Closing of funicular(s) in Germany !!!

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Königstuhlbahn, August 1994
(Photo Michel Azéma)
 
 
 
 
 
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December 2002

The magazine EA (=Eisenbahn-Amateur) writes in its issue 12/02, page 766,
that the mining authority of Baden-Wuerttemberg has given order to close the upper section of the funicular at Heidelberg because of safety reasons until April 30th, 2003.

Ralf Kaufmann
Aschaffenburg, Germany

August 2002

The upper section of the Königstuhlbahn in Heidelberg (Section: Molkenkur - Königstuhl) in its present state apparently must cease to operate by 30.4.2003, the reason being a note served by the administration responsible for the safety of funiculars in the country of Baden-Württemberg in Freiburg. They have reviewed all funiculars in the south-west of Germany right after the catastrophe of Kaprun and have decided that the Heidelberg funicular (in operation since 1907 without any dangerous accident) has to be closed because of safety problems.
As a basis for this opinion served some new EG-rules for newly build funiculars.
It was criticised, e.g., that the doors are too narrow and cannot be opened from inside, the cars are made of wood (flammable), the power station is situated in the same room as the traction wheel for the rope, etc.

But these EU-rules only apply to new funiculars or in case of a reconstruction, and the Waldfriedhofbahn in Stuttgart being of similar type and age is not required to shut down. Although the very same administration even did not allow any changes to the upper Heidelberg funicular during a renovation two years ago due to its status as a monument, the owner of the funicular (the HSB which is itself owned by the city of Heidelberg) seems not to oppose the announcement of the Freiburg administration.
They seem to be happy to get rid of a monument and to built a new funicular with greater speed and greater transportation capacity looking a bit like the old one, for which only a third of the number of people are needed than at present to operate the funicular.

Many people in Heidelberg and the Heidelberg region that have known the Bergbahn during their entire lives are opposed to these changes that seem to come.
Two of them who work for the Bergbahn created a homepage with statements, pictures, newspaper articles, mailbox etc.:

http://www.koenigstuhlbahn.de/

An Austrian consultant was asked to make suggestions about the renewal of the funicular until mid August 2002.

Other funiculars in Baden-Württemberg are also concerned, but it seems they only have to be upgraded (e.g. the Stuttgart funicular to the "Waldfriedhof") and there is no withdrawal of the permission operation.

 
Dr. Joachim Schahn
Psychologisches Institut Universitaet Heidelberg

Bernhard König
Vice Chairman of Heidelberg Railway Enthusiasts Club
http://www.ef-heidelberg.de/

Dr. Klaus Föhl
Department of Physics University of Edinburgh
http://www.standseilbahn.de/

 

 
Königstuhlbahn, August 1994
(Photo Michel Azéma)
 
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