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The other Harz narrow gauge.

Updated: 27 December 2023

In 1957 I went on a school summer camp in Osterode am Hartz, in West Germany not far from the boundary with the East. I was able to explore and ride on the Osterode - Kriensen Line.

Following is the unedited write up I did on my return 66 years ago.

KREISBAHN (Osterode/Harz - Kreiensen)

A German Narrow Gauge Railway running through the beautiful scenery of the Harz mountains. It runs on a gauge of 75 cm (2ft 6ins) but the loading gauge is equal to that of the German State Railways.

These three pictures show the locomotives in use on the Kreisbahn outside the main depot at Osterode am Harz. One of these was built in 1896 and the other in 1937 but they are both very similar in appearance. The stack of brick like objects in the centre picture is really coal. These engines are in green livery.

0-6-0 tank locos

Tank loco front view

0-6-0 T loco no 4.

The top picture here shows a 2-6-0 tender locomotive left disused in a sidingwith a cover over its funnel. It has the appearances of workability if provided with a drop of oil.

2-6-0 tender loco, disused

This locomotive is of a similar type to the two on the facing page and is under repair. This engine is in black livery like the tender engine above. The photograph was taken inside the shed which shows in the picture facing. (Photo 2).

Loco undermaintenance in shed

The 1.15 p.m. Diesel Railcar for Kreiensen leaving Osterode. The railway owns about five of these railcars of varying ages liveried in red and cream.

Railcar departing

Two diesel railcars, one with trailer coach in the station at Osterode. The nearer railcar is the older of the two. The railcars have upholdtered seats but the various coaches have wooden ones.

Railcars and trailors

The coaches are liveried in dark green with cream window panels, the fancy ironwork and fences are painted in black. The centre picture shows the coach ends (Photo 8) while the bottom picture (Photo 9) shows a train of Kreisbahn coaching stock in a siding at Osterode.

Coach ends

Stored coaches

Ticket for my return trip. Return trip ticket

These pictures give details of the system for transporting tandard gauge trucks over the narrow gauge tracks. The top picture (Photo 10)shows the old transfer siding with some of the narrow gauge transport bogies.

Transfer siding

The centre picture (Photo 11) shows a standard gauge tank wagon mounted on these bogies and standing in a siding. The standard gauge wagons mounted like this tower to almost twice the height of the narrow gauge passenger stock. Standard bogie vehicles can be mounted on these bogies which are connected to the narrow gauge couplings by long bars about eight feet long.

Standard gauge tank wagon on transfer bogies

Newly built transfer track.

Station track plan and photo key


The approximate layout plan is shown at the right and is not exact but shows the general layout.

The fan of sidings at the top of the drawing was crammed with old goods rolling stock, mostly derelict, together with the disused loco. The approach to the railcar depot was choked with these and it looked impossible to get the railcars out with the stock where it was. The railcar depot is used mainly for repairs and construction, not storage whereas the loco depot is used both as running shed and workshop. The positions from which the photos were taken are shown on the plan.

The standard gauge station building in Osterode, a typically German design.

Standard gauge (DB) station building



Kreiensen is an important junction on the German State Railways and is also one terminus of the Osterode - Kreiensen narrow gauge railway. The standard gauge has a very modern signal box and modernised station building, while the station master has his own little rail runabout, about 6' x 8' diesel driven. The narrow gauge station is hidden across the mass of tracks at Kreiensen and is hard to find. It does, however, play an important part in the area railway traffic as it provides the only convenient rail link between Osterode and Kreiensen and the transport of standard gauge wagons in both directions over its tracks forms a large part of its traffic.

Postcard 1           Postcard 2

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Copyright Keith Norgrove.