Museumsbahnen Schönberger Strand

Words and pictures by Kevin • Click on any of the pictures to get a larger version of that image

I decided to spend part of my last weekend in Germany making a trip that had been on my to-do list for a while: a visit to the Schönberger Strand railroad museum. The museum is located just outside of Kiel, a city that's a tolerable drive north of Hamburg. The museum has an assortment of train equipment, mostly streetcars and passenger rail. Between May and September, you can come out and ride in a historical passenger coach pulled by a steam locomotive, or make a circuit around the museum grounds in one of their streetcars.
Thanks to being caught in a miles-long traffic jam (sad truth: the Autobahn usually isn't anything near what Americans imagine it to be), I arrived in Schönberger Strand just a little too late for the main attraction -- as I pulled into the parking lot, I could see the excursion train steaming away. However, this other steam locomotive was getting ready to haul the next train in a couple of hours.
You could walk around inside the waiting coaches and get a feel for how rail travellers had it Back Then. I thought that sharing a compartment in a EuroCity train from Berlin to Hamburg across from three bulky and undershowered men who loved to stretch out their legs was tough enough, but I'd prefer that to having to ride cross-country in turn-of-the-last-century third (3rd!) class.
Not having enough time to wait around for the next steam train to leave (I'd promised Shelby that I'd be back in the mid-afternoon so that we could go down to the beach at Blankenese), I had to content myself with riding a couple of the streetcars.
This streetcar was built in 1929 and used to run in Hannover. This streetcar is practically a native; it served its time in Kiel before coming to the museum.
The Schönberger Strand museum suffered from the same problem as any American train museum I've ever been to: too much equipment and not enough time. They had an assortment of bright-and-shiny restored equipment -- the steam trains and their coaches, some of the streetcars -- and a much larger collection of unrestored pieces rusting away in storage, hoping that some kind-hearted volunteers would have the time to begin a loving full restoration before they crumbled into dust.
A very old (circa 1898) Hamburg streetcar. The trailer unit (notice that it doesn't have a power pole) of a Hamburg streetcar. The interior of this S-Bahn car should be familiar to all but the youngest Hamburgers, as they just took the last of this class of cars off the rails a couple of years ago -- with the oldest examples putting in over fifty years of service! (Judging from the ads inside, this particular car was retired sometime during the late 80s.)

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This page last modified on Friday, August 20, 2004
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