Review of the year 2023

Christmas is just around the corner and the quiet days leading up to the New Year offer a good opportunity to reflect on the past twelve months. We would also like to look back with you on the year at Bahnwelt Darmstadt-Kranichstein – with the following article, but also as part of the first lecture evening in the new year on 3 January 2024.

Urgently needed maintenance measures, the limited availability of our operating vehicles and an internal organisational realignment in railway operations unfortunately meant that the number of special trips and other events with train operations at the railway museum was again reduced. Nevertheless, we were able to offer you a varied programme of events throughout the year, which highlighted the diversity of our exhibitions in addition to the vehicle collection. Starting with the monthly special opening days, the Easter trips, the open days in September and the Railway World Days in May. The “Feuriger Elias” steam tram, which is also part of the Railway World, ran on the Darmstadt metre-gauge network on a total of ten dates in spring and autumn. More and more companies and private individuals also used the extraordinary ambience of the locomotive shed for their celebrations in 2023. Thank you very much for your interest and participation in our events!

Of course, this year was also characterised by the upcoming construction of the new ICE stabling and cleaning facility (ARA) in the former Kranichstein marshalling yard. In addition to the significant advantages for the further development of the railway world, this also entails a reduction in the size of the collection. After several months of intensive exploration, a final decision was made in the middle of the year as to which vehicles and other items in the collection would be leaving the railway museum. The sale of the Berlin S-Bahn carriage in November was an example of this process of reorganising the museum’s concept. In future, the exhibition will focus on exhibits of particular historical value and uniqueness as well as vehicles with a direct link to the railway history of the Darmstadt area.

The focus of the museum’s work in 2023 was once again on the various ongoing vehicle and infrastructure projects.


After damage to the leading axle was repaired at the beginning of the year, the 23 042 is technically ready for operation and was used on the Railway World Days, during the Easter trips and at the Hanau Museum Railway’s locomotive shed festival. Unfortunately, the acceptance test for journeys on the public railway network is still pending and has not yet been carried out due to the organisational restructuring of railway operations. Minor maintenance work was carried out during the year, such as the renewal of oil pipes.

The ELNA “184 DME” was repainted in the spring. In addition, various damage and defects caused by longer downtimes repeatedly came to light, which is why the locomotive had to be repaired several times and unfortunately could not be used this year.

With the visual refurbishment of the MaK diesel locomotive VL 11, the renovation of the complete passenger train of the former Gelnhäuser Kreisbahn was completed this year.

The installation of the firebox and the floor ring on the “Zuckersusi” 98 727 began using the riveting method. To do this, countless rivet holes several centimetres in size first had to be drilled, into which the rivets were then inserted and caulked steam-tight.

In order to have a replacement for shunting locomotive Kö 3504 (known as “Albert”), work began in 2022 on the operational refurbishment of Kö 0460 (“Alberta”). Progress was also made here in 2023, including the overhaul of the gearbox.

Finally, in addition to the work on the museum’s own vehicles, a “special order” for the Mainz customs harbour was also fulfilled: A Kö II diesel locomotive, a reminder of the history of the former harbour area, which has been converted into a residential and business district, was visually refurbished by the volunteers. On the one hand, this generated important income to finance the museum’s operations and, on the other, the locomotive will also be an ambassador for the Bahnwelt on the other side of the Rhine in future.


The extensive recovery of Pwghs 44 from a track at the museum that can no longer be used by locomotives marked the start of the operational refurbishment of the freight car in March. The vehicle, which is on loan to us from the DB Museum, will be added to the fleet of operating vehicles in future.

The operational temporary passenger coach MCi 301 764 received its scheduled main inspection in 2023 and had its paintwork refreshed. On this occasion, the lubrication pads of the plain bearings were also replaced.


After successful refurbishment until 2022, the reopening of the training signal box was celebrated in May this year. As part of the technical and visual overhaul, it is now possible, for example, to experience the railway operational processes on the show layout from the perspective of the train driver.

All road scooters from the heavy goods vehicle collection were fully consolidated this year in the core area behind the engine shed and will be presented to visitors at their new location in future. In the next step, the Culemeyer scooters will be successively restored;

Infrastructure & Museum's Grounds

At the locomotive shed, the gate of stand no. 8 was replaced at the beginning of the year, thus completing the project “Renewal of the locomotive shed gates according to the historical model”. Between September and November, the roof was also re-covered over an area of 550 m² by a specialist company.

The turntable underwent a general overhaul during the year. After complete gutting and rust removal, it was given a new coat of paint. Sleepers and locking rails were replaced on the outer running rail and on various beam tracks. In addition, the installation of emergency stop switches, which can be reached from outside, ensured that the system meets today’s safety requirements.

As part of the preparations for the new ARA building, various clearing actions took place, during which previously stored exhibits, in particular from the road roller collection (see above), spare parts and building materials were inspected and relocated to newly created areas in the core area.

Some of these projects and many new tasks will keep the volunteers busy in the coming year. We look forward to 366 new days in which we can present railway history to you in a lively way. We will publish the 2024 annual programme shortly.

Bahnwelt Darmstadt-Kranichstein wishes you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2024!

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