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The ancient Härtsfeldbahn leading from Aalen via Neresheim to Dillingen/Danube connected the Härtsfeld to the main lines and the industrial centres from 1901 thru 1972, then the service was stopped. She was not only a transportation vehicle for goods and the working people, but also a frequently used line for weekend trips in a beautiful landscape.
After the service of the so called Schättre was stopped, the tracks
were completely dismounted and the vehicles were wrecked, sold to other
lines or, like the 2 steam locomotives, placed as a monument resp. as a
toy for children on a playing ground.
The trace was partially converted to bike lanes and hiking trails, egalized or disappeard under the vegetation. Normally this would have been the end of the story.
But then something happend which didn't happen before in the history of
railway. In the year 1984 some people gathered to found the 'Freundeskreis
Schättre' (friends of the 'Schättre'), which constituted the Härtsfeld-Museumsbahn
e.V. the following year. From time to time the club bought some of the
still existing original vehicles of the ancient line and also some similar
to them, renovated them and placed them on the ancient railway station
Therefore they built some tracks and switches and arranged a museum in the old railway station building.
But the most exotic plan was to reconstruct a part of the track and to operate the historic vehicles as a museum railway.
"Impossible" was the mildest remark we received for this idea.
After long preparative work and a 5 years lasting project approval
procedure the first step to reconstruct the first 3 kilometers was taken
on Mai 16, 1996. Exactly to the 100th birtday of the Härtsfeldbahn,
on October 20, 2001, the official service started on the line.
The impossible has been made possible. Today the trains run on the Härtsfeld like 50 or 100 years ago, but only some days in the year.
But this is not the final target! Actually the reconstruction of the second part of 2,6 km is in process, after which a third part to Dischingen is to be built. And there are much more vehicles in Neresheim which the HMB members would like to put on the line again.