The International Steam Pages
Thomas Kautzor reports:
Built on the model of the Soviet Pioneer railways, the Berlin Pioneer Railway was opened on January 3, 1956 on the 80th anniversary of the then President of the GDR, Wilhem Pieck, in the former Pioneer Park Ernst Thälmann (then Berlin Pioneer Republik) at Berlin-Wuhlheide in the eastern part of East Berlin. The GDR ultimately ended up with another 10 pioneer railways, all south of Berlin, but the BPE was the model. In 1978 its operations were taken over by DR. In 1990 the BPE became the Berlin Park Railway (http://parkeisenbahn.de/) and the park was renamed “Leisure and Recreation Centre Wuhlheide, but some of the traditions of the older days live on (use of children in some operations, uniforms, etc…).
The BPE runs over three different loops (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/de/3/31/BPE-Lageplan.jpg), mainly through forested areas, with the only feature of note the steel bridge just north of the depot/shops (Betriebswerk) on the little used stretch to Badesee. The stretch via Betriebsbahnhof, with another bridge, is not in use anymore, except for trolleys. The 0.6 km branch from Badesee to S-Bahnhof Wuhlheide, opened in 1993, is more interesting: The line crosses a first DB line via a tunnel, then shortly before reaching the station it runs parallel to the DB line from Berlin to Frankfurt (Oder), while another DB line crosses on a steel bridge above. Apart from the extensive Betriebswerk station, the only other station with a loop is S-Bahnhof Wuhlheide, all other station consist only of a through track with a high platform and a station building (some in use, others not). Trains are directed from manned signal boxes at the various junctions on the network.
Over the weekend of June 8th and 9th 2013, the BPE held its annual steam festival. The 2nd Saturday of the month of June used to be the “Day of the Railwayman” in GDR days, since reunification this holiday has of course been abolished, but the BPE has made it a point to continue to celebrate it through the festival. One mixed, two passenger and one goods/fire fighting train were in use over the weekend, hauled by five steam and two diesel locos. The mixed train was made up of the restored MPSB set which comes out of the depot only on special occasions. It consist of two passenger coaches, a composite coach and a covered goods wagon. In its early days the BPE received some of its stock 2nd hand from the MPSB, including a number of the large WUMAG coaches which represented the most modern 600mm gauge passenger stock in use in Germany prior to WWII. Sadly, in an effort to make the BPE look modern, at some point they were modernized to look like Berlin S-Bahn coaches. Today three of these rebuilt coaches are in use on the BPE, but have lost most of their original features. In recent years a number of open coaches have also been put into service. The BPE still has the frame of an original MPSB WUMAG coach and is looking for donations to rebuild it. It was going to do so together with the FFM, which repatriated one from the FR/WHR in the UK, but the FFM was not willing to wait for the BPE to have enough donations and its coach is already complete, so the BPE is on its own now.
The locos in use on 9th June June 2013 were:
There are two more steam locos on site:
The Schmalspurbahn-Freunde Berlin e.V. (SBF), the volunteer organization which supports the BPE, has a collection of eleven small diesels, mostly built by LKM, six of which are operational.
The BPE's latest addition is 199 105-8 (B-dh, Schöma CFL-60DCL 6531/2012). Recently some lingering hidden pre-1989 account was found and it was decided to share the money up between various youth societies. The BPE used its share for urgent trackwork to rebuild Eichgestell station and café and to buy this loco (another Park Railway also bought one of the same type).
The 500mm gauge field railway of the Feldbahnprojekt e.V. also operates in the Wuhlheide park. I had completely forgotten about this operation and was surprised to stumble onto their tracks when walking from one photo
position to another. They have 10 battery and diesel locos and one end of their line connects BPE Eichgestell station with the park’s central structure, the former Pioneer Palace, where there is a loop and a large yard with loco shed and turntable. I did not have time to investigate the other end of the line beyond the yard, but looking at
There are many more pictures of the weekend online at :
Luise outside the shed, preparing to depart and at the S-Bahnhof Wuhlheide::
Klaus at the top end of the shed yard and at the front of a train.
Ute outside the shed
The new Schoema
Here are tow of the small diesels which belong to the SBF.
Three pictures of the 500mm gauge Feldbahnprojekt e.V.