Text and Photos Günter Kretzschmar

The salvage of the Oberweißacher funicular

Oldissues Index
Cars and Stations
19th December 2001
Stopped since September 2001 for renovation, it will reopen in December 2002


The famous Oberweißbacher funicular railway does not take you to Oberweißbach but from Obstfelderschmiede to Lichtenhain. It is the first section of the line Obstfelderschmiede to Cursdorf which was built to bring goods, freight and passengers to the plateau and to link the Schwarzatalbahn located in the valley.

The first section of the line is the funicular railway, the second section is a normal gauge railway line which links Lichtenhain, Oberweißbach - Deesbach and Cursdorf.

The funicular railway is composed of two different vehicles: a passenger vehicle and a flat carriage for the freight. Both carriages operates on the 1800 mm gauge tracks. The freight carriage can transport a conventional wagon up to 323 meters above the bottom station. Each station of the funicular is equipped with turntables for loading and unloading of the transported wagon.

This funicular is located in Thuringia, in the center of Germany, about 60 km southwest from Erfurt, in the Schwarzatal. Bad Blankenburg, Rudolstadt and Saalfeld are the next larger cities.

The technical monument Oberweissbacher mountain railway is after more than 78 years accident-free operation in a status, which requires profound repairs. That quite particularly concerns the buildings, the vehicles, the tracks and the drive.

In 2001 the Oberweissbacher Berg und Schwarzatalbahn (OBS) company became an own part of the Deutsche Bahn AG (DBAG), the German national railway company.
The OBS has the function to coordinate, with 4 coworkers, all pending work and to lead after completion the operation. The change work is promoted to a large extent by the state of Thuringia.
The planning for these work is closely limited. In September 2001 began the work, the funicular and the Schwarzatalbahn railway are planned to go again into operation in December 2002.

The problem is to find a compromise between technical monument and economical operation. All old equipments cannot be retained. Therefore for the change was determined, the buildings, the outside picture of the vehicles to retain the possibilities for the goods transport with the pertinent systems and the arrangement of the drive disks as the receive-worth technical features. Thus a new propulsion technology (three-phase motors) for an economical operation can be inserted. Natural also all interests of security are to be arranged after the newest realizations and have priority before the protection as monument.

The following operations are already planned:

1) Renewal of the drive propulsion, while maintaining the 1921 technical principle (designed by Dr. Ing. Baeseler).

2) The special feature exists in the fact that the driving disks are transverse to the rope direction, directly under the rope intake. Each driving disk will be driven by a frequency-controlled three-phase motor. The controls are operated from the two along the distance. During goods transport or special travels the control of the goods stage is made by a portable tablet. These change work is executed by the company Doppelmayr, Thun (Switzerland), formerly Von Roll.

3) Repair of the chassis of the passenger vehicle and the goods stage.

4) The cable components and the safety mechanisms, like the emergency brakes with release mechanism, are maintained. These works are also executed by Doppelmayr, Thun.

5) Processing of the car body of the passenger vehicle. The passenger vehicle is 4 m wide, 8 m long and can transport 150 passengers. It will be renovated and for this work the vehicle was removed, with the goods stage vehicle, on 19th December 2001 and transported to Mittenwalde to be refurbished by Mittenwalder Gerätebau company.

Many other works are also planned. That concerns maintenance measures at the buildings, at the truck shipping mechanisms, at the turntables, which are at each end of the funicular railway, as well as the renewal of drainage mechanisms along the line and at the buildings. A particularly intensive preparation requires the renewal of the driving disk foundations, which are stressed due to the special arrangement of the driving disks on course. For the anchorage in the soil an appropriate geological investigation must be executed, before the old foundation is removed.

Old postcard, collection Michel Azéma
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge The passenger vehicle and the flat carriage at the siding, with a passenger wagon, of the Lichtenhain-Cursdorf line, on the platform.
Click to enlarge The passenger vehicle and the flat carriage at the siding, with a motor vehicle, of the Lichtenhain-Cursdorf line, on the platform.
Click to enlarge The passenger vehicle arriving at the Lichtenhain top station.
Click to enlarge Close-up of the flat carriage with a motor vehicle of the Lichtenhain-Cursdorf line.
Click to enlarge The same motor vehicle of the Lichtenhain-Cursdorf line on the turntable of the Obstfelderschmiede bottom station.
Click to enlarge Lichtenhain top station with its turntable.
Oldissues Index
Cars and Stations
19th December 2001
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