By the end of the nineteen-twenties, a group of high school students
ran their 1 gauge trains at christmas in a living room. The parents
freed themselves by allowing to rent halls for this railway exhibition.
The jump to public exhibition came when the school board could be convinced
by the didactic nature of these events to offer gyms, drafting rooms and so forth.
As at a show the immense deficit of 50 Reichsmark for that time had emerged,
the young men decided to create the association model railway
Hamburg on November 10, 1931, which was registered in December 1931.
1938 a room of 100 m² for 90 Reichsmark per month could be rented in the Bergstraße.
The first permanent facility was built with the theme "Göttingen". Here also a small
workshop could be set up. For regular demonstrations before an audience the space
was not enough. During the war the room was slightly damaged. The operation had rested
anyway. Some outsourced locomotives were unfortunately lost.
The new layout
In 1946 Professor Dr. Walter Hävernick, the longtime chairman of the association,
became director of the Museum of Hamburg History. He had in 1944 written a book
about a Hamburg Transport Museum, whose core pieces should be a heritage railway
operation and a large model railway. For a new-build model railway with a
Hamburg station he could provide a room in the museum. As a model,
with which one could show the functionality of the railway,
only the station Hamburg-Harburg came into question. This had a large
passenger station to the confluence of several routes,
a rail yard, a local cargo facility and a railway depot.
At the same time a direct transshipment rail / sea should be shown
on the main freight station / Kai-right side. Consequently, it was
- first for 20 years - a contract concluded with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
Friends from Sweden procured us 250 m² plywood for the construction of the basement.
They received as thanks a 1:10 scale model of a Swedish sleeper. In just two years,
the model was built up and operated.
The founding members of the model railway Hamburg eV could relax
when on October 7, 1949 their long-cherished wish came true. By commissioning
its large model railway in the Museum of Hamburg History, they informed
about the railway and its promotion. Upon the fulfilment of this desire
they had worked for more than 20 years. At the opening there was a little problem,
known as demonstration effect, in other words initially nothing worked. But thereafter
the system proved to be very reliable and yet could be demonstrated without any technical
failure over 40 years.
In spring 1994, a short-circuit put a large part of the plant standstill. Demonstrations
could again only be performed on a part of the model. From December 1994 it turned out
that many parts of the model were worn. The vehicles had to be repaired as parts were used up.
Some had covered already about 6000 kilometers. In February 1995, the museum called
for a fire protection expert opinion, demanding practically renewal of all wiring.
Thus, the continued existence of the entire system was in acute danger. Lack revenue
unfortunately forced dismissal of the two employees.
The commitment of many club members and the pleasing journalistic echo led to a strong start-up
funding with material and cash. Thanks to that the model could be revised and persists today.
As part of the revision all the old tracks were replaced by new ones, more like the tracks
of the big original. Linked to this the change from three-wire AC on the two-wire DC system was managed
and the need to retrofit all vehicles to be used accordingly. We installed the PC-based
control system of Gahler + Ringstmeier. For each train this system stores fixed routes
and monitors the current location of all reported locomotives. When driving, it provides
the routes according to the specified routes and secures the train against accidents
from side and back. Thus, the system allows a largely automatic sequence of demonstrations.
A colleague can supervise demonstrations alone. All monitoring and safety functions
are maintained even during manual operation. On December 6, 1996, the demonstrations
with 16 trains could begin on about 40% of the railway tracks again.
Two employees were reinstated. For 50-year anniversary on October 7, 1999 more essential parts
of the system could be put into operation again, this involved the main freight station
and the train station 'Cuxhaven' with its connecting route. The overhead wire has been
largely completed. With the new technic, we were able to show more trains than ever before.
The schedule of the demonstration before the collapse was constructed to a daily routine
in the Harburg railway station. In contrast, today's topic "100 years of railway history
in Hamburg" - from Prussian compartment cars to the InterCityExpress as well as
corresponding train compositions in freight transport.
Due to lack of public funds the cultural authority was forced to cancel its funding.
In October 1999, the cooperation with the Hamburg Museum has been adapted to the
given requirements. Since then, no additional entry is charged any more.
The progress since 2000
All parts of the plant are equipped with new track material and returned to service.
The new station Hbr rear right of the stairs to the hidden yard used as storage sidings.
Train Station 3 below the station "Elbbrücke" was completely redesigned. A separate switch
board allows visitors to independently carry out shunting in this area. The first variant
of the switch board we built from standard parts. It has not kept long and is currently
replaced by a more robust self-made one. The hidden yard also has been redesigned.
