With the opening of the Main-Neckar Railway (MNE) in 1846, Darmstadt received a connection to the great railway quite early. In addition, the MNE was one of the first railways to connect to existing railways at the end points: In Frankfurt there was the Taunusbahn to Wiesbaden and via Mannheim-Heidelberg the first section of the Badische Hauptbahn.
Even though the MNE was able to avoid participating in the most bizarre experiments of the pioneering era, the track and structural engineering of this first facility could hardly be compared to how we know stations today. At least they were still real “yards”, neatly surrounded by a solid fence.
In the reception building there were still 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th class waiting rooms. Instead, the toilet, called “Retirade”, was classless at the end of the platform. The tiny turntables and transfer cars were moved by muscle power.
Such railway installations are hardly preserved in the original. Instead, we show an exact model in the state of 1846 on a scale of 1:87. On the layout, the locomotive “Rhein” makes its rounds every Sunday with a short train. At larger events, two operators are on standby to handle an operation that goes far beyond the original 1846 timetable with 8 trains a day. Today, nothing can be seen of this station in reality, as it went out of service in 1913 and is now built over by Steubenplatz.
The Modelspoorclub from Darmstadt’s partner town Alkmaar (NL), restored the layout of the Main-Neckar railway station in loving detail a few years ago. Afterwards, they presented the events on the layout very vividly in a video.
Enjoy a “steam locomotive ride through times gone by”!
Accessibility of the exhibition:
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