The Harz Mountain system is a wonderful "find" for the steam enthusiast. At one time it was in East Germany, with a branch up the Brocken Mountain that went close to West Germany, and was therefore lifted. When I first visited, with Rail Travel and Photography, in 1994 it was very busy all over, incredibly well maintained, unlike the roads, and with it nearly all steam! Branches ran everywhere, junctions abounded, and presented two or more trains leaving simultaneously. I returned last year with my wife, who is a JS Bach fan, and found the system sadly different. The good news is that the Brocken Line is re-instated, and trains from Wernigerode to Brocken Mountain are frequent, all steam, and pass at the junction at Drei Annen Hohne marvellous for photos. The bad news is that the rest is very run down - with closed stations, dowdy or peeling paintwork on most, few steam trains and some diesel railcars. In fact the "main-line" from Nordhausen to Drei Annen Hohne has just 2 steam trains per day when we were there. The branches to Gernrode, Harzgerode and Hassefelde had about one steam train per day, though some specials plied the branches.
I suggest anyone with an interest in this substantial system goes out soon - before bits start to close, or become totally diesel. If I am wrong, you'll still be glad you went - it's a wonderful place to be!
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