The sponsoring association of our railroad museum was founded at the end of 1970 in Darmstadt, among other things, to organize so-called old-timer trips with steam locomotives.
In 1972, factory steam locomotive No. 4 was donated to the association by Südzucker AG, Regensburg plant. This is the former Bavarian local railroad locomotive built in 1903 by Maffei in Munich, type BB II, Betr-Nr. 2527, which was given the locomotive number 98 727 by the Deutsche Reichsbahn. After 40 years of service, it had come to the sugar factory in 1943.
Before the locomotive could be used again on federal railroad tracks after it was handed over to the museum railroad, the wheelset profiles had to be corrected by turning. For this reason, it was towed to the nearest underfloor lathe in Würzburg on October 22, 1972. There, the locomotive was also refurbished so that it could be used again for train runs.
Since the transfer of the locomotive to Darmstadt generated some costs, the idea came up to generate fare income with special trips on the way to Darmstadt. Thus, the very first special trip of the Museumsbahn e.V. was planned for March 11, 1973. The route took the train from Würzburg via Ochsenfurt and the then still existing Gaubahn to Weikersheim to Lauda. Here, the 98 727 was detached upon reaching its first stage destination to Darmstadt. The car pool of the special train with the passengers could be attached to a regular passenger train back to Würzburg in Lauda.
The 98 727 is a small Bavarian local railroad locomotive whose water supply is not sufficient to cover the entire route without refueling. So a stop was planned at Sonderhofen station. There was a restaurant near the station to feed the passengers and a volunteer fire department in the town, which was happy to take on the unusual task of supplying water to a steam locomotive.
To commemorate this event, a representative of the fire department presented a pennant with an appropriate dedication to the tour guide of the museum railroad, and the museum railroad presented a picture of the locomotive to the head of operations of the fire department.
Daie passengers took the ride with enthusiasm. Besides the water intake, there was a lot to see. A special stop with a mock approach on an incline was scheduled. The “Susi” mastered this with flying colors and was cheered by the passengers.
For the development of the association this special trip represents an important stage. By the end of 1973, the number of members had tripled to 50.
An appreciation of the events surrounding the first special trip will take place on Saturday 11.03.2023 with a lecture in the waiting room of the museum by Uwe Breitmeier. He will report on the events as long-time chairman of the board and stoker employed at that time. All interested parties are cordially invited to attend.