Tell a Pigtail

Written by: TrainSim-James

Nestled between the Upper Rhine and Black Forest lines, the Wutach Valley Railway offers spectacular southern Germany sights from end to end, and gives both locals and tourists the chance to experience a slice of the German steam era.

Today, we’re going to tell the tale of the Wutachtalbahn’s central section, between Blumburg and Weizen, fully accompanied with screenshots, as this steamy valley is coming soon to Train Simulator and it’ll be your role to master this uniquely captured line!

Note, screenshots depict content still in development.

We start at Blumburg, specifically, Zollhaus-Blumburg, the start of the ‘central section’ of the Wutachtalbahn, where the relatively normal line quickly changes into a steady descent into the valley.

Before long, the central section – known colloquially as the Sauschwänzlebahn (pigtail line) – heads south and into the first of several hairpin turns. The sudden change is thanks to the line’s history of military use. As the already-present Upper Rhine Railway weaved between German and Swiss borders, it was not ideal for a strategic railway that could be used for military traffic, and so a new route was envisaged.

The problem with the planned route however was the valley between Blumburg and Weizen. While only a distance of 9 km, trains would have to fall approximately 250m (that would work out as a 1:36 gradient). Steeper railways than that have been successfully built in the past, however military traffic is significantly heavier than either standard passenger or freight and a maximum restriction of 1:100 was placed upon the new railway.

The 9 km distance between the two local towns became 26 km of railway line, featuring hairpins, viaducts and tunnels; including a full 360° loop tunnel, the only one in Germany. Military traffic was now catered for, but passengers were not too happy as early fares were calculated by route length. The railway was used for military purposes at multiple times throughout history, and was in fact renovated using NATO funding, but ultimately operations would cease.

Despite originally being closed, the Wutachtalbahn today has been preserved as a heritage railway for all to enjoy, and the recent boom to the railway’s popularity has seen the return of regular passenger services on the northern section. Meanwhile on the central section, our BR 86 steams away from the valley, but stay tuned right here for more news on the Wutachtalbahn, which is coming soon!

We’re always happy to receive your comments below but please ensure they are related to the subject of the article, we’ll remove any that appear to be unrelated.

TrainSim-James

2 Comments

  • Nice pictures. But the big point about that route is, that the route was planned as a two track route. That means during the whole life, there was left space, so that this route could easily be build up from a single-line track up to two tracks. That is the absolute typical point for this railway and it is mentioned everywhere. You can see that on the wide tunnels and especially on the bridges and viaducts. They have extra wide pillars. For example here a link to a picture of the “Epfenhofener Viadukt”, that is also shown on the screens:
    http://view.stern.de/de/picture/2530100/bruecken-viadukt-sauschwaenzlebahn-wutachtalbahn-wutachtal-epfenhofen-epfenhofener-1920.jpg
    Would be great, if the Train Simulator-Route could be represent that. Becaus how I said – it is a very typical point of the route.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Marquardt, some very interesting information

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