Old railroad

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West incision of the old railway in the urban area of ​​Lichtenau
Eastern section of the old railway in the urban area of ​​Willebadessen

Alte Eisenbahn is the name of a ground monument (abandoned railway tunnel construction site from 1847) in the Eggegebirge in the border area of ​​the cities of Lichtenau and Willebadessen in the districts of Paderborn and Höxter in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany). The entire area is under landscape and monument protection .

Geographical location

The soil monument is located in the southern part of the Eggegebirge about halfway between Willebadessen in the northeast and Kleinenberg in the south on the state road  763. It is in the forest between 335 (east portal;  ) and 345  m above sea level. NHN (west portal;  ). The railway tunnel ( coordinates: 51 ° 36 ′ 31.2 ″  N , 8 ° 59 ′ 25.3 ″  E ) would have been almost 600 m long and would have penetrated the landscape of the Egge Mountains up to around 365  m high.

The poacher hiking trail (19 km long circular hiking trail) leads past the soil monument, offering views from above of both cuttings . The nearby Eggeweg (70 km long hiking trail on the main ridge of the Eggegebirge) offers a view of the eastern cut. Both roads cross the L 763. A tributary of the Sauer flows through the western tunnel cut and the Rickebach (also called Hellebach ), a Nethe tributary, through the eastern one.

About 1 km west-southwest of the archaeological monument there are three fish ponds located on the Sauer in the direction of Lichtenau bei Schönthal , and about 1 km south-east, east of the Rickebach, is the medieval Karlsschanze fortification .

Name and description

The name Alte Eisenbahn refers to a construction site of the Cologne-Minden-Thuringian Connection Railway Company (KMTVEG) from 1847, which remained unfinished as an investment ruin after its bankruptcy . The plan was to run the later Hamm – Warburg railway from Paderborn via Borchen and Lichtenau to Borlinghausen . The core of the entire area was the tunnel construction that had already begun, of which a third was already completed when construction work was stopped. The public justified the termination of the construction with permanent water ingress. The building was later blown up for safety reasons. When the route was continued by the Royal Westphalian Railway Company , a different route through the Egge Mountains was chosen, which managed without a tunnel.

The water-filled cuttings of both tunnel entrances from 15 to 20 m depth are still visible today, as well as the funnel-shaped remains of three shafts in the axis of the tunnel. The shell of the tunnel was later blown up so that it posed no danger to people or animals. In the vicinity there are heaps from the excavated earth of the construction site. At the eastern tunnel portal, a 12 m high dam can be traced for about 100 m.

natural reserve

The area of ​​the old railway is in the Teutoburg Forest / Eggegebirge nature park . The eastern incision in Willebadessen is part of the conservation area Eggegebirge Nature Park and the Teutoburg Forest (LSG 4119-003) of the district Hoexter. The western cut in Lichtenau is located in the nature reserve Eggegebirge and Teutoburg Forest (LSG 4219-0002) of the Paderborn district and is also designated as a protected landscape component of the Geological Outcrop of the Old Railway (LB 2.4.25).


At the end of 2016, archaeological investigations were carried out in the flooded cuttings by divers. It was the first underwater archaeological investigation in the field of fiber optic archeology for Westphalia . The diving prospecting showed that only the straightening gallery was started from the tunnel and the remaining western incision had barely reached the width for guiding tracks.

Individual evidence

  1. Topographical Information Management, Cologne District Government, Department GEObasis NRW ( Notes )
  2. a b Archeology: Diving Trip to a Forgotten Railway Tunnel , Spiegel online , February 15, 2017, accessed on February 15, 2017.
  3. Investigated 170-year-old railway tunnel in the Eggegebirge , from December 5, 2016, accessed on February 10, 2017, on rottenplaces.de
  4. Jürgens F., Wolpert N .: "... with the tunnels and the tracks ..." The old railway in the Eggegebirge (Kr. Paderborn) ; Announcements of the DGAMN , vol. 30 (2017), pp. 175–186, online at the University of Heidelberg

Web links

Commons : Old Railroad  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files