Happy 60th!

Shortly before the end of the year there is an anniversary to celebrate in the museum. On 22.12.1962 our Draisine completed its acceptance run and was allowed to start its service. 60 years have passed since then.

Draisines are service vehicles which, depending on the requirements of the commissioning department, range from pedal-operated rail bicycles to motorised rail buses. They were mainly used for the transport of material and manpower as well as for the inspection of the lines. Our trolley was used, for example, by the signal master’s office and the communications master’s office in Darmstadt-Kranichstein. In order to be able to clear the track quickly when needed, it has a lifting and turning device. This allows it to be turned on the track, but also to be derailed at level crossings, for example.

The construction of the trolley was based on available parts from the car market. It was powered by a VW engine, as it was also used in the VW Beetle. From the VW T1, for example, the seat, the handbrake lever and the coat hooks were used. The windscreen wiper motors were taken from tractors.

With the extension of the road network along the railway lines, the “maintenance traffic” was gradually transferred to the road and the trolley cars were taken out of service. After 25 years of use, our trolley retired in 1987 and could be taken over by the museum.

The long period of operation had left its mark and so an extensive restoration by Günter Bender and his helpers Lars Diehl and Moritz Bender was due between 2008 and 2010. One challenge was the renewal of large parts of the sheet metal. The black plate used showed some dents but also corrosion. So damaged areas were cut out, new parts welded in, filled, sanded and repainted.

The engine was also replaced. A replacement was found in a portable pump. The VW industrial engine installed there resembles a VW Beetle engine, but can also use worse fuel. In the engine compartment there was also room for a special feature. A cable holder was copied from a club member and installed. Have a look and see if you can spot it in the picture!

Numerous hours of work have gone into the refurbishment. Just in time for the vehicle parade on the occasion of 175 years of railways in Germany on Ascension Day 2010, the trolley could be presented to the visitors again in new splendour for the first time. At that time still simply painted, the further painting, as well as the application of the decorative stripes and signage followed.

Our trolley is popular with young and old. It is regularly demonstrated at events and on selected operating days. Here you can see the function of the lifting and turning device or take a ride on our premises.

And a note on our own behalf: It is thanks to people like our “Draisinator” Günter that we are able to maintain, restore and demonstrate our vehicles. Many thanks to all active people. If you are interested in volunteering, please feel free to contact us. You can find more information here.

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