Eine Übersetzung von / Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Even as a trackless torso, the long planning time and well thought-out lines are often visible, especially in the mountainous region. The tedious decision making process for the route of the once over 60 thousand kilometre railway network was usually accompanied by a dispute with the neighbouring communities as to which place, for example, would get a railway station - or even what it should be called. The fact that the acquisition of land was prevented often also stood in the way of an optimal route, resulting in additional bends or detours. At that time - i.e. in the decade from about 1835 to 1910 - freight traffic was more in the foreground than local rail passenger traffic, which is why many stations were built outside the residential areas. In addition, there were often military aspects to the construction, so that there should be only a small gradient, which was actually only achieved by artistic detours, because long railway tunnels were not possible until about a hundred years ago.
The dismantling of many laboriously constructed railway lines, which will now be completed by the 2020s, will create a - especially Terrain length - special conversion area, which is now used in different new ways or even with the entire infrastructure is left to his own devices. Usually it starts with the residents of the railway embankment, who like to use the area behind the ...to take over their garden fence. Thus, for example, various wood supplies or all kinds of junk up to the tractor are transported to the area even if the track system is still present.
The same applies to adjacent company premises, although these were often once freight customers themselves. This is where the first company expansions are usually built on the route and facts are created for the disposition. Numerous reactivations of the closures that have been pronounced since the 1960s are now obsolete, as a new route would now be required. To this day, it is also the local authorities who have been zealous in dismantling level crossings - or even entire bridges - without final approval, in order to improve the flow of heavy goods vehicles in particular.
In short, during a hike, the historic terrain of former railway lines offers a constant opportunity for exciting explorations, on "old paths" which in the past did not simply cut straight through the landscape, but were laid out while maintaining the topography as far as possible. This cautious approach to construction today presents a challenge to the "railway archaeologist" to reconstruct the former course of the railway line after it has been levelled - especially if the track was dismantled many years ago and there is no subsequent use as a cycle path and/or hiking trail. Nowadays it can be considered a real adventure with the picture documentation in the open field. Because despite the legal panoramic freedom, which expressly permits photography in public, the "wild" passing through various areas is perceived as extremely conspicuous and often justification is demanded.
A special intermediate use of former railway lines is that of a trolley train. For a fee, a trolley is lent for tourist purposes, which - usually by muscle power as pedals, like a bicycle - then travels on a section as a rail vehicle. In Germany, the first trolley line for tourism was opened in 1996 in Brandenburg, on the disused railway line from Templin to Fürstenberg.
At the beginning of the railway age, the trolley was a supplement in rail transport, for the flexible transport of (construction) workers and for line maintenance. In Scandinavia there was still an extended field of use, for example for the sometimes only way from the (service) home to the station and/or barrier system. This already led to the tourist use of the dressin / trolley in Sweden in the early 1980s, for which the unused tracks with the low gradient offered themselves. The three-wheeled, so-called "Swedish trolley" also has the special feature of rolling optimally on the tracks, but - due to the double wheel flanges - it does not allow passage in the switch area. In such cases, the "railway service vehicle" is simply lifted over the points, since in the Swedish hinterland even in stations there are hardly any points installed anyway and the stopping points are much further apart. Especially the neighboring country France has, like most European countries, many disused railway lines, furthermore also 40 vélos-rails / trolley lines. In contrast to the 30 or so operated rail trolley lines in Germany, these are organised in a joint association (FÉDÉRATION DES VÉLOS-RAILS DE FRANCE).
The Hamburg association "Interessengemeinschaft Draisinenfahrten (IGD)", which is often mentioned on this page, has also set itself the goal of a rail trolley association, but due to the different orientations of the facilities it cannot represent an association. The association, founded in September 2006, maintains its own handcarriages, especially the dismountable pocket-railbike, in order to ride on various disused railway lines. An annual association trip is made by a transporter to various trolley routes throughout Europe, preferably to France, Poland and Scandinavia. For these study trips, the Pocket Railbike, designed in 2006 by Wolfgang Tauchert from Hamburg, is perfectly suited as a travel trolley, as it climbs inclines without any problems with its optimal net weight of about 50 kg and its three-speed hub gear. The trolley is quickly dismantled into about 20 individual parts and requires little maintenance. In addition, the solid polyamide wheels are low-noise and the comfortable seating position allows for extended rides.
In the galleries of possible track walks or trolley rides shown now, a short explanation of the railway line is included. From the year 2010 on, the annual STRECKENVOGEL Kalender has been developed from this, which contains current rail archaeology pictures of the respective season. As a further supplement, since 2017 a limited edition of a trolley calendar has been printed with current motifs of various trolley routes in Europe.
For the major part of the journey, the railway network, which still covers over 30,000 km, is of course used, which can be easily combined with the hobby of "rail travel". Hence the reference to the IBSE (Interessengemeinschaft zur Bereisung von Straßenbahn- und Eisenbahnstrecken e.V.), which on numerous special trips travels many railway lines that are otherwise reserved for freight traffic.