At the entrance of the Pfeilerbahn station-part "Lüneburg" the trains no longer cross
the route of the opposite direction. To improve the reliability we have enlarged
the radius of the track in entry and exit of Pfeilerbahn / hidden yard-part "Buchholz".
The track radius of Harburg towards hidden yard-part "Lüneburg" has been increased.
Our landscape specialists have revised the terrain of the Seevekanal and provided
it with additional trim material. Some buildings at Hamburg-Harburg station are
already restored, others will follow. The local goods plant in Harburg and
the terrain in front of the portal of Süderelbbrücken have become "victims"
of our landscape specialists. There and in other places of our model you can discover
a lot of nice details. The Bahnbetriebswerk Harburg (depot) is redesigned. A donation
enabled us to incorporate a new hub of the company Bockholt. As part of the demonstrations
a locomotive is rotated thereby. The new water crane is a donation from the company Besig.
We also installed a refueling system for diesel vehicles after the redesign of the coal depot.
Four track control panels have been built and are in use. Two are in switch tower and two
in the hidden yard. From there visitors also can drive trains under guidance. Additionally,
we have equipped our model railway with screen control (BSTW). Two of these BSTW are installed
in the hidden yard and four in the switch tower. With the BSTW also several colleagues
share control of our model railway – one at each BSTW. Many visitors also prefer BSTW
when driving trains under guidance. The company Viessmann has donated us 5 four-axle
sliding wall wagons in Viessmann décor, built by the company Bockholt. On occasion
of our 75-year club anniversary on November 10, 2006 the company Bockholt donated
the matching locomotive, a BR 232. This train, amplified by some modern freight cars
will be presented at each performance. Generous private donations allow us sometimes
to purchase new locomotives and wagons. We have chosen vehicles that were often used
in Hamburg: one steam locomotive BR 50 with cabin tender, BR 41 with new boiler and
oil tender, BR 01.10 with new boiler and oil tender and a BR 94 have also been procured.
We could also take into operation a diesel locomotive BR V200 with matching F-train
carriages and a steam locomotive BR 38 with tub tender with several new two-axle
passenger cars. The latter runs a passenger train to Soltau. As a special gift
for our 60th anniversary, we got a steam locomotive BR 24. Finally on our system,
a shuttle train with "silver liners" and a V100 is running. Our latest vehicles
are models of the BR 064 305-6 und BR 094 651-7, bought in January 2019.
Other historic models of steam, diesel and electric locomotives,
built by members of the association, were retrofitted and worked for the 2-wire DC system.
We like to mention here the steam engines of the BR 03, 82, 87, 89 and 70-75 BR 93 and BR 215
diesel locomotive, the TEE railcars VT 11.5 and electric Locomotive BR 103. They all run
on our system. Within the renovation of the museum the railway hall has been renovated as well.
It has received new windows and was repainted. The very various old cabinets were replaced
by uniform ones from the Museum of Hamburg History. Our workshop on the top floor of
the museum has also been redesigned after the renovation. We now have a test facility
that allows us to perform the testing of repaired and remanufactured locomotives regardless
of the demonstrations. For our younger visitors we have built a H0-gauge play unit. This is
designed for children to deal with it without constant supervision. Sometimes also
a little accident might happen. Our great original (Deutsche Bahn) was unfortunately
forced to replace the historic Pfeilerbahn by a new construction. Instead of brick viaduct
there is now a steelsided ramp. But the historical Pfeilerbahn can be admired in the future
in our layout!
We lack some Hamburg typical vehicles for our historic model railway traffic under the slogan
"100 years of railway history in Hamburg". For example the steam engine BR 03.10 which was used
in the 1950s from Hamburg in front of F-trains. A "metronome train" unfortunately is not yet
running on our layout. The modern freight cars are only in small numbers in use on our tracks.
We would be very pleased if sponsors could help us with the purchase of some of these vehicles.
We are a nonprofit organization and can also certify tax saving donations. The above mentioned
control panel for visitors for the "Station 3" next to the station "Elbbrücke" may soon be put
into operation again. Then our guests are allowed to independently solve shunting again.
The work-up and conversion of other historic vehicles on the 2-wire DC system continues.
For the implementation of these activities, we are looking for support from hobby colleagues
with experience and technical skills. Even colleagues with good knowledge of electrical
engineering and electronics are very welcome. If you have a willingness to participate,
we will include you as a member of our club for a trial period to get to know eachother.