminus.
There’s a super view of the Rhine river.
By the summit station there’s another castle. How many narrow gauge lines can boast two castles along their route?
The glass ‘cube’ is a very nice restaurant and I stopped to enjoy a flammkuchen.
On my return journey I admired the four-wheel electric railcars built between 1955 and 1960. I do like the styling.
The interiors are very characteristic of the late 1950’s. I love the ‘wood and vinyl’.
At the end of each railcar is a wooden ‘desk’ with a roller top.
This opens to reveal the control panel.
The railcars make light work of going uphill and it’s only on the descent that you really notice the gradient. The brakes squeak and you feel the resistance of the cogs on the rack system.
The terminus at Koenigswinter is very well organised. The rails and rack are set into the concrete.
The railway’s workshop is very neat and tidy.
There are a number of static exhibits. This is the drive mechanism from one of the railcars.
Outside is a steam loco dating from 1927. When the line was opened in 1883 it was steam powered and it converted to a 750 V DC overhead line in 1953.
Drachenfels means Dragons Rock and the railway has a great logo. It has to be a contender for the best railway logo ever.
I’d like to say a special thank you to Dirk and Hans-Joachim of the NGRM forum who recommended I visit the line. Great suggestion!