The „Palatinate Overland Trolleys“

This page is a short summary for my international friends while the whole blog is made in German only. It’s dedicated to an old trolley railroad at my home contry.

The „Pfälzer Oberlandbahn“, or as the native called her „the snail“, was a 14 miles long trolley line between Landau and Neustadt in the southwest of Germany. It was build in 1912 and the full line opened service in January 1913.

Sammlung Kroschewski

Sammlung Kroschewski

The railroad was constructed as an overland trolley line with meter gauge and connects the small villages along the palatinate mountains with the bigger cities of Landau and Neustadt. In the other direction, she brought citizens out into the nature for relaxing. As the railroad was build, there was no major traffic on the streets and you had to walk or use an horse cart to travel to another village near by.

The trolleys were a big and important step to the people in that time and to the region as well.

Starting at the main station of Landau, the trolleys run through the city up to the north. Between the villages along the line, the rails were laid into the rural streets except for some short sections, where the trains had ther own RoW. Passing through Nußdorf, Böchingen, Flemlingen, Hainfeld and Rhodt, the train arrvied at Edenkoben, midpoint of the line and home of the main facilities. The 5 track car shed is still in place is used by buses today. All trains started from here in the good old days. The line continues to Maikammer, Diedesfeld and Hambach until she ends at the main station of Neustadt.

Sammlung Kroszewski

Sammlung Kroszewski

For these 14 miles long trip, the train tooks 1h45 at a top speed of 18 miles per hour. So you can imagine why the native called her „the snail“.

Photograper : Hans-Günter Trobisch

Photograper : Hans-Günter Trobisch

After WW2, the railroad was in a bad condition but she was back in service very quick when the war was over. Anyway, the material of the line was well done. Through the years of WW2, there was no chance to replace rails, overhead wires or to for major maintainance at all. So in the 1950th, the railroad was in a very poor condition. So the company decided to replace the trolleys with buses and the line between Landau and Edenkoben was switched to bus service in 1952. Three years later, on 30th of January 1955, the last „snail“ runs between Edenkoben and Neustadt. The next day, the whole line was served by buses and the „Palatinate Overland Trolley“ becomes another fallen flag in Germany narrow gauge history.

Photograper : Peter Boehm - Sammlung Verkehrsbildarchiv Axel Reuther.

Photograper : Peter Boehm – Sammlung Verkehrsbildarchiv Axel Reuther.

But the company itself survied until today and is an important bus service in this region and by old people, the bus line 501 is still called „snail“ or „electric tram“ in memory of the old days. the company still uses the old tram shed as mentioned above.

In 2013, the railroad would be 100 years old and that’s the reason why I started a model building project with this therm. Another point is, that I live in Böchingen and the railroad runs direct in front of my house. There’s even a photo of the opening with my house in place (see red arrow).

In Maikammer lives another man that has collected old photos and stories of the snail over the past 20 years. He wrote several books about the line, available at www.die-schneck.de.

My model railroad

The „model snail“ was build in summer 2013 and is a modular layout in H0m scale (H0 scale with 12mm tracks) representing the meter guage prototype. All trolleys are made from 3D-printed parts since there’s no model of the prototype cars avaiable in any scale. All motor cars have a power unit installed and are running on DCC.

The layout is build with showcase style modules. This means each module is like a stage with background and framing. So I’m able to model different scenes from the line side by side, even if there would be appart a couple of kilometers in prototype. Here’s my first module as example.

Meanwhile I had the first public shows with my layout and the feedback is very good. Some of the elder folks remember the time very well when the trolley was still in service. It’s my special memorial to a nearly forgotten railroad in my home country.