I had a dream once where all homes in my district were connected with railways and that each home had their own train alike wagon. Well, that’s a dream. On the island Nordstrandischmoor this is a reality. All of their homes are connected to the mainland of Germany that is run by a railway company named LKN.
22 people in Northern Germany in this area of islands are connected by the tiny narrow gauge railways, which was built before the second world war. We’re taking a look at both. First out is Lorenbahn, which is the railway that is easiest to reach. Then we look at Halligbahn.
Map of where Lorenbahn railway route is
Narrow Gauge Railways connects islands with the mainland
Lorenbahn is the easiest to reach. The name of the railway is one of many names that the local residents use when describing it. The location of this railway and Halligbahn is not that far from the Danish border. They are both very unique, because of the usage of slim rail tracks that stretches out to the islands named as Oland Langeneß and Nordstrandischmooron.
This unique railway makes it possible for the residents of Oland and Langeneß to the easiest of the two railways to check out. With them, the residents can reach the mainland of Germany without using a boat.
The two outskirt islands that are connected by Lorenbahn got small unique German villages on them. It’s a really magical place, that you should visit. You can go by the railway from Halligweg area to Langeneß. From Langeneß there is a road. On Oland island, which you bypass when going by this railway on the way. This really mystical village got a very unique bakery and a church. This is a mystical area in Germany that you really should explore.
Those that built these unique railways managed to bridge the three islands to the shore. However, if the weather is bad due to extreme winds the two lines aren’t operated. On other days, this railway is open every day for the residents. On either shore, the line branches out to a series of local destinations.
The original lines were constructed to transport out building materials for coastal defense. It was destroyed by ice flows on 1st of March 1956, but it was rebuilt. In 2000, a new, paved Lorendamm embankment was built, which works independently of the tide table even.
Halligbahn connects Lüttmoorsiel with Nordstrandischmoor
Including Lorenbahn, there is another one that is a bit further from Dagenbüll Molo village. You can reach it by driving on L191, L11 and L278 roads from Dagenbüll Molo and then change to Lüttmordamm road that takes you to Halligbahn.
All of the residents that are connected because of this railway is all living on the small, 1.9 km ² large Hallig Nordstrandischmoor island. This railway can be driven by anyone at the age of at least 15 years of age. The person also needs to have a valid moped license as in these parts you should know how to drive your own locomotive on this unique railway in Germany. The residents use this railway daily and its only for them. Lorenbahn got touristic tours though. There are no tickets to be bought.
Each of the residents got their own Locomotive at Nordstrandischmoor island
Also worth to mention is that each of the island resident homes has its own wagon. The tracks are reaching entrances of each house, with some of the wagons used to be wind-powered even. Others wagons were using sails, but today they most of them run on diesel. Maybe with electric power prices going down, some of the cars can even become electric soon too.
Most of the trains look like moving houses, while others are even open-air trains for warm summers. Other cars look like conventional convertible cars but on rails. So, there is lots of variation to be seen.
A brief of Halligbahn history is Worth to know
At the beginning of the 20th century, the inhabitants of the Hallig lived in almost total isolation. It was not until around 1934 that a six-kilometer-long stone dam was piled up by the Marshes Construction Office through the Wadden Sea, which has hitherto been the only “permanent” connection between the Hallig and the mainland near Cecilienkoog.
The dam was mainly used for material transport, which is why – unlike the Halligbahn Dagebüll – Oland – Langeneß further north – a small 600 mm track was laid on it. With the help of the track, which is often referred to as the Lorenbahn, building materials were brought into the Wadden Sea in order to fortify the small Hallig and the surrounding region by means of Groyne and Lahnungsbau and prevent rinsing.
Map of Halligbahn route that is also unique
Halligbahn is still in Full Service even Today
The Halligbahn still has this function today. The Landesbetrieb für Küstenschutz, Nationalpark and Meeresschutz Schleswig-Holstein (LKN-SH) in Husum operates the route and regularly travels with construction trains between the mainland and the Hallig. In addition to the locomotives listed below, the office’s portfolio includes various team and touring cars as well as numerous lorries. But even here the inhabitants of the Hallig are allowed to drive their own motor lorries on the track, as far as they do not hinder the LKN operation.
The former construction yard of Cecilienkoog is no longer the starting point of this Halligbahn. After extensive embankment in 1985, the former floodplain, the Sönke-Nissen-Koog, can be passed on a public-private road. The line could then be halved to a length of about 3.5 km, a new starting point is now a new depot of the LKN-SH near the Lüttmoorsiel bathing area, which was completed in 1998.
In addition to the depot Lüttmoorsiel, which can be reached via a private road, exists on about halfway to the dam a stump siding for evasive maneuvers. After reaching the Hallig Nordstandischmoor turn the track ends in a three-track »terminus«. Shortly before, a branch track branches off to the northwest, which leads across the salt marshes to below the Neuwarft, as shown in the sketch to the northwest. There is a double-sided siding. The “main track” then climbs up to the Neuwarft and ends in front of the barn of a property. In the summer of 2010, the entire track system on the Hallig was rehabilitated and fixed, with the tracks were replaced with new ones with a larger profile and concrete sleepers. The turnout and the terminus are now poured in concrete and present themselves with crease rails.
Video of both Lorrenbahn and Halligbahn
There are so many unique places in Germany too as proven in this article. This country got so much more to offer than just Berlin, Oktober fest and cars. This country got extraordinary nature, beautiful villages, and unique railways. These videos popped up for me today on YouTube. Maybe its because I am interested in such odd railways?
Now I really want to visit this place. Especially Lorenbahn and the small village Oland is so mystical for me. No road connection to it. Just this railway connecting it. This activates my exploring interest for sure. Because this is unique.
Check out more information about these gauge railway lines in Germany on inselbahn.de
Source: inselbahn.de, amesh2009 on youtube – Picture source: amesh2009 on youtube