Selke Valley Railway

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Selke Valley Railway
The Selke Valley Railway is shown in dark blue on the HSB network.
The Selke Valley Railway is shown in dark blue on the HSB network.
Route number: 333
Line number: 9703, 9704
Track gauge: 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Standard gauge from Magdeburg
Quedlinburg(Start of metre gauge)
Standard gauge to Blankenburg
Standard gauge to Thale
Bad Suderode
Standard gauge to Frose
Harz Railway to Wernigerode
Eisfelder Talmühle
Harz Railway to Nordhausen

The Selke Valley Railway (German: Selketalbahn) is the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) (metre gauge) railway in the lower Harz mountains that originally belonged to the Gernrode-Harzgerode Railway Company (GHE). The Selke Valley Railway main line connects the towns Quedlinburg and Hasselfelde, passing through Gernrode, Alexisbad and Stiege. There are also two branch lines: one connects Alexisbad with Harzgerode, the other connects Stiege with Eisfelder Talmühle, on the Harz Railway.

Between Mägdesprung and Albrechtshaus, the track passes through the valley of the river Selke, hence the name was given to the track.

In Spring 1946, all but a small section of the Selke Valley Railway was dismantled and the resources were recycled and carried off to the Soviet Union. Because of its importance for the transport of fluorospar, the part between Gernrode and Lindenberg (present-day Straßberg) was rebuilt starting in Fall 1946. Because of scarcity of materials, the reconstruction took until 1950. In 1946, the GHE was expropriated and was taken over by the Deutsche Reichsbahn of the GDR in 1949. The section Lindenberg (present-day Straßberg) - Stiege was not rebuilt until 1983.

On February 1, 1993, the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways (Harzer Schmalspurbahnen GmbH or HSB), which had already acquired the Harz Railway and the Brocken Railway, took over the Selke Valley Railway from the DR.

In 2006 the Selke Valley Railway was extended to Quedlinburg by regauging the abandoned standard-gauge DB line between Gernrode and Quedlinburg. This may make the Selke Valley Railway more popular with tourists visiting the World Heritage Site of Quedlinburg.

The Selke Valley Railway is today part of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways but is relatively unknown. It is a well-kept secret among railway enthusiasts for the following reasons:

  • The stretch out of the northern edge of the Harz is a very varied landscape up to the high levels of the middle Harz mountains.
  • On the track between Wernigerode and Brocken, one-of-a-kind steam engines are used on the Selke Valley Railway, of which there are only 17 built.
  • The Selke Valley Railway traverses a slope of 1:25 (4%), which is the steepest track used in the Harz mountains. The Brocken Railway traverses more elevation but does so at a shallower gradient of 1:30 (3.333%).
  • Stiege Station has the smallest terminal loop of any public railway. This is a balloon loop which was constructed specifically to allow heavy trains to the power station at Silberhutte from Nordhausen to continue in the direction of Silberhutte without reversing.

External links[edit]

(in German)

Coordinates: 51°37′32″N 11°01′54″E / 51.6256°N 11.0318°E / 51.6256; 11.0318