Oder Valley Railway

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Scharzfeld–St. Andreasberg
Strecke Scharzfeld-Sankt Andreasberg.jpg
Route number: 357
Line number: 1815
Line length: 15.3 km
Track gauge: 1,435 mm
from Herzberg
0,0 Scharzfeld
to Nordhausen
1,1 Zoll
4,1 Bad Lauterberg
5,5 Bad Lauterberg–Kurpark
7,1 Odertal
12,7 Sperrluttertal
15,3 St. Andreasberg(Silberhütte/West)
St. Andreasberg Kleinbahn

The Oder Valley Railway (German: Odertalbahn) was a railway line from Scharzfeld via Bad Lauterberg to St. Andreasberg-Silberhütte. Its name comes from the river Oder, which flows through the West Harz mountains.

Geography[edit]

The line started at Scharzfeld station, which has not been served by passenger trains since 2005. The station lies on the main line from Northeim to Nordhausen, the standard gauge South Harz Line. From Scharzfeld the line made its way to Bad Lauterberg station, then the more central halt of Bad Lauterberg-Kurpark – whose station building now houses a holidaymakers’ restaurant –, then Odertal, Sperrluttertal and St. Andreasberg (Silberhütte/West), where there were connexions to the St. Andreasberg Kleinbahn.

North of Bad Lauterberg the line has long since been dismantled and the southern section was only used irregularly for goods trains and specials after 2005. The last owner of the southern Scharzfeld–Bad Lauterberg section was the private Almetalbahn. In November 2007 even this last stretch of line was finally lifted using a road-rail excavator, because it was no longer possible to run the line economically.

History[edit]

The line was opened in 1884. In order to provide a better link from the terminus at St. Andreasberg West to the centre of the town, from 1913 to 1959 there was a rack railway, the St. Andreasberg Kleinbahn, which ran from St. Andreasberg West up to St. Andreasberg Stadt (town). It had two of its own cogwheel steam locomotives and two mountain railway passenger coaches, and picked up goods wagons at Silberhütte destined for the town station. There were also plans by Prussian chief mechanical engineer, Georg Fichtner, from Berlin, to extend the railway line to Bad Harzburg. This project did not, however, come to fruition.

A halt at Bad Lauterberg Kurpark was established in the early 1960s.

The services were soon switched over the railbuses. In 1963 ten pairs of trains ran daily on weekdays, and eight on Sundays. In addition there was a fast-stopping service (Eiltriebwagen) from Bad Lauterberg to Göttingen. The rolling stock on the line consisted of Uerdingen railbuses and multiples of DB classes 628 and 624.

During the period after the 1970s, which saw the demise of many German branch lines, the railway lost its passenger services bit by bit. The closure dates for passenger services were as follows:

  • 27 September 1975: Odertal–Silberhütte
  • 3 June 1984: Bad Lauterberg–Odertal
  • 12 December 2004: Scharzfeld–Bad Lauterberg

Goods traffic from Scharzfeld to Bad Lauterberg were ended on 31 December 2001.

On the remaining section from (Herzberg –)Scharzfeld to Bad Lauterberg, passengers services were delivered in the later years using DB Class 614s; these ceased on 12 December 2004. In the timetable change on 11 December 2005 the station of Bad Lauterberg was replaced by a halt with the name Bad Lauterberg im Harz–Barbis on the South Harz Line, but the new stop lay 4 kilometres west of the town centre. The former station of Bad Lauterberg was about 1 km from the centre, whereas the halt of Bad Lauterberg-Kurpark, used until 1984, was right in the middle.

External links[edit]