Past and Present

I always was a big fan of trains. But while I enjoy events like the one I have tried to describe last week, I feel sorry for the contrast between the past and the present state of much of the railway infrastructure. Many of the stations, built with utmost care and an eye for details and ornaments, have fallen into disrepair and are boarded up. Here a steam train pulls into the station of Trier Karthaus, once an important junction, which today looks like a complete mess.

The age of steam

The steam engine is synonymous with the great times of railroads. In Germany, the last regular steam trains disappeared in 1977. However, still today, special steam trains attract a big number of enthusiasts. About every second year, the transport authority of the German state of Rhineland – Palatinate organizes a steam event to make publicity for their public transport services. The last one took place in 2018. Steam enthusiasts came from as far away as the United States and Japan to watch the engines riding trains in a schedule not much slower than the contemporary, modern trains. Here are some of the participants.

An American guest and a Prussian steam engine built before WWI

An English fan in a typical 1960’s coach

Sound recording of the working engine

The use of goggles is essential for the steam enthusiast. Without, there is a big chance to get hot cinders from the engine’s exhaust into the eyes

The main idea of the event is to attract people who usually would not see the inside of a train. For many children, it is the chance the have a glimpse into the past. In the background a 2-10-0 class 42 engine built during the WWII in big numbers. It is the only operational steam engine of the state railway of Luxemburg.