Review Open Days 2023

For the traditional date of the Steam Locomotive Festival on the third weekend in September, our visitors were offered a “look behind the scenes” instead of the usual driving programme. Extensive renovation work on the buildings and facilities in the railway museum currently only allow very limited driving possibilities on the premises. Our presentations therefore focused on activities that contribute to the operational maintenance of our vehicles and keep the museum “alive”. In addition to the preservation of historic vehicles and railway equipment and their demonstration in operation, the documentation and communication of old skills and techniques is also an important task of a railway museum. In the locomotive shed, for example, the profile measurement of wheels and axles as well as the function and testing of train protection technology were demonstrated. In the open-air area, the huge wheelset lathe from 1886 could even be demonstrated in operation. In the wagon works, the focus was on the refurbishment of the historic wagon fleet, with technical tests for brakes and power supply being shown as well as the work for the restoration of the original interior fittings. The visitors were amazed at the expertise offered by our volunteer railwaymen and praised the good organisation of the event. Also “the railway into the house”, where goods wagons were loaded onto Culemeyer road rollers and transported to companies, could be demonstrated in operation. And in the ticket printing shop, one could even have an individual ticket printed.

The programme was rounded off by demonstrations in the training signal box, the model layout of Darmstadt’s historic main railway station and the model railway module construction group, which showed its skills in the Moba train. In addition, the children’s railway made its rounds. The volunteers took care of the physical well-being at the barbecue and in the cafeteria.

Since the day also served to recruit members, no admission fee was charged as an “open day”. This was done to attract new groups of visitors and to recruit interested people for active membership. Our audience was mostly (very) positive about the programme and very impressed by our activities. Fortunately, we were able to recruit some new members.

Visitors expressed their gratitude for what was offered by making a large number of donations, and the ready-to-print Bahnweltkalender 2024, the proceeds of which will benefit youth work, also found many buyers.

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