STEAM RAILROAD MUSEUM - RUHR VALLEY
It is the largest railroad museum in Germany, just a few miles south of Essen in the heart of the once heavy industrial region of the North Rhine-Westphalia, near the town of Bochum. The River Ruhr valley was from the mid-1850s to the 1960s the center of Germany’s coal and steel industries. The heavy locomotives from Dahlhausen would daily haul loads of coal from the region's mines to the mills and manufacturing plants crowding the Ruhr River Valley. Much of the industry in the area fueled the German war machines of two world wars. The Essen factories of famed arms innovator Krupp were supplied by these rail lines (see Krupps War Factories). Alfred Krupp’s mansion Villa Hügel is a few short miles from Dahlhausen, once served by its own private rail line.
The rail complex at Dahlhausen along the industrial region of the Ruhr were heavily bombed toward the end of WWII. The bombing of a dam on the Ruhr flooded the valley with a wave that destroyed much of the track. Many of its locomotive were sent to the Eastern Front and the railway and towns were dynamited when the Wehrmacht retreated as the allies advanced. Coal and steel production recovered after the war and by the late 1950's Dahlhausen had 50 locomotives and almost 600 workers in its maintenance yard, but coal mining ended in the region by 1969. The main line station was moved from Dahlhausen to Hattingen in 1979 and Dahlhausen was turned into a museum with operating trains by the German DGEG Railway History Society. The facility comprises the engine shed built in 1916-1918 during WWI to serve the war needs with 14 tracks and a large turntable. The passenger station building at Dahlhausen was begun in 1913 as part of the railway of West Prussia and was completed during the First World War (see Bridge at Remagen). It survives with decorations from the 1920s.
The Eisenbahnmuseum Railway Museum at Bochum-Dahlhausen, a stop on the Industrial Heritage Trail (Route der Industriekultur) now houses 200 historic rail road vehicles and exhibit machines. Massive DRG class heavy locomotives, beasts of steam power, diesel haulers and switchers, rail freight and passenger cars from the 1920s to the 1950s. Tour the round house, repair sheds and engine cabs. Activities and steam operation demonstrations for kids and rail road rides. A tree shaded picnic area and snack bar is located in the center of the 46,000 square meters of open air museum space.
The Rail Museum at Bochum-Dahlhausen is the west terminus of the Ruhrtal Bahn tourist railway which follows the beautiful wooded Ruhr River from Dahlhausen to Hagen, with new sections of track repaired and online for for 2008. Other industrial heritage sites nearby Bochum is the German Mining Industry Museum where you can ride down the shaft into the deep mining exhibits to the top of the high mining tower and the regions original mine and steel factory from 1854 the Henrichshütte Iron and Steel Works a short bus ride from Hattingen.
Visiting Rail Museum Bochum Dahlhausen
Eisenbahn Museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays, Sundays and Holidays
10am to 5pm, March to November.
By car it is
five minutes south of the A40 and A52 autobahn junction at Essen, about
30 minutes from Düsseldorf or Dortmund. By rail, the museum can
be reached from the Essen main rail station or Hattingen via the S3 train
with a 10 minute walk from the Dahlhausen rail station or directly by
local bus line 345 from the Bochum rail station. © Bargain
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These articles are copyrighted and the sole property of Bargain Travel Europe and WLPV, LLC. and may not be copied or reprinted without permission. Locomotive photo courtesy Eisenbahnmuseum Bochum-Dahlhausen.