ZITTAU
Zittau is a city in the south-east of Saxony close to the borders of Poland and the Czech Republic.  It too has a 750mm steam-operated
railway linking the town of Zittau with the nearby resorts of Oybin and Jonsdorf and was originally part of the DR system but is now
privately operated by the Saxon Oberlausitz Railway Company.  During the high season there are five trains a day from Zittau to Bertsdoft
with further services from Bertsdorf to Kurort Jonsdorf and from Bertsdorf to Kurort Oybin.  One of the highlights of this system is the
simultaneous departure of trains from Bertsdorf to the two Kurorts.  In practice this is something of a hit-and-miss affair with one train
frequently departing before the other but as can be seen below, with patience and goodwill it is possible to succeed and the results
certainly justify the frustrations.

All of the pictures on this page were taken over two days in August 2000 but an examination of the
railway's website shows that little has
changed except for fares which have risen considerably as the former East Germany has prospered following re-unification
The map on the wall of the station
building at Zittau gives a clear
overview of the line as it leaves
the city and heads through the
three suburban stations at Zittau
Halteplunkt, Zittau Sud and Zittau
Vorstadt and then through the two
Olbersdorfs before reaching
Bertsdorf.

At Bertsdorf the line splits into two
branches, one going to Kurort
Jonsdorf and the other going to
Kurort Oybin.  Kurort is the
German word meaning 'health
resort' and explains the original
purpose of this line
Early morning at Zittau engine
shed and 2-10-2T No.99-787,  built
in 1955 by Lokomotivbau Karl Marx
(LKM) pokes its nose out of the
door.  The locomotive was
originally numbered 99 1787 when
the line was operated by the DR.
The start of another working day
as Nos.99-749 and 99-758 bring the
empty coaching stock from the
yard at Zittau ready for the first
train of the day to Bertsdorf
                            (27 August 2000)
Locomotive No. 99-758 is a 2-10-2T built in 1933 by Schwartzkoft and was
one of the two llocomotives working during my visit.  On the right it can be
seen in the yard at Zittau and later the same day it is seen bringing a
morning train through Zittau Haltepunk (below) which is the first station on
the line.  This small but functional station was originally much used by
workers coming into the town but is now much more lightly used as more
and more of the line's traffic is of a touristic nature.
Locomotives No.99-749 and 99-758
passing through Zittau Vorstadt
station with the first train of the
day from Zittau to Bertsdorf.

Once arrived at Bertsdorf the
locomotives and coaching stock
will be formed into two separate
trains with one train workking
forward to Kurort Oybin and the
other to Kurort Jonsdorf.

This should be the first of five
simultaneous departures from
Bertsdorf
No.99-758 between Olbersdorf
Niederdorf and Olbersdorf
Oberdorf stations with an
afternoon train from Zittau to
Bertsdorf on 27 August 2000.
No.99-749 running into Olbersdorf
Oberdorf station.
No.99-758 crosses the viaduct near
Olbersdorf with an afternoon train
bound for Bertsdorf. All return
workings to Zittau are made with
the engine running bunker first.
No.99-758 running into the attractive station at Zittau Sud with a train to
Bertsdorf.  The line runs parallel to the main road through Zittau making for
extremely easy access. (above)

No.99-749 brings a train into Zittau Sud station on the afternoon of 27
August 2000.  At this time the line retained a few semaphore signals
although most train control was achieved through colour light signalling (left)
Trying to obtain a shot of a simultaneous departure from Bertsdorf can be an extremely frustrating process.  Firstly there are only
five departures a day and the direction of the light means that afternoon shots are by far the best.  More difficult still is the fact that
despite the timetable, many of the departures are far from simultaneous with a gap of anything up to five minutes or more.

Steve Nakoneczny, my travelling companion, and I had spent the whole day trying to develop good relations with the crews in order
to obtain our master shot and took up our positions in good time.  To our dismay the Kurort Oybin train (on the right of the picture)
set off well before the train to Jonsdorf but immediately slowed again and crawled forward waiting for the Kurort Jonsdorf train to
leave.  We still ran the risk of the Oybin train 'smoking out' the other engine but as No.99-787 drew level so the crew of No.99-749
opened the regulator and began to move forward.  This was a clearly orchestrated manoeuvre for our benefit (as can be seen below
with the driver of No.99-749 directing operations) and our patience was finally rewarded with what must be one of THE most
photographic moments on any narrow gauge railway in the world.
No.99-749 leaving Olbersdorf
station.  Although this was a warm
summer's afternoon the
locomotive is still making plenty of
dark black smoke as a result of
being an oil burner rather than
using coal.
The same station but taken from
the other side of the line during a
morning photography session.  The
station clock is right twice a day!
The arrival of the first train of the
day at Bertsdorf station.  This is
the double-headed train from
Zittau.  Bertsdorf is a charming
spot and has the character of a
country junction, sleepy for much
of the day but disturbed from time
to time by the hustle and bustle of
arriving and departing trains.
No.99-749 sets off with its train to
Kurort Jonsdorf whilst the shadow
of the exhaust from No.99-758 can
be seen as it stands at the head of
the train to Kurort Oybin.  So much
for simulataneous departures!
No.99-758 pulls away from Jonsdorf
Haltestelle which is the only
through station on the branch line
to Kurort Jonsdorf
No.99-749 arrives at the somewhat
unprepossessing station at Kurort
Jonsdorf.  This appears to be the
sleepier of the two lines with
relatively few passengers making
the journey here.  The run round
loop can be seen on the right of
the picture
On the Kurort Oybin line,
No.99-758 drifts gently through
Teufelsmuhle station in late
afternoon sunshine
"Stands the clock at ten to three .........?"  Well actually it stands at twenty-five past twelve as No.99-758 arrives at the delightful Kurort
Oybin station.  This is a delightful and somewhat timeless scene and seems to perfectly capture the essence of a steam operated country
railway ....... hard to believe that this was taken in the first year of the twenty-first century.
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