Recently I came across a viral photo on Facebook that showed a railway track dropping over the edge of a cliff, then continuing on below. So where was the photo taken, and why is the track layout so ridiculous?
I found a German-language internet forum where people were laughing at the same photo, which led me to the location pictured – Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, the central railway terminus of Leipzig, Germany.
Photo by Clic, via Wikimedia Commons
That sent me down a German-language rabbit hole, that ended on a German model railway forum.
Where they were asking the same question I was.
Can somebody tell me for what this “step” in the track is for?
And a half answer.
This is the museum track of the Leipzig Hbf.
The display includes steam locomotives.
Photo by Haering Juergen, via Wikimedia Commons
As well as slightly newer electric units.
Photo by Jörgens.Mi, via Wikimedia Commons
Wikipedia lists the exhibits.
On the site of closed track No. 24, several historical Deutsche Reichsbahn locomotives are on display:
- Class 52 steam locomotive 52 5448-7
- Class SVT 137 Diesel multiple unit 137 225
- Class E04 AC electric locomotive E04 01
- Class E44 AC electric locomotive E44 046
- Class E94 AC electric locomotive E94 056
But the reason for the difference in track height eluded me – the answers didn’t seem right.
Apparently the platforms were raised, because in the pictures it is quite flat. I also remember that you had to climb up to the cars and jumped down when you were a kid.
Probably on this platform, for historical reasons, it has been refurbished to show how things used to be.
Until finally – one that made sense:
Because underneath the “elevated track” is the loading dock, garbage disposal, etc.
You can see for yourself if you just turn into the parking garage, or look from outside the station hall.
I think the track was used only as a “stylistic agent” with everything looks like the other tracks.
I agree with most of the comments ref. the background of Museum Track 24 at Leipzig Central. Incidentially, having been there just a few weeks ago, I admit that by far not as many exhibits are displayed as listed in the pictorial link. Specifically, I feel that railcar series 772 is sadly missing. Anyway.
I do however have another assumption regarding the diffference in height of the two track portions. Not eventual storage facilities below or suchlikes might have been the real reason, nor the attempt to preserve something of a historical authenticity. I reckon it were simply cost considerations, funds that were saved from not adapting the track height. The thoughts behind might well have been that track 24 will anyway never again be used for regular train-to-passenger flows (which might eventually turn out to be a mistake), thus not requiring any adaption.
Mind you, the museum track project was then largely carried by private/enthusiast/sponsored initiatives (always being short of funds, as we know). Museum track 24 was only initiated during the major general adaption of Leipzig Central. Latter in turn was financed by the state, by DB, by the city, while mainly DB and the state money, were/are dearly needed to finance the Stuttgart-21 project, which nobody likes, and nobody needs, but will cost, in the end, probably not much short of 10 billion Euros…
This needs to be seen in the light that maybe some 95 percent of all German rail stations and halts (being thousands of) are
– not equipped with toilets, nor to speak of simple wind and rain shelters,
– dozens of regional services nationwide are being cancelled due to lack of drivers (who happen to require salaries),
– rail cars, conceived for local and regional routes, are scheduled regularily for long-distance trips, associated with a terribly loss of comfort and quality for long-distance passengers forced to accept them due to a lack of alternatives,
– on-board toilets are often locked and labelled as “unserviceable”,
-the era of dining cars anyway long been gone, even the small “snack points” (as they call them) frequently cannot even dispense a cup of coffee as their machines are broken and are not repaied/replaced,
– major trunk lines are pulled by (probably not bargained) foreign engines (e.g. Austrian OeBB on Stuttgart to Singen – on to Zürich with SBB power traction –
owing to an appearant lack of locos,
Nevertheless, I still prefer travelling by rail in Germany, rather that using what is commonly called the nations largest car park, say, the autobahns…
Best wishes and keep looking.
Thanks for the background on the museum track Hubert!